The Middle East Economic Research Highlights
Essam Alshiha, CEO, Saudi Business Machines
In this Global Platform video, Essam Alshiha, CEO of Saudi Business Machines, emphasises the importance of the cloud and other innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of...
The economy of Kuwait has long been underpinned by the production and export of crude oil. Although the rise in energy prices in 2021-22 boosted government revenue and macroeconomic stability, the Covid-19 pandemic, which preceded the commodity price boom, underscored the risk of over-reliance on an industry subject to fluctuating global demand.
Economic Analysis 2022-23 across the GCC
Oxford Business Group has now launched The Report: Qatar 2022. This 16th edition of our national macroeconomic analysis shines a spotlight on Qatar’s efforts to leverage its abundant natural gas resources and its status as host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to develop a diversified, knowledge-based economy.
On the importance of international cooperation
Elevated oil prices are helping Bahrain rebound from the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and driving an economic expansion that is expected to continue through 2022 and into the coming years. With some $30bn in infrastructure projects in the pipeline, the country is seeking to strengthen its position as a regional logistics destination.
Public spending, higher natural gas prices and an array of development plans lay the groundwork for a period of growth.
Saudi Aramco is planning to boost its maximum crude oil production capacity to over 13m barrels per day (bpd) by 2027, up from 12m bpd as of August 2022. This is set to bolster Saudi Arabia’s position in global energy markets and afford the Kingdom greater agility under various possible energy transition scenarios.
As the world’s largest oil producer and the only Arab country in the G20, Saudi Arabia is a key geopolitical player on the global stage. Officially established in September 1932 the Kingdom has begun to pour its considerable financial resources into a series of large-scale economic development, diversification and modernisation initiatives in recent years.
Highlights from The Report: Qatar 2022
HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar: Viewpoint
Highlights from The Report: Bahrain 2022
What factors are setting the stage for economic growth in Bahrain
Saudi Arabia pushing investment in oil and gas to meet global demand
Saudi Arabia’s reform and energy initiatives attract investment
Gulf: Economic Research & Views
In a year of global economic uncertainty fuelled by inflation, geopolitical crises and supply chain insecurity, the Middle East witnessed a second consecutive year of economic growth, with countries in the region investing in new technologies and projects that could herald greater integration in the years ahead.
Emerging markets are increasingly harnessing data and software to disrupt and streamline their real estate markets and meet the needs of young people and businesses.
Building on the e-commerce momentum from the Covid-19 pandemic, the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) model is one of the fastest-growing segments in consumer finance, particularly in emerging markets.
As part of plans to expand and diversify its global trade partners, the GCC has launched negotiations with the UK on a free trade agreement that is expected to bolster the bloc’s economy, help attract investment and provide greater opportunities for local businesses.
As part of ongoing efforts to diversify their economies and build a platform for sustainable future growth, MENA nations are increasingly turning towards artificial intelligence (AI).
Following delays, the long-awaited GCC Railway looks likely to be revitalised, a move that could transform trade and connectivity across the Gulf.
On connections between leading global cities and the evolving nature of business
Nations in the MENA region have been intensifying efforts to increase their food security, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine the most recent geopolitical event to underline the fragility of global supply chains, as well as the importance of agricultural self-sufficiency.
Middle East: Year in Review 2022
Can proptech disrupt real estate in emerging markets?
Can the “buy now, pay later” model unlock e-commerce potential in emerging markets?
Which sectors stand to benefit from a UK-GCC trade deal?
The competitive outlook for artificial intelligence in MENA
How the GCC Railway could revolutionise trade and transport in the Gulf
Richard Burge, CEO, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
How are MENA nations moving to bolster food security?
GCC ESG Research & ViewsEconomic News
With temperatures in cities set to rise in the coming decades, many public and private players in emerging markets are looking to tackle the challenge of extreme heat through technology, sustainable building techniques and the expansion of urban green spaces.
As the capacity to generate wind and solar power continues to expand around the world, hopes of accelerating the phase-out of coal as the leading source of electricity may depend on the expansion of a less discussed but equally important part of the energy supply chain: electricity grids.
Long seen as a high-cost, energy-intensive process, desalination mega-projects are seeking to tap renewable resources to limit the cost and environmental concerns of this crucial technology.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and broader environmental concerns, many countries are looking to improve the efficiency of agriculture while also reducing its carbon footprint.
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. While measurable progress has been achieved in recent years, there is room for further improvement in order to consolidate these changes into a lasting and broad-based transformation.
On how ESG practices in the UAE are affecting the logistics sector
After remaining resilient in 2020, the Islamic finance segment is performing strongly this year, as an improved economic environment, a rise in the number of large projects and an increased focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors combine to drive demand.
Among the sustainability challenges facing the global petrochemicals industry is the difficulty measuring Scope 3 carbon emissions along the supply chain. This challenge is particularly pressing for petrochemicals trading companies who must engage with a range of external stakeholders while making strategic decisions on the future of their shipping fleets and the optimisation of trade routes.
Oxford Business Group has launched The Report: Saudi Arabia 2022. This Market Profile video highlights how the Kingdom’s diversified approach to economic development is helping to position it as one of the fastest-growing G20 economies in 2022.
ESG Intelligence Reports - Middle East
As the Kingdom works towards reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, corporations and supporting bodies such as the Saudi Industrial Development Fund are taking actions to reduce their carbon footprints and adopt clear environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies to ensure future expansion is sustainable and inclusive.
With the publication of its National Environment and Climate Change Strategy in 2021, Qatar has recognised that a proactive and holistic approach is needed to meet the challenge of global warming and environmental degradation.
Automotive stakeholders are increasingly aware that the business-as-usual scenario that has sustained the industry for more than 100 years is no longer tenable. Regulatory changes and emissions-reduction targets at the national and global level are spurring a pivot to low-carbon and zero-emissions vehicles.
Vision 2030 includes social development initiatives to empower micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and citizens, promote entrepreneurship and widen access to financing. Meanwhile, the Kingdom committed to net zero in 2021, and retains a focus on responsible governance for sustainable development.
With the world economy heading into a complex post-pandemic recovery, GCC governments have outlined a wide-ranging set of environmental targets – and shone a stronger spotlight on sustainability.
COP26 has focused the world’s attention on the need for a more sustainable economic model that ensures profits and growth are not achieved at the expense of ecological health and social well-being.
Report: How can Saudi Arabia finance sustainable industrial development?
Report: How Qatar is confronting environmental and social challenges
Report: The road to a zero-emission automotive industry in the Middle East and Africa
Report: What factors are driving social development in Saudi Arabia?
Report: How can sustainable finance support the transformation of hydrocarbons-dependent economies?
Report: Can heavy industry support Saudi Arabia’s sustainability ambitions?
The regulatory landscape for Gulf financial service providers is changing, with growing awareness of the need for banking institutions to adopt sustainable finance frameworks and responsible lending and operational practices in order to manage risk and attract international investment.
Saudi Arabia’s tertiary education system is underpinned by a strong network of 28 public universities accounting for 81% of student enrolment.
Education: Shaping the Future of the Middle EastEconomic News
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.
Covid-19 Response Report
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
On boosting innovation and entrepreneurship
As Gulf countries look to rebound from the disruption of 2020, higher education institutions are playing a key role in meeting the needs of the region’s post-coronavirus economy.
Covid-19 Response Report
The UAE’s efforts to develop an advanced higher education sector, coupled with its robust fiscal position, meant it entered the pandemic from a position of relative strength. This report focuses on the response of policymakers to the challenges presented by Covid-19, and looks in detail at how the higher education sector adapted to the new reality.
Higher education institutions have a leading role to play in helping emerging economies adapt to the effects of climate change, as well as to meet their net-zero goals. This role can be roughly divided into two key areas: implementing best practices and leading on research.
Latest Covid-19 Reports - Gulf
Food production in the GCC has long faced obstacles ranging from water scarcity to a lack of arable soil – factors that are being exacerbated by climate change. Prior to Covid-19, imports accounted for 85% of the region’s collective food needs.
The GCC chemicals and petrochemicals industry demonstrated considerable resilience in the face of Covid-19 and oil price fluctuations. With economic diversification a leading concern for GCC economies, this publication details the structure, key stakeholders, and strategic contribution of chemicals and petrochemicals to economic diversification in the region.
In the wake of a period of severe disruption to global trade, Gulf shipping and logistics companies are adapting to government efforts to boost self-sufficiency in the region, while also investing in corporate digital solutions to improve communication with stakeholders, and predict and mitigate challenges along the supply chain.
Report: Was Oman's banking sector resilient enough to support economic stability during the pandemic?
Oman’s economy was heavily reliant on hydrocarbons when the pandemic began, creating fiscal pressures as demand and prices fell. However, the country was able to rely on a well-capitalised and regulated financial services system to maintain macroeconomic stability, and years of sustained investment in the public health system helped it cope with the sudden demands of a medical crisis.
The global oil industry had yet to recover from the price crash of 2014-15 by the time the pandemic hit in early 2020, which meant that upstream operators and service providers were already grappling with cost-related challenges and falling profit margins. The pandemic-induced shock to the global oil market served to exacerbate these trends and forced companies to reappraise expenditure plans and adopt innovative mitigation strategies.
Sustained investment and foresighted policy initiatives meant that the UAE and Abu Dhabi had developed a modern and effective public health system prior to the pandemic, supported by a growing number of private operators offering complementary services.
The disruption to daily life created by the pandemic has precipitated an acceleration of the digital transformation process already under way in the corporate sector in Qatar, with private firms waking up to the potential to enhance productivity and generate new revenue streams through digital solutions.
Bahrain entered the pandemic with the most diversified economy in the GCC, which meant it was not overly susceptible to the sharp drop in the oil market. The country also benefits from some of the lowest operational costs in the region, helping businesses to maintain continuity amid the uncertainty, aided by supportive measures from the government and the central bank.
With the emirate benefitting from one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, it is well positioned to enjoy a robust economic recovery supported by investment flows into high-potential segments such as ICT, logistics, health, R&D, advanced manufacturing and tourism.
Dubai’s diversified and digitalised economy was able to absorb the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic relatively well. The emirate enjoys some of the fastest internet speeds and most advanced broadband infrastructure in the world, which facilitated the rapid shift to online work, education and commerce.