The Middle East has continually wormed its way into the list of leading investment destinations in the world over the last two decades. This statement may, however, sound too general, when you consider that it is the same region that is home to war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq.
The truth is that there has been increasing stability in this region over the last few years, and even with these war-torn spots, some countries here remain oases of peace.
Where Exactly Is the Middle East?
Geographically, the Middle East is the Asian region that sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caspian Sea. Businesswise, however, the reference includes some countries within North Africa, bringing the entire Middle East region to around 21 economies.
These countries have for a long time been engaged in oil as their primary business venture, but are currently diversifying with zeal. Construction, manufacturing and provision of services like health at the livi medical are among the most common investment avenues available to external entrepreneurs.
Ease of Doing Business in the Middle East
The region has experienced a general rise in the ease of investment. This index is based on many factors, such as access to credit capital, ease of business registration, the solution of insolvency issues, tax regimes and access to electricity. It is, however, essential to look at how individual countries have performed on each of these measures.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The UAE leads the way among Middle East countries on the ease of doing business index. In 2017, the country climbed five places to 20th out of 190 countries. The country especially performs well with its tax regime, and ease of getting an electricity connection. They also have a particular knack for giving construction permits, perhaps the reason investors continue trooping to Dubai.
Ranked 61st in 2017, Bahrain was also a strong performer among Middle East countries regarding attracting investors. They too have a favourable tax regime, adequate electricity and business registration.
Oman also took a decent 71st position in 2017. The country has however not done aggressive marketing and remains some steps behind the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain as an investment destination.
Qatar just about made it into the top half coming in at 83rd in 2017.
An excellent capital base makes Saudi Arabia a strong contender, but issues with governance remain a significant hindrance.
Probably standing alone, 54th placed Israel is especially strong at resolving issues of insolvency.
Morocco leads the way for North Africa, with Tunisia coming a close second. Egypt and Algeria are also important destinations but are some distance behind.
On the downside, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya are regarded as unfavourable destinations, owing in no small extent to political instability.