Why is the money not flowing in?
According to a report by the United Nations, foreign direct investment in the Middle East fell considerably in 2008, and is set to decline further this year.
September 15, 2009 1:11 by Aarti Nagraj
The main problems, which are restricting investments into the region include, “time-consuming procedures for obtaining licenses and implementing contracts, and the lack and/or incompetence of commercial courts to settle disputes between foreign investors and local parties,” said the report.
It urges the countries to direct investment towards sectors like agriculture, so that they can help resolve the food security crisis in the region.
Some of the countries in the region have already started taking steps to attract more investment; the UAE’s Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, recently said that the government is planning to introduce new laws for foreign investors to do business in the country. He said the cabinet was looking into a draft of a law that would allow 100 percent foreign ownership of industry in the UAE.
The country’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, recently urged Japanese companies to invest in the UAE during a trip to the country. “The UAE has an excellent investment environment and has become one of the most open countries in the Middle East,” she explained.
Officials in Oman meanwhile, have also said that they want to attract foreign investment to the country to reduce its dependence on oil. “There are opportunities for foreign companies to invest in projects to the tune of OMR3 billion ($7.79 billion) in our various industrial estates and free zones,” the country’s Commerce and Industry Minister Makboul bin Ali bin Sultan told Reuters in an interview.
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