Gulf attracts businesses despite inflation: poll


Dubai : The Gulf countries continue to attract businesses and jobs despite soaring inflation across the region, according to a new poll.

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The poll, conducted by Leaders Presents, organisers of the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum, found that 83 percent of regional business leaders expected to increase their business in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries over the next one year.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprise the GCC.

Almost 80 percent of the respondents said they expected the profits from their GCC businesses in the next five years to increase, compared to other parts of the world, according to a Leaders Presents statement.

“The GCC countries in general are experiencing a rapid growth fuelled by rising population numbers and an increase in national income,” Lucy Mountain, conference director of the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum, said in the statement.

“The high rate of per capita affluence along with the modernisation in legislations and laws are big contributing factors towards attracting more businesses, which also facilitate further investments into those markets,” she added.

While almost 76 percent of the business leaders surveyed said they intended to increase the number of staff in the GCC, less than four percent plan to reduce their employee numbers.

The UAE turned out to be the most attractive business destination with 51 percent of the respondents voting it as the country most favoured in the region to do more business in.

The UAE was followed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.

“The UAE government’s efforts towards easing the process for establishing companies here are some of the noteworthy factors that have made the UAE one of the most attractive options for investors willing to venture into the region’s emerging markets,” Mountain said.

Of the seven emirates of the UAE, Dubai emerged as the most favoured to do business in followed by Abu Dhabi.

Only seven percent of the respondent companies said they were doing most of their GCC business in emirates in the UAE other than Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Results of the poll, which covered around 400 business leaders and key decision makers, were released at a time when the region’s bourses were going through a bloodbath in the wake of the global financial crisis.

In order to bring the situation under control, central banks of the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain have announced interest rate cuts in keeping with the global trend.