AN ACTIVE PLAYER

Qatar 2019 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ehab Mackeen, Country Manager of Arab Bank, on the Finance sector.

Ehab Mackeen
BIOGRAPHY
Ehab Mackeen has been the country manager of Arab Bank – Qatar since 2015. He has 25 years of banking experience in both international and local banks across the GCC and the Middle East. He held a number of high senior management positions in the banking sector with roles covering general management, corporate banking, and strategy implementation. Before joining Arab Bank, he served as the Senior Vice President and Banking Head of Corporate Banking at Mashreq Bank PSC, UAE from 2014 until 2015, as Head of Corporate Banking and Acting General Manager of Qatar Islamic Bank from 2012 until 2014, and as Director and Banking Head of Citibank N.A. from 2007 until 2012.

To what extent were Arab Bank's operations in Qatar affected by the blockade?

Arab Bank established its Qatar operations in the 1950s and has experienced different cycles in Qatar and elsewhere over the years. Qatar's banking sector is resilient, and the Central Bank has provided the sector with implicit as well as explicit support since the blockade. This helped Arab Bank Qatar achieve strong results in 2017, with a growth of 16% in net profits. It is on track to achieve single-digit growth in 2018.

What helped Arab Bank achieve such results in Qatar?

Arab Bank's focus areas in Qatar are corporate and consumer banking, but it is also active in corporate lending. We have strong penetration across various sectors. Contracting finance is a key priority for us, and we have been involved in a number of mega projects in Qatar across sectors such as transportation, hospitals, and logistics, among others. Arab Bank Qatar is also largely engaged in the trading sector as well as several other sectors.
New projects in industry and food security have been initiated in Qatar. How is Arab Bank involved in financing these sectors?
The bank has been an active player in project finance locally and across the region. The industrial sector in Qatar is of significant importance, and we continue to focus on local manufactures and have aligned our priorities accordingly. Moreover, through our trading clientele base, we have a number of relationships in the food sector that play a pivotal role in Qatar's economy. The bank has a footprint in 28 countries and thus is well positioned to continue playing a role in the trading flows with Qatar.

What priorities does Arab Bank have for 2019?

Arab Bank Qatar's objective is to continue to deliver strong and sustainable financial performance. The outlook is to grow and be a meaningful partner and key contributor to the Qatari economy. We rank among the leading international banks in Qatar.