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GFMF concludes with speeches by NBAD CEO, Central Bank governor

Abu Dhabi: The National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s (NBAD) Group Chief Executive Officer, Alex Thursby, outlined on Wednesday the shifting economic dynamics, leading to the emerging of a “super region”.

Thursby’s speech came during the second day of the Global Financial Markets Forum 2014 (GFMF), which was held at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi amid vast attendance by global policymakers and speakers.

“Numbers and data clearly show that what we have is truly a super region and opportunities in this span and in the growing trade, commerce, and investment flow across the West-East Corridor are astounding,” Thursby said.

The ‘Corridor’ includes increasingly important economies in the Middle East and North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China. The region represents vast potential with unlimited resources, growing economic activities, and emerging middle class.

Thursby said that the UAE is poised to be a great hub across the corridor due to its free and open economy, which is the 30th largest in the world.

He described the country’s success in diversifying its economy and reducing the share of fossil fuel contribution to the GDP as an economic miracle.

Thursby said the model of the ‘Corridor’ would work as the trend has shifted from South-North to West-East. Thus, a ‘super region’ emerging in a span stretching from West Africa to East Asia would play a key role in providing natural resources, and growing economic activities.

In the next 10 to 20 years, around 20 mega cities will emerge in this area as Lagos, Jakarta, and Guangzhou, which will all complement Tokyo, and Cairo, and rival Paris, London, and New York.

“Our strategy is to make NBAD the largest, safest and best performing bank in the UAE and a strong player in the West-East Corridor,” he said.

Such growth would be achieved by deepening wholesale network across the West-East Corridor and integrating the bank’s European and North American platforms into this network.

Additionally, NBAD plans to build five international bank branches in the largest and fastest growing economies in the West-East Corridor.

Thursby’s speech was followed by a panel discussion of central bankers from different regions.

“Job creation in emerging economies like the UAE will not depend on GREs (government related entities) but on SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises),”said Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, the Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE.

Al Suwaidi was joined in the panel by Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of European Central Bank; and Choongsoo Kim, Governor of the Bank of Korea.

In his discussion, Kim paid tribute to the close economic and commercial relationship between the UAE and South Korea, saying that he believes in 2014 central banks around the world “will move from accommodative monetary policy to the basics.”