Category Archives: Business
Working towards greater prosperity & security At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Istanbul the Chief Executive Officer of UAE-based Crescent Petroleum, Majid Jafar, discussed the shale boom that has rocked the United States in terms of providing energy self- sufficiency, … Continue reading
A report that appeared in the UK daily newspaper The Guardian has revealed that Qatar plans to add yet another London landmark to its string of assets in the English capital with a bid to take over the company … Continue reading
After a period of political and financial turbulence, there are strong signs of recovery in the Egyptian economy and this week, the country’s positive transjectory was highlighted when representatives from more than 500 technology companies – including Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, … Continue reading
By Peter Feuilherade The lure of entrepreneurship is growing in the GCC countries, as the region plans ahead for when oil and gas run out. Diversification plans for the Gulf economies involve not only investing in the growing non-oil sectors … Continue reading
The Lebanese economy is under increasing strain, not least because of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have entered the country but also because pleas for international help are falling on deaf ears. By Dominic Dudley The Lebanese … Continue reading
Riyadh finally seems to be stepping up the pace of economic reform. Foreign investors are to be allowed much greater access to the Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) and will be invited to play a leading role in … Continue reading
The announcement that Mashreq of Dubai is keen to expand into Egypt has highlighted a more general trend of Gulf banks moving across the Suez Canal and into the Arab world’s most populous country. Egypt now hosts five banks from … Continue reading
International economist and analyst Moin Siddiqi tracks the movement of direct foreign investment (FDI) around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and anticipates where the next new tranche of opportunities will arise.
The industry is certainly maturing in terms of customer expectation and industry experience. In addition, non-Muslim majority countries are becoming increasingly comfortable with Islamic banking, as exemplified by the British government’s first £200m sukuk issue. However, it is the buoyancy of many Gulf economies that is the sector’s engine. Qatar and the UAE among others have plenty of money to invest and are constantly on the look-out for new investment targets. Islamic finance, whether in their own countries or elsewhere in the world, neatly fits the bill. It is this liquidity that is driving sukuk issuance by the UK and other non-Muslim majority states.
While the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have promoted economic diversification for many years, they have done relatively little to encourage it. Many possible measures have been ruled out because of the impact on existing social structures and religious life but most governments now recognise that more people need to obtain a university education if new sectors of the economy are to emerge and prosper. At the same time, greater control can be exerted over the education of their citizens if they attend institutions of higher education locally, rather than in the US, UK, Australia, or elsewhere in the world. The UAE is enjoying particular success in attracting new investment but Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are also keen to see new higher education institutions emerge to educate the workforce of the future.