MEADFA adds advocacy taskforces to strengthen category representation

By Luke Barras-hill |

Rita Chidiac will continue to oversee the Working Group in her role as General Secretary under the wider stewardship of Sherif Toulan as MEADFA President.

The Middle East and Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) has introduced dedicated category taskforces to bolster the Advocacy Working Group headed and chaired by an operator, delegates heard on day two (23 November) of the MEADFA Conference.

Three key taskforces now cover tobacco, liquor and confectionery.

Rita Chidiac, Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Worldwide Duty Free for JTI, will continue to oversee the Working Group in her role as MEADFA General Secretary.

Such a structure avoids a conflict-of-interest scenario where individuals active in categories such as tobacco are removed from the responsibility of advocating on behalf of that category.


The Advocacy Working Group was originally established in 2019 to guide the association’s strategy and heighten awareness among key regulators and policymakers on issues of importance, particularly cross-category, to deliver a unified voice.

The timing of the new taskforces is timely; while the current Advocacy Working Group remains focused predominantly on tobacco, other categories such as liquor and confectionery are facing current or new regulatory challenges.

The MEADFA Conference is being held at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai (21-23 November).

“We want to develop it and from a supply point of view from each category you have to have strong members,” Toulan told TRBusiness. “After tobacco, the strong members we have are in liquor. Confectionery is good but we need to work on it. P&C is not there yet.”

As reported, MEADFA created a Membership Committee a few months ago chaired by Organico Solutions Managing Director Roger Jackson.

The Membership Committee addresses specific questions, namely establishing what MEADFA currently offers its members, what do they require from the association, and how MEADFA can improve.

MEADFA President Toulan discusses the effectiveness of the Advocacy Working Group in more detail in an exclusive interview available in the TRBusiness special edition November e-zine, which can be viewed by clicking here.


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