BNP Paribas holds India Advisory Board Meeting in the Kingdom of Bahrain to strengthen Gulf-Asia ties

BNP Paribas hosted the BNP Paribas India Advisory Board Annual meeting in the Kingdom of Bahrain in December 2012, marking an important development in the Bank s effort to build on the deep historic and cultural ties between India and the Middle East. While the event typically takes place in India or Paris, hosting it in the Gulf provided a strong show of support for the Bank s Bridge to Asia initiative designed to bolster the connections between the Middle East and Asia and also highlighted the central role the Kingdom of Bahrain, a key hub for BNP Paribas in the Gulf region, plays in this strategy.

The meeting was attended by a senior delegation from the Bank as well as India Advisory Board members from India and the Kingdom of Bahrain, underlining its strategic importance and BNP Paribas ongoing commitment to the region. Alain Papiasse, Head of Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB), Jean Lemierre, Advisor to the Chairman, Eric Raynaud, Head of Asia-Pacific Region, and Jacques Michel, Country Head of India, all travelled to the Kingdom of Bahrain to attend the meeting.

Hosted by Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO of BNP Paribas Corporate & Investment Banking, Middle East and Africa, Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions, the overall objective of the India Advisory Board Meeting was to reinforce the economic relationship and co-operation between the Kingdom of Bahrain and India. Trade between the two countries has tripled over the last five years, and Indian nationals make up a significant part of the Kingdom of Bahrain s workforce.

Senior representatives from India, the Kingdom of Bahrain, France and Asia participated in a series of presentations and round table discussions that focused




Building bridges to other fast-growing regions

In 2010, the BNP Paribas operation in the Gulf started to look towards Africa and Asia, and the regional team embarked upon a number of cross-border deals with South Korea, India and Africa. Asia represented a significant opportunity for the Gulf countries, given that the total value of trade between the two regions had tripled in the previous four years, rising from US$260 billion to US$765 billion.

Relations with India and South Korea


Commercial relations between India and the Arab world go back to the pre-Christian era, when they were based on the spice trade. Trade has continued unabated since, helping to forge strong economic and political ties between these two regions of the world. Today, four out of the six GCC countries are among India s top 25 trading partners37. In 2012, total trade with the UAE overtook the figure for both China and the United States.

The Indian diaspora in the Gulf is estimated at 5 million people, and a slew of large Indian companies, such as Tata, Birla and Larsen & Toubro, are well established in the region. Politically, culturally and socially, co-operation between India and the Gulf States also manifests itself in education and employment. Many students from the Gulf go to India to study at universities and vice versa.

BNP Paribas Indranil Sengupta, formerly based in India, points out some key aspects of economic relations between India and the Gulf States. With BNP Paribas long-standing presence in both India and the GCC countries, top management felt by 2011 that the Bank should create a bridge between India, the Middle East and Africa as part of an extended south-south platform, in order to provide added value to companies and institutions on both sides through its knowledge and presence in both regions, he says.

While trade was a cornerstone of this bridge, there were other areas where the Bank could apply its expertise. For example, India will need to invest nearly a trillion dollars in infrastructure over the next decade. The GCC countries, with the large financial surpluses they have available, plus their knowledge of the sector and experience of working with large Indian project companies, could be significant investors in such projects. India s robust GDP growth, averaging over eight percent in the last few years, presents significant opportunities for investment by GCC sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions while, on the other side, Indian companies, particularly those operating in the region, will be able to access debt capital. With its sophisticated Fixed Income platform, the Bank is well placed to provide hedging solutions to both investor and investee.

37. Source: India s Department of Commerce

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