The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) economy is expected to be one of the world’s fastest-growing in the upcoming years, expanding GDP at an annual average of 4.1%. Its demographics make MENA attractive for private investments, with its growing wealth, large and young population, and the recent efforts of certain governments to implement economic reforms.
Signs of market maturing
There are also signs that MENA markets are becoming more mature. In the past few years, a number of private equity-owned companies have been sold at attractive returns on local and international stock exchanges, or through trade sales to strategic buyers. In Egypt, for example, small and medium enterprises are already the driving force in the economy, representing 90% of businesses, representing approximately 80% of the country’s GDP.
Now the region is under interest of major international private equity companies.Regional governments are taking steps to boost international investments and attract liquidity to the markets. For instance, Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy has announced the opening up its stock market to foreign investment.
Youth as innovation driver
With 70% of the population under 30 years old, youth generation is the future of MENA. In Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Dubai, hundreds of young men and women are waiting for their innovation to be invested in. Forum Arab startup competition, which received over 6,000 applications this year from 20 Arab countries. They are knowledgeable, adaptable, hungry learners, and hard working. They are digital entrepreneurs, agents of peaceful and positive change and carriers of the new values of the Arab region: hard work, openness and learning. Empowering them by investing in their startups is the best constructive use of their energy.
Bridge between Africa and Asia
The Middle East is what connects China and India to Africa. Seven out of ten of the world’s fastest-growing countries are in Africa, and McKinsey estimates that by 2060 there will be 600 million middle class consumers on the continent. Economic growth of China and India can not be underestimated either.
Bringing out the best in MENA businesses
The tremendous growth we’re set to see in foreign investment in MENA over the next years can and should develop the region, act as a force for good, creating value in companies. This will help in turn to reduce unemployment and improve living standards.
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