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Middle East leaders optimistic towards global economic growth in 2022

Business leaders are now looking beyond Covid-19 with a focus on delivering sustained outcomes
Business leaders are now looking beyond Covid-19 with a focus on delivering sustained outcomes

In total, 52 per cent of Middle East CEOs plan double-digit investments in digital transformation


Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Tue 8 Feb 2022, 7:56 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Feb 2022, 4:52 PM

Businesses across the UAE have stated their confidence in growing economic activity in 2022, driven by a recovery and investments across several key sectors.

The renewed confidence is in line with similar sentiments across the wider Middle East region, as indicated by recent research by PwC, which found that 82 per cent of Middle East CEOs believe that global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months. The Middle East findings of PwC’s 25th CEO Survey report also showed that, as a result of the strong vaccine rollout, Expo 2020 in the UAE, and the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, 64 per cent are either extremely or very confident about their company’s revenue growth prospects in 2022, markedly higher than the global survey average of 56 per cent.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Kamal Vachani, group director and partner of Al Maya Group, said that he is “extremely positive” on global economic growth in the Middle East.

“The world is now getting closer to normalcy, with job creation picking up again,” he said. “There are a huge number of projects being announced in the Middle East, which will lead to steady economic growth, and attracting a growing number of tourists. In addition, a large number of companies are also setting up their base in the Middle East.”

Vachani’s observations were mirrored by Farooq Syed, CEO of Springfield Properties, who highlighted the strength of the UAE’s real estate market in weathering the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Dubai continues to be a top choice for investors and end users alike with its healthy rental returns and double digit capital appreciation in most segments of the market. We have seen an increase in international investors purchasing properties, as Dubai continues its strong branding overseas with the ongoing Expo 2020, healthy tourism market, along with tax benefits, and its strong currency.”

“I believe that Dubai’s real estate market will continue to pick up pace in 2022, with prices increasing as we see the positive momentum from a record breaking 2021 continue,” he added. “As a company, we are extremely bullish about the market in 2022, and are investing heavily in growing our offices, team and most importantly, our digital footprint.”

PwC’s research also revealed that, like their global peers, Middle East CEOs are focused on investing in new technologies, leadership skills, and people development, as the key towards sustainable growth. Many of their priorities have been reinforced by the impact of Covid-19. In total, 52 per cent of Middle East CEOs say that they plan double digit investments in digital transformation over the next three years.

Adel Sajan, group managing director of Danube Group, noted that when compared to 2020, all businesses are better off. “However, in order to assess the situation, we have to compare growth in 2022 with that of 2019. The sentiments are positive and investment into startups are growing fast. This reflects the investor confidence in digital business.”

“The world is gradually coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the worst for all of us is over,” he said. “So, the economic conditions are going to improve faster than we anticipated. As a business, we are seeing this upturn in or own operations. Danube Group is growing at a faster pace than we expected, despite the latest Omicron variant of the virus.”

Similarly, Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Group, said that he believed that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of the global economy, which gave a significant growth to certain industries and the businesses who are adapting to this change.

"At the peak of the pandemic, we quickly enhanced our digital platform, and adopted remote working and meetings – office meetings on Zoom and B2C webinars. In fact, we gained an edge when we successfully implemented remote monitoring and supervision of constructions workflow of our real estate projects at Samana Developers," he said.

Speaking on PwC's research, he added: "I would second the PwC research because I, myself, am one of those CEOs and owners who received 60 per cent growth of real estate development business as we see the bright side and remain resilient and bullish. Therefore, I am very confident of further growth in the global economy in 2022."


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