• Jenny Hunt

Trends & Observations of the Economy in UAE

24th May 2017

Guest post from Adam Malouf, International Senior Executive, sharing his opinions and findings from his recent visit to the UAE.


During my recent trip to the GCC, it was clear that, in many respects, the reality in terms of economic position and outlook is quite positive, contrary to what has been portrayed in a number of media reports. It is undeniable that the region faces a number of challenges, but it is clear that the leadership of these dynamic and entrepreneurial nations are dealing with these challenges in a methodical and structural manner with long-term stability in mind.

Below are a number of trends and observations which are pertinent in terms of assessing the economic and business environment in the region:


Mergers/consolidation are/is occurring across all sectors, particularly in financial services and general industry conglomerates, aimed at driving cost and process efficiencies and greater revenue-generation potential.


There is a healthy retail spending, evident in positive footfalls in shopping malls, further cementing the region’s position as an enviable fashion hub.


Construction is buoyant, but not just for the sake of building, recognising that property development underpins other industries.


The world-class financial free zones, particularly the DIFC and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), continue to attract firms from within and outside the region, evident in high occupancy rates in these zones.


The Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar World Cup 2022 effects are clear, with capital works well underway, and the knock-on effects in many industries already happening (construction, project management, professional services).


With Dubai’s current airport already the world’s busiest, the second airport, Al Maktoum International, once fully completed, will be a game changer - Emirates to relocate in 2025 – will make use of Expo facilities.


Tourism and leisure continue to be in focus, now being enhanced with the growing prevalence of theme parks in the UAE.


Institutionalisation of real estate continues apace, with growth in the REIT sector, which will attract more foreign capital.


The SME sector should be encouraged by government support for venture capital, and the rise of P2P lending platforms.


Fintechs, although a nascent sector, are strongly supported by government at the highest levels, and will play a significant role in supporting and growing the SME sector.


Adam Malouf, highly experienced, international senior executive.

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