New economy has more opportunities than old economy, says GCC executives

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on October 23, 2020
AFP File photo

Gulf economies will grow as the region is home to large young population

There are more opportunities in the new economy than the old in the region in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and it is high time for those who have cash in hand to tap those opportunities, according to top GCC executives.

Mishal Kanoo, Chairman of Kaaf Investments, said arrival and adoption of new technologies has been expedited after the pandemic.

"During pre-Covid-19 time, virtual conferences were creeping and then almost all of a sudden, everyone is on virtual conference. If these virtual companies didn’t exist, we would not have conferences. Similarly, when retailers were hit, they moved to e-commerce. In such situations, if you have cash, this is ideal time for shopping," Kanoo said during the panel discussion on the third-day of the Annual Investment Meeting.

He advised to find those companies that in foreseeable will have better growth opportunities. "Try to find industries that are going to benefit shift from the paradigm shift happening due to Covid-19. There are more opportunities in new economies than old economy. Those who are stuck in old economy are not going to benefit."

Kanoo has strong confidence that the Gulf economies will grow as the region is home to large young population who are strong brand-oriented and consumer spending is also high while the region enjoys plenty of liquidity.

"Yes, people have curtailed spending but it will start happening again. The more restrictions are eased by governments on Covid-19, the more spending will increase," he said, adding that "Dubai has taken more such steps and you can see that Dubai is coming back."

Sameer Nawaz, head investment banking at GIB Capital, said liquidity in the Saudi equity market is tremendous.

"Volume were $1 billion to $1.2 billion last year and now it stands at $2 billion to $2.5 billion. We are also seeing fair amount of sukuks and mergers and acquisitions, though some of M&As were driven by Covid-19. Cash is king but those who has cash is in strong position," he said during the panel discussion. The panel was hosted by Arshad Khan, CEO of Arabian Bourse.

Fahad Abdulqader Al Qassim, CEO of Emirates NBD Capital, said family offices are looking for opportunities in both old and new economy.

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