The UAE offers unrivaled ease of doing business in the MENA region, according to The World Bank’s 2016 report. The UAE is ranked 31st globally, the highest of any Arab nation, with Bahrain and Qatar next in line at 65th and 68th respectively. But what does this mean? Well, firstly, the UAE spends vast amounts on infrastructure. The last decade has seen huge swathes of land transformed into residential and business clusters. The Burj Khalifa sits atop ground once occupied by a military base. Old time residents of the UAE will remember the area as ‘Defence Roundabout’.
In addition to internal developments,, the UAE works externally. Dubai is home to Emirates Airline; Abu Dhabi is home to Etihad. They put the UAE within a direct flight’s reach of almost everywhere in the world (I am flying to Auckland in December – 17 hours on the same plane!). There are multiple daily flights to Bahrain and Qatar (approximately one hour away), Saudi and Iran are similarly connected (now that sanctions are easing, Iran may offer an opportunity). Oman and Kuwait are also well linked. Slightly further afield, India is just a 3 hour flight away.
Most GCC currencies are pegged to the US Dollar, so one penny in Dubai is equal to one penny in Doha. And, the GCC rail project, which will open for cargo, we hope, in 2018, will mean goods have a way of travelling the region as easily as people currently can.
Not all GCC countries operate in the same way, but if you want to test the waters The World Bank says the UAE is the easiest place to stretch your legs from.