Former U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Keynotes NBK’s International Symposium
Rice: The global economic crisis has called into question the dominant economic model and had impacted the global order and the different power players in the world.
Dabdoub: NBK continues to ride out the crisis and still returned a 4% increase in net profits.
Former U.S Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who was hosted by the National Bank of Kuwait to keynote the Bank's international symposium held at Arraya Ballroom on Saturday 14th March 2010, stressed that the global economic crisis has not only called into question the dominant economic model, but has also affected the different power players in the world desperately.
Global crisis with unprecedented proportions
“We face and have recently faced a global economic crisis, the proportions of which are really unheard of in the last several decades. It is a global economic crisis that has called into question the dominant economic model that we thought had come to be the centre of the international economy after the collapse of the Soviet union and the end of the cold war" Rice stated
“That was an economy that encouraged economies across the glob to become more open, to trade freely among themselves, to be open to capital and increasingly to the free flow of people, to open to private sector-led growth, to lead a relatively low taxation and low regulation. And it was an economic model that believed that the global economy can grow as a whole and that the most successful country in that global economy would be the most open one" Rice added.
Rice went on to say that obviously, that economic model in under challenges“ but I would remind those who say that the very openness is what get us into troubles, that this system has also produced the largest single economic expansion in post war history and indeed, I do not know that anyone has an alternative to that system"
Dramatic shifting of geopolitical players
Rice reiterated that the crisis had severe impacts on diplomacy, politics and global order and indicated that the crisis had effect on the different global power players in the world. " It was clear that certain major players such as Europe and Russia had not come through this crisis very well while some of the emerging economies have come through somewhat much better whether it is Brazil or India" she said
“We have there that wise policies and continued economic growth over the last several decades had made these countries more resilient to the economic crisis."
The U.S and China
As for the U.S and China and the relative balance between them, and whether China is going to surpass the U.S as the most important economic global player? And what would that mean for the political weight of the U.S? Rise reiterated that China is undoubtedly an economic miracle, stressing that China has gone through one of the most rapid economic and social transformations ever known to humankind, but it has not been without cost.
" If one looks at China, one sees a country that still faces crushing poverty in large part of its population while the country's political system is really quite rigid and having considerable difficulties responding to the challenges of this rapid economic and social growth" she explained
Rice concluded by questioning if what China has achieved can indeed make it the kind of global leader that we expect in terms of the United States...” Can a country that is as concerned and as terrified of the Internet and information technology as China really lead the global knowledge revolution?"
Rice, who started her speech by saying “I am an optimist… I believe that there is a case for optimism" concluded by saying: “Now given the menu that I have put before you.. A global economic system where there are questioning about the very system itself.. Where the geopolitical players are shifting dramatically on the chessboard.. You may ask how could I start with a statement that we must remain optimistic about the outcomes?"
"I am optimistic because first and foremost, people who are cynical and pessimistic do not fight very hard for answers. They turn inward; they look inward to protect themselves. And if that is our response to the crisis we face, then we most certainly will not come out of this crisis. Yet, there is another reason to be optimistic; So many times in human history, things that seemed impossible one day, now in retrospect seem inevitable" Rice said.
NBK continues to ride out the crisis
With a 4% increase in net profits
The event which was attended by more the 700 VIP clients &leading political and business figures, was kicked off with an opening speech by NBK Group CEO Ibrahim Dabdoub in which he said that the measures adopted by the financial authorities worldwide in encountering the challenges of the global financial turmoil were basically targeted towards re-establishing stability in their financial sectors and on freeing up credit markets in order to limit the deterioration in conditions facing the real economy.
Dabdoub went on to say: " We came to realize the extent of how much our world is interlinked and how the impact of changing conditions, be they economic, financial, social or political, are rarely confined to their country of origin. The USA, still the global leader, is heavily indebted, unemployment is high and Europe is not in any better shape"
Dabdoub went on to say: " Although the global crisis still drags on and will do so for some time to come, I would like to assure our guests, customers and all stakeholders in the Bank, that NBK continues to ride out the crisis and still returned a 4% increase in net profits, the only positive increase amongst banks in the region. Not only that, NBK was recently ranked 38th by Global Finance in the list of the World's 50 Safest Banks, which is a testament to NBK's conservative and stable management "
"If we add the global financial problems to our list of crisis which we have emerged from, it is getting quite long!. Many of you know that this is not the first crisis that NBK has faced. We emerged from the 1982 Souk Al Manakh stock market financial crisis and the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as the only bank not to be adversely affected. As I always stress, this is no small part due to our culture of prudence and discipline in managing risk and balancing it against sustainable growth. It is for this reason that NBK has earned such a solid financial standing and the highest ratings by Moody's, Standard & Poors and Fitch, in all emerging markets. This makes us very confident of our future" Dabdoub concluded.
Following Rice's speech the audience was given the opportunity to forward their questions and for Former U.S Secretary of State Rice.