x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Basing AMF in Abu Dhabi has proved a capital idea

Jassim Al Mannai talks about the Arab Monetary Fund's history, finances and goals.

Illustration by Chris Burke for The National
Illustration by Chris Burke for The National

Why is the AMF based in Abu Dhabi?

When the AMF was created 30 to 35 years ago countries were invited to host and the Emirates had been very generous and mentioned to the Arab countries that it would like to host the AMF, and the rest of the Arab countries supported that.

Is Abu Dhabi a good place to be based?

Very good place, no hesitation there. It is a very comfortable, safe place, the quality of life is excellent. You have good infrastructure, good facilities. Because of our type of business we receive visitors from all over the place including Europe and America and we have training courses where we train almost every month 30 to 35 people from Arab countries and some of them need visas to enter the country and the Government is very cooperative with us. That's why we have conducted the majority of our business with great success so far.

What is the financial position of the AMF?

Our financial position today is very good. Our paid-up capital has been increased in 2005 - almost doubled actually - and now our balance sheet is almost US$14 billion (Dh51.42bn) and this is without the AMF being obliged to borrow. This is only our own resources from the capital, our reserve and the money deposited with the AMF from member countries. We didn't borrow from the market but if the lending activity continues to increase we will consider different options to increase our own resources in order to cope with any further potential increases in the future. If we need we can borrow from the market. But I'm sure the shareholders might opt to increase paid-up capital instead of borrowing on the market.

What is the biggest challenge for those countries affected by unrest in the Arab world?

Job creation is a priority. Investment laws also need to be reformed to make it easy for investors to come here and work. Access to finance needs to be made easier as it discourages business [at the moment].

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

What's important is to be close to our member countries … understanding how this institution can be better to them, understanding better their culture. We deal with many different partners - ministers of finance, ministers of economy, central banks, commercial banks, economic institutions … in different countries. It's a very interesting job and I hope this institution will continue to provide a service to many different partners.