Elite coaches are essential for supporting executives to overcome obstacles at work, develop specialized plans, and improve performance. These leaders provide personalized mentoring, strategic insights, and emotional intelligence distinctively. They support the development and success of CEOs by helping them become more self-aware and enhancing their leadership abilities.
With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Usman Zafar, CEO of World Business Hub (WBH), is a seasoned IT and business executive who has made a renowned name in the United Arab Emirates. His career path includes essential positions in academia, the public, and the commercial sectors. He turned the organization into a one-stop shop for global expansion, establishing alliances with more than 90 businesses globally and completing more than 100 projects across North Africa and the Middle East (MENA).
Widely recognized worldwide, he has won multiple accolades. These values inform his social responsibility, innovation, excellence, and integrity decision-making. His advice to prospective professionals stresses passion, understanding of the global business environment, ability to develop relationships, and resilience.
The Education View had an interview with Dr. Usman Zafar.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Could you share your journey to becoming a prominent figure in your industry and the pivotal moments that shaped your career?
I am a seasoned IT and business leader with over 20 years of experience in the UAE, including senior roles in academia, government, and private industry. I have a proven track record of success in leading and executing complex projects, managing teams, and building relationships with key stakeholders. My expertise includes eGovernment, intelligent cities, and business development.
As CEO of World Business Hub (WBH), I have founded and led the company to become a one-stop shop for international companies looking to expand into the UAE and the MENA region. I have secured partnerships with over 90 companies worldwide and delivered over 100 projects across the MENA region, mainly in the public sector.
Previously, I served as IT Director for the Ajman Ruler’s Court, where I managed all eGovernment projects for the state of Ajman and established relationships with renowned companies worldwide. I was also Managing Director at Al Taqnyah Business Solutions, where I converted the company into a profit center in less than three years despite the global economic crisis.
I began my career as a University Lecturer at Ajman University, where I taught various IT courses, served on university committees, and managed the university’s Technosphere Research Centre.
I am a highly sought-after speaker, delivering over 500 keynote speeches worldwide. I also received several awards, including the Top 51 Global Influential Leaders in Smart Cities (2019).
I am a passionate and driven individual with a solid commitment to excellence. I am confident that my skills and experience would be valuable to your organization.
What is the overarching mission and vision that drives your work?
I have served as a Board Advisor to several blue-chip companies and traveled the world. I now have a mission and vision to make the world a better place to live by creating job opportunities. World Business Hub (WBH) signs mandate with developing countries in healthcare, education, smart cities, infrastructure development, youth development, green energy, and other areas to build the countries through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) or Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects.
We are uniquely positioned to provide these services to governments worldwide and create job opportunities. I am passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and have built partnerships across the globe to make it happen.
What are some of the most significant challenges you’ve encountered, and how have you overcome them?
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become increasingly popular in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in recent years as governments seek to attract private investment and expertise to help finance and deliver major infrastructure projects. However, several significant challenges still need to be addressed to ensure the successful implementation of PPPs in the region.
Some of the most significant challenges to PPPs in MENA include:
- Lack of a supportive legal and institutional framework
- Lack of capacity
- Lack of a track record
- Failure to provide bankable projects
- The MENA region is perceived as a relatively high-risk region for investment
- Use blockchain technology to improve security and transparency.
Have you received any noteworthy awards or recognition for your field contributions?
I have a massive list of awards. Below is a prominent list of awards I have received.
- The International Prime Awards
- The “Global Achievers Award” in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2022 at the Indo-Thai. Business Development Conference organized by the Institute of Economic Studies in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Awarded Top 51 Most Impactful Smart Cities Leaders Globally Awarded Top 51 Most Impactful Smart Cities Leaders Globally– by World CSR Day & World Sustainability.
- Leading Smart City Expert in the MENA Region Leading Smart City Expert in the MENA Region- by 8th International Smart City Conference & Expo.
- GCC Young Achieve Award GCC Young Achieve Award- by World CSR Awards.
- I was awarded as a “Leading Smart City Expert in the MENA Region.
- E. Brigadier Sultan Al Nuaimi – General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Ras Al Khaimah, honored me as a “Senior Board Advisor Locus Chain” for an outstanding Contribution at Innovation Conference and delivered a Keynote Speech on Blockchain GCC Challenges” organized by Federal Authority of Identity & Citizenship on 19th of Feb 2019 at Hilton Hotel RAK, UAE.
- I received an Excellence Award from General Dahi Khalfan, chief of Dubai Police, for implementing the successful eNotary project for Dubai Courts.
What advice do you have for others aspiring to make a difference in your field?
Here is some advice for others aspiring to make a difference in the field of expanding businesses into new markets, without mentioning the name WBH:
- Be passionate about helping businesses grow and succeed.
- Be knowledgeable about the global business landscape.
- Be able to build relationships with businesses and investors.
- Be persistent and resilient.