The business climate in post Gulf War Saudi Arabia

Author: Nicos Rossides


The Gulf War had a profound impact on Saudi Arabia's political climate as well as its economic and market structures. Macro-economic dislocations have included sizeable budget deficits and dwindling financial reserves, not only due to the direct costs incurred during the war but due to substantially increased military spending since the war. Other developments have included a change in the composition of the expatriate workforce due to the government work permit policies, which had a particularly marked impact on the retail trade. Economic recovery has been unexpectedly buoyant, largely driven by private sector confidence. As a result, prospects for marketers look as promising as ever as attested by strong consumer as well as institutional demand for products and services. The paper will discuss demographic, macro-economic as well as market related changes since the Gulf War and will draw on the results of research carried out by MEMRB on: the changing structure of the retail trade and prevailing retailer attitudes' consumer beliefs and attitudes towards key socio-economic issues Through this period of rapid change market research has played a vital role in assisting companies come to grips with the changing political, social as well as economic landscape, providing vital input for the formulation of business strategy.

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