Hossam El Shaffei from RSM Consulting is an expert on doing business in the Middle East. An Egyptian by birth, he has worked throughout the region and currently calls Jordan his home (not Lebanon as I mistakenly said on the podcast).
We met in Abu Dhabi at the ACFE regional conference there, and his insights were deep and plentiful. He agreed to share them in this podcast. Listen in as he explains:
- It is important to realize that there is no one culture in the region, but many
- Things like baksheesh, the giving of gifts, is common but has risen from a voluntary gift for helping you to an outright bribe that is often considered required
- Tribal cultures and family-owned businesses are much more common
- Sanctions are a particular risk since they are not consistently followed
- Tone at the top is critical
- Whistleblowing is a challenge in the Middle East, as it is elsewhere, including protection against retaliation.