A
- Advertising Agencies
- Architects


B
- Banks


C
- Car Dealers
- Car Rental
- Casinos
- Commerce
- Consulting
- Cosmetology
- Craft


D
- Data Processing &
Computer Systems
- Decoration &
Furnishing


E
- Editing
- Elementary Schools
- Engineering &
Contracting
- Environment / Waste
Management Services
- Express Delivery


F
- Fashion
- Financial Services
- Food & Beverage
- Furnished Apartments


H
- Health / Beauty
- Higher & Vocational
Training
- Home Appliances
- Hotels 3
- Hotels 4(A)
- Hotels 4(B)
- Hotels 5
- Hotel & Restaurant
Amenities


I
- Industry
- Insurance
- Interior Design /
Decoration
- Internet


J
- Jewelleries


L
- Lighting
- Luxury


M
- Media
- Music


O
- Office Equipment /
Electronics
- Oriental Carpets
- Outside Decoration


P
- Printing
- Promotional Materials


R
- Real Estate
- Recruitment
- Restaurants


S
- Sanitary Wares
- Security
- Services
- Sweets


T
- Taxi
- Telecommunication &
Mobile Phones
- Transport
- Travel Agencies
- Technical Studies


W
- Watches
- Water Treatment










 


 

Back to archives Back to news
French Version


Banking conference calls for regional reform (Daily Star)

Despite growing investment, more must be done. New laws, stronger judiciaries and better investment practises are needed - but the same recommendations have been issued before

Calls for economic integration, across-the-board reforms and new investment laws to meet the so-called "new challenges" have become a familiar cliche at business conferences in Arab countries.

Tuesday was no exception. Speakers in a two-day conference in Beirut, titled "Banking Expansion Across Borders in the Service of Investments," identified the problems facing Arab banks and even made proposals, such as allowing Arab banks to help lead reform efforts.

But the comments remained ink on paper. Most of the speakers, some of whom are the heads of large banks and companies, said massive Arab assets must be invested wisely in the Middle East instead of sitting in a Western bank collecting very low returns.

Joseph Torbey, the president of the Union of Arab Banks, an association of over 200 regional banks, simplified the problem.

"Inter-Arab investments represent only 0.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of these states" Torbey told the conference. "In addition, foreign direct investments in Arab countries are not more than 0.7 percent of global FDI and 2.8 percent of investments in other developing countries."

Total investment inflows into Arab states rose to $3.7 billion in 2003 from $1.43 billion in 1995.

But conference participants said more reforms are needed despite growing investment levels.

Torbey repeated the demands of bankers and investors, saying: "We must have stable and dynamic investment laws, and we must strengthen the judiciary systems."

Arab governments, he said, must combat bureaucracy and administrative corruption, and implement economic reforms.

Torbey's remarks have been echoed by regional economists and analysts.

According to Torbey, Arab banks' combined assets exceed $780 billion, while Arab countries' combined GDP is only $708 billion.

Furthermore, total Arab assets abroad are over $1 trillion.

Torbey said Arab states will prosper more if economic integration is truly implemented.

Other speakers at the conference also called for a greater role for Arab banks in driving regional reform.

Hassan Salem al-Amri, the CEO of Al-Tawfic Investment Funds, said political and economic turmoil hurts investments: "The Arab-Israeli conflict and the spread of terrorism in some Arab states have destabilized the political situation."

Moreover, he said the lack of adequate infrastructure - roads, communications and health and education services - has also hurt the economy.

As far as recommendations, Amri said: "We should encourage commercial banks and investment firms to contribute more to the development of Arab economies."

He also encouraged mergers among Arab banks and companies to stand up to powerful blocs from abroad.

Lebanese Finance Minister Fouad Siniora said business conferences are on the rise in Beirut.

"But what make this conference more interesting is that the banks are playing a dominant role," he said.

According to the minister, Arab banks' huge assets should finance investment projects in the region.

"However, the Arab banks cannot take the center stage in the economies of the region if markets remained closed in some of the countries."

One of the participants attending the conference did not appear to follow the speeches with interest.

"I have heard the same talk in the almost every conference I attended," he said.

"Why don't they do something about it?"

Beirut 18-10-2004
Osama Habib
The Daily Star



BUSINESS
INFORMATION
Business News
Business Forum
Business Opportunities
Fairs & Exhibitions
Useful Addresses
Currency Exchange Rates
Context
GENERAL
INFORMATION
Geography
Some Marks
To see in Lebanon
FIRST LEBANON
INFORMATION
Media of 1stlebanon
Impact of 1stlebanon
Add your company
Press Book
WEBSITE SELECTION
Flowers delivery Lebanon
Flowers delivery Dubai
Oriental food specialty
Lebanese wine
Real estate agency Beirut
Hotel Hamra-Beirut
Car rental
Beirut-Lebanon
Rent a car lebanon
Reservation for your travel in Lebanon
Association des français de l'étranger
-section Liban
Diamond jewelry Lebanon
Jewelry manufacturer Lebanon
Jewelry watches-Swiss made watches
Diamond Swiss watches
Modern and comtemporary jewelry
Byzantine & Phoenician jewelry
Jewelry creation
Oriental, classical and traditional decoration
Hand made furniture
Construction management Lebanon
Projects development
Shoes manufacturer and distributor Lebanon
Sole agent of Philips & Whirlpool in Lebanon
Web development
Web marketing
Printing press services
Paper products
Insurance company Lebanon
Insurance Lebanon
Rent villas France
Hotels all over Syria
Hotel management company
University Lebanon
Arab Media News