Clive Morgan, who was educated at Torquay Boys Grammar School, joined the HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) in 1960 at the age of 24, after a two year period of National Service in the Royal Artillery. He spent the next three decades as an International Executive with HSBC’s wholly owned subsidiary, the British Bank of the Middle East (BBME).
During his career as a banker he has lived and worked and travelled in most of the countries of the Arab World, as well as in India and HongKong, and he has witnessed the vast economic and social changes which were taking place in the Middle East.
It is difficult for most people who visit the Middle East today, and who see the cities of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf, with their modern infrastructures, air conditioned airports and multi-storied buildings, sophisticated financial markets and communication systems, to imagine what life was like in the region 50 years ago. What are now large modern population centres were then, before the development of the region’s vast oil resources, little more than small villages, dependent on fishing, date cultivation and trade across the Gulf to and from Iran and India.
The old Arab World which existed in 1960 has disappeared forever, and the author counts himself fortunate to have witnessed, during the course of his career, the transformation of this part of the Middle East into the modern economic powerhouse that it is today.
This book attempts to describe the ‘conditions on the ground ‘ during this period of transition and to illustrate some of the challenges which the practicing banker had to meet and overcome, often on a daily basis, during the course of a demanding career.