Considering all the political unrest and economic instability in the Middle East and North Africa region, you may think twice about wanting to invest in any of the MENA countries at this time. But it is worth considering the great potential these markets can offer: a rapidly growing population which is predicted to reach around 398 million in 2050, a youthful market with over half of the population less than 25 years old and a solid base for oil and gas resources.
Unlike the Middle East of decades ago, the trend these days is towards liberalisation, with more and more Middle Easterners using mobile gadgets and accessing social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook. Instead of merely focusing on oil and gas as their key source of income, MENA countries, including the oil-rich GCC nations, are working towards diversifying their interests to counter the issue of fluctuating oil and gas prices. Health, renewable energy and tourism are some of the ventures that are being emphasised.
Rather than taking a pessimistic view of doing business in the Middle East, consider tapping into the considerable opportunities that the MENA region offers. However, be mindful that the MENA region can also pose various risks. Corruption, an unpredictable tax climate and currency exchange risks are just some of them. The key is not to simply venture into any market but to spend some time and energy studying the individual markets beforehand. Do a thorough risk analysis with the help of a local export management company, such as GDT, or a professional risk management company with local links. In this way, you will be armed with the necessary information about political unrest, economic instability and other key matters that could potentially impact your business.
Consider also, that while the Western world focuses on dignity culture, the Middle Eastern culture is based on honour culture, which in turn is founded on personal reputation. You will need to invest considerable time and energy to build a good relationship with your Middle East business partner to gain trust. This also requires time and understanding of the local culture and traditions, which is where GDT can help.
GDT are regional Sales and Marketing specialists, established in Dubai in 1982, and operating throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well as the greater Middle East. Today, we are successfully managing businesses for our clients in the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and elsewhere.
As a leading provider of outsourced sales and marketing services in the Middle East, we specialize in planning, building and managing sales channels which will deliver profitable revenue streams for our clients now and for the future. We provide brand owners with a unique and cost effective solution, which enables them to enter markets in the Middle East without the costs, risks and delays associated with opening foreign offices directly themselves.