Over the years, the Middle East has begun to develop into a powerhouse of investment opportunities. The Middle East is rapidly growing thanks to its focus on energy-based resources, such as oil. With that being said, the Middle East is a broad and varied region with a multitude of different investment sectors to explore. In fact, many governments throughout the Middle East are working toward expanding their local policies in order to invite more foreign investors to the region. RAK ruler Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, for example, has worked extensively with the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority to make it even easier for foreign businesses to get started in RAK. We’ll touch on Ras Al Khaimah more later, but first, let’s take a look at a few other investment opportunities in the area.
Top Investment Opportunities in the Middle East
The Middle East comprises a massive amount of land, people, and governments. From Egypt and Africa to Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, there are going to be opportunities that enterprising investors will want to pursue. Having said that, it isn’t always easy to jump right into the investment world. Today, we are going to be laying a foundation of information that you can use while researching the area for potential economic opportunities.
1) Egypt – As one of the largest and most economically developed areas throughout the Middle East, Egypt provides a wealth of potential investment opportunities. According to Karim Khedr, a local brokerage leader, the investment climate in Egypt is dramatically improving. As a result, Khedr, as well as other financial gurus, are expecting foreign direct investments to increase throughout 2019 and leading into 2020. Egypt has fully embraced the tourism sector which is allowing for growth in other areas of the economy. Egypt has also been developing solutions to the higher inflation rates that had been scaring off foreign investors. Still, even with inflation being problematic, Egypt has open doors for foreign investors to come and establish their business. Crossover exposure from Egypt to America has been incredibly reliable since 2017. If you are looking for a city to set up shop in, consider heading down to Cairo. Cairo provides access to a variety of different revenue streams and potential market opportunities. Right now, construction, textiles, and tourism are all surging. Cairo also benefits from a free trade agreement that has been put in place with Israel and the United States.
2) Ras Al Khaimah – Ras al Khaimah is one of the more prosperous emirates in the UAE. Despite how effectively Ras Al Khaimah has been while working with foreign investors, they are still overshadowed by some of the more popular emirates in the area, including the world-class and expensive emirate of Dubai. Still, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi has been hard at work when it comes to developing more potential for growth in their economic sector. He has been the driving force being the development of the RAK Investment Authority. Founded in 2005, this government body was installed in order to promote trade, investments, tourism, and infrastructure throughout Ras Al Khaimah. Foreign investors will benefit from low startup costs, well-developed infrastructure, a stable government with foreigner-friendly investor policies, and a host of beneficial tax regulations. Ras Al Khaimah has roots in several different growing sectors, which is ideal because RAK has never been reliant on the production of oil. For foreign investors that want to get their hands on the Middle East while avoiding Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah is probably your second best bet in the area.
3) Jordan – An overlooked country in the Middle East is that of Jordan. Located in the northern sect of the region, seated between Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq, and Palestine, you’ll find plenty of opportunities. The capital city of Amman has roots dating back to the 13th Century, BC. As a tourist hub, Amman provides access to one of the most accessed cities on the planet. If you want to settle into a city and country that offers you access to an always evolving market share, Amman in Jordan might be the right play for you. Jordan’s economy is reliant on tourism and their heavy industry, they also allow zone-produced products that aren’t beholden to tariffs. Jordan has a trade agreement with several prominent nations, including the United States. Amman has also become something of a second Silicon Valley, with more and more companies looking to establish their headquarters in the technology sector. Amman is quickly becoming something of a Silicon Hill, rather than a Silicon Valley.
4) Saudi Arabia – We’re going to round out our discussion by heading to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a well-known country in the Middle East, largely due to its booming oil industry. Saudi Arabia has the largest oil reserves in the world and that sector of their economy comprises nearly 55% of its total GDP. While oil runs the show in Saudi Arabia, the country is also experiencing a boom in its construction industry. If you want boots on the ground, oil and construction are two industries that you could immediately begin to pursue. However, if you want to act in a more opportunistic fashion, you could consider becoming an importer. Due to their lack of arable land, Saudi Arabia is always bringing in produce, machinery, and textiles from out of the country. Saudi Arabia’s city of Riyadh is where you’ll likely want to end up setting up shop. Just understand that Saudi Arabia lacks any ocean access and that Riyadh, in particular, will be landlocked. You’ll have to work through places like Jeddah in order to have access to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Investing in the Middle East is a complicated, textured, and occasionally frustrating prospect. However, with the right information on hand, you should be able to develop a viable business plan for the reason. We touched on only four different countries in the region, so don’t be afraid to pursue further research!