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6th GCC Financial Forum kicks off today

Khalid Al-Rumaihi
MANAMA: Economic diversification in the Gulf and innovative approaches to the future of finance in the region will be the key issues to be addressed at the 6th GCC Financial Forum scheduled today in Manama.
Around 600 experts in finance, economists and policymakers are taking part at the two-day meeting hosted by Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Euromoney Conferences.
“Diversification agendas across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are generating exciting new opportunities for the private sector to offer sustainable solutions,” said Khalid Al-Rumaihi, chief executive of EDB.
He said that Bahrain, where financial services are the second-largest contributor to the economy, is committed to working with the industry to facilitate sustainable long-term growth.
“The forum provides decision-makers with a unique platform to share ideas that will (help) shape the region’s response to the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Al-Rumaihi said.
The main issues to be raised at the forum include dynamics of the oil market, fiscal strategy and taxes and fees that will be part of the GCC’s economic future. The impact of global political events and the role of private capital will also discussed.
“This year, our objective is to look at how financial markets in the Gulf (region) are evolving, (so as) to examine the region’s financing challenges and to explore how the creation of vibrant and innovative approaches to financial intermediation can provide effective solutions to these challenges,” said Victoria Behn, head of Middle East and Africa at Euromoney Conferences.
Among the key speakers will be Bahrain’s Minister of Finance Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, who will deliver a keynote speech on Tuesday addressing the challenges that face the financial industry in the GCC. Other speakers include Francis Fukuyama, futurist and political commentator and Lord Adair Turner, chairman of the Institute of New Economic Thinking and former head of the UK’s Financial Services Authority.

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