Recognising the growing importance of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region to the global economy, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today announced the MENASA Forum, a high-level finance and business conference focused on this vast and unique region that will be taking place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the DIFC.
Under the theme of ‘Finance for the Next Decade of Growth’, the Forum, to be held May 23-24, 2010, in association with Abraaj Capital and Deutsche Bank, will look at issues such as regional capital market development, infrastructure finance opportunities, Islamic finance challenges, regional energy needs and the changing role of oil in an increasingly diversified global energy mix – all from an emerging markets perspective.
HE Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said, “The world is seeing a fundamental restructuring of the global economic system, with emerging markets playing an increasingly significant role. This shift is affecting economies worldwide, but especially those in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia – a region at the centre of this transformation and one that is well positioned to take advantage of these changes.”
In the MENASA region, the enormous accumulation of sovereign and private wealth, a young and fast-growing population that makes up 25% of the world’s total, and market liberalisation and regulatory reforms of a region with some US$4.1 trillion in combined GDP are providing the foundation for prospects of sustained growth across this region for decades. The economic integration between the region’s countries is underscored by its growing share in global trade – total external trade in the MENASA region amounted to about USD 2.1 trillion in 2009. As a result, MENASA economies are increasingly significant from a global perspective – expanding their share of world GDP, financial liquidity, infrastructure spending and investment.
Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer of the DIFC Authority said: “The MENASA region’s resilience to the global economic crisis, combined with its significant long-term growth prospects, have given it a vital role in the global economy. The MENASA Forum seeks to build on this role by providing a platform for generating new insights on how financial institutions can tap opportunities in the region. Over the last five years, DIFC has emerged as a global investment hub for MENASA and we are further expanding our efforts to serve global financial institutions interested in this region.”
Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, CEO of Abraaj Capital’s private equity business, said: “We have long adopted the MENASA region as our core investment geography. It is a geography with shared history, culture, and trade and investment flows. That cohesion is only growing stronger and, combined with the growth profile the region is witnessing, this makes it a very exciting investment destination.
Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist of the DIFC Authority added “Just as DIFC is a gateway for international capital flows to and from the region, we see the MENASA Forum as the region’s leading platform to provide thought leadership, identify real business opportunities and inward and outward investment in the region. This is particularly significant given the relatively mild impact the global recession has had on the MENASA region and the strength with which some of its major economies are moving ahead.”
Mounir Husseini, Chief Country Officer UAE, Deutsche Bank said: "Deutsche Bank enjoys a strong relationship with the DIFC, and it is indeed a privilege to be able to further emphasise our commitment through our endorsement and sponsorship of the DIFC's MENASA Forum. Deutsche Bank pride's itself on its ability to link emerging markets across its global platform; therefore this Forum is a natural fit. Deutsche Bank will take part with a select group of its most senior bankers, who will bring to the table their global and regional expertise".
The invitation-only forum will bring together 250 top policy makers and executives from the region and international financial institutions and regulators to participate in the discussions via live polling and Q&A. Flowing from a mix of interviews, debates and keynote addresses featuring financial leaders, experts and investors. Generous networking breaks will ensure real opportunities for making new contacts and pursuing business partnerships.
The forum will open with a dinner on May 23, during which a prominent regional investor and an international financial leader will speak about the role of MENASA in emerging markets. Following a full day of sessions on May 24, the forum will close with dinner, featuring a keynote dialogue looking at how the financial crisis has impacted the development model underlying the strategies of leading Gulf economies.
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