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Center for Middle East & Africa Business

“Middle East & Africa are fast growing regions with huge resources and a  large number of customers; entering and developing business in these culturally different markets is a challenge. We help you to solve these challenges in a sustainable manner.”

Khaldoun Dia-Eddine, Head of Center for Middle-East & Africa Business

The Center for Business in the Middle East and Africa focuses on the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Turkey, and Sub-Saharan Africa. We maintain long-term relationships in these regions. Based on our strong network and practical experience, we provide competent support for your future business activities in these regions and analyze your potential to expand.

Focus Regions

  • Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • The Middle East 
  • Turkey
  • Iran

Profile of Competencies

Continuing Education and Training


Our team is able to draw on a wide range of competencies and experience. We also offer practically oriented training solutions tailored to the needs of specific customer segments, sectors of industry, or geographic regions. We support you, your company, and your employees in operating effectively at an international level. 

In particular, wie offer consulting services in the following areas:

  • Intercultural communication
  • Intercultural negotiations
  • Islamic Finance
  • International business / internationalization
  • Management and leadership
  • Leadership and strategic management simulation
  • International project management
  • Coaching

Cooperation Partners

We work with Swiss institutions (and its members) which are or would like to be active in the Middle East and African markets - be it as network partners, agents, academic partners, or consultants. We are continually expanding and strengthening our network in this region - internationally, nationally, and locally. Our cooperation partners include:

Reference Projects

Study Trip to Switzerland for Iranian CEOs: Swiss Success Factors

In early June 2016, the ZHAW School of Management and Law hosted a group of 24 CEOs and business executives from Iran for one week. The study trip included lectures, company visits, sightseeing tours, and networking events.

A delegation of Iranian CEOs and business executives visited Switzerland to learn what factors have helped Swiss companies become successful and find out how to apply them effectively in developing their strategies. Their visit was a valuable experience for all parties and prepared the ground for interesting contacts in Iran. As the first of its kind, the study trip was organized by Hamayesh Farazan, a conference and study trip organizer from Teheran, who had chosen the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) as the event’s academic partner and trip organizer in Switzerland. Participants included business executives from a range of different sectors.

Insights from Company Visits
After an informal welcome dinner the night before, the first day started with an official opening talk by Dr. Daniel Seelhofer, Vice Dean of the SML, who emphasized the fact that some of the most prestigious Swiss companies had been chosen for company visits. He was followed by SML senior lecturers Dr. Christoph Ebnöther and Khaldoun Dia-Eddine, who explained the development of a strategy for a company focusing on the analysis of external factors, using successful Swiss companies as examples. At a networking lunch, Professor André Haelg, Dean and Managing Director of the SML, introduced other high-caliber guests, such as Thomas Anwander, the President of the Winterthur Chamber of Commerce. Discussions between representatives of the participating Swiss companies and the visitors from Iran were lively and open.

Swiss Business Excellence
All the visited companies offered a great program, with high-level managers making time for Q & A sessions. Swiss International Airlines gave visitors a glimpse of its new first class business lounge, displaying its competence in quality, luxury, and customer excellence. The next day, a talk entitled ‘Brand Management, Industry, and Culture of Excellence’ laid the grounds for an interesting visit to IWC. The Victorinox factory tour demonstrated a fascinating combination of craftsmanship and engineering, competence and authenticity, as well as perfect brand management and selling skills. As a result, participants’ scheduled shopping time had to be more than doubled. Another highlight was the visit to Schindler and their visionary technology park. It was followed by a dinner in Lucerne attended by Schindler managers, including the country manager for Iran. The presence of these managers was highly appreciated. The visit at Lindt in Kilchberg was a unique experience; a member of the management board gave a presentation on the history and success factors of this famous chocolate manufacturer.

Business as well as Pleasure
A talk by Professor Markus Prandini on innovation and entrepreneurship included an introduction of the business canvas model, providing participants with another perspective of “success factors”. An intensive discussion followed, which showed just how much the visitors appreciated, absorbed, and were ready to transfer the content of this program. A talk on personalized medicine at Roche in Basel, a tour of the highest building in Switzerland, and an exclusive lunch hosted by Roche, were the highlights of the final day. In the afternoon, Khaldoun Dia-Eddine’s presentation on managers, communication, and negotiation had to be extended due to the great interest shown by Iranian participants.

Various networking events took place in the evenings, such as one with the Swiss Arab Network on Lake Zurich. In addition, participants were also able to do some sightseeing, visiting the Rhine Falls, Mount Rigi, and Lucerne. The panoramic views over Winterthur and Lake Zurich were the among the most attractive and sought-after photo opportunities.

An award ceremony on the 31st floor of Swissôtel in Zurich concluded the visit, with Dr. Daniel Seelhofer and Khaldoun Dia-Eddine presenting participants with their certificates of attendance. The positive feedback received from participants underlined the quality of the program and its organization, the expertise of the speakers, and the insights gained during company visits and at networking events. In particular, participants all expressed their intention to apply what they had learned to their companies.

In organizing this study trip, different cultural issues had to be addressed which required a lot of flexibility on the part of the SML staff involved, who did an excellent job. As a result, the visitors from Iran will have a high opinion of Switzerland and, in particular, the SML. The Center for Middle East and Africa Business hopes to develop the contacts made with the Iranian CEOs and looks forward to repeating this experience in the future.

Contact: Khaldoun Dia- Eddine and Maya Gadgil, Center for Middle East and Africa Busines

Programm «Future Leaders of Angola»

On Monday, 23 February, the 46 participants of the tailor-made continuing education program “Future Leaders of Angola” received their diploma in Luanda. A small delegation of the ZHAW School of Management and Law, the program’s academic partner, attended the memorable evening event.

Happy and proud faces last Monday in Luanda: The 46 graduates of the program “Future Leaders of Angola” received their diploma from Hugo Miguel Évora Gonçalves, Executive Administrator of the Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA). Furthermore, 6 students received special acknowledgements due to their outstanding performance. The ceremony was held at Epic Sana Hotel in Luanda and included a formal dinner and performances from local musicians and dancers. Among the nearly 200 participants were the graduates, their families and friends, representatives from FSDEA and UNIQUA, but also five members of the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML). Furthermore, ten representatives from local TV, print and radio outlets where attending the press conference about the program earlier that day, which underlines its importance from the Angolan perspective.

A milestone for everyone involved
Daniel Seelhofer, Vice Dean of the SML and Director, Department of International Business, was among the speakers: “This course has provided these young Angolans with an excellent business education that will undoubtedly act as a catalyst in their careers. As a leading Swiss university with a strong focus on practice-oriented learning in emerging markets, it has been fantastic to see these students take hold of this opportunity and as a result, we are confident they will play an integral role in the future development of business in Angola.” Hugo Miguel Évora Gonçalves called the program, the first of its kind, a “momentous milestone” for all participants, as well as the Fundo and Angola as a whole. It is part of FSDEAs’ social charter program, with the objective of widening access to education and exposure to the business environment – two focuses that are crucial to Angola’s future development.

The many facets of Angola
For the SML representatives, faculty members of the Department of International Business as well as the Department of Banking, Finance, Insurance,  the ceremony was the official highlight of a fascinating study trip. Most of the members of the delegation visited Angola for the first time. “The days in Angola were very impressive”, said Maya Gadgil, who was heavily involved in the program and thoughtfully looked after the students during their time in Switzerland. “We were greeted with lots of warmth and hospitality. We got to see many of the facets of this fascinating country: The busy inner city with high-rises, expensive restaurants and posh hotels but also the poor infrastructure and services outside the center.” During their visit to various companies they caught a glimpse of the economic dynamic in this booming country. A country, that desperately needs skilled businesspeople to further evolve. Businesspeople like the ones, who just graduated from this program.

Contact: Maya Gadgil, Department of International Business