Dubai: Middle East CEOs showed high optimism about business and economic growth over the next 12 months, most of the local experts in a recent survey conducted in the UAE expressed the same confidence predicting a positive economic growth across different business sectors.
According to PwC’s 2013 Middle East CEO Survey titled “Matching confidence with competitiveness”, 53 per cent of CEOs in the region are confident about prospects for business and economic growth in the next 12 months.
The report shows that Middle Eastern CEOs are more confident about growth than their global counterparts with confidence at 36 per cent.
With focus on the domestic markets, which presented a more open and competitive environment now than in the past, 44 per cent of the CEOs in the Middle East see domestic market growth as a primary driver for the economy in 2013.
However, 25 per cent of these CEOs believe that this growth will be stimulated by new operations in foreign markets and 13 per form new mergers and acquisitions.
In line with the expected economic growth, 75 per cent of the CEOs said that a boost in the workforce in the coming years will be an ultimate result for this growth, while only six per cent anticipated job reduction.
Highlighting the risk in the face of economic growth, disruption arising from social unrest was the main concern of the CEOs in the Middle East, adding to this, over-regulation (75 per cent) and shortage of skilled workforce (69 per cent), the report said.
Citing an example form the region matching the facts mentioned in the PwC survey, a recent study developed by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) revealed that businesses in Dubai are confident of growth trends continuing along the year while optimism runs across the whole economy.
More than 55 per cent of the companies in Dubai said they will invest in capacity expansion during the next 12 months.
“Among Dubai Chamber’s membership we have seen positive sentiment increasing over recent months. This has been driven by a number of factors, including a rise in our members’ exports and re-exports, which have grown 13.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012,” said Hamad Bu Amim, Director General, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), commenting on the same.
He added that this follows strong results last year when DCCI members’ exports and re-exports rose by nine per cent to Dh268 billion. “At the same time, Dubai’s position as a stable and secure base in the Middle East and strong government support are having a positive impact on investor confidence.”
Bu Amim further said that the survey highlights the increase in Middle Eastern CEOs positioning their companies to take advantage of emerging market opportunities in Africa and Asia.
“This reflects Dubai Chamber’s strategy of opening branches in key markets around the world, including Baku in Azerbaijan and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, which are both now fully operational,” he pointed out, adding that over the coming years Dubai Chambers will expand the number of offices to as many as 20 while also exploring possibilities in Saudi Arabia, India and China, among other countries.
UAE-based economist, Irfan Al Hassani, said that the Middle East has witnessed remarkable change over the last two decades especially in the economic sphere where the UAE and especially Dubai are now touted as one of the most important centres of business and finance regionally and globally.
“Local reports reveal that Dubai continues its rapid economic developments in various domains despite the vagueness glooming the global economy aftermath in 2008 up today,” he said.