Increased transparency bodes well for boosting FDI
Source: Matrix PR for OBG , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed April 4, 2018 6:17 pm

UAE. Executives interviewed for the latest edition of the Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey carried out by Oxford Business Group (OBG) were broadly upbeat about the country’s outlook for the coming 12 months, as reforms aimed at supporting efforts to diversify the economy and boost foreign investment gain pace.

The global research and consultancy firm asked almost 150 C-suite executives from across the country’s industries a wide-ranging series of questions on a face-to-face basis aimed at gauging business sentiment as part of its year-long survey.

The results of the business barometer are now available to view in full on OBG’s Editors’ Blog on this link.

More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents described their expectations for local business conditions for the year ahead as positive or very positive according to OBG’s findings.

Significantly, against a backdrop of tax reforms which include the introduction of 5% value added tax (VAT) on January 1, 90% of business leaders interviewed said they viewed transparency levels in the UAE as high or very high.

However, they remained cautious in their expectations for GDP growth in the coming year, with less than one-quarter saying they thought the economy would expand by 3% or more, below forecasts made by external analysts, which hover around the 3.4% - 3.6% mark.

In a sign that senior executives are eyeing opportunities further afield, 44% of respondents said they regarded either South Asia (22%) or East Asia (22%) as the region holding the greatest potential for increased trade and investment flows, ahead of the MENA region (30%) when combined and sub-Saharan Africa (14%).

Commenting on the results in his blog, Oliver Cornock, OBG’s editor-in-chief and managing editor for the Middle East, said that while VAT had been a thorny issue ahead of its implementation, early indications suggested that its impact on retail spending was relatively moderate.

“This may help maintain bullish sentiment among business leaders,” he noted. “Moreover, with VAT to be levied at a relatively low rate of 5% – compared to 19% in Germany, for example – many executives felt it was unlikely to significantly impact the cost of doing business.”

Cornock added that aside from generating revenue of an estimated $3.3bn in 2018, rising to $5.4bn in 2019, according to IMF estimates, the new tax would also play a key role in further enhancing the UAE’s transparency levels, a key criterion for foreign investors.

Noting that GDP estimates made by many of the executives surveyed were more modest than the forecasts given by institutions such as the IMF, Cornock questioned whether the benefits of improved oil prices were yet to be fully felt by the business community.

“Sentiment is, of course, about the here and now: what CEOs are experiencing at a particular moment,” he said. “Although some challenges persist, such as translating more stable yet lower oil prices into a new economic model, managing the cost and quality of services and regional political volatility… the conclusions are largely, if cautiously, upbeat.”

Cornock’s in-depth evaluation of the survey’s results can be found on OBG’s Editor’s Blog, titled ‘Next Frontier’. All four of OBG’s regional managing editors use the platform to share their expert analysis of the latest developments taking place across the sectors of the 30+ high-growth markets covered by the company’s research.  

The OBG Business Barometer: CEO Surveys feature in the Group’s extensive portfolio of research tools. The full results of the survey on the UAE will be made available online and in print. Similar studies are also under way in the other markets in which OBG operates.

Photo: For illustrative purposes only

About OBG Business Barometer
OBG Business Barometer: UAE CEO Survey Copyright (c). All rights reserved.
This survey has been designed to assess business sentiment amongst business leaders (Chief Executives or equivalent) and their outlook for the next 12 months. Unlike many surveys, the OBG Business Barometer is conducted by OBG staff on a face-to-face basis, across the full range of industries, company sizes and functional specialties. The results are anonymous.

OBG Business Barometer is based on data from companies with revenue within the following parameters, among others:

• 79% of companies surveyed were private
• 44% of companies surveyed were international
• 23% of companies surveyed were regional
• 33% of companies surveyed were local

The data generated allows for analysis of sentiment within an individual country, as well as regionally and globally. Additionally, comparisons can be drawn between both individual countries and regionally. The results are presented statistically within infographics and discussed in articles written by OBG managing editors.

OBG provides this survey, infographics and accompanying analysis from sources believed to be reliable, for information purposes only.

OBG accepts no responsibility for any loss, financial or otherwise, sustained by any person or organisation using it. For further information on the content of the survey, please contact Oliver Cornock, Middle East managing editor, at:

About Oxford Business Group
 Oxford Business Group is a global research and consultancy company with a presence in over 30 countries, from the Middle East, Africa and Asia to The Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on many of the world’s fastest growing markets, OBG has offices in London, Berlin, Dubai and Istanbul, and a network of local bureaus across the countries in which we operate.
Through its range of products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, tourism, energy, transport, industry and ICT. OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms: Economic News and Views, OBG Business Barometer - CEO Survey, Roundtables and conferences, Global Platform - exclusive video interviews, The Report publications and its Consultancy division.

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