Magazine article Global Finance

Intent on A Global Footprint: Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Qatar National Bank

Magazine article Global Finance

Intent on A Global Footprint: Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Qatar National Bank

Article excerpt

By any measure QNB has major ambitions. It is the largest bank in Qatar and one of the leading financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa. It does not stop there. QNB has set its sights on becoming a global bank by 2030. QNB's group chief executive discusses with Global Finance the regional downturn, success in Africa and its plans for a global presence. By Mark Townsend

Global Finance: Let's begin with your proposed acquisition of Turkish bank Finansbank. How do you see the acquisition fitting into QNB's strategy?

Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari: QNB's strategy is to focus on high-growth markets where it has competitive advantage. Finansbank is the fifth-largest privately-owned universal bank by total assets, customer deposits and loans in the Turkish market. Turkey, with its significant market size, population, growth track record, strong economic and banking sector prospects and strategic location as a gateway between Europe, Asia and Africa, represents such a market.

GF: You are also present in Egypt-how concerned are you about the economic downturn, and how is it affecting your business?

Al-Kuwari: Our presence in Egypt represented at the time the largest acquisition in the financial sector in the Middle East. (In 2013, QNB acquired a controlling stake in National Société Generale Bank-Egypt.) Despite the current economic situation, we are all aware of the strategic importance of the Egyptian market and its dynamic role as a strong financial partner in Africa.

GF: QNB's net profits for 2015 increased 8% year-on-year, largely as a result of high growth rates in loans and advances. Do you expect to maintain that momentum?

Al-Kuwari: Domestically, QNB expects near-double-digit, non-hydrocarbon growth driven by Qatar's infrastructure investment program. Qatar's large project pipeline is driving population growth as it draws in expatriate workers-the proportion of white-collar workers is also growing. …

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