Focus on MENA / Gulf States

Focus On Iran and MENA Region

With the easing of Iranian sanctions, 2016 is widely expected to see as much as £100bn-worth of Iranian assets unblocked and consequently will ignite the interests of foreign business from all over the globe.

Although the easing of these sanctions is not yet certain, should Iran successfully demonstrate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it has completed the necessary steps in relation to its nuclear capabilities, the unblocking of Iranian funds, whatever size it may be, will remove trade barriers currently standing between the country and EU (but not US) businesses.

Having the world’s largest gas reserves and plans for a ten-fold increase in gas exports, plus a five-fold increase in oil exports by 2017, means the country presents a lucrative opportunity and with Germany being the main export rival, this market is well suited to UK exporters.

"...growth is predicted to improve as consumption picks up and political tensions ease in certain countries"

The two regions that make up the MENA acronym – the Middle East and North Africa - are rarely out of contemporary news. The severity of political upheaval and violent conflict that have hit numerous countries in the region have had a devastating impact on people’s lives, economic growth, worsened macroeconomic imbalances, and destroyed infrastructure. Many countries are considered very high risk to investors, with the rise of Islamic extremist organisations consistently in the news for their devastating acts of inhumanity throughout the Middle East and recently in Sousse, Tunisia.

Opportunities aren’t obsolete in the MENA region. There is a diverse picture, where certain countries remain oil-rich and are operationally functional; growth is predicted to improve as consumption picks up and political tensions ease in certain countries. Areas effected by war need outside investment; buildings need restructuring and products and services are required.

However, the precarious situation the MENA region finds itself in has massively destabilised security, and caused massive operational and financial risks. If you want to do business in one of the MENA members, there is money to be made; but you MUST know what you’re doing. Going Global can make this process smoother for you.