DUBAI: 23 May 2010 (WAM) – H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee and Chairman of the Emirates Group today delivered the Key Note Address of the MENASA Forum at a welcome dinner hosted by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) for delegates attending the event.
Under the theme of ‘Finance for the Next Decade of Growth’, the MENASA Forum, being held from 23 to 24 May 2010, is focused on discussing the critical opportunities and challenges confronting the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region over the next decade.
Delivering the Key Note Address, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “A strong rebound in emerging market economies is proving to be a key engine of global recovery and growth. The MENASA region is a major player in overall global emerging market growth. MENASA’s strong fundamentals and the financial reforms undertaken by many countries in the region over the past decade have greatly supported its ability to be resilient and recover faster.” He further said that the introduction of policies promoting liberalisation, private sector participation and global integration have provided a powerful impetus for regional growth.
Over 250 members of the regional and international banking and financial services industry, regulators and senior business executives are participating in the MENASA Forum hosted by DIFC. The event is being held in association with Abraaj Capital and Deutsche Bank and supported by Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Shuaa Capital.
Talking about MENASA’s vast economic diversity, HH Sheikh Ahmed said: “The region is rich in both capital and growth opportunities. At one end of the spectrum are countries that have huge infrastructure and development needs. At the other end are liquidity-rich economies seeking long-term investment opportunities.
Put them together and you have a powerful recipe for growth.” In order to tap economic synergies between MENASA countries, he said the business community and policymakers of the region should commit to building existing relationships. “This Forum is a great occasion for discussing how MENASA countries can forge greater integration in trade, investment and finance. This requires the setting up of a mechanism for cooperation similar to that of ASEAN,” he pointed out.
Speaking about Dubai’s role in MENASA, he said the city is a vital hub that facilitates economic, financial and trade interaction between the region’s economies. He highlighted some of Dubai’s major infrastructure projects that will enhance its status as a hub for the region including Dubai World Central; the Al Maktoum International Airport, the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub; and The Dubai Logistics Corridor which will create the world’s largest multi-modal logistics platform.
Following HH Sheikh Ahmed’s key note address, the Forum hosted a keynote dialogue with Arif Masood Naqvi, Founder and Group CEO, Abraaj Capital; and Juergen Fitschen, Member of the Management Board, Head of Regional Management Worldwide and CEO, Germany, Deutsche Bank. The dialogue was moderated by David Gardner, International Affairs Editor, Financial Times.
Juergen Fitschen said: “The successful drive for the creation of a stronger regional market should not give way to a return to protectionist tendencies at times of crisis. The successful way in which the UAE has dealt with the crisis is very encouraging in this respect, as the country continues to focus on broadening its role as a regional hub.” Arif Masood Naqvi said: “The MENASA region lies as the heart of the emerging markets, helping drive global growth through the combination of population growth, economic reform and hydrocarbon wealth. Historically, there has been undersupply across many industries, including healthcare, education and logistics, and this undersupply can only be addressed through further investment by both government and private sector. Governments in the region have clearly identified private sector investment as a key component for growing their economies, and generating the necessary jobs for a young and growing population.”
The MENASA Forum features thought-provoking debates from an emerging markets perspective on issues such as regional capital market development, international regulatory changes, infrastructure finance opportunities, Islamic finance challenges, regional energy needs and the changing role of oil in an increasingly diversified global energy mix.