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Shifting sands: Ideas from the desert


No other region in the world is experiencing such economic and cultural upheaval as the Arabian Peninsula. The region faces a historic opportunity: oil has made it wealthy, yet all good things come to an end. The challenge for the coming decades will be to sustain the boom.

Governments are investing billions of dollars in training and research to reduce their dependence on raw materials and guarantee long-term prosperity. Societies in Arabia have already begun adapting new forms of human resources management, top-class universities for women, spectacular architecture, increased opportunities for young artists, and the construction of the world’s biggest airport. The region has begun a quest for the new source of wealth of the twenty-first century.

The transformation of Arabia offers huge potential for foreign investors. Vast amounts of money are pouring into the region, even though some construction projects have been placed on hold until the economy improves. More than 800 projects were planned for 2011, worth nearly USD 450 bn. The region is also experiencing a population explosion; 102 million people will live in Arabia by 2030, an increase of 34% over today’s numbers.

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has had a presence in the Arabian Peninsula for many years. Our offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Lebanon serve the entire Gulf region and maintain relationships with key local decision makers.

This think: act Special describes the region’s vision of a new era in which it is no longer dependent on oil and gas. Our reporters have recorded their own first-hand impressions, and local experts have shared exclusive analysis with us.

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