Jean Lemierre

Jean Lemierre began his career as a General Inspector of Finances at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. He served as Director-General of the Tax Department, before being appointed Head of the Treasury. He then served two mandates as President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) from 2000 to 2008, before becoming Advisor to the Chairman of BNP Paribas in September 2008, with responsibility for the development of international business. In December 2014, Jean Lemierre became Chairman of BNP Paribas.

The strengths of the Gulf Region

After forty years of sustained activity in the Gulf States, BNP Paribas today has all the experience and know-how to help the region achieve its potential.

The future of the Gulf States is based on three key strengths: The Gulf region is at the crossroads of global trade relations. For a long time it has acted as a bridge between Europe and Asia. The same holds true nowadays for relations between Asia and Africa. The region has become a hub for maritime and aerospace activities which contribute to worldwide logistics operations and provide services linked to international trade. The Gulf States provide a large percentage of the world s oil and gas resources, which Europe and the United States need, but on which Asia and Africa are also increasingly making demands. The role and influence of these countries will therefore be critical for many companies and businesses. The savings capacity of the GCC countries is very high and they are among the world s biggest investors. The accumulation of assets overseas during recent years has made them financial powerhouses in their own right, especially given the impact of their sovereign wealth funds.

Thanks to the cultural cohesion between these countries and the greater attention they now pay to the concerns of investors, these strengths have been put to good use in the development and growth of the region. GCC governments have adopted policies designed to prepare for the post-oil era by making sustainable provision for the future needs of a young, dynamic population.

Meanwhile, structural adjustments have been made and the Gulf States are now reaping the dividends. All these countries share the objective of achieving positive growth and foreign trade surpluses. While the precise economic situation differs from country to country, all the States in the region are now seeking to develop the private economy and open up more to the outside world in order to diversify their economies.

The recently-implemented GCC customs union is set to promote economic and commercial integration in the region and there are plans to introduce a single currency. The Gulf Cooperation Council has a decisive role to play here. Diversification into new sectors is now under way, with the aim of ensuring a bright future for young people who are coming into the job market and some very good opportunities are opening up, both for investors and companies, in manufacturing, petrochemicals, aluminium, tourism, maritime and

JEAN LEMIERRE, CHAIRMAN, BNP PARIBAS