The average annual growth in consumer spending in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region was 6.7 percent between 2002 and 2013, according to UK-based Capital Economics. Only Chinese consumer spending increased at a faster rate over the same period. Increasing consumer demand is one of the main reasons why Middle East is fast emerging as a potential destination for investment opportunities.
The six GCC nations (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE) that comprise the entire GCC market make up a significant part of the world economy not only because of their oil producing capabilities but also because they have transitioned into bring important business hubs. The GCC market enjoys a strategic location. It sits between Asia, Africa and Europe, with almost one-third of the world’s population within 4 hours of flight time.
Advantages of Investing in the Gulf
The location of the GCC countries can be capitalised upon to setup a successful global business platform. Moreover, its liberal tax laws, ease of doing business, favourable laws for foreign investment, 100 percent foreign ownership, among other reforms, make it a favourable destination to set up shop. If you are planning to invest in this region, here is how you can benefit from setting up a business or branch here:
- Ease of Doing Business – The Gulf nations rank quite high in the ease of doing business, primarily due to government policies. You can open your business in free trade zones which give you 100 percent ownership. Most of the countries do not have corporate, sales tax or VAT, which increases your profit base. Moreover, there are also liberal laws regarding export and import with the GCC countries.
- Skilled Labour – There is no dearth of skilled and unskilled labour in this region. Moreover, you can hire expat workers if need be.
- Full Repatriation – Most of these countries allow free and full repatriation of capital and profit.
- Availability of Proper Infrastructure – Availability of proper physical and financial infrastructure decreases the cost of setting up business. Most global banks have a significant presence in the Gulf region.
- Ease of Visa Provisions – These nations have made a conscious effort to facilitate foreign investment, therefore the visa provisions are less cumbersome than before. The same applies to employee visas.
If you wish to benefit from the untapped potential of the GCC market, consider investing in any of the Gulf nations when you next wish to expand your business.