The annual Arab Banking Conference kicked off on Thursday in Beirut with the participation of senior Arab officials from the economic, financial and political sectors, to discuss reconstruction and development efforts in the region in the wake of economic challenges.
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the cost of destruction caused by conflicts, internal rifts and wars in Arab countries since 2011 has exceeded $640 billion, calling for “overcoming narrow interests and seizing the opportunity of Arab determination for reconstruction.”
Chairman of the Union of Arab Banks, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Jarrah Al Sabah, said that the aim of the conference was to adopt an integrated initiative for reconstruction and development in the Arab world with the participation of governments and the private sector.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri participated in the conference and emphasized in his speech the importance of maintaining good relations between Lebanon and its Arab neighbors.
He reaffirmed the need for Lebanon to stick by its policy of staying out of regional conflict “not just with words but with action as well.”
“I want to stress that ... our main concern is stability, and this is what we’ll be working on,” he added.
Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh underlined the importance of implementing international standards to keep the Lebanese banking sector engaged in banking globalization.
He noted that the sector “has a major importance in economic development,” pointing out that “Banque du Liban” is making great efforts to develop financial coverage.
Salameh also said that the Lebanese banking sector had sufficient reserves to counter any economic slowdown.