Capital markets key to Mena's problems

Capital markets key to Mena's problems

Structural issues in the region could be solved by growth in the capital markets, according to Eduardo Eguren, CEO of Burgan Bank Group.

He was speaking at the Global Investor/ISF Middle East Awards and Summit 2013 at The St. Regis Hotel, Doha, Qatar, where he picked up the award for CEO of the Year.

Eguren spoke about the importance of promoting capital markets initiatives for the GCC and wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) area.

He noted that some changes were badly required and that the region needed to create 80 million jobs in the next 20 years. He added that almost every country in the GCC is showing deterioration in fiscal balances and that by 2018 government surpluses in four countries would be wiped out.

“The capital markets are an essential component in the solution of the problems,” he said. “Our capital markets are technically better than they once were and we are now probably issuing in the region of between $90bn and $100bn per year. This is not an insignificant number but we do not have the infrastructure to transform the region as the speed of getting things done and liquidity is not what it should be.”

Eguren added that governments and the private sector still needed to be convinced to develop longer yield curves in foreign and domestic currencies.

“They need to start issuing in 10, 20, or even 30 years in a gradual way to create a better environment. This will result in stability in the region and also the conditions to support more stable and sustainable economic growth,” he said.

Burgan Bank has started the process of being innovative by developing new instruments for Kuwait and also by trying to convince the bank’s customers to start developing instruments not only for their own good but also for the market’s benefit.

“We have regular meetings with governments and central bankers around the region to persuade them to do the same. We also need to generate trust with regulators and this should be a collective effort,” he said.

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