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Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE Shift Attention Away from Africa

Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE Shift Attention Away from Africa

Sunday, 29 May, 2022 - 10:45
A water treatment plant in Egypt. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Investment opportunities in the Arab markets have emerged, in light of the successive crises that have impacted the global economy, starting with the global financial crisis in 2008, the geopolitical changes in the Middle East, the coronavirus pandemic and the current war in Ukraine.

Countries that have carried out broad economic reforms attracted the most foreign investments.

Shady Samir, President of SELECT International Group, said Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have reaped the greatest number of projects by his company in 2021 due to their massive investment potential.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he explained that the markets that implemented economic reforms and adopted a long-term future vision in the region need large capital that can exploit their investment opportunities.

He described these markets as “promising,” noting that they limited the group's expansion process in Africa.

He highlighted the remarkable investment opportunities in most of the economic sectors in Egypt, the oil, tourism and entertainment investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the financial and technological services sector in the UAE.

SELECT operates in 26 different countries, including Scotland and the United States. It specializes in technology infrastructure, data science, water, and investment.

However, it recently shifted its investment activities and focused on three Arab markets, namely Cairo, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, despite having a branch in Morocco targeting the African market.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from his office in eastern Cairo, Samir said Egypt accounted for 57% of the company’s business volume in 2021, while Saudi Arabia accounted for 32%, followed by the UAE, then London and Edinburgh.

He expected his company to pump more than 300 million pounds to implement projects this year and increase revenues in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by 20%.

“This is a good profit margin considering the successive crises the global economy has been facing, especially since it was targeting a 25% profit rate.”

The companies achieved a 20% increase in revenue during 2021.

The group acquires 30% of its financing from credit facilities by private banks in the countries where it operates.

The volume of its business in Egypt reached around two billion Egyptian pounds ($107.3 million) in 2022.

Samir explained that the uncertainty in the global economy and rapid changes in financial and monetary policies in major world countries have prompted investors to withdraw their funds from emerging markets, such as Egypt, reducing the availability of foreign currencies.

However, the measures taken by relevant authorities have reduced the impact of these crises and helped attract local, Arab and foreign investments.

In this context, Samir stressed that the dynamic and rapid economic changes have shifted the companies’ strategies to focus on medium-term projects.

The group holds 60% of the universities market share in data science in England and 94% of their shares in the Middle East.

The volume of the company’s contracts in the water sector in Egypt reached around EGP2.5 billion in a period of three years, Samir revealed.

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