The size of assets of the Arab banking sector was $3.3tn by the end of September 2015 compared to $3.05tn by the end of 2014, marking a growth rate of 7%, according to Chairman of the United Arab Banks (UAB) Mohamed Barakat.
His statement was part of the opening session of the forum held in Sharm El-Sheikh by UAB on Thursday about the role of financing and investment in reinforcing financial inclusion, stability, and fighting terrorism in Arab counties. Barakat explained that the size of the assets of Arab banks’ is equivalent to 135% of Arab countries’ GDPs combined.
The size of deposits in the Arab banking sector was $2.1tn, equal to 85% of total size of the Arab economy whilst the size of loans was $1.7tn, equal to 67% of total size of the Arab economy.
Arab countries are going through a critical phase due to the high levels of poverty and unemployment, which requires reinforcing economic integration amongst Arab countries and enhancing the role of Arab banks in financing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to micro projects, which will eventually contribute to making jobs available and elimination of unemployment. He explained that only 8% of total financing provided by the Arab banking sector goes to financing SME.
Arab banking sector’s role is promoting the growth of the Arab economy, noting that there is nearly 500 banking institutions in Arab countries, representing 109% of GDP in the Arab region.