Posted on April 12, 2011

Under the patronage of HE Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, Qatar will host Arab Banking Conference 2011 under the slogan "a new vision for economic reform," organized by the Union of Arab Banks. The conference, which will be held on April 18-19, seeks to create an Arab vision of reforms to face economic and social challenges through discussing topics dealing with economic sectors, especially banking reforms imposed by the implications of the crises in the Arab region.

The conference will discuss, during various meetings, banking reforms to avoid crises, risk management techniques in Arab banks and the decisions of the Basel Committee 3. The conferees also will discuss a number topics including, strategies of Arab economic reforms, crisis management in the banking and financial sector and political developments and their impact on Arab economies in addition to Arab integration and investment climates. Technological developments, corporate governance in Arab banks and financial institutions and prospects of the expansion of Islamic banking in addition to economic and institutional diversification in the State of Qatar will be discussed during the conference.

Representatives of a number of banking and investment institutions in the Arab region, including the International Union of Arab Bankers, Qatar Central Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Qatar Financial Centre, Federation of GCC Chambers and the Association of Banks in Jordan, Federation of Egyptian Banks, Union of Arab Stock Exchanges, Bahrain's Ahli United Bank, Professional group of banks for Morocco, Arab investors Union, Jordan Islamic Bank for Finance and Investment, Arab Monetary Fund and the Union of Arab Banks will participate in the conference.

A statement posted on Union of Arab Banks' website said: "The past few decades have witnessed successive Arab calls for economic reform, whereby the reform experiences in the Arab countries during these decades have been slow in most cases, reserved for the most part, and waning in others." "Nowadays, the matter of economic reform has gained large consensus and persistence for its launch, considering that reform has become the base for economic openness, an important element to enhance the investment environment and the solid foundation that paves the way for sustainable economic and social development in the Arab region.

In addition, enhancing the reform process has become a vital necessity to facilitate the process of the desired economic integration." The conference will present an ideal platform for Arab financial institution particularly amidst the recent fall which struck many of them, and shed light on its implications, in order to open the door for dialogue and discussions. In addition to the mentioned, it reveals providing the opportunity for coordination between joint Arab unions operating under the umbrellas of the League of Arab states and financial institutions operating in the private sector, the statement added. It aims to bring together an elite assembly of experts to contribute in creating an Arab outlook for economic reforms in order to face the economic and social challenges, benefiting from important panels of discussion steering all economic sectors particularly the banking reforms imposed by the implications of the crises that the Arab region is witnessing.

The Union of Arab Banks was formed on March 13, 1974, during a meeting which was shared by an elite group of Arab banks and management leaders under the umbrella of the Arab Administrative Development Organization. The meeting reached a conclusion to establish an Arab organization working within the framework of the unions emanated from the League of Arab States. The ultimate objectives of UAB are to consolidate relations and foster cooperation between its members, to coordinate their activities, and to emphasize their Arab identity to secure common interests.

This besides the development of the banking and financial sector in the Arab countries, and enhancing the role of the Arab banking and financial institutions in supporting the social and economic development in the Arab region. The Union is seeking to be the main and true support for the Arab common economic practice, and the corner stone in the process of building and developing banking cooperation for the benefit of economic, financial, and banking development in the Arab world.

The Union’s headquarters is located in Beirut, and has three major regional offices in Egypt, Sudan and Jordan. This besides a network of strategic relations with major banking and financial institutions in other Arab countries where the Union provides various types of services for domestic banking sectors. The Union of Arab Banks comprises today more than (300) Arab financial and banking institutions representing the major and biggest Arab banks.