10/05/2009 00:00 AST

More than 700 experts in the Saudi banking and financing are participating in the third Saudi International Banking and Investments Conference (SIBIC 2009) that was launched here Saturday by Prince Misha’l Bin Majed, Governor of Jeddah.

The two-day conference will discuss the global financial crisis and its effect on the Saudi economy and banking sector, as well as ways to attract foreign investment to the Kingdom.

Mohammed Abdulqader Al-Fadel, Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber for Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said Saudi banks are working to develop a permanent capacity to cope with the competitive changes on the sector.

Citing the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), he said Saudi banks’ profits in January amounted to SR3.15 billion and should hit SR40 billion at the year-end. The Saudi banking industry deals in around SR3 trillion riyals annually, he said.

Saudi Arabia, which has the largest banking sector in the Arab world, is considered a favorite choice for those seeking good investment opportunities, “because of the political stability and the pro-investment strategy aimed at enhancing the economy and raising growth rates in the production and service sectors,” said Adel Abdulshakour, executive manager of XC for Conferences and Exhibitions company.

“The conference will discuss the best ways to expand and diversify the areas of investment and educate citizens about the most suitable ways of investing,” said Mohammed Bin Hassan Al-Nefaei, president of the Financial Stocks Committee at JCCI.

“It is not wise to limit funds to a repetitive form of investment, so the views of the experts participating in the conference are needed as guidelines to step up economic development and investment,” he said.

Most Saudi banks have overcome the global crisis successfully, thanks to SAMA’s prudent strategy, and have moved on. “Bank Al-Jazira has allocated SR100 million to support social services in the Kingdom,” said Khalid Oudghiri, the bank’s CEO.

The conference gets underway Sunday with a session on “Financial Requirements and Capabilities of the Saudi Market” to be headed by economist Tal’at Bin Zaki Hafiz.

The second session, headed by Adeem Investments Company Chief Executive Adel Bin Ahmad Bahamdain, will discuss the requirements of the real estate financing market in Saudi Arabia, the role of real estate financing companies in developing the sector, as well as the role of financing in industrial investment.

The third and final concluding session will tackle the Saudi investment market and brokerage companies.

It will be headed by Reem Asad, JCCI vice chairwoman of the Securities Committee.

Saudi Gazette

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