More reforms needed in GCC corporate governance

by Gérard Al-Fil, for AME Info, February 15, 2010.

Talking about regulation and corporate governance has become fashionable, as discussions at the 40th World Economic Forum in Davos showed. But how much action has been taken in the Gulf countries in terms of transparency? Initiatives such as DIFC‘s Hawkamah are steps into the right direction but the reforms that are most needed have yet to be implemented.

Record high inflows of oil and gas revenues in the years before the financial crisis did not trigger structural reforms in the GCC, says Ali Al Shihabi. The founder and chairman of Dubai-based Rasmala Investment identifies two main issues in the region.

‘High revenues from oil and gas export cannot cover two deficits in the Gulf region: missing talents and the lack of transparency,’ Al Shihabi told AMEInfo.com at the sidelines of a lecture he recently gave at the Dubai School of Government.

As in Davos, discussions on regulation and transparency have picked up in the Middle East just as they did during the financial crisis. ‘But we hesitate too much: we walk the talk, but we do not talk the walk,’ Al Shihabi says with an audible sound of regret in his voice…(continue reading)

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