Oil is expected to remain a major component of GDP for the GCC countries. However, in recent years the GCC economies have made conscious efforts to diversify away from their dependence on oil by making major investments in other emerging sectors.
Rough calculations show that the pipeline of investment projects over the next ten years is valued at around $1.4 trillion. These mega-projects cover a wide range of areas like housing, hotels, hospitals, shopping centres, schools, transportation and communication, energy distribution and water systems. These investments will have enormous multiplier effects as they generate derived business opportunities for companies and result in greater income for consumers.
Moreover, the GCC has started the process of liberalisation by opening up the economy selectively in order to encourage FDI which will act as a catalyst for sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, media, shipping, finance, commercial services, telecoms and general industry. Restrictions on foreign investment in the GCC region are being relaxed with the expansion of Free Trade Zones.