This year saw more than 230 buy-side investors from 131 institutions from the MENA region, the US and Europe meet with representatives from 59 of the Arab world’s leading companies for face-to-face discussions, providing key insight for those seeking to invest in MENA’s rapid growth.
“The very first One on One conference took place during the economic downturn of 2001,” explained Karim Awad, Co-CEO of EFG Hermes Investment Bank. “It was about giving companies a platform to tell their story to investors savvy enough to look beyond statistics and headlines and capitalize on the opportunities available in the MENA capital markets. And it is in that same spirit that we carried out this year’s conference.”
The EFG Hermes Research forecasts c4.6% weighted GDP growth in the 11 MENA countries it covers, and projects MENA equities will outperform equity and debt markets in the coming year, with expected returns of 10%. According to the latest IMF projections, MENA economies were poised to achieve GDP growth 70% stronger than forecasts for the United States and well above the zero-growth environment expected in the Eurozone in 2013.
“The strong showing at this year’s One on One Conference Dubai is a clear signal investors feel that investment upsides in the region far outweigh the risks inherent to political transition in of some of the MENA markets in questions,” explained Mohamed Ebeid EFG Hermes Co-Head of Securities Brokerage.
The largest MENA-dedicated conference in the Middle East, this year’s One on One featured firms from nine countries with a combined market capitalization of $215bn, representing the full spectrum of high-growth sectors in the region, including consumer goods, energy, financial services, health care, industrials, materials, real estate, hospitality, telecommunications and utilities. Presenting companies from Egypt had the opportunity to renew investor confidence in Egypt and bolster support for economic recovery.
“With economic stagnation and double-dip recessions affecting the United States, Europe and even Asia, the Arab world provides compelling investment opportunities. Despite the political turbulence in some MENA countries, we still have plentiful natural resources, a large consumer market, and diversified economies,” said Wael Ziada, EFG Hermes Head of Research.
Karim Awad inaugurated the conference, with the honourable attendance of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, global economist and best-selling author Richard Duncan and high-ranking government officials from the Arab world and Africa rounding out the guest list, which included Egyptian Minister of Investment, Mr. Osama Saleh.
“Judging by this impressive turnout, we are thrilled to see we are not alone in our continuing belief in the opportunities offered by Arab capital markets,” added Awad.
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