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Business Home > Archive
 
Sovereign Funds and Banks to Focus on Domestic Markets

Abdul Basit / 6 February 2009

DUBAI - Access to credit will remain severely constrained in the next two years, while sovereign funds may not fill the credit gap but remain focused on equity investments, and together with banks concentrate on their domestic markets.

This was the consensus at the two-day Arab-Americas-Asia-Africa (AAAA) Business Summit 2009, which concluded on Thursday. The Commonwealth Business Council, Dubai Group and the UAE jointly organised the Summit.

Participants at the Summit said that infrastructure finance has also been drastically reduced. They said with global demand likely to remain weak for at least the next year, trade financing might also come under pressure.

The Summit, themed “The Commonwealth in Dubai — Driving Trade and Investment Through the Middle East,” examined the role of Dubai and the Middle East region in promoting economic development between south-south countries.

The high-profile international gathering drew active participation from senior representatives of governments and businesses in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas, to explore avenues leading to increased collaboration.

“We were able in particular to generate a very strong synergy between Africa and the UAE — an important building block,” said Prof. Steve Godfrey Managing Director Commonwealth Business Council.“No one wants to exclude any potential partner, from North or South, but the new markets and relationships are those which cut across traditional trade and investment flows. That is why this AAAA initiative is important.”

The business summit discussed three particular areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and Islamic finance.

Infrastructure
The summit session identified a number of key issues and opportunities for public-private cooperation (PPPs), with a focus on infrastructure essential to development in emerging and developing economies.

Agriculture
Excellent opportunities exist for infrastructure investment in sectors such as export agriculture in developing countries.

The summit identified good complementarity between the Middle East region and Africa on food supply.Food will remain a strategic commodity for the foreseeable future, and Africa in particular has a huge comparative advantage in this area.

Islamic Finance
The summit in a session also discussed that how Islamic finance products and services — whose Banks may have been less adversely affected due to its conservative financial model, could be extended to other countries through new partnerships.

         abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

 

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