The Euromoney GCC Financial Forum opened on the 4th of March in Manama, co-hosted with the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), focusing on key issues and trends including the role financial services can play in regional development and capital flows across borders in the GCC.
The international forum, which ended yesterday, welcomed over 450 delegates from 21 different countries across North America, Europe, and the Middle East region.
Commenting on the event, H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the EDB said, “In the GCC we have a growing population and, thanks to economic growth, that population is increasingly affluent. With those trends comes a desire for more sophisticated ways of managing that wealth – whether that is in life insurance, pensions or private banking, which is why the financial sector is so important to our region, and is a sector that can help drive growth and diversification. Emerging opportunities in the region will impact the way that the financial sector operates in the GCC, with the businesses that take advantage of these opportunities becoming the most successful in creating a sizeable long term presence in the region”.
“The overall signs from the US, GCC and Asia are generally positive. The opportunities in the region in particular continue to be very exciting. There is a need for more investments in infrastructure, education and healthcare, ensuring that the young generation are full of aspiration,” said Mervyn Davies, Chairman of PineBridge Investments in his keynote speech
Talal Al Zain, CEO of PineBridge Investments Middle East said that, “regional economies continue to experience sustained economic growth and provide strong fundamental conditions for business. A young growing population, high oil revenues, and increased government spending have led to a faster pace in economic activities and increased consumptions.”
The Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), His Excellency Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, also delivered a keynote speech focusing on financial stability in the banking sector in Bahrain and improving Islamic banking institutions in Bahrain.
Marios Maratheftis, Global Head of Research, Standard Charted shared his outlook for the world economy in 2014. Speaking about the shift in trade dynamics between East and West, Maratheftis said, “China is currently the biggest exporter and a large lender in the world economy and will likely take over the US as the largest economy by 2020”.
Todd Buchholz, former Director for Economic Policy at the White House, and Managing Director of the Tiger Hedge Fund also discussed the current world economy during his speech, which focused on the significance of demographics and education in stimulating the economy stressing that countries must harness education.
Other leading regional and international experts joined the panel discussions on the global, regional, and local economic outlook, regional prospects for financial services post crisis, and asset and wealth management.
Various speakers, sponsors, and supporters are participating in the Euromoney GCC Forum including BBK, NBB, Bahrain Bourse, Bank Alkhair, Bahrain Development Bank, Mumtalakat, ALBA, Baker & McKenzie, Citi, Tamkeen, PineBridge Investments Middle East, and Standard Chartered.
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