Under the patronage of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait and the attendance of His Excellency the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance
The Kuwait Financial Forum will be held on 4-5 April:
The Banking Sector in GCC against a Backdrop of Economic Change
- A dialogue platform between financial and economic policymakers and the banking sector leadership
- Timely topics, that covers Islamic banking industry, technology, digital services, and the Kuwait Development Plan
Under the patronage of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, represented by His Excellency Anas Khalid Al-Saleh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Kuwait Banking Association is organizing the Kuwait Financial Forum on April 4 and 5, 2017 in cooperation with the Al-Iktissad Wal Aamal Group. Set to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait City, this event is expected to act as a benchmark item on the agenda of key banking and finance economic figures in the region. This is due to the eminent themes it is expected to tackle, against a backdrop of the current drastic economic changes and their repercussions on the economic trends adopted by regional governments and, consequently, by the relevant private sector institutions, particularly in the banking and financial sector. This forum also creates a huge momentum due to the quality of the audience, as the guest list encompasses several ministers involved in finance and the economy, in addition to key banking figures representing GCC and world-renowned banks. This event thus acts as an interactive dialogue platform between government actors in Kuwait and the region on the one hand and, on the other, the private sector leadership, particularly banks and financial institutions.
Highest level of support
Kuwait Banking Association Chairman Majed Issa Al-Ajeel commented on this event: “We are pleased to announce that the Kuwait Financial Forum will be held under the auspices of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and in the presence of His Excellency Anas Al-Saleh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.” This event, Al-Ajeel asserted, acquires a major importance due to several reasons, especially as it is held under the esteemed support of Kuwait’s political leadership and the direct supervision of His Excellency the Minister of Finance, which underscores the importance attached by the various government authorities to host similar events and to reach practical results, that promote the joint efforts made in keeping with the current developments on various levels. The timing of this forum also acquires a great deal of importance, as it is held at a time of drastic economic changes in the region against a backdrop of dwindling oil prices and the ensuing impact on government policies, especially given the trend to curb spending and seek alternative sources of financing, including borrowing from international markets. Al-Ajeel went on saying: “These general economic changes coincide with a set of technical factors related to the banking sector, especially issues pertaining to the inevitable compliance and the means of dealing with legislations that strive to fight money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorism financing. This comes in addition to shared financial concerns among GCC countries, including the efforts aiming to unify the tax system with regard to some taxes and the development of more technical standards, such as the Basel III requirements and other upcoming financial standards.”
Interactive dialogue platform
The chairman of the Kuwait Banking Association argued that the Kuwait Financial Forum acts, against such a backdrop, as a key interactive platform for dialogue among financial and monetary policymakers on the regional level, including a large swatch of representatives of leading Kuwaiti and regional banks, in addition to representatives of global banks involved in the region banking sector. This goes without mentioning the key discussions set to be held among key figures in the banking industry, leading potentially to a unified vision on how to deal with many of these technical issues and economic developments.”
Al-Ajeel explained that the Forum is also keen on discussing certain issues in ad hoc sessions, leading to a deeper debate of specific matters, such as the Islamic banking industry and some related factors, knowing that this distinct sector is now achieving rapid growth and is linked to some specific technical details. Furthermore, the Forum is set to tackle modern technology, digital services and the tremendous development occurring in this respect.
The Kuwait of tomorrow and available opportunities
These essential factors, Al-Ajeel argued, were the main milestone for preparing the program of the Forum, which seeks to address all the main issues over various sessions and come up with practical results that act like recommendations and a future roadmap for decision makers themselves and for the banking leadership involved in that sector. Still according to the chairman of the Kuwait Banking Association, “the Forum is to hold on April 4 an ad hoc session entitled “The Kuwait of Tomorrow: Risks, Challenges, and Strategic Alternatives.” This session, which sheds a light on the Kuwait Development Plan, will discuss the dangers linked to maintaining the current economic policies, the future situation, and the role of renewable energy in securing future energy resources for Kuwait. Other items on the agenda of this session include the strategic alternatives to economic activity with regard to developing local institutions and companies, the knowledge economy and the role of the State in supporting alternative strategic trends in the future.” This session, he emphasized, acquires a major importance as it represents an opportunity for the relevant world financial institutions and private sector companies in keeping with the efforts made by the government in order to facilitate the business environment, attract foreign investments and provide new job opportunities. The Forum also provides an occasion to highlight success stories of public-private sector cooperation on various levels.