Stock - Economic Integration Barometer
Intra-regional trade in the MENAP markets make up a marginal 2.9 per cent total GDP. That shows there is much that needs improving. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE-based mall and community builder, Majid Al Futtaim has introduced what it says is the first ‘MENAP Economic Integration Barometer’ at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos. The barometer tracks economic progress annually and will offer a deeper understanding of the Middle East economies’ interconnectedness with other world markets.

The barometer will track progress on four metrics - trade, intangibles, capital, and people. Ahmed Galal Ismail, the new CEO at Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said, “We recognise that now, more than ever, in this age of geopolitical instability, economic uncertainty, and climate crisis, our success hinges on our collective efforts to champion improved economic integration across our region.”

Some of the key highlights of the first barometer reading are the dearth of trade between countries in the region, which shows that intra-regional exports account for only 2.9 per cent of the total MENAP GDP. Also, 22 per cent of MENAPs trade to the world stems from fossil fuels, with an additional 7 per cent from metals and chemicals.

“The lack of integration is not confined to physical goods,” the report said. “The intra-regional flow of intellectual property (IP) is just 1.4 per cent compared to 62 per cent in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK.”

Moreover, FDI inflows to MENAP lag behind top-performing regions, and MENAP countries have lower investments in each other relative to the other areas. The MENAP region does, however, perform better than much of the rest of the world on unemployment numbers, with only 7.4 per cent compared to the global average of 7.6 per cent, said the report.