GCC countries are investing heavily in the expansion of their industrial manufacturing sectors, with industry experts forecasting a huge boom in the region’s machine tools market.
“According to research outfit Gobi International the growth in demand for machine tools in the GCC is forecast to rise from the current US$3.1 billion to US$4.3 billion by 2012 – a staggering 39 per cent increase,” said Trevor Punt, Group Exhibition Director, IIR Middle East, organisers of the first Middle East Manufacturing Exhibition (MEMEX), which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 9 -12 December 2007.
“The forecast also highlights that the GCC countries of Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates already account for 41 per cent of the entire Middle East and North African region machine tools market,” Punt added. “Their rate of growth is also predicted to continue racing ahead of other regional and, indeed, global forecasts.”
Booming economic growth in the GCC is fuelling increasing demand for finished products and materials which is driving growth in the industrial sector. The current total value of all non-oil and gas industrial projects in GCC is already estimated to exceed US$115 billion.
In addition, the Gulf countries are looking to decrease their economic dependence on the oil and gas sectors by setting up industrial zones to stimulate large-scale growth in manufacturing, helping to diversify their economies.
“Abu Dhabi, with the highest industrial investment (54.8%) in the UAE, provides an ideal focal point for decision makers to come together and discuss key industry issues and generate business,” said Punt. Underscoring Punt’s opinion Abu Dhabi’s Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones, which is developing the 24 square kilometre Abu Dhabi Industrial City, 30 kilometres outside the UAE capital, has signed up as platinum sponsor of MEMEX.
The primary focuses of MEMEX are machinery and machine tools; welding, joining and heat treatment; automation a robotics; air technology; process control; and engineering and IT for industries across the Middle East.
The region’s new industrial economy will also come under the spotlight at the Middle East Strategic Manufacturing Summit taking place alongside the exhibition.
“With billions of dollars being spent on manufacturing activity in the Middle East, creating the right economic environment is not only crucial to the success of the region, but essential for heads of manufacturing companies and leaders of industry,” Punt said. “In response to this, the Summit will bring together everyone who is involved in manufacturing from around the region to exchange ideas and examine key industry issues.”