It’s time to look beyond oil

When the question arises of whether or not to do business in the Middle East, we would recommend studying the social, religious, and business scenario of the countries. The stronghold of the GCC economies coupled with the global scenario makes it the ideal time to attract investors in the Middle East. With the country possessing 25% of the world’s oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunities. While the prime occupation centers on oil, the government is encouraging the growth of other business opportunities to reduce concentration on oil. Foreign investors and investments are welcomed and the governments of all these countries are framing investment plans and taking all requisite measures to attract new businesses.

Here are top five businesses that people can try their hands on.

  1. Healthcare

The scope, demand, and need for top-class healthcare services in the entire GCC are stupendous. A growing economy needs excellent healthcare services and the governments are taking steps to attract global healthcare facilities to the region. Leading U.S companies are stepping into the medical scenario of UAE and other Middle Eastern countries to start new ventures and tap the unseen markets. From scientific research, healthcare equipment, education, facilities, to health reimbursement and provisions, Middle East has ample scope and market to attract businesses in all the medical related services.

  1. Farming and Agriculture

Due to climatic conditions, the growth of indigenous crops in the region is comparatively less, leading to major agricultural imports. For e.g. though wheat, barley, and date palms are grown in the Saudi Arabia, the demands are much higher than the supply. You could try your luck at starting an agricultural import business, where you import agricultural produce from neighboring countries. Another option is to start your own agricultural farming of crops that are much in demand in the Middle East. Fish and poultry farming are profitable businesses as imports to the region are very high. From small-scale, medium-scale to larger investments, you can decide the magnitude of the business and go in for the wide spectrum of fundraising options, now available in the country.

  1. Real estate

Real estate investing is a business in the boom in Saudi Arabia due to its thriving economy.  While Dubai is coming up with towering skyscrapers, its big brother Abu Dhabi that is the real estate powerhouse. There is a huge demand for real estate projects for housing and commercial projects in the GCC. Real estate business can be broken down into various sub-categories like

  • Commercial space renting
  • Real estate agents
  • Real estate construction projects
  • Real estate interior designing
  • Home painting
  • Housing rental services
  • Landscaping
  • Property management
  • Plumbing and rainwater harvesting
  • Real estate maintenance service and more.
  1. Processed food

Apart from meeting the needs of the natives of the country, Middle East countries attract a mammoth of tourists which has led to a manifold increase in the demand for food and beverages in the country. The food consumption is expected to reach 4.1 million metric tones by the end of this year. Secondly, the government is geared up to tighten food imports so as to encourage regional manufacturing. With the growth of infrastructure, urbanization, and rising disposable incomes, people have started preferring ready-to-eat meals, paving way for food processing units.

  1. Energy

Oil is the most prominent sector in the region with stupendous growth rate and profitability. Crude oil production, petrochemical projects, power generation, natural gas-related projects, and water desalination and all energy-related projects poised for boom and expansion in the future.

Apart from the above business opportunities, here are a few business ventures that are still untapped and are great investment platforms.

  • Mining
  • Gases sodium
  • Paper industries
  • Hydroxide cement
  • Ammonia industrial
  • Fertilizer plastics
  • Aircraft repair
  • Metal ships repair

So if you are planning to start a business venture in the Middle East and are on a lookout for fundraising, here are some helpful tips.

Fund raising in the Middle East

The oil prices reached their lowest in the decade during 2016. This adversely affected the fundraising environment as investors started moving away from local listed equities, due to the shortage of funds. There was a search for alternative asset classes who have the liquidity and fund structures to sponsor their ventures. Though local fundraisers have been prominent in the region, there has been a radical shift in the sentiments of businesses due to factors like local turbulence, fall in oil prices and more.

Fundraising is also a challenging job in the GCC as only authorized entities licensed by the CMA can manage fund-raising operations. Moreover, fundraising opportunities have grown manifold in the last few years as more investors have decided to hold business operations in the Middle East. Further, fundraising is different in Kuwait as compared to Egypt and the various parts of the Middle East. Hence the need of the hour is a competent and seasoned fundraising organization that has experience in the realm of fundraising and has in-depth knowledge of the Middle East’s social, political, and business scenario.