Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE accounted for 62 percent of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the Middle East in the first half of this year, says a report. Retail and consumer products, business services and real estate, hospitality and construction topped FDI choices, according to global consultant Ernst & Young (E&Y). Saudi Arabia was also the big regional winner in 2011 with 161 investments worth $ 14.7 bn, establishing the Kingdom as the largest recipient of FDI by value.
Other markets that outperformed the previous year in 2011 included Bahrain, Iraq and Oman. The study also found many foreign companies' immediate investment plans were affected by the uncertain global economic outlook and the recent unrest in some Middle Eastern countries. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have managed to occupy a positive space in the minds of investors and attract a large portion of actual FDI, said E&Y transactions advisory services managing partner Phil Gandier.
"International investors see bigger internal markets, more accessible customers, a stable political environment and better transport and logistics infrastructure as some of the most attractive features of these economies," said Gandier. The region has seen the number of annual FDI projects increase from 362 in 2003 to a peak of 1,070 in 2008.