Business | Markets

Experts count on Mena to overcome crisis quickly

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region will outperform the rest of the world in 2009 even amidst the global economic crisis, according to Hamad Bu Amim, director-general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Sunday.

  • By Suzanne Fenton, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 23:01 March 1, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Devadasan/Gulf News
  • Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, with other dignitaries at the forum.

Dubai: The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region will outperform the rest of the world in 2009 even amidst the global economic crisis, according to Hamad Bu Amim, director-general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Sunday.

The GCC region is anticipating a GDP growth of three to five per cent this year, compared with last year's GDP growth of between six and eight per cent, Bu Amim said

Revenues in the GCC region are down to $300 billion (Dh1.1 trillion) due to lower oil prices. As for the UAE, real GDP growth is between two and four per cent.

However, while GDP growth is set to decline, so too is inflation. Over the last few years, inflation has risen due to Dubai's incredible growth, huge demand and lack of supply. However, now it is expected to ease off as the economy goes pulls through the downturn.

"Inflation is expected to decrease around seven per cent. The UAE, over the last few years, has faced the issue of inflation. In 2008, inflation was 14 per cent," Bu Amim added.

Bu Amim was speaking alongside other industry experts during an economic forum deliberating on "The Gulf region in the global economic crisis: force for stability."

The forum was opened by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of higher education and scientific research.

The forum marked the culmination of a week-long research endeavour in Dubai for students of Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Airing his views, Henry Azzam, chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank in the Mena region, said: "Economic growth in the UAE will slow down this year but government support will ensure that the country does not slip into outright recession."

The $20-billion bond issue announced last week by the Dubai government would reassure the capital markets about emirate's ability to meet its financial requirements this year, Azzam said but, at the same time, averred that the action had come a little late.

"The government has been reactive to the developments in the market [rather than] doing things ahead of what was happening. The injection of liquidity and the injection of equity, shows the growth of Dubai and Abu Dhabi will not let this [crisis] affect the UAE negatively and shows that the emirates are united. But they should have done this long before," he said.

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