CAIRO: The Middle East will be the fastest growing region in the world in 2009, says a recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
“In 2009, [Asia will] lose the top slot as the most growing region in the world to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as its openness to trade has left it highly exposed to the recession in the developed world, says the report.
Although the slowdown in growth across the region has had a dampening effect on scores for the categories of market opportunities and the macroeconomic environment, the scores have fallen by less than in other regions.
The report, titled “Globalization Stalled, explores the effect of the global economic turmoil on the business environment. The report expects the current crisis to have a significant impact on business environments in the medium term.
“Only a few MENA countries are expected to experience an outright recession, the report said.
The best overall rankings among the 13 Middle Eastern countries are for the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and for Israel.
The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by Country Forecasts using a standard analytical framework.
Egypt has improved its rank in the assessment, positioning itself at 49, of 82 countries covered by the model, moving up from 60 in the period between 2004 and 2008.
“Egypt, which has risen rapidly up the rankings in the historical period, owing to its explicitly business-friendly policies, is delaying the introduction of its new property tax as part of a strategy of bolstering consumption and investment during the downturn, says the report.
The report provides an assessment of how the current global financial and economic crisis will affect the global business environment in the medium term, as seen through the prism of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Business Environment Rankings (BER) model.
The global business landscape will be characterized by greater caution, less liquidity, lower cross-border capital flows, and tighter regulation and less risk-taking.
The BER model, which was first introduced in 1996, measures the attractiveness of the business environment and its key components, using quantitative data, business surveys and expert assessments to measure the attractiveness of countries’ business environments for forecast as well as historical five-year periods.