Middle East economies are among the fastest-growing in the world, due to higher government revenues and increased spending by regional governments.
Bahrain, Oman and the UAE have relaxed foreign-ownership rules and are pioneering new residence categories for top talent, including “green” visas (work permits that don’t require sponsorship) and residence by investment visas – all of which should encourage an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar and Dubai’s Expo 2020 will also continue to encourage tourism across the region. Travel and tourism now accounts for about 16 per cent of GDP in the UAE and the sector’s sustained growth should boost the overall economy. This will lead to high occupancy levels across Grade A developments, thereby pushing rental values up.
In all, the Middle East and North Africa have projects worth $1.4 trillion at various stages of development and planning.
Development activity and new project launches will continue to remain upbeat throughout 2023, as regional economies prove resilient to the global headwinds of higher inflation and rising interest rates.
The bulk of these forthcoming developments are concentrated in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where the focus is on infrastructure – both building anew and upgrading existing – to diversify their economies and meet the demands of growing populations. Given that most of these projects are greenfield, they give investors a golden opportunity to create long-term, sustainable and international-grade assets.