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Under The Patronage Of H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum The 11th Annual Institute Of International Finance CEO Meeting Takes Place In Dubai – Critical Issues Of Oil Prices, Economic Growth, Capital Market Developments Set For Meeting Of Banking Chief Executives From The Middle East And North Africa – DIFC Hosts The February 23-24 Conference


“The Middle East plays an increasingly critical role in the world economy, not only as a source of energy, but also as a key player in global finance. We are now seeing the rapid modernization and development of financial institutions and financial centers across this region, and the meeting in Dubai of banking chief executives is therefore most timely,” stated Dr. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Institute of International Finance’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG.

Dr. Ackermann, who will deliver a keynote address at the 11th Annual Institute of International Finance CEO Meeting hosted by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on February 23-24, 2008, noted, “We are most appreciative of the cooperation of the Dubai International Financial Centre in hosting this conference under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai, and President of the DIFC.”

His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC said, “The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries have experienced unprecedented levels of growth and investment in recent years. The region has emerged as a highly significant hub on the global economic landscape, yet these developments pose both opportunities and challenges for the business leaders of our region. Our region is proving resilient to uncertainty and volatility in the credit and financial markets of the US and Europe as a result of the US sub-prime and mortgage market crisis. The MENA region has achieved above trend average real GDP growth 6.2% over 2003-2007 vs. 3.8% in 1998-2002. We will need policies to sustain growth and development. The IIF CEO Meeting offers an ideal chance for key decision makers across the GCC to come together to discuss and debate the issues that are influencing the international business environment and further equip themselves to deal with the challenges that arise when managing a successful organisation.”

The agenda for the conference includes sessions on the global economy and the possible impact of the slow-down in United States economic growth; the challenges of meeting future global demand for oil; critical developments in the banking sector, from corporate governance to consolidation and globalization and to the growing importance of Islamic finance. In addition, there will be a session on capital markets, ranging from discussion of debt markets and securitization, to insurance, state reserve and wealth funds and private equity.

The DIFC is the world’s fastest-growing financial centre and is home to more than 550 companies, including many of the world’s leading financial firms.. The IIF is the leading global association of financial services institutions with more than 370 members in over 60 countries.

IIF Managing Director Charles Dallara added, “We are coming together at a time of uncertainty about the world economic outlook. The slow-down in the U.S. economy, combined with particular challenges that have come to the fore as a result of the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis, could lead to further testing times in international capital markets. To-date, these strains have had a quite limited effect on finance in the Middle East, in part because of the strength of financial institutions in the region. Nevertheless, we need to discuss going forward a range of important economic and financial issues. Here, as elsewhere, it is critical that bankers work collaboratively to share experiences and knowledge to ensure the development of a more resilient international financial system.”

Mr. Nasser Al Shaali, CEO of the DIFC noted, “This conference is especially significant as major efforts are now underway to strengthen all facets of the financial services industry in the Middle East. Progress requires the exchange of views on major issues between the chief executives of the region’s financial institutions, together with leading experts from across the globe. The forthcoming meeting is explicitly in line with the vision we have for the DIFC to shape tomorrow’s financial map as a global gateway for capital and investment.”

Mr. Abed pointed out that the forthcoming CEO conference will discuss some of the key economic challenges that directly confront the GCC countries. He noted, “Despite the slow-down in the U.S., the IIF estimates that the GCC’s overall GDP growth this year will be about 14 percent and that, at around $900 billion, this will be more than double that recorded as recently as 2003. However, a critical issue for the governments of these countries is rapidly expanding bank credit and rising inflation, in the face of a depreciating U.S. dollar.”

In addition to H.E. Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman and Dr. Ackermann, speakers at the conference will include H.E.Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, Governor of the Central Bank of the U.A.E.; Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Vice Governor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency; Mr. Ibrahim Dabdoub, Chief Executive Officer, National Bank of Kuwait and a member of the IIF Board of Directors; Mr. George T. Abed, IIF, Mr. Ian Cronshaw, Head of Energy Diversification Division, International Energy Agency; Mr.Mohammad Al-Omar, General Manager, Kuwait Finance House; Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, DIFC; Mr. Abhijit Choudhury, Senior General Manager and Chief Risk Officer, National Bank of Abu Dhabi; Mr. Benoit Duthu, Partner, Egon Zehnder International; Mr. Malcolm Walker, Senior Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank; Mr. John Howland Jackson, Chief Executive Officer UK and Middle East, ING; Mr. Charles Bouloux, President, AIG-Memsa; Mr. Martin Skancke, Director General Asset Management Department, Ministry of Finance, Norway; Mr. Azmat Taufique, Managing Director, Investcorp; Mr. Phil Suttle, IIF Director, Global Macroeconomic Analysis.


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