Middle East to lead the world out of the downturn, says CEO survey
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed March 4, 2009 12:00 am

INTERNATIONAL. The Middle East will lead the world out of the current economic slowdown, according to 76% of business leaders in a survey by CONNECT World CEO Forum.

Almost two third of respondents say they're, "very optimistic" about the long-term prospects for their company in the Middle East, with another 33% "optimistic".

On the outlook for this year, 66 percent are "optimistic" or "very optimistic."

"The long-term fundamentals of this region have not gone away overnight, and business leaders clearly see the UAE and the Middle East as a great opportunity," said James Magee, CEO of the 4th CONNECT World CEO Forum.

He added: "The region is home to more than half the world's proven oil reserves, which will underpin strong growth and consumer spending. At the same time, governments are aggressively promoting investment to diversify the economy in a range of industries including finance, tourism, transport and manufacturing."

The 4th CONNECT World CEO Forum takes place in Dubai between 17 and 19 March. Hundreds of business leaders are gathering in the city to network, share ideas and enjoy a strong line-up of regional and international speakers.

Menu Discovery conducted the online poll of 188 respondents on behalf of the World CEO Forum.

Most respondents predict exports to the UAE will rise sharply in coming years. For example, US exports to the UAE were worth US$10.1 billion in 2007. More than half the respondents (52%) say that figure will surpass US$25 billion by 2015. Respondents based in the US - just under a third of the total - were even more optimistic, with all of them predicting some increase in exports to the UAE.

Most (92%) predict a similar increase in Chinese exports to the UAE, which totaled US$14.9 billion in 2007. They were slightly less optimistic about Indian exports and just under half predict they will rise over the same period, from US$11.6 billion in 2007.

"Many Middle East governments built up huge cash reserves during the recent oil boom, and so entered the credit crunch in a position of enormous economic strength, not weakness," said Magee. "We saw that last week, when the UAE Central Bank lent US$10 billion to Dubai. It's clear that business leaders from around the world see great value in that, today and in the future."

Note: The online poll was conducted by Menu Discovery for The World CEO between 24 February and 3 March. The survey generated 188 responses, with respondents based in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Some 76% of respondents described themselves as CEO or owner of their organisation, whilst 11% said turnover at their organisation is more than US$100 million. Most said turnover is between US$1 million and US$100 million.

For more information on the event, log on to www.worldceoforum.com



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