Sam Achampong - planes, trains and the supply chain

Date Posted:Thu, 13th Oct 2022

Sam Achampong - planes, trains and the supply chain

BBG Board Director of Strategic Projects and Regional Head of CIPS Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Sam Achampong is currently spending only a third of each week in Dubai while the rest of the time he is travelling to GCC and beyond. Sam has agreed to share his observations on pandemic recovery and doing business outside of the UAE.


It’s great to see face to face interactions becoming the norm again ever since the mask restrictions were lifted in the UAE. One statistic that was mentioned to me last week was that more people meet virtually first, before they ever have a physical meeting (if at all). This is true of both personal and business relationships it seems and I have to admit that this is certainly true, in my experience at least. To prove the point, I was able to meet (in person) longstanding contacts of mine from the Axis Group; Kobus van der Wath and Rachel Wu. We have known each other for several years but finally met in person for the first time.

Last week was a busy week of travel and interesting interactions. I had discussions with our stakeholders at Qatar Airways followed by a planned meeting with Abu Dhabi Youth Council, to brainstorm the establishment of a Procurement Youth Council (based on the Youth Circles concept). From there I flew to Riyadh for my weekly visit. On this occasion I attended the Saudi Procurement Conference which was a fantastic event organised by ECS and the Saudi Supply Chain Society. I spoke about the contribution of Procurement to the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative and it was great to catch up with old and new contacts from STC, Maaden, SipChem, Coupa, SAP, EXPRO and most interestingly, Saudi e-Sports…

My whistle stop visit to Riyadh was followed up the following day with attendance; back in Dubai, at a breakfast forum to discuss “Qatar Beyond the World Cup”, hosted by the BBG. An engaging panel shared their knowledge on the opportunities in Qatar and the wider region beyond the event in November and also the practicalities of doing business. This was followed up later that day with attendance at the World Metaverse show in Dubai. I get the feeling that the sooner we all engage within the metaverse the easier my travels will be! The event itself was great and it highlighted how important it is for us all to get on board with virtual concepts as they are not the future, they are happening now. It was also good to bump into fellow BBG member Mazin Gadir at the event and also Raman Nathani, Sourcing Director at Pure Health.

I rounded off the week with a CIPS Leadership meeting, but prior to that I was honoured to be invited to Emirates Schools Establishments (ESE) to discuss their forward thinking strategies on procurement transformation and capability development. ESE is the federal entity that oversees the management of over 600 schools in the UAE. It was great to meet with Tariq Al Ali (Director of Procurement) and his team.

Now it’s time to enjoy the weekend, which in Dubai is Saturday and Sunday; the rest of the region is Friday and Saturday, and in Sharjah it’s Friday, Saturday AND Sunday….