2012 Middle East attractiveness survey
Opportunities arising from diversification
A quarter of investors responding to our survey think that the energy sector will be the main driver of FDI growth in the Middle East over the next two years. As we’ve seen, a large number of our respondents consider the region’s natural resources to be a key asset.
Even though oil and gas revenues underpin most Middle Eastern economies, the region’s governments are making conscious efforts to reduce reliance on the volatile oil and gas sector and gradually approach a more balanced model for economic growth.
Once again, there are some discrepancies between the views of investors already established in the region and the views of those who are not. Thirty-nine percent of investors not operating in the Middle East consider energy to be the main sector, whereas only 19% of established investors do.
Investors who know the region better see beyond energy and consider real estate and construction to be the most promising growth sector. In addition, one-third of respondents not yet established in the region could not think of any sector driving growth beyond energy. This discrepancy seems to be due to differences in awareness of the region’s governments’ significant diversification efforts.
Beyond energy, there is a clear shift toward more strategic and knowledge-driven sectors. More opportunities are emerging in the private and business services, RHC, ICT and life sciences sectors. The financial free trade zones have generated interest from many financial services companies in the Middle East.
Pharmaceuticals companies are also showing a lot of interest in the life sciences sector. The UAE has created the Dubai Healthcare City, which is expected to become an international destination for health care, clinical and wellness services.
It has been receiving investments from companies such as Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Novartis and Pfizer. Meanwhile, ICT investment programs and e-government initiatives have been key drivers for the region’s ICT industry.
Sector driving growth in the next two years