A recently released report entitled, “Accessing Middle East Growth: Business Opportunities in the Arabian Peninsula and Iran" highlight the promise of this market for Australian firms and goods.
The report, issued by Mark Vaile, Australia's Minister of Trade, cited an aging infrastructure and large youth population as causes of huge future demand from the from the Middle East’s service and industrial sectors.
""In electricity alone, by 2006, Gulf economies will require $40 billion for new generation infrastructure," the report noted.
"Key areas of need include electricity, water, telecommunications and transport, including roads, rail and ports."
Approximately 66 percent of the GCC’s population is younger than 25, while 21 percent are between 11 and 14 years. Young populations create new business opportunities in IT, construction, education, electronics and convenience foods, according to the report.
Australia has sought to strengthen its presence in the region in recent years. Currently, there are 14 construction companies in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE is the largest market for Australian motor vehicles, with Holden and Toyota cars valued at $360 million shipped in 1999. There are now 3,500 Australians in the UAE, and 65 Australian companies are based there.
Australia's exports to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran have expanded by 11 percent per year since 1990 to AUD$3.4 billion for 1999-2000. ($1 AUD=$0.535 USD). Between 1995-1999, exports to the Gulf grew 19 percent annually, 50 percent higher than overall export growth. The Middle East is a major destination of Australian exports of wheat, coal, live sheep, sugar, aluminum and wool. — (Abawaba-MEBG)
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