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Experts fear debt could hit GCC recovery

Dubai's debt problems could undermine the GCC's recovery from the global financial crisis, panellists at a Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry event said.

Dubai's debt problems could undermine the GCC's recovery from the global financial crisis, panellists at a Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry event said yesterday. The successful resolution of Dubai's debt burden would help improve investor sentiment in the region, said Hamad Buamim, the director general of the organisation. "Dubai's debt is a risk not only to Dubai, but the whole region," Mr Buamim said. "Dealing with this issue will restore confidence among investors."

Dubai World is working to restructure US$26 billion (Dh95.49bn) of debt. The IMF estimates Dubai's total debt may stand at $109bn. "People want to know how the debt situation will be dealt with," said Dr Henry Azzam, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank for the MENA region. "The more transparent the process is the better, going forward." GCC companies needed to strive to raise levels of corporate governance, said Sultan Al Qassemi, the chairman of the UAE chapter of Young Arab Leaders.

"Dubai has set a standard," said Mr Al Qassemi. "For the whole region to be attractive, you need other states to come together to improve corporate governance and transparency and ensure full disclosure." tarnold@thenational.ae

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