Dubai-UAE: 31 January, 2011-Business confidence in the region has picked up significantly since the nadir witnessed during the global financial crisis, with the UAE registering over 30 percent growth in confidence levels, according to a survey conducted across the UAE and Saudi Arabia by management consultancy Oliver Wyman and polling firm Zogby International.
Dr. James Zogby, Founder and President of the Arab American Institute (AAI), presented the results of the ‘Third GCC Business Confidence and Government Reform Survey for 2010’ during a lecture hosted by the Dubai School of Government (DSG), a leading research and teaching institution focusing on public policy in the Arab world.
The results highlighted issues including business confidence in the GCC region, key business priorities to improve competitiveness going forward, and areas that governments need to focus more on, including education and labor reform. The areas are classified under two themes – Competitiveness, as well as Growth and Reform.
The survey revealed that executives are largely satisfied with the government response to economic challenges, with the UAE scoring a 69 percent satisfaction rate. However, they are wary that sanctions against Iran may significantly impact their businesses.
Dr. Zogby said: "Our aim in conducting this poll is to assess business confidence in the region and provide a feedback mechanism to governments in terms of reform priorities. The business confidence in the region is relatively high on current and future prospects. Of course, the survey results cannot be termed as facts, because they are purely the perceptions of senior business executives.
"Executives in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia cite restrictive labour regulations and limited access to financing as the biggest hurdles to doing business. Although the respondents were satisfied with the government measures post-crisis, they have expressed the opinion that education and labour reforms are urgently needed in the region.”
For the first time, the GCC was included as an option for preference of geographic expansion for growth for both the UAE and Saudi executives in the survey. Nearly 80 percent of the executives who responded to the survey said they consider the GCC region a priority for new investment opportunities.
Dr. Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government, said: "We are pleased to host the launch of the Oliver Wyman–Zogby survey results for 2010. Insightful analysis based on candid feedback from executives and industry leaders is absolutely essential for the formulation of sound economic and social policy.”
Established in 2005 in cooperation with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Dubai School of Government is committed to the creation of knowledge, and dissemination of global best practices in the Arab world. The school conducts various programmes that seek to enhance the region's capacity for effective public policy.