UAE: Sharjah

Sharjah has long played an important economic and cultural role in the UAE, and boasts one of the most diversified economies by regional standards, with no individual sector accounting for more than 20% of GDP.

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More female employees are joining workplaces and boardrooms in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with gender equality a key target of a regional drive to improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.

With the current semester winding up, many higher education institutions in the Gulf are already planning an expanded offering of courses for the next academic year – with a focus on supporting the needs of the region’s post-pandemic economy.

The UAE’s robust current account balance cushioned the economy against the twin global challenges of Covid-19 and the oil price drop in 2020. Lockdowns were implemented to protect public health, and Emiratis migrated online.

With Saudi Arabia's flagship Red Sea tourism project securing $3.8bn in green financing, various governments in the Gulf region are looking to new, alternative tourism models to drive their pandemic recoveries, with an emphasis on ecological options and "staycations".

How has the GCC petrochemical industry been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?

– Economies in the region were hit by reduced trade volumes and lower oil prices

– Governments launched extensive stimulus packages to stabilise their economies

– Short-term recovery will be tied to oil prices and the resumption of travel

– The pandemic looks set to accelerate economic diversification efforts

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