Financial Institutions Must Be Flexible And Innovative To Ensure Long-Term Growth, Says Addax’s Al Essa

Date : 23 April 2008

Innovation in the Gulf financial sector is essential, to see the region capitalise on its booming economy to facilitate long-term growth, according to one of the region’s leading bankers.

Yousef Al Essa, CEO of Bahrain-based Addax Bank, said: “With high liquidity in the GCC at present, it would have been easy for Addax to stick to tried-and-tested investment options, such as real estate.

“However, we look to add sustainable value to companies and projects we invest in, rather than just inject capital, and we choose emerging industries like education, heathcare, media, hospitality and business support systems.”

The bank, which has won a number of international awards in the finance sector, has built its operations on a commitment to building an innovative investment strategy since the bank was founded less than five years ago.

Al Essa added: “We have taken the approach that we need to invest across sectors and markets, in order to diversify the portfolio of the bank and its investors. The only thing our projects must have in common is that they should be interesting and innovative. Real estate – while producing a good return on investment – should not be the only avenue, despite its current high returns.

“Too many people believe that innovation is only about creating new technology,” said Al Essa. “There can be innovation in processes, in structures, and in the way an organisation operates. Companies in the Gulf can be stifled by complicated hierarchy, internal red tape, and an over-reliance on looking to the past.

“To succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, companies need to be fluid in terms of structure and flexible to take advantage of new opportunities.”

Addax is the headline sponsor of the one-day Edward de Bono conference in Bahrain on June 1, entitled Maximising Creativity and Lateral Thinking to Deliver Strategic Success.

The full-day conference is the latest in a series of thought leadership events to be held in Bahrain, organised by Global Leaders, following on from Ken Blanchard, the author of One Minute Manager, and Deepak Chopra.

His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Court in Bahrain, has confirmed his patronage for the event and will open the event in person.

For more details, visit The headline sponsor for the event is Addax Bank. Partners for the event to date include: BSTD,, Gulf Business, knet, BIBF, Bahrain Tribune, Al Ayam,, Flip Media, and The Makeover Experience.