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Effective Communication And Transparency Hold Key to Attracting FDI

The GCC region entered the current financial crisis with substantial resources, but a lack of open communication and financial transparency have proved detrimental, according to  Ali Al Shihabi, Founder and Chairman of Rasmala Investment Bank.

Al Shihabi’s remarks came during a lecture titled “How Quickly can the GCC Emerge from the Slowdown?”, organized by the Dubai School of Government. Al Shihabi elaborated on the core causes of the downturn and reflected on the post-crisis challenges in the region, recommending solutions to speed up the recovery.

The lecture was attended by senior government officials, experts, students and professionals.

Al Shihabi said: “Compared to other countries, the GCC region is supported by higher oil revenue, significant hydrocarbon reserves and relatively strong government balance sheets.

However, these factors were not sufficient for the region to ride out the crisis. Clearly, weak communication and a lack of transparency in the financial sector worsened the region’s economic situation, which was already heavily affected by prevailing global economic conditions in addition to a speculative market.

“Nevertheless, we believe the GCC region will emerge stronger from the crisis. The question remains how far those measures that are being implemented now will help us avoid a crisis in the future.

That is why it is essential to revamp communications techniques and financial reporting systems, as they hold the key to attracting liquidity and foreign direct investment to the region. Such measures are required for the GCC to speed up the recovery process and regain its status on the international business platform.”

Dr Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government, said: “The road to recovery has been explored by numerous scholars and economists, and the issue remains at the centre of discussion podiums and economic circles.

In this talk, Ali Al Shihabi presented perceptive insights into the causes and effects of the crisis, while outlining a roadmap to sustainable recovery for the region. His observations should serve as a platform for officials to assess current policies, helping to ensure that the recovery process continues in the most efficient manner.”

Ali Al Shihabi is Founder and Chairman of Rasmala Investment Bank based in Dubai. Established in 2003, Rasmala currently operates in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Oman, and focuses on four lines of business – brokerage, asset management, corporate finance and private equity.

Prior to establishing Rasmala, Al Shihabi was the Chairman of the Board Management Committee with the Saudi Hollandi Bank, a position he held for over 10 years. Al Shihabi holds a bachelor’s degree from the Princeton University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Established in 2005 in cooperation with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Dubai School of Government is committed to the creation of knowledge and dissemination of global best practices in the Arab world. The school conducts various programmes that seek to enhance the region’s capacity for effective public policies.

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