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5th & 6th November 2019, Intercontinental Festival City, Dubai
+44 (0) 20 7045 0920

2019 Agenda

Connecting GREs, corporates and project sponsors with investors, banks and ECAs

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2019 Agenda

*The order and content of this agenda may be subject to change. 


Macroeconomics, geo-politics and government spending - impact on CAPEX and investment across the GCC in 2020 and beyond

  • The economists’ forecast – what are the expectations for interest rates, oil prices, global and regional geo-politics in 2020?
  • How are growing macroeconomic volatilities impacting the spending plans of GCC governments into 2020?
  • How will public spending across the region impact project CAPEX and investment requirements?
  • Strategic focus: What sectors are going to attract the bulk of government financing? What will this mean for investment into ‘non-strategic’ sectors?
  • Does the return in oil prices mean continued investment in diversification and how does this impact project financing models?

Oxford style debate: This house believes that coupons and yields in the GCC project bond market (versus buying a senior unsecured bond) do not justify the credit work required.

An affirmative team will battle on stage with an opposition team for 45 minutes to win the audience’s votes.  The affirmative team will have 10 minutes to present an argument in favour to each of the issues laid out by the moderator, followed by 10 minutes from the opposition.  After three rounds of questions by the moderator, the debate will be opened to the floor for 15 minutes.  After 45 minutes of intense debate, the audience will cast its final vote.

Key issues to be discussed:

  • Understanding project risk in the GCC: At what point are investors ready to take the plunge? How does this vary by institution?
  • What should GCC project bonds yield to attract investors’ appetite?
  • Are US Private Placements the only way in which the capital markets can play a significant role for funding GCC projects?

Funding MENA’s renewable energy future: How is the increasing shift to sustainable energy impacting investment into renewable projects?

  • Making investors and commercial lenders comfortable with long-term risk and technological innovation – what do renewable developers need to communicate to their financiers?
  • Structured finance, project finance, funding at the corporate level: What markets work best for financing long-term renewable projects?
  • Legal issues for developing renewable projects across MENA’s jurisdictions – how can developers and sponsors prepare to successfully tackle regulatory complexities
  • Renewables around the globe: What can the Middle East learn from developments in Europe, Asia and the US?
  • What new investment opportunities are the development of the region’s energy storage capabilities creating?

The Africa–GCC corridor: How can African countries leverage the GCC’s project finance market to import sustainable funding structures?

  • North, South, East, West:  Where and what are the opportunities for GCC developers and sponsors on the African continent?
  • A view from the ground: What are the key risk factors in developing projects across Africa?
  • Managing long-term project risk in a context of political instability: What are the funding structures and sources developers rely on when working with transitional governments?
  • How can high growth trajectory North African economies leverage the GCC’s project finance landscape to import long-term financing models?
  • How can frontier African markets import finance solutions from the GCC? Is that sustainable or do they need to develop grassroots structures?

Optimising trade finance efficiency and performance: What products and solutions are borrowers using to raise and free-up working capital?

  • The US-China trade conflict - implications on trade finance globally and in the GCC. What sectors can gain from global trade disruptions?
  • USD, Euro, Yuan – how are GCC Treasurers managing a basket of different currencies?
  • How are GCC borrowers using trade finance to free up working capital and improve cash efficiency?
  • What are the short-term funding sources GCC borrowers use to increase cash flow? What structures are optimal to meet their needs?
  • Efficiency across the supply chain: How can buyers and sellers manage the mismatch between payment for and provision of goods?

Funding the region’s SMEs: How can equity funds bring in commercial lenders into the funding structure

  • What programmes and initiatives are GCC governments putting in place to encourage investment into the region’s SMEs?
  • Margins vs risk: The business case for commercial banks to lend to small-scale projects and operations
  • Lending down the spectrum: What opportunities can commercial banks capitalise on when working with small- and mid-cap clients?
  • Size, price, tenor: What are SMEs looking when funding new CAPEX and investment?

Funding CAPEX and projects in the ‘green age’: Why developing green finance is essential for securing long-term capital across MEA

  • Banks and investors are increasingly looking at ESG as a core criterion: What do sponsors, corporates and developers need to do to improve ESG scores? What are the expectations reality?
  • Assessing performance of green vs conventional bonds in the secondary market
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for the development of the green bond market in the Middle East?
  • Benefits of going green – how can developers’ access better pricing, tenors and liquidity by incorporate ESG practices? Are the additional reporting requirements of issuing green bonds justified?
  • Local, regional, international – who are the investors looking to buy green bonds? How much liquidity can GCC developers access by going green?
  • Green champions: What countries and sectors are paving the way in sustainable financing?
  • Market disruption: Is the emergence of ‘green washed’ loans going to undermine the development of the green financing market?

Spotlight on Egypt: The private sector’s perspective on the bankability of projects

  • What opportunities are the government’s PPP agenda creating for private sector involvement in upcoming projects?
  • The Business case for commercial lenders to follow IFIs and DFIs into Egyptian projects
  • How are local developers working with regional and international sponsors? How are they funding their operations?
  • Assessing banks’ appetite for Egypt: How much capital are regional and international banks planning to inject into the market in 2020?

New opportunities on the horizon: How the Levant countries are capturing the attention of lenders, investors, developers and sponsors

  • Project pipelines across the Levant: What projects are coming online and where?
  • Risk aversion and regulatory constraints: How are growing complexities across the banking sector impacting their ability to lend to riskier geographies?
  • What are the opportunities for regional and international developers and sponsors across the Levant? How have they prepared for market entry?
  • How can structured commodity finance benefit the Levant’s oil rich nations?

PPPs across sectors and jurisdictions: The journey from framework implementation to financial closure

  • Putting law into practice - how are GCC governments encouraging private sector investment into projects?
  • Streamlining processes – what do procurers need to do to successfully execute PPP frameworks?
  • Efficient risk allocation between private and public – is there a formula for success?
  • Which industries are most receptive to the PPP model? How can PPP financings be implemented across a spectrum of sectors?
  • Spotlight on Saudi PPPs and privatisations: How is the modernisation vision turning into reality?
  • Developing the PPP model in Africa – how effective are PPPs in attracting the private investment needed to fund the continent’s vast project needs?

The emergence of local ECAs – implications for liquidity, price and tenor

  • What is driving the establishment of local ECAs across the GCC?
  • What mandate do the region’s export credit agencies have? How will their emergence impact the number of funding options available for sponsors and developers?
  • How are local GCC ECAs working with international counterparts and commercial lenders? What is the impact on liquidity, pricing and tenors available for projects in the region?

Expanding mandates and risk exposure: How are international ECAs differentiating their product and service offerings in an increasingly competitive market space?

  • How much capital are ECAs committing to the MENA region over the next 12 months? How have their terms and requirements changed in light of increasing competition?
  • What sectors and geographies are ECAs focusing on in 2020?
  • The selection process – how do international ECAs differentiate their products and services?
  • Securing ECA-backed funding as an EPC - does partnering with an export credit agency give a contractor/supplier a competitive advantage during the bidding process?
  • Assessing risk appetite – what are some of the new products and services ECAs are developing to allow them to take on more project risk?

Assessing commercial banks’ appetite and requirements for lending across GCC sectors and geographies

  • Identifying critical bankability criteria for GCC projects – what are commercial lenders looking for?
  • How are increasing regulatory constraints impacting banks’ liquidity and selection criteria?
  • Increasing cost of funding and decreasing margins vs limited supply – how is bank’s appetite for GCC project risk responding to conflicting pressures?
  • Is the on-going wave of consolidation across the GCC banking sector going to impact liquidity and competition in the project finance market?
  • Accessing cheaper cost of funding and government guarantees – how can commercial lenders work with ECAs to improve liquidity?

Islamic finance as a key additional liquidity stream into the project finance space

  • Why is the development of Islamic finance as a project funding tool important for the GCC’s development goals?
  • How does combining Islamic and conventional financing structures work in practice?
  • Pricing, liquidity, tenor: What are the benefits of Islamic finance for GCC off-takers, developers and sponsors?

Bridging the gap between loan tenors and project lifecycles in the structured finance market: How can developers, sponsors and contractors secure credit lines beyond the 7 year mark?

  • How are the increasing size and scale of projects changing funding requirements?
  • The arguments for and against structured finance: Pricing, tenor and liquidity benefits vs costs of structuring
  • How will the increasing consolidation across the GCC banking sector impact the syndicated loan market dynamics?
  • How can developers leverage off existing assets to raise new capital?
  • Resolving legal challenges around structured finance – what can be improved to make jurisdictions structured finance friendly?
  • Developing the local structured finance expertise – key to making banks and developers comfortable with long-term project risk?
  • Challenges to completing structured finance deals – what were the issues and how can they be successfully resolved?

To find out about speaking opportunities email Nedina.Stefanova@GFCMediaGroup.com or call +44 (0)207 045 0908. 

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