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FTSE, QFMA And SILATECH Seek To Attract First-Ever Global Investors With Launch Of Index Project To Support Youth-Led Small Business In The Arab World

Date 02/06/2008

Silatech, a region-wide innovative youth investment initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned of Qatar, FTSE Group, the award-winning global index provider, and the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) have announced a strategic alliance to launch a new index project across the Arab World. The initiative is aimed at promoting the creation of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) markets and indices across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in order to facilitate their growth and development and thereby increase youth employment opportunities. QFMA is already engaged in the creation of a junior market.

Silatech is focused on connecting young people across the Arab World to employment and promoting creative ways to provide business development services, unlocking capital and growing small and medium-sized enterprises that spur employment. The initiative will encourage and support individual Exchanges in the MENA region in establishing SME markets for young, growing companies. FTSE will create a complimentary index series covering all of the participating SME markets in the MENA region. Underpinning the initiative is a strategy of inclusivity – all markets across the region, whether established or embryonic – will be encouraged to participate.

“This initiative is about energizing small and medium-sized enterprises, which are critical to the creation of youth employment opportunities, our main goal at Silatech. The partnership with FTSE gives Silatech the added advantage of building on FTSE’s extensive international experience”, said Rick Little, Silatech’s Chief Executive.

Mr. Nasser Ahmed Al-Shaibi, Acting CEO and Deputy CEO at QFMA said, "The creation of an alternative market initiative is very much in line with QFMA strategy in helping enrich the listing and enlarge the market reach for companies, most importantly for those that are recently established or are not yet sizable enough to qualify for listing in the senior board."

Imogen Dillon-Hatcher, Managing Director of Europe, Middle-East & Africa from FTSE Group said, “FTSE is honoured to be working in a strategic partnership with Her Highness and Silatech to bring our international indexing expertise to this exciting initiative. We enjoy a track record of responsible corporate citizenship through our FTSE4Good Index series – so we feel there is an ideal cultural fit between our organisations. Around the world, stock exchanges and governments are establishing specific market structures to reflect the particular requirements of SMEs. They have been successful in London with AIM, Nilex in Cairo, and the Shenzhen SME Market in China. We hope to mirror that success with Silatech’s expertise through expansion of indexes across the Arab World.”