They are both close and related. Culture, tradition, religion, and language
are things they all share. They are all Arabs and they are all Muslims. As
a cluster, they make for a powerhouse, in the Arab world as well as on the
international stage. The GCC have oil and gas.
The premeditated events of 2012 within most Arab countries have delivered
their mandate and some. The civil wars, political chaos, economic boom for
some or bust for the majority, continue to be the status quo. At the start
of the period, the GCC looked like it, also, was going to face the wrath of
the people But soon, the Saudis distributed financial bonuses to all
households and sent their army to keep Bahrain under control. The Sultan of
Oman “listened to the people’s demands for reforms”. While Yemen was
brewing up to a war, the neighbors’ people went back to the only way they
knew how to live: seething.
Most of these countries cannot be categorized as developed, yet not still
developing. They can neither be strictly defined as emerging nor frontier,
though they are absolutely not poor.
The tallest building in the world has as if brought with it a cease and
desist order for further development in Dubai. The extraordinarily
successful Emirate has proved its critics as amateurs. There is no bubble.
But development has also come to a noticeable halt. What’s next ask some,
while others can less vaguely see the chessboard.
The same cant be said for the Qataris. They have spent shiploads of money
on buying an exhaustive shopping list of international real estate. In
London alone, their portfolio is worth tens of billions of pounds of prime
locations. There, the QIA, is easily at home as the Grosvenor and the
Howard De Walden estates.
This small, absurdly rich Shekhdom, spoils its people financially, yet
chooses to prioritize investment abroad. Has it caught a tip or two from
Kuwait, the richer than you think and wants you to know, carries on its
business of making money, not from oil.
The Grandaddy of the lot, in terms of investment experience, remains in a
state of apparent continuance. Discreet, shrewd and growing forever richer.
It’s timidness to shout about its affairs, raises more curiosity than it
On the other hand, since Trump came to power, the “new” Saudi Arabia, has
been making a lot of noise. In turn, a lot of noise tends to attract a lot
Has the Khashoggi scandal, caused a moment of silence or did it not create
a further rift within the House of Saud?
Can we envisage the cultural, and socio-political change that Noma, the
colossal ambitious project, will realize in the region as a whole? This is
a country that has finally allowed women to drive, now that many of us are
most likely only a decade or so away from owning driverless cars.
Oman, the neutral as Switzerland, cousin of the other GCC countries,
remains as mellow as ever. Reputedly, the nicest people of the Gulf, it’s
people, humble as pie, appear to be content with living as is and growing
organically. Does anything seem to happen here? Will anything ever happen
The two seas, as Bahrain means, is lost somewhere among its neighbors and
family, as that’s what the adjacent countries indeed are.
The small island is held together by Saudi Arabia and cuddled by the others
as if it were a younger sibling, wanting to copy, eager to grow. What
happened to the pearl divers or the ones who have replaced them in an
attempt to brand the country as the hub for financial services in the
Though not part of the GCC, Yemen, more so than Iraq, is a *Khaleej* or
Gulf country. It is still looking as it did 200 years ago, well, at least
in the parts that remain of it. A land where people are simple, mostly
uneducated and conservative to the extremes. The people have changed as
little as their architecture has. What is to become of this harsh country?
Can the original Arabs, as indeed they are, see any hope?
To do business, you have to understand a lot about the other non-business
issues and this applies to the GCC, just like any other place. That is why
Dubai is arguably the easiest place for foreign companies entering the GCC.
But it shouldn’t be difficult for growing businesses to investigate and
explore the numerous opportunities available in the region as a whole. With
Arabs, perhaps more than any other race, culture, tradition, and religion
are integral to their economic structure.
By. Maysoun Nafdha