The UAE, which forms part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), has been growing rapidly over the past decade or two, mostly on the back of its oil reserves. The COVID-19 pandemic has not nearly made such a large impact on the GCC countries as is the case in most other countries. The GCC countries have, very effectively, over the past couple of years been able to diversify away from their reliance on oil to other sectors albeit far from completely as oil remains a large contributor to the GDP of this region.
Dubai, one of the Emirates in the UAE, has been most successful in applying its diversification strategy with more than 95% of its GDP being contributed from non-oil-based sectors. Truly remarkable if you consider where they were 20 years ago. The same approach is currently being followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with its Vision 2030 placing emphasis on growing non-oil-based sectors such as tourism, finance, health, real estate and housing, industrialization, logistics and many more. All this is underpinned by a huge drive in upskilling the human capital capabilities of the Saudis through what they call Saudization as well as hiring external qualified personnel.
What you have been thinking or led to believe about the GCC countries are most probably outdated as these countries are offering much more than they used to. Your perception of these countries has also, to a large extent, been shaped by western media which I believe to be very one-sided, to say the least.
With the local South African economy at a tipping point, employees and businesses are economically struggling to get back to the pre-COVID-19 world of economic growth they have been accustomed to. Companies are struggling and as a result numerous employees, even the highly skilled ones, have either been laid off or are struggling to make that all necessary career progress. Companies on the other hand are struggling to grow organically as consumer confidence are down and spending is not what it used to be.
Well, what does this mean for you and why is it important?
Simple: opportunities. An unbelievable number of opportunities for personal growth and company expansion.
The diversification drive by the GCC countries including the Vision 2030 in KSA is generating numerous employment opportunities for skilled labour. For instance, the loss of skilled labour in the South African mining and industrial sectors are scooped up by the large companies in Saudi Arabia as part of upskilling their human capital and diversification drive. They are hiring the best people at very good compensation ‒ the same goes for Dubai and the UAE. There are many employment opportunities awaiting you in the Middle East.
Along with the drive for diversification in the GCC comes supply chain opportunities. If you can provide your products or services in the GCC (or globally), then the opportunity exists for you to set up a company that can capitalize on supply chain spending by GCC companies. Dubai provides numerous opportunities for setting up a tax-efficient company structure allowing for 100% foreign ownership and access to world-leading infrastructure. Access to foreign currencies and no Reserve Bank regulations limiting the flow of capital provides for business-friendly and effective structures to start your offshore expansion.
Communication and internet (WiFi) capabilities are extremely good in Dubai. This will definitely be a requirement as more and more meetings are held on the likes of Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
With Dubai being centrally located and having one of the biggest airports in the world, it has many established flight routes making flights very affordable. Once you are in Dubai you can also keep costs to a minimum if you do not continuously make use of all the major tourist attractions but rather try to keep it local. Hotels, Airbnb or long-term rental are very affordable if you do not seek property in the main areas.
Dubai has been ranked as one of the safest cities in the world. Whether you are male or female, you will feel safe in the city. Notwithstanding petty crime such as pocket-picking, which can be found across the world, your life will most probably never be in danger. You can also make use of public transport with ease and without feeling unsafe. If public transport is a concern for women, then you have the option of calling a taxi with a female driver.
Dubai has a lot to offer, from global attractions to local experiences that will leave you breathless. With a phone call or making use of an app, you can book many different experiences in this city. Visit the world’s biggest shopping mall or take a dive with dolphins at Atlantis. Visiting any of the other six Emirates is also a must as you get to experience the desert and Arab way of living.
Being geographically very well situated and having access to a third of the world’s population within a three-hour flight provides for ample economic opportunities. Investing time and effort into understating the eb and flow of the city and setting up networks will yield unbelievable results for you.
Dubai’s time Zone make it an excellent choice. There is a time difference of two hours between Dubai and South Africa and Dubai is relatively well situated when doing business with any of the other major countries. If you decide to work remotely, you will easily be able to fit into the work schedule and times required by your company.
If diversifying your international property portfolio and not missing out on this once in a lifetime opportunity is something that is on your mind, get in contact now.