By Gavin Davids
Report shows that 18 Arab states drew investments worth $80.7bn in the region.
In a report released by The Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation on Tuesday, Kuwait topped Arab countries at the level if ‘exports of investments’ to Arab states in 2009.
Kuwaiti investments in eight Arab countries amounted to approximately $6.1 billion; some 31.9 percent of the overall inter Arab business. Saudi Arabian and UAE investments were estimated at $4.3 billion and $1.2 billion respectively.
In terms of business in Arab countries, Abu Dhabi ranked second with 26.3 percent, or $5.1 billion, of total inter Arab investments, followed by Bahrain with $1.7 billion or 8.7 percent. Qatar invested $1.2 billion or 6.5 percent, with Jordan trailing with $1.1 billion or 5.8 percent.
The report showed that 18 Arab states drew investments worth $80.7 billion, compared to $95 billion in 2008, with the drop attributed to the impact of the global financial recession.
However, it also indicated that the investment atmosphere in the Arab states remained largely regular due to vital legislations being enacted, increased incentives for investors, slashing of taxes and the drawing up of bilateral and multiparty transactions.
Saudi Arabia led the inflow of foreign investments in the region, reaching $35.5 billion in 2009, some 44 percent of the total inflow, followed by Qatar with $8.7 billion and the UAE with $8.6 billion.
The proportion of investments at the inter Arab level was estimated at 27.7 percent for the industrial sector and 36.7 percent in agriculture.
The report added that a number of factors helped the investment atmosphere of the region, including the continuation of reform efforts, namely the expansion of e-government schemes, abidance of Arab governments by privatization strategies, increased investment opportunities and the establishment of industrial zones and towns.
GCC countries that posted a hike in luring foreign investment in 2008-2009 were Qatar and Kuwait, while those that posted a decline were Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.