The limited number of Sharia scholars has meant the same
group of men are on various advisory boards which has led to criticism
that people can go “fatwa shopping” and that scholars are in it for the money.
Anyone waiting for Gulf banks to consolidate — a long talked about prospect — can forget about it for now.
The Reuters Middle East Investment Summit kicks off on Monday 3 November. With the world facing its worst economic downturn since the 1930s, the summit is set to provide a view from the world’s largest oil producing nation. Events organisation is never easy and in such turbulent times, the region is proving just as difficult. Five speaker cancellations just 12 hours before the summit highlighted just how diifficult keeping appointments is in the region. Emergency board meetings, sudden trips overseas or in one case “yes we confirm in the morning” to “we are not sure by lunch time” to “no, no the chairman has other engagements by the evening.” Anybody doing business in the region is acutely aware that appointments are never rigid, but when the world needs stability and not chaos it might be time to keep to those appointments to reassure the investment community. As one public relations executive noted “As they say in these parts In Sha’ Allah (God Willing) next time.”