DUBAI, United Arab Emirates--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Continued regional turmoil and uncertainty may be affecting senior executives from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar differently. Respondents from the UAE are the most confident about recent improvement and the future, while those from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait are markedly less so. These are among the findings presented at the 5th Oliver Wyman / Financial Times CEO Conference today in Dubai, UAE.
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.
Continued stress within and outside the GCC may exert additional pressure, affecting how senior executives view business priorities and obstacles to business reform in the region. 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.
Other highlights from the survey include:
- Over 60% of executives in UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait see a unified GCC and a single currency as better for business, with UAE most optimistic about the GCC and nearly uniform support of a single currency across all four countries
- Expo 2020 in Dubai will benefit the region by strengthening the GCC’s position, with optimism about these effects greatest in the UAE (perhaps influencing the views of executives on current and future conditions)
- Despite opportunities for increased trade and investment, the impact on business of an open Iran are mixed – driven by its potential for political turmoil; 68% still see the potential for increased tension and instability as a potential negative effect
"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 Pedro Oliveira, Partner and Middle East & Africa Region Head, 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.”
For more information on this survey series, visit the Oliver Wyman website at www.oliverwyman.com/insights/publications/2014/feb/oliver-wyman-zogby-research-poll-2014.html
About Oliver Wyman
From the firm's offices in Dubai, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi, Oliver Wyman serves clients in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. Our MENA-based consultants are recognized industry experts representing 24 nationalities and speaking 17 languages.
Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 50+ cities across 25 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.
Zogby Research Services is a public opinion research firm that conducts polls and analyzes attitudes across the Arab World.