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UAE, Qatar lead Middle East in 2023 global foreign investment ranking  

The United Arab Emirates sat in the top position among MENA markets and ranked 4th globally.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images

DUBAI — Middle East economies ranked among the top 25 countries on Kearney's 2023 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (FDICI), with the United Arab Emirates leading the region.

The Kearny FDICI is an annual survey of global business executives that ranks markets according to their investment outlook over the next three years.

While its first report was released in 1998, this is the first time the firm has dedicated an index to emerging markets. 

What happened: Six countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region made it on the top 25 list of emerging markets attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI). They are, with their global rankings:

1. UAE at 3rd

2. Qatar at 4th

3. Saudi Arabia at 6th

4. Egypt at 14th

5. Turkey at 15th

6. Morocco at 16th  

Why it matters: This is the first time the 25-year-old index has created an exclusive ranking for emerging markets, identifying which are the most attractive to investors. 

In 2021, Saudi Arabia introduced a new national investment strategy that set an FDI goal of more than $100 billion annually by 2030.

The Dubai Economic Agenda launched in January of this year is of note. The $8.7 trillion plan aims to make Dubai a leading world city by measure of economic strength over the next 10 years. It involves an initiative to take 30 private companies to unicorn status, meaning worth more than $1 billion. 

Overall, more than 82% of the business executives surveyed by Kearny said they are planning to increase FDI in the next three years, rising from 76% last year. 

However, Kearney recognized that despite positive sentiments from investors this year, emerging markets face the risks of commodity price increases, ongoing political instability from issues like the Russia-Ukraine war and global inflation.

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