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It might seem surprising to see the words recovery and Middle East in the same sentence. After all, this part of the world is arguably facing harsher economic conditions than most at present. The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are facing the triple whammy of the Coronavirus pandemic, weak financial markets and the collapsing price of the commodity on which GCC economies are built – oil.

Coming during the holy month of Ramadan, this shock to the system has certainly put a brake on activity in the region’s economies and financial markets – just as it has elsewhere in the world.

But this a resilient place. The leaders of the GCC nations remain focused on their long-term visions for their countries’ futures. In the UAE, Dubai has an ambitious Economic Vision for the next 10 years, as does Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, governments in Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait have published their own long-term strategies. And Saudi Arabia too has big plans for its own economy.

Alongside these huge statements of intent, the Gulf nations have made huge long-term investments in their economies and societies, and commitments to continue the development of their infrastructure.

It’s reassuring to note that none of the leaders in these countries have wavered: they all continue to believe in their visions. While the current situation is undoubtedly a setback, the Gulf states are taking a longer-term view on their economic plans.

That’s immensely reassuring for investors and businesses looking to deploy capital into the region.

While it’s still too early for companies to get access to Middle East markets, there are some signs of restrictions starting to ease. Dubai has led the way, easing daytime movement restrictions during Ramadan. And Saudi Arabia has allowed businesses to reopen and eased movement bans.

And although doing in business in the GCC largely remains as difficult as in other parts of the world, there is still a lot that companies can do to prepare for the bounceback. Here are some ideas you could use to ready your business for the future.

  1. Ask if your clients’ needs have changed. Has the market for your services been disrupted by the pandemic or falling markets? If so, you may need to pivot on your strategy. For example, if investors’ risk appetite has fallen, then they may be looking to you for lower-risk investments than they were six months ago.
  1. Review your marketing plans. The tactical campaigns you were planning at the start of the year will probably need to be changed. Now’s a great time to do that, in conjunction with the review of your clients’ expected needs.
  1. Overcommunicate with all your stakeholders. For all companies in the investment industry, it’s critical to keep talking – to your staff, your suppliers, your distributors and your clients. People are looking for reassurance – not blind faith that things are going to improve, but rather your insight into what the future holds for them if they stick with you.
  1. Crises and significant changes always create winners and losers. When the rules of the game change, the most successful companies are looking for ways to innovate, identify new opportunities and pivot their strategy.
  1. Re-engage your people with renewed goals. After a chaotic period for your people, who may have been working from home or on furlough, their return to work is an important opportunity for you to re-motivate them. Restate your company vision, your mission and your values, and get them excited about the new plans. Then work together to build some individual goals that encourage them to engage with your vision.

Now might seem too early to be thinking about all this. But if you can get your preparation right now, then when the markets open again in the coming weeks and months, you’ll be ready to implement your strategy and outperform your competitors. That’s a great plan for the fastest bounceback possible.

If you’d like to hear more about how Copylab can help you out in the Middle East, please contact:

 

John Holmes

John Holmes 

Strategic Director, Asia & Middle East 

john.holmes@copylabgroup.com