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Lebanon’s Bank Audi in talks with UAE’s FAB to sell Egyptian unit

Friday, 24 January 2020

Lebanon’s Bank Audi said on Thursday it was in exclusive negotiations with First Abu Dhabi Bank to sell its Egyptian unit in a move aimed at boosting its liquidity and financial resilience. Talks with the United Arab Emirates’ largest bank were still at an early stage, with no definitive agreement reached, it said in a statement, adding it had no current intention to engage in talks to sell any other overseas subsidiary.

Dubai’s largest Islamic bank acquires smaller lender

Friday, 24 January 2020

Dubai Islamic Bank said on Thursday it has completed the acquisition of Noor Bank to consolidate its position as the top Islamic lender in the United Arab Emirates. DIB said in a statement posted on Dubai bourse website the acquisition was carried out through a share swap after securing the necessary approvals from the regulatory authorities. The bank said the move raises its assets to $75 billion, making it one of the biggest Islamic banks in the world, but it remains the fourth largest lender ...

Saudi Arabia to host World Economic Forum Middle East Summit

Friday, 24 January 2020

Saudi Arabia will host a World Economic Forum (WEF) “special meeting” on the Middle East in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in April, WEF President Borge Brende announced in Davos. “The next Middle East summit will be held in Saudi Arabia on the 5 and 6 of April this year,” Brende said. In partnership with Saudi Arabia’s G20 Secretariat, the WEF aims to “provide the region’s stakeholders the opportunity to assume a proactive posture,” according to ...

Riyadh to be turned ‘into a megalopolis’: Royal Commission President

Friday, 24 January 2020

Plans have been put in place to turn Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh “into a megalopolis,” the President of The Royal Commission for Riyadh City Fahd al-Rasheed said. The plan calls for an 8 percent growth in population per year, “which means over the next 10 years will are going to be very busy, planning and accommodating for that growth,” al-Rasheed explained. The $27 billion Riyadh metro project is the first stage of the city’s expansion plan. ...

Lebanon’s Gebran Bassil grilled on failures at Davos

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Lebanon’s Gebran Bassil was grilled on his government’s record by fellow panelists at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday. Fellow panelists Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag and CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble challenged Bassil’s former role as electricity minister and the Lebanese government’s continued failures to provide basic goods including electricity. When asked by Gamble what had happened to Bassil’s plan to provide 24-hour electricity, Bassil said that ...

Middle East countries must work as partners to grow: Majid Al Futtaim CEO

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Countries in the Middle East need to work together and “behave as partners and less so as rivals” to secure future economic growth and investment, said Alain Bejjani, CEO of the Dubai-based holding company Majid Al Futtaim Holding Group. “We have a fragmented reality, we have a number of economies that [are] small, each one individually overly regulated,” he added, speaking on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. To ...

Lebanon to decide on March bond next week, finance chief says

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Lebanon’s incoming Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said the fate of a $1.2 billion Eurobond maturing March 9 will be the new government’s top priority when it meets next week, as investor concerns intensify that the country could default.“This is a priority and will be the first item to be discussed, Wazni said Wednesday in his first interview with an international news organization.Despite Lebanon’s unblemished record of paying creditors, bond investors have all but priced ...

Veterans of Dubai’s Near-Default Have a New Mission 10 Years On

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Dubai is turning to two of its most trusted officials to steer its key companies through a drawn-out slowdown, a decade after they helped pull the business hub back from the brink of default.Mohammed Al Shaibani, director general of the ruler’s court and head of Investment Corp. of Dubai -- the emirate’s main investment arm -- was named as chairman of palm-shaped island developer Nakheel PJSC, which was at the center of the debt crisis in 2009.Al Shaibani’s appointment comes ...

Fragmented markets are the ‘biggest challenge’ for MENA startups: Wamda Chairman

Thursday, 23 January 2020

MENA startups “biggest challenge is how do you scale these businesses while markets are very fragmented,” said Fadi Ghandour, Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, a company that looks to support Middle East and North African (MENA) entrepreneurship through ecosystem development and venture capital funding. “There is a huge friction to move from one country to another with different regulatory environments, with different requirements for how you set up a business there,” he ...

Pakistan’s youth a ‘big resource’ for growth: PM Imran Khan

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The large young population of Pakistan is a “big resource” that will enable growth, said the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan during an address at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The young have historically been neglected because, Khan explained, “we did not concentrate on skill development.” He pointed to programs to develop skills that his administration has since started as one solution to this problem. “2020 is the year that we ...

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