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Tue 3 Nov 2009 01:41 PM

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Bank chief says RAK growth to return in 2010

RAK Bank chairman says tourism and industry will drive post-crisis growth.

The Ras Al-Khaimah economy has suffered during the global downturn but growth is expected to return in 2010, according to Sheikh Omar Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, chairman of
RAK Bank

and
Gulf Cement Company

.

The wealth of infrastructure projects which the emirate needs to set in motion will provide great investment opportunities for the global business community, he added.

In an interview with Oxford Business Group (OBG), Sheikh Omar, who is also the chief of Private Affairs for Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qassimi, Ruler of RAK, said: “We still need to develop more roads, sewage, water and power generation.”

He also stressed that RAK was keen to tackle the challenge it faced of generating power by adopting a combination of energy sources, such as heavy fuels, coal and gas, rather than focusing on any single source of energy.

Sheikh Omar acknowledged that the financial crisis had taken its toll on RAK’s economy, which has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years.

“The entire world has been going through a financial crisis and the United Arab Emirates and RAK are part of the global economy,” he said.

But he remained bullish on what 2010 holds for the region, voicing his confidence that RAK, and the UAE as a whole, had the potential to sustain growth at a reasonable rate in the coming year.

“We might have had a slowdown, but we do not have a crisis like other markets around the world,” he said. “We expect business to improve in 2009 and to achieve growth in 2010.”

Tourism and industry are two key sectors which Sheikh Omar believes will bolster the RAK economy in 2010.

Sheikh Omar also said he believed that the current financial climate would provide the opportunity for the region’s economy to right itself following a period during which abnormal growth rates became the norm.

“The UAE economy was overheated in the past,” he said. “The year 2009 has been a correction year, which brought the economy to an acceptable level. Now there is much potential for serious investors to look again and invest in the emirates.”