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Middle East to lead world out of downturn, survey reports

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, March 04 - 2009 @ 15:43

Almost two third of respondents say they’re, “very optimistic” about the long-term prospects for their company in the Middle East, with another 33% “optimistic”.

On the outlook for this year, 66% are “optimistic” or “very optimistic”.

“The long-term fundamentals of this region have not gone away overnight, and business leaders clearly see the UAE and the Middle East as a great opportunity,” said James Magee, CEO of the 4th Connect-World CEO Forum.

Magee added:

“The region is home to more than half the world’s proven oil reserves, which will underpin strong growth and consumer spending. At the same time, governments are aggressively promoting investment to diversify the economy in a range of industries including finance, tourism, transport and manufacturing.”

The 4th Connect-World CEO Forum takes place in Dubai between March 17th and 19th. Hundreds of business leaders are gathering in the city to network, share ideas and enjoy a strong line-up of regional and international speakers. Menu Discovery conducted the online poll of 188 respondents on behalf of the World CEO Forum.

Most respondents predict exports to the UAE will rise sharply in coming years. For example, US exports to the UAE were worth $10.1bn in 2007. More than half the respondents (52%) say that figure will surpass $25bn by 2015. Respondents based in the US – just under a third of the total – were even more optimistic, with all of them predicting some increase in exports to the UAE.

Most (92%) predict a similar increase in Chinese exports to the UAE, which totaled $14.9bn in 2007. They were slightly less optimistic about Indian exports: just under half predict they will rise over the same period, from $11.6bn in 2007.

“Many Middle East governments built up huge cash reserves during the recent oil boom, and so entered the credit crunch in a position of enormous economic strength, not weakness,” said Magee. “We saw that last week, when the UAE Central Bank lent $10bn to Dubai. It’s clear that business leaders from around the world see great value in that, today and in the future.”

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Wednesday, March 4- 2009 @ 15:43 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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