"In the past 50 years, this region has always been at war, whether it's the Gulf War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, today it's the Yemen war, this will go on. But in that same period of time the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) has prospered tremendously," Jassim Al Seddiqi, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, said during the Gateway Gulf Investment Forum in Bahrain on Wednesday.
"The margins in the GCC are superior, the tax regime is superior. Please don't forget South Korea has been a neighbor to North Korea for a very long time and yet it has prospered in the last 30 years," he added.
The Gateway Gulf forum taking place in Manama, Bahrain, is aimed at exploring ways to attract foreign investment into the Gulf as well as looking at the challenges the region faces, such as youth unemployment, the diversification process, boosting private sector involvement and geopolitical instability.
Perhaps the most tumultuous events of the last 10 years have been the Arab Spring of social uprisings in late 2010 to 2011 that showed the appetite, particularly among the young, for change.
The rise of the so-called Islamic State, which grew partly out of a power vacuum in parts of Iraq and Syria, has also dominated the region in the last few years, as have civil wars in Syria and Yemen, widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi and Iran.