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Sharjah: On the radar

By Oxford Business Group The outlook for 2011 is one of correction and consolidation for Sharjah’s real estate sector. The market should slowly start to pick up, though recovery is expected to be modest in the shorter term before gaining momentum. According to data issued by the Sharjah Real Estate Information Service in mid-November, rental …

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Dubai: Building recovery

By Oxford Business Group Dubai’s construction sector is still dealing with the fallout of the global recession. Some segments are experiencing gathering momentum while others may have to look beyond 2011 before demand picks up and confidence returns. An oversupply of residential and commercial properties has resulted in the sector redressing the speed with which …

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Bahrain: Encouraging entrepreneurship

By Oxford Business Group A renewed focus on entrepreneurship is at the heart of Bahrain’s efforts to diversify its economy and achieve the goals outlined in its long-term development plan, Economic Vision 2030. In a sign of its commitment to promoting entrepreneurship, the country hosted the 10th International Entrepreneurship Forum on January 10-11, the first time …

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Algeria: Highs and lows in education

By Oxford Business Group This has been a historic year for the Algerian education sector, with a record percentage of students passing national exams and government initiatives expanding schooling subsidies. However, teachers continue to call for changes and have threatened to strike. In July, the government reported that the percentage of students who had passed …

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Saudi Arabia: Playing it safe

By Oxford Business Group The companies listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange, or Tadawul, have a joint value of some $320 billion. However, unlike most of the bourses operated by its neighbours, Saudi Arabia’s stock market is only now cautiously opening up to direct foreign trading. Currently, foreign investors have limited avenues by which they can …

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Jordan: Healthy growth

By Oxford Business Group Jordan is fast turning medical tourism into a mainstay of the kingdom’s economy, with the sector likely to soon turn a healthy profit thanks to the high levels of public and private investment in hospitals, medical facilities and staff training. Jordan is well established in the medical tourism sector, having welcomed foreign …

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Lebanon: Moment of truth

By Oxford Business Group While Lebanon’s economy has performed soundly over the past year, there are lingering concerns that political instability could weaken investor confidence in the capital markets, unwinding economic progress made in the last year. The political climate has become increasingly heated in the past few months due to a standoff between Shia movement …

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Egypt’s formula for growth

By Oxford Business Group CAIRO: Legal wrangling over a new pricing plan for Egypt’s pharmaceuticals has not dampened confidence in the sector, with rising domestic demand expected to ensure robust profits over the next decade. The Ministry of Health last year introduced a new drug-pricing regime under which brand-named drugs were priced 10 percent lower than …

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Abu Dhabi: Green ambitions

By Oxford Business Group While Abu Dhabi is introducing a series of green initiatives, like other rapidly developing cities it faces challenges in reducing its carbon footprint over the short term. For the municipality this means turning Abu Dhabi into a location rich in green areas that are increasingly nourished by recycled water. “Sustainability is the …

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Morocco: Positive tale for retail

By Oxford Business Group Morocco’s retail sector is set to undergo a major shift in the coming years as large-scale purpose-built retail areas become more prevalent but moves away from traditional small-scale shops to massive retail malls may be slowed by incremental growth in consumer spending. The retail sector is a major contributor to the economy, …

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Syria: Gearing up for IT

By Oxford Business Group Although tourists might head straight to Souk Al-Hamidiyya, in fact, one of the biggest souks in Damascus these days is unquestionably Souk Al-Bahsa. It might lack the former’s picturesque charm, but here you’ll find talented young merchants selling software and hardware at knock-down prices. In many ways Souk Al-Bahsa is a testament …

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Egypt looks to make the grade

By Oxford Business Group CAIRO: Moves to encourage greater private investment in education in Egypt could provide an important boost to the country, bringing in resources and supporting ongoing reform efforts. Education is a key area in which Egypt is seeking higher levels of foreign investment, Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who is …

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Jordan: Industrial evolution

By Oxford Business Group State support and incentives combined with growing confidence in the local economy are helping Jordan’s manufacturing industries deal with challenges being caused by globalization. Manufacturing industries currently contribute around 16 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) but will likely fall as the share of services and information and communications technology grows in …

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Bahrain: Improving the flow

By Oxford Business Group Major upgrades to the kingdom’s ports and roads as part of a long-term drive to strengthen logistics are raising the prospects of job creation and the interest of foreign investors. Last month the General Organization of Sea Ports (GOP) invited bids for the construction of a service zone at the Khalifa bin …

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Morocco: Paths to progress

By Oxford Business Group Optimism in Morocco’s business environment, seen in recent World Bank plaudits for its measures to protect investors, is likely to be further boosted by a series of major transport infrastructure projects that are under way. Speaking at a World Economic Forum conference held in Marrakech in October, Karim Ghellab, equipment and transport …

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Dubai: Confidence boost

By Oxford Business Group There are signs that Dubai is hitting the road to recovery, with investors once again eyeing the benefits of the emirate’s foreign direct investment (FDI) credentials and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting a modest growth rate of 0.5 percent this year. A robust recovery by Asia has impacted positively on Dubai’s …

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Kuwait: Towards a healthy future

By Oxford Business Group While Kuwait’s rapid modernization over the past two decades has seen a rise in life expectancies and a decline in illness rates, the changes in lifestyle associated with rising wealth have created their own set of challenges. In early November the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) released its latest human development index …

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RAK: Ready for take-off

By Oxford Business Group The relaunch of Ras Al Khaimah’s national air carrier, RAK Airways, in October came as major upgrades of roads, ports and the airport are under way as part of the emirate’s plans to become a regional transport centre and increase exports. RAK Airways suspended operations a year ago in the wake of …

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Lebanon: Balancing act on debt

By Oxford Business Group Lebanon’s government has been urged by a multilateral lender to strengthen its public finances, upgrade infrastructure and improve the business environment to sustain recent macroeconomic progress. However, servicing the nation’s vast public debt is a constant drain on the funds needed for many of these initiatives. In its latest assessment of the …

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