Qatar's ambassador to Cambodia says his country wants to open a bank here in an effort to enhance, and attract more, trade and investment from Middle East countries to the Kingdom.
Jabor Ali Hussain Al-Dosseri, Ambassador of Qatar to Cambodia, who resides in Bangkok, told Cambodia’s minister of economy and finance on Thursday during his three-day mission to Cambodia about the plans to enhance diplomatic and economic relations, according to the statement from the ministry.
“The opening a new bank branch from Qatar in Cambodia will encourage the country’s financial sector even more to become stronger and more competitive,” he said.
Economy and Finance Minister Keat Chhon said that although many banks were already operating in Cambodia, he welcomed the opening of a bank from Qatar.
Al-Dosseri urged the two countries to sign an investors’ protection agreement in order to increase confidence in financial arrangements.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Arqaam Capital, a Dubai-based investment bank, had said it was considering expanding from Africa to Southeast Asia.
Ngoun Sokha, director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia, said the Kingdom did not have any banks from the Middle East.
Whether new entries were welcomed would depend on whether they provided value to the economy and the financial sector, she said.
“The policy of the central bank is to improve the financial service to the customer but at the same time we also consider strengthening the financial stability, so if the new entries could better serve the economy and provide fair competition . . . then we would accept them,” Sokha said.
She added that if this meant further risk to the system, their entry would not be encouraged.
Hiroshi Suzuki, chief executive and chief economist of the Business Research Institute for Cambodia, said he had not noticed an increase in investment from the Middle East into Cambodia.
“Normally, Middle Eastern countries are interested in investment in Islamic countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia,” Suzuki said.
During his mission, Al-Dosseri also met with the minister of industry, mine and energy, the minister of tourism and officials at the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC).
According to the CDC, there is no information on investment from the Middle East.
Data from the ministry of tourism said 1,082 tourists from the Middle East visited Cambodia in 2012, compared to 891 in 2011 — an increase of 21.4 per cent.
Last week, Qatar Airways officially launched a daily flight from Doha International Airport to Phnom Penh International Airport.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]