Experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are to visit Bahrain in April 2005, as part of a financial sector assessment being undertaken by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The team will be hosted by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA), which is coordinating the review being conducted for the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP), a project of the IMF and World Bank.
The objectives of the FSAP are to assist countries to enhance their resilience to financial crises and to foster growth by promoting financial stability and financial sector development.
The Programme is designed to identify the strengths and vulnerabilities of a country’s financial system, determine how key risks are being managed, ascertain the development and technical assistance required and assist in prioritising policy responses.
FSAPs are undertaken voluntarily by countries and, since the Programme’s introduction in 1999, more than 80 countries have participated. “Undertaking the FSAP is a demonstration of the commitment of the Government of Bahrain to greater transparency and to ensure the continued sound development of the country’s important financial services industry,” said Mr. Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor of the BMA.
The Bahrain FSAP will focus on Bahrain’s adherence to standards set by the Basel Committee on banking supervision; International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS); International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO); and Financial Action Task Force.
“The FSAP is tailored to a country’s priorities, circumstances and level of development,” said Mr. Waleed Abdulla Rashdan, Executive Director, Banking Operations, and Chairman of the FSAP Committee, at the BMA.
As such, the Bahrain FSAP will also focus on the rapid growth in Islamic finance; the offshore sector; Bahrain’s role as a financial center in the Middle East; and financial sector stability and development needs. “In preparation for the upcoming mission of the IMF and World Bank, the BMA has been conducting various self assessments, in cooperation with other relevant Ministries, to benchmark Bahrain against international standards. The BMA has also been putting in place various initiatives aimed at strengthening its role as the single regulator of the financial sector in Bahrain,” said Mr. Rashdan.
The IMF-World Bank team will be arriving in Bahrain on 24th April 2005 for a first two-week mission and will be returning in June 2005 for a second follow up mission. “During their visit, team members will not only be meeting with Government officials, but also hold meetings and discussions with representatives of the financial services industry, as well as with accounting and legal firms,” said Mr. Rashdan.
“This review is important for Bahrain’s development as a financial services center, and we look forward to the commitment of others in helping bring about a successful review.” The BMA will be liaising closely with industry and other representatives in preparation for these upcoming meetings, he said