New opportunities for financial institutions in Qatar & Bahrain

Increasing co-operation between Qatar and Bahrain is creating new opportunities for financial institutions in both countries, according to banking experts preparing for a major conference in Doha in December.

Qatar is expected to post 6.8 per cent year-on-year real GDP growth into next year, thanks to large infrastructure projects, population growth, and economic diversification, according to a recent report from QNB Group.

The country’s financial dynamism is drawing international and regional attention.

Qatar was upgraded to “Emerging Market” status by both S&P Dow Jones Indices and Morgan Stanley Capital International, set to take effect next year, increasing its importance in the international investment portfolio.

Alongside its growing international profile, Qatar is also strengthening its bilateral links with Bahrain.

Major investment projects, such as the long-awaited causeway to link the two countries, have received fresh impetus in recent months, opening new areas of opportunity for banks and financial institutions.

Equally, Bahrain and Qatar’s shared drive to grow the Islamic financial sector – with Qatar’s Islamic banking balance sheet set to be worth more than $100 billion by 2017 – creates new impetus for co-operation between financial institutions in the two nations.

Reflecting this growing interest, The Euromoney Qatar Conference, to be held on December 10-11, has seen a high number of registrations to attend from Bahrain.

Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions secretary-general Khaled Al Fakih will deliver a keynote address on “Islamic Capital Markets and Economic Growth”.

“Thanks to its combination of strong economic growth and stable financial environment, Qatar has become an important country for institutional investors and debt markets to follow,” Euromoney Qatar Conference director Richard Banks said.

“The recent changes within the country’s investment strategy and regulatory framework have increased the pressure for banks and financial leaders to get closer to the realities on the ground, which is driving interest in this year’s Euromoney Qatar Conference.”

The conference will serve as a major platform for global players to learn more about Qatar’s financial sector and speak to the new generation of leaders and decision makers in attendance.

A wide variety of international financial organisations will be attending the conference, including the US Federal Reserve System, UK Debt Management Office, International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation, International Monetary Fund, International Capital Market Association, International Finance Facility for Immunisation, McKinsey & Company, BCA Research and Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company.

The Euromoney Qatar Conference is being co-hosted by Qatar Central Bank.

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