From Syria, to Iraq, to Yemen, the challenges in the Middle East that hold back economic development are not relenting. But there are bright spots
It’s difficult to think about parts of the Middle East currently without picturing some of the harrowing images of war. But once war has eventually eased, and we attempt to make sense of the suffering, we have to look towards economic development as a vehicle for progress, including as a way to support political stability.
Creating an attractive investment climate has long been a staple of broader development strategies in the Middle East. This has included consultants directly working in the countries with government agencies, to ensure a coordinated service is available to potential investors. Clearly economic development measures alone are insufficient to establish a lasting peace, but locations that are successful in attracting well paid jobs across communities, can at least contribute to that peace. The same applies to addressing some of the causes and effects of terrorist activity, which we have witnessed again in 2016 across Europe.
We should also remember that the region has examples of economic success, where FDI is a key influencing factor. Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are all examples of successful attraction, with the latter in particular seeing continued growth in FDI flows. Other locations too, such as Jordan and Lebanon are working hard to attract investment.
The UAE is also an increasingly important source of outward investment, supporting other countries in the region as well as further afield. This is confined to a relatively small number of industries such as real estate (and sovereign wealth), but nevertheless demonstrates the ongoing importance of the Middle East as a global region, with huge potential.