Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

The Gulf as a Global Financial Centre: Growing Opportunities and International Influence

June 2008

Chatham House


This report examines the prospects for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies and the potential development of the region as a Global Financial Centre (GFC) over the next decade, focusing primarily on the economic underpinning, current standing of the financial sector and the region's potential to overcome existing weaknesses in terms of product offering and the scale of operations.

The GCC’s global economic status is impressive, yet remarkably for economies of such high standing, they are typically still treated as ‘developing countries’, for example in the IMF classifications. So far, none of these countries has joined the OECD and there is notably no representation at the world’s top table, the G8 summits. However, the continued development of the region’s economic and financial power suggests an urgent need for this status to be reviewed by all parties and new channels of communications, discussion and influence to be opened up. This review should also acknowledge the importance of Gulf finance and the aspirations for development of the region’s financial sectors.