Pathfinder Priority Markets 2017

Michael Thomas Reveals Promising Markets

Tuesday, 14th February 2017

The question now remains: where are the markets which offer UK businesses the best and most secure opportunities in today’s economic and political climate in the Middle East region? The first thing we would suggest is that in doing business in the Middle East one must be nimble footed; when one country market door closes (usually because of political instability or a lack of available finance), another door opens elsewhere in the region.

When deciding which markets to pursue we must take account of the problems brought about by the reduction of 50% in the price of oil and regional instability, not to mention Islamic State, which I am sure will be a relatively short term phenomena. Many countries now find themselves in a position where their outgoings are exceeding their incomes. Whilst some nations, particularly in the GCC, still have very deep pockets, it is a fact that cash flow is affecting all budgetary planning.

This year I have decided that Pathfinder will focus on, as a first priority, the developing markets of Kuwait, Qatar and The UAE - with particular emphasis on Abu Dhabi, and Oman. Kuwait is looking very good for business with great plans for development following a period of stagnation due to the Iraq war. Other countries which I believe offer some good opportunities for business development and trade which we shall be visiting are Jordan, and Bahrain. We will keep a close watching brief on Libya and Egypt and Iran, a country of great potential with which we need to engage, immediate key areas for consideration with Iran are the development of Oil and Gas, perhaps pipe lines to deliver petroleum products to Europe as well as financial services and training. Saudi Arabia also deserves a closer look next year which we will do.

Sadly the truth of the matter is that British exports to some of the region have lost ground. This does not mean to say we will not recover, but it does mean those of us who are in the business of connecting business to the MENA region must be much more focused on where we go to develop our businesses with the current climate both politically and financially.