The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Middle east: At last – steps toward a deeper and wider market

Independent market regulation and a more relaxed approach to foreign investment are among new policies setting Arab states on the road to more dynamic markets. Not before time – accession to the World Trade Organization means the doors will have to open to foreign competition.

Author: Nigel Dudley

There are positive signs for the investment community. Senior Arab Figures, such as Bahraini Finance minister Abdullah Saif, are calling for the creation of a 'capital-markets culture' in the region. All the stock exchanges are buying state-of-the-art computerized technology. Saudi Arabia has introduced changes in its investment laws designed to attract more foreign capital and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is, after years of prevarication, edging toward a formal exchange which will replace the lottery of the over-the-counter market. Even the Palestinian Authority has an exchange and was the fastest growing market in the region last year.

Local fund managers are increasingly positive about opportunities, citing the combination of political and economic stability, the relaxation in foreign investment laws, the new-found readiness to privatize state industries, the waiving of taxes and currency stability against the dollar.

According to Maha Al-Ghunaim, managing director of the Kuwait-based investment bank Global Investment House (GIH), "the Gulf Co-operation Council [GCC] equity markets are the last frontier in emerging markets. We believe this area is undergoing a major restructuring.

Foreign investors' laws are currently being approved and implemented in almost all GCC countries."

However, bankers and politicians are well aware that it will take several years to make significant progress.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree