Maher is a highly skilled political advisor, with over 20 years' experience in providing governments and multinationals strategic public policy advice and advocacy support across the Middle East and Africa. His expertise includes the provision of government affairs advice and lobbying support to executive offices of heads of state, regulators, and SWFs across the MENA region, as well as financial institutions, defence contractors, and other multinationals representing a diverse set of portfolios and sectors across region.
Prior to joining DWF Group, Maher was Head of Government Affairs for the Middle East at DLA Piper for 12 years. Previously Maher worked at the Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during which he provided strategic policy advice on a host of multilateral issues and cross border initiatives.
Maher was also Senior Account Director at Baird's Renaissance, a specialized public affairs consultancy based in Johannesburg, South Africa. At Baird's, Maher acted for clients representing mining corporations, financial institutions, and regulators in South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and other jurisdictions across the Southern Africa region. Maher previously served in the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah as Head of Special Projects, thereafter joining the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah II to assist the establishment of the International Affairs Directorate. Maher provided strategic policy advice and support to His Majesty's Office on political issues relating to Jordan's relationships and interests with countries in the region, Europe, Asia and North America.
Maher was bestowed the Medal of Independence by King Abdullah II for his services during his tenure at the Royal Hashemite Court.
Legal 500: "Maher Ghanma is 'a key point of contact', and can call on 'a strong network of government entities and authorities'."
Francois Baird, Co-Chairman, Africa for Taylor Advisories: "Maher is without a doubt the best networker I have ever come across. He is also a well-read, well-educated polymath with a deep knowledge of politics and public affairs in the Middle East. Moreover, he is a genuinely decent man and a valued friend."
Mark Chataway, Co-Chairman of Bairds CMC: "I was always impressed by Maher's encyclopedic knowledge of the politics of the region, his ability to put this knowledge into the context of current events and his analysis of how developments were likely to affect the region."
- Advised a Libyan sovereign wealth fund set up by the former Gaddafi regime to invest in hotels and real estate projects across Africa, with regards to their legal and strategic engagement with Gambian Authorities. The support to the client related to the provision of political insight into the Gambian regime's motivations for seizing the property and providing political input as the client assesses the security and commercial risks relating to their engagement with the Office of the Gambian President, the Ministry of Tourism, and other authorities.
- Advised the Central Bank of an African State on significant public international law and strategic government affairs matters. The advice has concerned, amongst other issues, the Bank's relationship with commercial third parties, its engagement with international financial organisations and international regulators, and the development and implementation of control mechanisms and corporate governance to protect sovereign assets in the context of a civil war at the time. Assisted the Central Bank in its engagement with, and contribution to, the United Nations-brokered process to end the conflict and secure the creation of a new unity government.
- Supported the Government of a country in Western Asia in its dealings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and preparing a concept paper for the Ministry of Finance / Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation / Central Bank on its Resilience Fund and their pitch to the IMF.
- Advised a financial engineering consultancy firm specialising in offsets, as it developed, pitched and implemented economic enhancement programmes for a number of governments across the Middle East and Asia. Provided strategic policy advice on tailoring fit-for-purpose economic enhancement programmes that leverage state-led procurement and industrial participation to help spur economic growth through employment and developing local industries.
- Provided government affairs advice to a Government in Asia - including advising their Ministry of Mines and Petroleum on the various policy issues. This advice related to the Government's plans to construct a gas pipeline across 4 countries, particularly in lieu of bilateral political and trade relations with their neighbours that are critical stakeholders for the development of the pipeline.
- Advising one of the largest global banks on their market entry into the Middle East. Maher assisted the bank's leadership engage with senior officials and decision-makers across governments in the GCC to obtain banking licenses and explore opportunities to finance large energy and infrastructure development projects across the region.
- Provided strategic political insight to an Atomic Energy Commission in the Middle East region in its bilateral negotiations of Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with a number of countries including the United States and United Kingdom. Also, advised the client on strategic considerations on issues relating to raising financing, technology transfer, uranium enrichment under NPT guidelines and rules in the context of their development of nuclear power plants.
- Advised a global telecommunications company on recovering multi-million dollar invoices owed by a sovereign institution in Libya.
- Provided one of the largest Middle Eastern family-owned oil companies with strategic political insight to inform their litigation enforcement strategy of seizing sovereign assets from a third jurisdiction.