Posted on June 27, 2015

Doha Bank inaugurated its Representative office in South Africa on 25th June 2015. A Ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Doha Bank Representative Office, Johannesburg, South Africa which was followed by an inauguration reception function held at Michelangelo Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The key dignitaries at the function included  His Excellency the Ambassador of the State of Qatar – Mr Salem Abdulla Al-Jaber, His Excellency the High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore – Mr Thai-Keong Chau, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey – Mr Kaan Esener, The Deputy Director General at the Dept of International Relations & Cooperation – Dr Sooklal,The President of the SA Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Mr Vusi Khumalo, The Chairman of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Mr Ernst Mahlaule and the The Head of Bank Supervision at the SA Reserve Bank – Mr Rene van Wyk. The event was well attended by major corporates and bankers from South Africa.

Speaking at the inauguration function,Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insights on global economy. He said “According to IMF April 2015 outlook, global growth is forecast at 3.5 percent in 2015 and 3.8 percent in 2016 respectively. Global growth in 2015 will be driven by a rebound in advanced economies. After weak 2014, growth in the euro area is showing signs of picking up in 2015. Growth for emerging and developing economies is projected at 4.3 percent in 2015.China has witnessed slowdown in growth to 6.8 percent in 2015.Brazil’s outlook is also affected by a drought, tighter macroeconomic policies, and weak private sector sentiment. Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.5 percent in 2015.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on South African economy. He said “South Africa is expected to grow at 2 percent this year. Mining is the backbone of the economy and contributes to significant earnings from exports. South Africa ‘s consumer price index climbed to 4.6 percent year-over-year in May 2015 due to weaker rand-dollar exchange rate as well as higher oil prices. South Africa‘s current account deficit was at 5.4 percent of GDP in 2014, South Africa’s recent budget has forecasted a Budget Deficit of 3.9 percent of GDP.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on South Africa Banking Sector. He said “There are 40 foreign banks with approved Local representative offices in South Africa. Banks remained sound and profitable during the crisis with the return on equity staying close to 20 percent. The average NPL ratio was 3.6 percent in 2013.Bank credit is funded largely by local deposits, with institutional deposits from insurance companies, pension funds, and other financial institutions.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on GCC economies. He said “According to IMF April 2015 outlook, Saudi’s growth for 2015 is at 3 percent in 2015. UAE’s growth for 2015 is at 3.2 percent in 2015, Oman‘s growth for 2015 is 4.6 percent in 2015, Kuwait‘s growth is at 1.7 percent in 2015 and Bahrain’s economy is expected to grow at 2.7 percent in 2015. The fall in oil prices will have impact on growth. GCC GDP at Current prices will exceed $1.4tn in 2015.Qatar’s economy expected to grow by more than 7 percent in 2015, with construction sector being the leading contributor to growth.

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on GCC – South Africa Bilateral relationships. He said “GCC – South Africa Bilateral trade was around $12bn in the last 3 years.The exports to GCC from South Africa was around $2bn and Imports from GCC by South Africa was around $10bn. The major exports to GCC from South Africa are Base Metals, Machinery and Mechanical appliances and Vegetable products. The main imports from GCC by South Africa are Crude oil, Chemicals and Plastics.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the way forward for Doha Bank. He said “ Doha Bank hopes to attract the support of key South African banks to initially establish Nostro account relationships in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) currencies and Indian rupees, as well as affording them trade finance support, risk sharing and syndication loans. Some of the key developments are South Africa aims to attract FDI investment, Infrastructure development is happening in GCC, SME sector between both blocs can exchange ideas, Food supply requirements of GCC can be enhanced from South Africa, Tourism is also  an area where both regions can build relationships and South Africa can participate in FIFA world cup related projects.  Doha Bank will look forward to opportunities coming up from above developments.”