Overall, the UAE and Qatar see opportunities for growth and potential challenges coming from outside their own countries. Saudi and Kuwaiti executives are more internally-focused; they see internal threats as the most worrisome and look to internal investment as a source of growth.
Confidence in current and future conditions
When asked to compare current conditions with those of a year ago, 75% from the UAE say things have improved (only 4% said conditions have actually declined). Saudi and Qatari executives are less pleased with current conditions – a little more than half (55% in Saudi Arabia and 56% in Qatar) say conditions have improved, and around 23% in each say conditions have actually declined. In Kuwait only 38% see improvement.
Turning to business conditions over the next two years in their country, 79% of senior executives in the UAE see things improving, and only 6% see conditions worsening. By contrast, optimism in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait is more than 20 points lower, and pessimism about the future more pronounced – 23% of Saudi executives expect a decline in business conditions.
Other highlights from the survey:
"Sustained pressure from events in the region and unremitting economic challenges in Europe may be revealing fault lines in the confidence of executives in different countries, and particularly in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” says Jeff Youssef, Associate Partner in Oliver Wyman.
Dr. James Zogby, the Managing Director of Zogby Research Services finds these results most interesting from a long-term perspective: “We now have a truly unique set of bi-annual polls across 5 years on how senior executives assess their current business confidence and optimism. The UAE’s continued resilience and confidence, post 2009 crisis, is striking, as is a recent inward turn from Saudi executives.”
About Oliver Wyman's Middle East services:
Oliver Wyman helps leading enterprises throughout the Middle East to develop, build, and operate strong businesses that deliver sustained shareholder value growth. We have three Middle Eastern offices (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh) and serve clients around the Middle Eastern region. Our current industry focus in this region includes financial services, aviation, telecommunications, transportation, energy, and the public sector. We have been active in the Middle East for over 20 years, which has allowed us to support our clients in a broad range of assignments including growth development, reorganization, and turnaround strategies.