Business Intelligence Middle East

MENA governments need to engage the private sector to help address the growing crisis of affordable housing, says Ernst & Young

According to Ernst & Young’s report ‘The growing crisis of affordable housing in MENA,’ regional governments need to engage the private sector to help address the growing crisis of affordable housing. Housing affordability lies at the intersection of supply side (more homes) and demand side (more financing), and to tackle the growing crisis, MENA governments need to engage the private sector on both sides simultaneously. Cities will not create quality affordable housing if the task is left purely to the private market. It is vital that MENA governments take charge of land allocation and make sure that some urban land is reserved for that purpose.

Alwaleed Foundation supports UNICEF education project in Yemen

HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation-Global and Dr. Ibrahim El-Ziq, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative to the Gulf Area, signed a memorandum of understanding “MOU” on Sunday 24th March 2013, which works for children's rights, their survival, development and protection, to support a UNICEF project to provide quality basic education for girls in Yemen. Under the agreement, Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation – Global will donate US$250,000 to 15 schools. According to the one year agreement, the targeted schools will be become more child friendly, with new educational policies at local and national levels.

Corporate Social Responsibility - A viable tool for sustainable development in the MENA region

Sustainable economic development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will depend on job creation, education, poverty alleviation, and careful environmental management. Companies have a particularly important role to play through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that align with national development objectives. In order to improve CSR as a discipline, companies and governments should follow a four-step process: Define CSR for the MENA Región, Study Current CSR Activity, Identify CSR Best Practices, and Create an Environment for CSR.

Saudi Arabia has some of the GCC's lowest 'residual incomes' for affordable housing

Ernst & Young conducted an analysis of housing affordability, as measured by “residual income” (household budget available after paying for housing) across the Middle East. The report shows that UAE and Qatar achieve higher levels of housing affordability for nationals, while citizens of Saudi Arabia have lower residual incomes. The report suggests that it is time for governments to make step changes in their delivery models, and in particular, to shift into a more outsourced and collaborative approach with the private sector on both the supply side (new homes) and the demand side (financing products).

Eurozone crisis biggest concern of Middle East intermediaries

Although optimism regarding global economic growth prospects has increased in the last year among Middle East intermediaries, their biggest concern for global financial markets is the Eurozone crisis. The results of a poll conducted during Invesco’s seventh annual Dubai Investment Meeting, reveal that 56% of the respondents feel positively or very positively about global economic growth prospects for 2013. Furthermore, currently the most favoured asset class is equities (54%), followed by property (20%) and bonds (19%). 39% of the intermediaries believe the Eurozone crisis is the biggest issue facing global financial markets.

The Bedrock of Society: Understanding and Growing the MENA Region's Middle Class

In the Middle East and North Africa, many of the region’s middle-class residents have grown dependent on their governments for jobs and services. To alter this, governments must first understand the middle class. There is, however, little information on this demographic group in the MENA region. The results of a study among 1,450 middle-class people show that for the most part, they do not believe that their home countries offer them what they need to succeed. The required strategic agenda should balance development across economic, social, and cultural parameters—and meets the expectations of the middle class in order to earn their trust.

Russell introduces Russell-IdealRatings Islamic Index Series

Russell Indexes and IdealRatings have introduced the Russell-IdealRatings Islamic Index Series, a newly enhanced index series for Shariah investors. These new indexes benefit Shariah multi-asset investors by combining the experience and methodology of the Russell Global Indexes with the Shariah oversight of IdealRatings. The latter includes specific sector- and financial-based filters. It also includes monitoring and approval by a board of Islamic scholars. The new Islamic Index Series is fully modular and covers approximately 3,100 securities in 48 countries.

GCC SMEs struggle to obtain bank funding as alternatives needed

Economists, financiers, bankers and business owners met late last week to debate the state of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the GCC region, and considered various alternative models for financing SMEs in light of the need for cheaper and more available growth capital. The roundtable examined the importance of SMEs to the economy and considered new opportunities for funding to help these businesses grow. However, for banks, the cost to serve SME clients remains high due mainly to the breadth of risk and experience required to assess that risk. One of the most pressing areas to address is in the provision of financial support for start-ups and micro businesses. According to the panel of SME experts, new technology platforms can make a significant contribution.

Libya: regulation of the financial services sector

The Libyan General National Congress (GNC) looks to amend regulations of the financial services sector and to introduce Islamic financing into Libya for the first time. Currently there are a number of discrepancies between a new law about Islamic finance and some of the existing supervisory legislation. This has resulted in confusion that is likely to put a brake on the development of this sector, as investment companies will not be willing to develop new products. Clear common objectives, separation of powers and clarity of written rules and regulations are necessary to raise the competitiveness of Lybia's domestic banking markets, develop new Shariah-compliant financing products and provide a secure approach to the growing needs of the Libyan customers.

Saudi hires World Bank executive to head market regulator

Saudi Arabia replaced the head of its Capital Market Authority with Mohammad Al al-Sheikh, a World Bank executive representing Saudi Arabia. Former chairman Abdulrahman A Al Tuwaijri was relieved of his duties by royal decree, without giving a reason. The action caused speculation that the kingdom will move toward opening its equities market to foreign investors. Al-Sheikh is expected to start regulating the Saudi financial market with new laws and regulations.

Amlak said to restructure US$2 billion bank debt

Amlak Finance PJSC is discussing with creditors the restructuring of about US$2 billion of bank and government debt. The negotiations are being held between the company and a committee of five banks representing creditors. Amlak is being advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP on the matter. Since the suspension of shares of Amlak and Tamweel PJSC in November 2008 following the blockage of the companies' access to borrowings by the global credit crisis, Amlak has experienced serious losses. In 2011 the company registered a third-quarter loss of 40 million dirhams (US$11 million).

Family businesses and corporate governance in the Middle East

A key business demographic in the Middle East are family businesses. However, various factors like increased competition, a global economy that is going through turmoil, reduced or more expensive credit facilities, the call for greater transparency and, in some countries, greater regulation have caused family businesses serious difficulties. The latter are not able to change these factors, which are mostly beyond their control. What they can do, on the other hand, is to improve their corporate governance. Generally, corporate governance is defined as structures, policies, plans and regulations which determine the way the management of an entity will function.

UAE banks told to extend loan maturities for citizens

The UAE central bank wants lenders to extend maturities on certain personal loans held by UAE citizens by more than five years. In the latest circular sent to banks, the regulator wishes to reschedule citizen's loans by more than 48 months if the repayment exceeds 50% of gross salary and other income. This is to help UAE's citizens to carry high debt burden, since they took out massive personal loans during the boom years between 2003 to 2008 but found themselves unable to pay them back as the cause of global financial crisis.

Moody's downgrades Aldar to Baa2, ratings kept on review

Moody's Investors Service today downgraded the ratings for Aldar Properties PJSC (Aldar), the Trust Certificates (sukuk) issued by Sukuk Funding (No. 2) Limited and the guaranteed Notes issued by Atlantic Finance Limited, to Baa2 from A3. Ratings have been kept on review for further possible downgrade as part of the ongoing review of government support for Abu Dhabi and UAE corporates initiated by Moody's on December 9, 2009.

The World's Sukuk Markets are good medium-term growth prospects, says S&P

Medium-term growth prospects for the world's sukuk market are good, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a report published today. In addition, we understand from unofficial market sources that about US$10 billion more could potentially enter the pipeline. If that comes to market, total sukuk issuance in 2010 could approach the current 2007 record of US$34.3 billion. The main uncertainty this year is market conditions.

Saudi's Al Rajhi Bank wins first place in 'Competitiveness for Responsibility' awards

For the second year in a row Al Rajhi Bank has achieved first place ahead of 80 other large Saudi companies participating at the Saudi "Competitiveness for Responsibility" awards. Held as part of the Global Competitiveness Forum activities, the ceremony honouring the participants was organised by Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority with the support of the King Khalid Charitable Foundation.

Thomson Reuters unveils risk management solution for Islamic Banking

Thomson Reuters announced the launch of a risk management system specifically tailored for Islamic banking.

Kondor+ Suite for Islamic Banking is a real time trade and risk management solution, which will provide full front-to-back and cross-asset coverage for Islamic banks as well as Islamic windows in conventional banks.

Nakheel repayment has no immediate impact on Dubai GREs ratings, says S&P

The Government of Dubai announced that, with the backing of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (AA/Stable/A-1+), it would be providing US$10 billion in financing to Dubai World and its subsidiaries, through its financial support fund.

Amlak meeting to consider job cuts

Amlak Finance, the mortgage financer will consider job cuts at its board meeting on 31 January the company announced in a statement along to discuss the merger proceedings with Tamweel and earnings. Amlak and Tamweel will be both taken over by Abu-Dhbai based Real Estate Bank, merge with the Emirates Industrial Bank under the new name Emirates Development Bank according to reporting by the state news agency WAM in November.

Syndicate content