HSBC Qatar CEO, Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi, sees more growth opportunities in emerging markets such as China, Brazil and Egypt than Europe, he said, during the Dean’s Leadership Series at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
“Investment in Egypt has big potential. Egypt is a country with ample resources – gas, agriculture, water and a young, upcoming population. It just needs help from its Arab neighbors in this challenging time,” Mostafawi said, adding, “Qatar has a strong political linkage with Egypt.”
As the Eurozone teeters perpetually on the brink, Mostafawi outlined how the debt crises continues to cause challenges for lenders the world over that will impact the funding of projects in the GCC.
As the largest importer of Chinese goods, the future of the eurozone might have more tangible, immediate effects on the Chinese market, but the indirect effects, as a result of decreased natural resource prices, will have broad implications for the GCC, explained Mostafawi.
The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi recently announced that the bank was ready to buy unlimited amounts of bonds issued by eurozone member states, so long as a formal request for aid was submitted and they fulfilled strict domestic policy conditions. The plan is designed to lower the borrowing costs of eurozone states, specifically Southern European ones, by buying their bonds.
Given the injection of capital by GCC countries, including the State of Qatar, into the European economy through several high-profile investments, pundits have asked whether this type of Foreign Direct Investment into the eurozone can spur growth.
French President François Hollande recently approved Qatar’s €50 million investment to promote economic activity in poor neighborhoods of Paris, where unemployment rates can reach as high as 40 percent.
Mostafawi’s personal view on Europe is that “growth remains very challenging,” due in part to an ageing population, high debt-to-GDP ratios and slow economic performance. With these fundamental underliers, Mostafawi asks: “How can [the situation in Europe] change without any long-term drastic austerity measures?”
Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi, the first Qatari to head an international bank in Doha, closed his presentation by telling Carnegie Mellon Qatar students to “work hard, use technology and the knowledge that surrounds them to succeed,” adding: “You cannot succeed if you are not committed and dedicated to your dreams. People have yet to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them here. Look to the future and concentrate on what you want, specialize and really focus on a particular area.”
Ilker Baybars, dean of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, highlighted the importance of the series in bringing senior executives to campus to share their views with students.
“The Dean’s Leadership Series is part of our efforts to connect students with industry leaders, so that they may become inspired to succeed and innovate in their own right. HSBC is one the many destinations for Carnegie Mellon Qatar alumni, like Noora Al Ansari, a graduate in business administration, who is now an assistant relationship manager for HSBC,” Baybars said.
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