IJGlobal Awards 2022 – MENA Judges

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Today we take great pride in announcing the judging panel for IJGlobal Awards 2022, unveiling a team of experienced industry professionals who will deliberate company awards for the Middle East and North Africa region.

These awards recognise landmark developments to have closed in the 2022 calendar year across MENA and the organisations that contributed to the delivery of greenfield projects in the infrastructure and energy space, as well as refinance activity.

IJGlobal Awards should not be confused with IJInvestor Awards which celebrate developments within the infrastructure fund community and infra/energy M&A. These awards are hosted in the autumn.

We believe IJGlobal Awards are the single most transparent and peer review in this sector, fielding regional teams of experts to assess submissions and vote (in secret) on the organisations that have been most impressive over the course of the judging period.

The independent panel of judges will meet for Judgment Day tomorrow (Wednesday 11 January) over Teams to debate the merits of companies that closed deals – project finance greenfield and refi – over the course of the 2022 calendar year.

Judges are recused from casting a vote where they are conflicted, as in lawyers cannot vote in the legal segment and bankers are not allowed to sway the decision in the MLA category.

The judges (in alphabetical order) for MENA Judgment Day are:

  • Christopher Cantelmi – IFC
  • Abu Chowdhury – ASMA Capital Partners
  • Adel Elsolh – Natixis
  • Madhavi Gosavi – Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Ali-Tahir Jaffery – Standard Chartered Bank
  • Yusuf Macun – Cranmore Partners
  • Nawara Msallati – Besix
  • Sami Neffati – Aberdeen Standard Investments
  • Ravi Suri – AP Moller Capital
  • Dan Taylor – National Development Fund of Saudi Arabia
  • Laughlan Waterston – SMBC
  • Catherine Workman – Pinsent Masons


Christopher Cantelmi

A principal investment officer for the IFC infrastructure and natural resources department working out of Dubai, Christopher is responsible for origination and execution of debt and equity investments in the power, water, energy and essential infra sectors throughout the MENA region.

Chris led IFC’s efforts to support renewable energy programmes in Jordan and Egypt, while creating and structuring complementary low transaction cost, standardised limited recourse project financing programmes to support the many renewable developers participating.

Before joining the IFC in 2013, Chris served at the Mubadala / GE Capital (MGEC) JV for 3 years in Abu Dhabi as a director and head of energy and project finance.


Abu Chowdhury

Serving as the managing director and CFO of ASMA Capital Partners, Abu is also a member of the management committee and – alongside his role within the investment decision making process – is responsible for the finance function at ASMA Capital.

He is also a member of the board of directors of a number of investee companies of the fund.

Prior to this, Abu was a managing partner at EMP Bahrain and was responsible for managing IDBIF I, which returned more than $1.2 billion to its investors.

Before EMP Bahrain, Abu was with Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank where we was responsible for managing and structuring infrastructure and asset-backed investments.


Adel Elsolh

Dubai-based managing director and co-head investment banking, coverage, and infrastructure energy finance at Natixis, Adel is responsible for the French bank’s activities in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

With more than 20 years’ experience in banking – including 9 with the RBS infra finance group in London covering advisory, lending and equity – he has deep experience across the infrastructure and energy sectors.

He has exposure to power, renewables, O&G, telecoms, water, waste, and social infrastructure as well as accommodation in META, delivering delivered fixed rate solutions from institutional investors.

He has been based in the Middle East, covering the region since the summer of 2010.


Madhavi Gosavi

Head of banking and finance for EMEA at Norton Rose Fulbright, Madhavi is an infrastructure and projects lawyer operating out of London.

She stepped up to succeed Chris Brown who had held the leadership role since 2019.

Madhavi focuses on advising parties in the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects.

She also acts on structured financings, project financings and restructurings.

Modhavi is primarily experienced in advising commercial lenders, multilaterals, DFIs, sovereigns and development companies on lending, including financings involving ECAs.


Ali-Tahir Jaffery

Ali-Tahir is based in the UAE and is a senior project finance transactor with extensive experience of structuring large-scale financings in Middle East and Africa region primarily in the power and water sector.

He has also worked on transactions in the LNG, petrochemicals, fertilizer and telecom sectors.

He has been working at Standard Chartered Bank in the Middle East since 2005, having worked there for a couple of years prior to that in Pakistan.

He started his career before the turn of the millennium in Pakistan at KPMG.


Yusuf Macun

The leading light at Cranmore Partners, Yusuf has more than 25 years’ experience in energy and infrastructure financing and investments, having held leadership roles on the buy-side and sell-side in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He created Cranmore in 2015 as a boutique firm in the project advisory space in the wider Middle East and Africa region.

Prior to this, Yusuf was global head of project and commercial finance at Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), where he led transactions in the bank, debt and equity capital markets across MENA.

Back in his London days, Yusuf spent 8 years at HSBC in the project and export finance team, and has also worked at the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.


Nawara Msallati

Head of project finance and Middle East concessions and assets at BESIX in Dubai, Nawara has been in this role since autumn 2020, though it is the second time she has worked for the organisation.

At BESIX, she serves as lead, managing the full finance workstreams of the live project finance deals (from raising capital to financial close); while supervising the financial activities of the existing subsidiaries.

Nawara joined BESIX Group from Citigroup where she led deals in the power, petrochemicals and utilities sectors out of Dubai from the summer of 2017 to autumn 2020.

Prior to that was her first stint at BESIX (2013-17) where she gained crucial experience to set her up for full control of the assets on the group – the role she currently holds – with the added benefit of experienced gained at Citi.

She started her career at Bank Audi before moving to Dubai for the first spell at Citi.


Sami Neffati

Managing partner of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Investcorp joint venture focusing on infrastructure in the GCC and MENA region, Sami has deep exposure to the infra / energy lending landscape and operates out of Bahrain.

He previously held the position of assistant general manager for energy at SMBC in London and even worked for a stretch at the famed WestLB team.

Sami is an emerging markets specialist with long experience in the MENAT region.

He headed Sumitomo’s business development for Africa and led teams working on financing projects in renewable energy, power generation, transmission and distribution.

He also worked as an adviser on projects in the MENAT region and to Japanese conglomerates on African markets penetration strategy.


Ravi Suri

Ravi is senior managing director for investments at AP Moller Capital, operating out of the UAE.

He is a long-established infrastructure specialist having built a reputation working across its many sub-sectors around the world.

Ravi switched to join AP Moller late last year having spent a bit more than 4 years at KPMG in Dubai and having been on the ground in the region since 2002.

He started his career at GE Capital in London, spent 5 years at ABN Amro in Hong Kong and India before moving to Dubai with Standard Chartered Bank where he worked until the end of 2016 before his spell in the Big 4.

His current role at AP Moller Capital serves as the culmination of his experience and the pinnacle of his career.


Dan Taylor

Currently an adviser to the National Development Fund of Saudi Arabia on a strategic infrastructure financing initiative, Dan is a well-known figure within the regional infra community.

He started his career in leveraged and acquisition finance in Australia in 2000, continuing with UBS and Goldman Sachs in M&A advisory with a focus on the industrials, building materials and services sectors.

In 2008, he moved to the Gulf where he was head of investment for a UAE sovereign direct investment entity and then CIO for a large, diversified family group.

Dan recently served as head of structured finance at Al Rajhi Bank in KSA, leading the greenfield financing of a series of water, renewables and industrial projects.


Laughlan Waterston

Head of corporate and project finance at SMBC’s Middle East department based in Dubai, Laughlan in the summer of 2020 switched roles with Tom Waterhouse.

Laughlan has more than 25 years’ experience in banking with the vast majority of those focused on project and structured finance.

He has experience on a wide variety of projects and corporates in the energy and infrastructure sectors including power, renewable energy, O&G, petrochemicals, waste to energy, wastewater, utilities, social infrastructure and transportation.

Laughlan’s roles and product areas include financial advisory, structured finance, corporate finance, acquisition finance, green/sustainable finance, debt capital markets, derivatives products and LP investment.


Catherine Workman

A partner and head of the Middle East region for Pinsent Masons, Catherine is also the board sponsor for the law firm’s business in Saudi Arabia, while also serving as a board member of the British Aviation Group.

She is a projects lawyer specialising in PPP across a range of sectors with a particular focus on airports, ports and waste management.

Catherine has worked on projects across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Catherine has been delivering PPP projects for more than 25 years – including the first hospital PPP to achieve financial close in 1997 – and relocated to Dubai in 2019.

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