WEDNESDAY 9 MAR 2016 10:30 AM


In the Middle East and North Africa, 46% of PR campaigns are adapted locally. The influence and size of the PR industry is only set to grow in the region as budgets are increasing and agencies are noting an expected growth of 28% in the next year.

To support this burgeoning industry, UK-based trade association for public relations, the PRCA, has launched its network into the MENA region, with a focus on Dubai. The launch event, taking place on 8 March, drew a crowd of nearly 100 in-house and agency-side PR professionals.

Mohamed Al Ayed, co-CEO of TRACCS and co-chair of PRCA MENA said at the event that the significance of the association’s expansion into the Middle East lies in its recognition of the maturity of the industry, the importance of the region globally and the great work that is being produced across the Middle East and North Africa. “The region is capable of producing excellent creative communications. There is so much more that communications can do,” he says, through collaborative working.

The PRCA has a host of networking events, webinars and breakfast briefings scheduled throughout the year, taking place in cities across the region. Director general of the PRCA Francis Ingham, says, “By creating a new, vibrant association across the entire region, we will bring PR professionals even closer together, and raise standards even higher. The link with the PRCA in the UK, and its management of ICCO in 32 countries, will make the region fantastically well connected with the global PR community.”

Coinciding with the launch of the association’s MENA chapter was the launch of Global Women in PR’s (GWPR) Middle Eastern outpost. The GWPR expanded internationally at the ICCO summit in Milan in October and has a 50-year history of work in the UK.

At the 8 March event, on International Women’s Day, most of the attendees were women. That alone displayed the relevance of the GWPR’s entry into the Middle East. Yet, Sue Hardwick, co-founder of the GWPR, noted that women comprise two-thirds of the global PR industry, but make up less than 20% of board positions. “There’s still a lot to do,” she says. “It has to be both men and women working together.”

Felice Hurst, Hanson Search’s MENA director, says, “The launch is very timely for the region as the representation of women in society, the economy and the workforce continues to be a hot topic. Last year UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the formation of a ‘Gender Balance Council’ which aims to enhance women’s roles in building the future of the nation.”

She says there is still work to be done to improve upon the underrepresentation of women on management teams and leadership roles. “By launching WPR MENA, I believe we will be better able to address the challenges facing women in the industry in the Middle East, as well as better supporting our clients and industry partners by providing access to these professional bodies,” she adds.

The next PRCA MENA event will be a webinar on 22 March, following that, a breakfast briefing will take place in Kuwait on 4 April.