The international aspirations of the BNP Paribas Group were developed at a very early stage in our history. This is also something that was founded in the DNA of the banks that we have joined forces with over the years, to become the global banking group that we are known as today. A constant theme in our history has been our readiness to journey hand-in-hand with our clients around the world as they expand their businesses beyond their home markets.

Among our forerunner banks, Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (Paribas) were unquestionably pioneers in the Gulf States.

The early ventures of Paribas in the 1950s, followed by the opening of its first branches in the region in 1973, bear witness to a clear and consistent strategic approach. Meanwhile, BNP opened its first branch in the Gulf States in 1976. It was also in the 1970s that Générale de Banque, which later became BNP Paribas Fortis, began to do business in the region through consortium banks.

In 2000, just after the merger between BNP and Paribas, the newly-formed bank set up a regional head office in the Gulf States, based in Bahrain a clear indication of the strategic priority this part of the world represents for us. As our operations, network and client base expanded in Africa in recent years, especially in the area of Corporate & Investment Banking, BNP Paribas has increasingly helped clients to develop ever-closer economic relationships between the Gulf and Africa.

This book tells the story of BNP Paribas in the Gulf States from 1973 to the present day. Our roots in the region have grown in strength despite periodic global financial and economic crises. It also describes how our global business lines and functions have been deployed in the region.

In addition, the book pays tribute to all our teams that work in the region and those based in the world s major financial centres that have close contact with the Gulf States.