Sibos is annual conference and networking event for the financial industry run by SWIFT, and is being held this year in Dubai 16th to 19th September.
Its summer 2013 publication features an interview article with Nasser Saidi. The former chief economist of DIFC “welcomes Sibos as an opportunity for Middle East and North Africa to show its financial potential to establish financial markets.”
While BRIC countries enjoy the attention of global investors, the Middle East is still a region in transition and Nasser believes it is time to embrace change. With years of first hand experience in Middle Eastern economics he is well placed to comment on the subject.
Nasser believes that priorities for the region include growing its bond and money markets. At the moment regional banks lack “the cross-border expertise to stand on their own.” He also argues that the economies should develop local exchanges and tell companies to tap their liquidity to list locally.
While it is expected that Islamic finance will become more prominent in Middle East economics in the future, Nasser notes that standardisation cross-borders will be a ‘stumbling block’ – “You need standardisation of sukuk regionally and globally. ”
Commenting on the Middle East’s lack of well-developed government bond market, Nasser stresses that governments need to be convinced to change this.
He predicts that Saudi Arabia will no longer have oil to export by 2035 – a potential threat whcih has encouraged countries in the Middle East to invest elsewhere too. Nasser also claims that countries in the region “have to let foreign investors in and remove barriers to owner-ship.”
The article suggests that “Saidi’s message seems to be one of mixed promise for the Middle East ” and concludes with the a quote from Nasser himself: “There is no clear vision for the Middle East’s future… We should have an Arab bank for Reconstruction”
Click here to read the article in full