The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.


All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Banking

The return of Syrian private-sector banking

After an absence of almost half a century, private-sector banks are once again doing business in Syria. Some three years after the first pioneers opened their doors, the country’s economic landscape is still in full transformation – and competition is beginning to heat up. Alex Warren reports.

Cover opens up

Islamic banking set for solid growth


syria-main.gif

PRIVATELY OWNED BANK branches are springing up fast among the fashion boutiques, coffee bars and internet cafés that line the leafy upmarket suburbs of Damascus. It’s a stark contrast to the situation just five years ago, when the entire banking sector still lay in state hands and finding an ATM required first finding a taxi. The transformation bears witness to the early fruits of Syria’s difficult and complex shift away from a monolithic, centrally planned economy towards one driven by market forces.

Such a goal has been a cornerstone of president Bashar Assad’s gradual economic liberalization programme since 2001. It was given formal shape last year by the government’s 10th five-year plan, which outlines a comprehensive overhaul of the machinery of Syria’s economy. "It’s like we’re trying to re-engineer an entire country," says one banker.

Although many urge more rapid progress, particularly given the substantial fall in Syrian oil production, signs of change are apparent. A flurry of foreign investment has been announced, previously unseen imported products are on the shelves and non-oil GDP has grown by 5% to 6% over the past three years, according to the IMF.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree