Executives in the Middle East are not swayed by short- and medium-term geopolitical risk factors, finds new Economist Intelligence Unit survey
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Mon March 18, 2019 1:17 pm

 
UAE. A new report written by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) "Leadership amid transformation: Business opportunities and risks in the Middle East", explores the most important geopolitical and macroeconomic risks facing senior executives in the Middle East, how executives are adjusting their market expansion strategies, and how businesses are adapting to advanced-technology led industry disruption.

The report, commissioned by banking group, Emirates NBD, is based on a survey of 400 senior executives (conducted between July and September 2018) from companies with headquarters in the Middle East.
 
While not immune to the ongoing regional issues, business executives in the region have a longer-term view of these geopolitical risks and have learned to successfully navigate this complex environment. Executives recognise the longer-term shifts in oil demand and supply and the risks to economic growth associated with a continued reliance on oil. They strongly advocated for economic diversification to reduce the region's exposure to oil price volatility.
 
Short-term mega events in the region (Expo 2020 Dubai and the World Cup in 2022) are perceived to bring positive spillovers. Respondents believe the economic benefits of Dubai's hosting of Expo 2020 will be felt beyond the UAE's borders— more than 60% of respondents in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Oman and Bahrain cited the event as an opportunity.
 
In the long-run, executives are most optimistic about the digital transformation under way in their countries. Over 55% of respondents have taken five or more steps to prepare for the adoption of advanced technologies. Upskilling employees (71% of respondents) and hiring new talent (66%) were prioritised over investments and redesigning business practices.
 
Region-wide interviews attribute the slow adoption of advanced technologies to limited understanding among senior management, although the survey identified high capital investment, cyber-security risks and the skills shortage as greater impediments. Non-C-suite respondents are more likely to recognise that advanced technologies will increasingly disrupt their business than the C-suite.
 
Melanie Noronha, editor of the report, said: "More needs to be done to accelerate the pace of adoption of digital technologies like AI, the IoT, robotics and blockchain, all of which can act as catalysts to productivity and economic growth. As these efforts pick up pace, businesses in the Middle East need to be ready and, more importantly, willing to adapt."

About The Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies.

More information can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu.
 
About Emirates NBD
Emirates NBD is a leading banking Group in the region and has operations in the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and representative offices in China and Indonesia.

Emirates NBD Group is an Official Premier Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai.

For more information, please visit: www.emiratesnbd.com

 

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