The Middle East region includes countries from Western Asia and North Africa and stands out apart from other regions due to its rich historical, cultural, economic, and religious background. The region has been the origin of some major religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. A significant part of the Middle Eastern economy is supported by crude oil production.
In recent times, a number of countries in the region have faced political upheaval and instability. However, with stable oil prices and continuous efforts of some countries to diversify their economies, the region is growing rapidly, providing a variety of potential opportunities and challenges.
Market Research in the Middle East
Market Research in Middle East can provide marketers with an opportunity to understand the current growth trends and consumer needs.
The countries that are typically considered part of Middle East includes Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Palestinian Territories, Oman, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Cyprus and Bahrain.
Among them, Middle Eastern markets are highly diverse. Beyond Arabic, Persian and Turkish are other two commonly spoken languages in the region. The region contains economies which range from socialist economies to free market economies, providing additional complexity in understanding the region as a whole.
Oil and Gas Opportunities
The most significant support for the region’s economy comes from oil production industry, both in terms of revenues and labor movement. However, countries like Turkey, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Iran are taking measures to diversify their economies.
Iran has a largest number of diverse industries. The country has nearly 40 established industries that include agriculture, telecommunication, automotive, petrochemicals, mining, banking, and financial services. Turkey is also going through reforms to privatize, industrialize, and diversify major economic industries in order to become a member of European Union.
Saudi Arabia is recently placing a greater emphasis on investments in the education sector owing to the fact that a large segment of its population is under the age of 15. Countries such as Egypt and Libya heavily depend on tourism to support their economies.
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most modern, diversified economies in the region. The country is largely dependent on foreign investments and tourism, and offers free trade agreements, no taxes, and complete ownership to foreign investors to encourage them. Israel is another highly developed state in the region which ranks as the 15th highest developed country in the world according to the Human Development Index.