Developing proper economic financial policies and restructuring the banking sector are prerequisites to improving economic growth in the Arab world, said a banker on Monday, February 19. Addressing an international conference on investment, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance Zuhair Khouri indicated that improving the political and economic environment is also needed to attract investments to the region.
The veteran banker said that economic reforms the Kingdom has introduced in the past few years has given Jordan a “distinct position” in becoming an important regional centre. “Jordan understands the size of the challenges confronting it and believes in self-reliance and utilization of available economic resources to achieve growth and development,” Khouri said. “Jordan witnessed a series of changes in its social and economic building process,” he said.
“Improvements were taken on the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels, and financial, investment and legislative frameworks were put in place to support the economic reform programs,” Khouri added.
The one-day meeting, sponsored by the US-based Alliance Capital, was attended by local, regional and international economic, financial, investment and banking industry leaders. Chairman of the Alliance Capital Management International Frank Savage told the participants in the conference that the Middle East and African regions offer attractive investment opportunities for “sophisticated investors” due to the evolving political and economic leadership which value the role of the market economy as a tool to achieve economic growth.
“Improving macroeconomic environments are evidenced by declining inflation, reduced budget deficits, stronger local currencies, improved financial infrastructure and strong commodity prices,” Savage told the conference. “Privatization is increasing investment opportunities and adding to the overall liquidity of the marketplace,” he added.
The Alliance Capital, which was established in 1962, is specialized in the investment of assets for both institutional and individual investors with over $368 billion in assets. The firm is targeting the MENA region as part of its endeavours to penetrate into the emerging markets.
Financial experts, who took part in the conference, have indicated that transparency, availability of information and liquidity are among factors that could attract investments to the emerging markets. According to figures released in the conference, the private flows to emerging markets in the 2001 amounted to $165 billion, where the MENA region's share amounted to $10 billion. — ( Jordan Times )
By Tareq Ayyoub
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )