Arab Spring will see a rise in entrepreneurship, experts say
The Middle East’s financial services industry is likely to see an increase in entrepreneurship as a result of the Arab Spring and the financial crisis, said a panel of of industry experts at London Business School’s latest thought leadership forum in Dubai.
The panel highlighted the growth of Islamic banking, the significant opportunities within the small and medium enterprise (SMEs) sector and entrepreneurship in the region as some of the key trends in the financial industry following the Arab Spring.
Discussing the topic 'Post Arab spring: Finance insights in the Middle East' were Mario Camara, the CEO at Swissquote Middle East and Asia, Chirag Shah, the head of strategy and corporate planning at the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, Katie Sumpton, the principal at Booz and Company, Barbara Van Meir, the managing partner at Pemberton Partners, Mena Practice and Alan Durrant, the group chief investment officer at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
London Business School brought the panellists together to discuss the major opportunities and challenges surrounding the finance sector across the region, as well as the implications the Arab Spring is having on the growth and development of organisations. The session was moderated by Mark Beer, the CEO of Dubai World Tribunal, DIFC Courts.
Addressing the gathering, Katie Sumpton said the financial services landscape had changed dramatically in the last few years following the financial crisis and the Arab Spring.
"The key trends, including the importance of entrepreneurship as a means to employment, the growth in shariah-compliant banking, and large scale development programs in countries like Libya and Iraq are giving rise to significant opportunities in the financial sector and are forcing leaders to rethink traditional ways of doing business," said the expert.
The panelists discussed the growth markets for the financial industry, pinpointing the Middle East and Africa as the new frontiers, with South America also expected to be a future leader. Risk finance, private equity, investment funding and the SME sector were seen as the areas that would provide the most opportunity.
Mario Camara said, "As the effects of the Arab Spring continue to unfold, it is of the utmost importance to understand their implications in the Middle East."
"This forum provided a platform to discuss this important topic and specifically how the Arab Spring has affected and will likely continue to affect the finance industry in the region,” stated Camara, who is also an executive MBA alumnus of London Business School.
The forum is part of an ongoing series of events hosted by London Business School, which offers the Executive MBA (Dubai) programme, providing debate on topics affecting the business world.
The School has partnered with the world’s top institutions and companies to develop some of the Middle East’s leading thought leadership platforms.
“This was an opportunity to hear the latest views on corporate finance in the Middle East from industry leaders and to network with finance professionals and recruiters from the region,” said Daniela Sfeir, the regional head of corporate relations, Career Services at London Business School’s Dubai Centre.
“We are pleased to deliver yet another event that brings attention to the main issues and topics that are affecting this region,” he added.