'You have to be bullish on Dubai with a long view' - CEO.
The chief executive of Deloitte said he is upbeat about Dubai and the Gulf's economic prospects despite the emirate's debt troubles, as the accounting firm seeks to double its headcount in the Middle East.
Deloitte, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, is advising Dubai World, the conglomerate that is currently restructuring $22 billion in debt.
Dubai rattled global markets in November when it asked for a standstill on billions of dollars of debt at some of its flagship companies, raising concerns about the emirate's economic model.
"If in fact the infrastructure is in place here - and I think it is uniquely in place here - if you look not only at your immediate region but all of your neighbours ... then I think you have to be bullish on Dubai with a long view," Deloitte's chief executive Jim Quigley told reporters.
Deloitte, active in auditing, tax and advisory services, also sees growth in Dubai picking up as investors, who during the crisis remained cautious, are ready to start pouring cash in the markets again.
"We're seeing a pickup in investments globally, a lot of cash which has been on the sidelines is coming back in the market place," said Robert Kimmitt, a former U.S. deputy treasury secretary, who is now chairman of Deloitte's Center for Cross Border Investment.
Quigley and Kimmitt are visiting officials and companies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.
"Most are cautious about 2010 but expecting the recovery to gain some momentum in the second half and that 2011 and 2012 will be more towards historical levels of growth," Kimmitt said.
"We are right now at 2000 ... in our Middle East practice ... but if you sustain double digit growth you're going to be doubling that ... in reasonably short time," Quigley said.
"Having an ambition to see that number beyond 4,000 is not a huge stretch," he said. (Reuters)