Executives will need a balanced portfolio approach to protect against over-reliance on the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2024

FrontierView’s fundamental assumptions and key actions for planning 2024 strategies

Multinationals face high expectations but a complex MEA region to manage as they plan for 2024. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are attracting strong attention amid high oil revenues and expansion of projects, but the reality on the ground is more complicated. Egypt and Turkiye have strong potential but are facing significant financial risks. Qatar and Kuwait are disappointing against high expectations, but Iraq is emerging as a key opportunity. 

As executives confirm plans for 2024 across their MEA portfolio, they can use our brief set of top assumptions to align their organizations internally. 

Executives will also need to monitor financial risk next year—use our MEA FX and Inflation Trackers for the latest data and forecasts in the region.

Suggested Actions to Take for Multinationals in the Region

  • Market and Product Portfolio Strategy:
    • Double down on stronger markets, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. 
    • Ensure your preparations for Saudi Arabia’s RHQ regulation are in line with government expectations, and communicate the necessary cost and localization implications to your HQ.
    • Limit exposure to Egypt until the macro situation and payment timelines improve.
    • Invest time and focus into exploring periphery markets with high potential, such as Iraq.
    • Introduce new products to support price increases, meet changing demands from businesses, and align with new government priorities.
    • Focus more on premiumization and niche products and less on commoditized segments.
    • Return the focus from supply availability to solution sales and more innovative, service-based offerings.
  • Cost Strategy:
    • Focus on more conscious, itemized collection and internal (HQ) and external communication of costs.
    • Evaluate new locations for new hiring where possible; consider flexible, work-from-home roles or employment in Egypt, Jordan, and Turkiye. Assume higher talent costs for new hires in Saudi Arabia.
    • Prioritize talent retention in cost allocation.
    • Consider longer contracts with service providers, rents, and others to prevent major cost volatility.
    • Hold local supplies more efficiently (vs. 2022) to reduce storage and logistics costs. 
    • Evaluate localization investments in top markets, but remain cautious about boosting local investments to reduce costs, as shipping costs have come down.

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