LONDON, Oct. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As winter approaches, countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are feeling the bite more than ever. Oil price volatility, US sanctions on Iran and soaring public debt burdens, as well as gruelling conflicts in Libya and Yemen, have brought investment to a standstill. But in spite of these bleak conditions, some firms remain undeterred. The World Finance MENA Investment and Development Awards 2019 recognise those within the region that have continued to invest in order to support vital growth over the course of the year.  

The MENA region is still heavily dependent on oil and the need for diversification has received added impetus in the past 12 months. Although oil prices have risen, growth in the oil-exporting regions is expected to dip to 0.4 percent in 2019. Oil-importing nations do not fare as poorly: they face a collective GDP growth of 3.6 percent – still 0.6 percent lower than last year’s rate. 

The countries performing most successfully are those that have managed to transition their economies away from oil. The UAE, for example, has ploughed ahead with its expansive Etihad Rail network, while Oman has created a stronger regulatory environment. However the real rising star of the region is Djibouti, which has been expanding rapidly thanks to the development of new infrastructure and initiatives like the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone.

Unfortunately, Djibouti is an outlier in the region. If the economies of some countries have been negatively affected by oil price volatility, others, like Yemen and Libya, have been ravaged by war. Finding a solution to such conflicts is vital in securing long-term and equitable growth in the region. 

The World Finance MENA Investment and Development Awards recognise these difficult conditions and celebrate the organisations that have gone against the grain by continuing to drive investment in the region. To see a full list of this year’s winners, pick up the latest issue of World Finance, available in print, online and on tablet now. 

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Elizabeth Matsangou
Editorial Department
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