As the year 2016 commences, the Middle East faces another combination of socio-political and economic challenges. In a post-Arab Spring Middle East, the so-called Islamic State extremist group poses a real threat to global security, the war in Yemen is under way, the fate of Syrian politics hangs in the balance, oil prices are at a record low, oil-dependent governments have implemented cuts in spending, and financial institutions have become conservative in lending, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The sluggish recovery of world markets from the global downturn adds to the challenges.
But despite these challenges, the Middle East remains synonymous with rapid growth and development. Egypt is regaining political stability and its economic might. Foreign investors applaud the recent lifting of sanctions on Iran. The Lebanese and Jordanian economies are stable. Saudi Arabia, despite the decline in oil prices, is a formidable economic force. Most of the rest of the Middle East is on a growth trajectory. One economy that particularly shines is the UAE. The UAE has seen meteoric growth in the past few decades and made a swift recovery from the global economic downturn, which only temporarily dampened its market.
So the question arises, what is the secret to the performance of the Middle Eastern economies, despite continued adverse conditions? The answer lies in the Middle East’s resilience and innovation. In this article the authors discuss a few features of Middle Eastern economies, taking the UAE as a standard, which demonstrate such resilience and innovation.
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