Gulf 'well positioned to ride out global crisis'

Bahrain economic chief says shari'a finance at centre of growth in investments.
Gulf 'well positioned to ride out global crisis'
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 02 Dec 2008 06:38 AM

Reform and innovation will be the key to future economic success in the Gulf,a key investment management events in the Middle East has been told.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board told the conference Fund Forum Middle-East 2008 that no region on earth could escape the credit crunch but the Gulf region was better insulated than any other.

He said: “A few short years ago, many in the old investment centres of the world might have looked at shari’a finance as an esoteric side show.

“Today we can fairly claim that the principles of honesty, prudence and moderation that underpin shari’a have never been more relevant - for investments of all kinds. That’s why shari’a investment is expanding so fast, as we see all the time in Bahrain.

“Bahrain has a long track record of working closely with neighbours and we have built our financial services to be a gateway for global institutions seeking to share the growth of Gulf economies.” The main focus of the forum was investment funds and Sheikh Mohammed revealed that Bahrain now has more that 2,370 registered funds with a wide range of investment choice.

He added: “The fact that we are part of the global economy, based on our oil resources, ensures that we will have a long term future in the global economy.

"It’s not only that we are diversifying but we are investing in the right areas and now more than ever. Yes there are challenges, but there are also good opportunities in Bahrain.”

Sessions of the four-day forum will discuss issues such as the impact of the global crisis, the pegging of local currencies to the US dollar and future investment opportunities.

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