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Global Opportunity Index 2020 Focus on the GCC Countries

Lopez, Claude and Bendix, Joseph (2020): Global Opportunity Index 2020 Focus on the GCC Countries.

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Abstract

Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the 2020 G20 and the Expo 2020 in Dubai offer a unique opportunity to showcase the region’s ongoing efforts to attract international investments. This report uses the Global Opportunity Index and its different categories to assess the region’s improvements in 2019. More specifically, it compares the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries' performances to those of a reference group, the upper-middle-income countries. The analysis provides a better understanding of the countries' economic development and readiness to welcome a more diversified pool of international investors. The GCC countries align with the upper-middle-income group performance in the cost of starting a business, the burden of labor regulation and taxes, the age and health of the working population, the efficiency of the legal system, and access to financial services and financial depth of the economy. However, their performance lags in four categories that affect foreign investors'potential interest in the region: • Protection of the investor, including the recovery and resolution process and investors’ rights • Transparency regarding the quality and quantity of information that can be easily collected from the public and private sectors • Workforce talent, including the qualifications of the labor force and its diversity • Economic openness, including trade agreements and tariffs All of these categories are important. Yet, prioritizing the first two points would reassure investors as they relate directly to the rule of law—to their ability to recover part of their investment and to assess the quality of their investment. It would help diversify the pool of investors away from the local ones. Ultimately, it could also help diversify the economy away from oil.

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