Dubai from an investment point of view, 2016 couldn’t have started with more uncertainty. General discussions revolve around certain topics: oil prices, the Chinese slowdown, stock market volatility, rising US interest rates, currency fluctuations, a challenging sales environment, increasing inventory, corporate earnings, real estate prices, the geopolitical situation in the Gulf, North Korea, ISIS and the refugee crisis.
All these factors lead to a bearish economic outlook for 2016. A silver lining exists. While major businesses and governments contemplate potential sales of assets, privatization and various forms of fundraising to resolve short- to medium-term liquidity concerns, others are not bothered by macroeconomics and are keen to identify gaps in the market to turn them into opportunities. These people are entrepreneurs, and it’s worth investing in them.
There are no assurances as to whether they’ll be successful, but one thing is for sure: 2016 belongs to them. Some comfort lies in the fact that instead of sitting back and adding fuel to the fire of this pessimism, entrepreneurs are more interested in building newer and greater things.
Some experienced professionals are leaving their comfort zones to do finally what they’ve wanted to do for a while—invest in their ideas and make their dreams a reality.
I believe the Middle East and the GCC, in particular, is a great place for new businesses to develop. For example, several positive factors are working in the UAE, such as its exemplary leadership, forward-looking vision, infrastructure, cosmopolitan crowd, public spending power, demographics and use of technology resulting from internet penetration. Good ideas progress more or less independently of the stock market, but one can’t be irrationally enthusiastic. Rather, one has to assess carefully the quality of a given business plan, the execution capabilities of the team behind it, and how soon the business can sustain itself. Discipline in this market is essential for the viability of entrepreneurial initiatives.
Ultimately, we can’t let our fear override our ability to spot the jewel in the crown. We can’t ruin a good tomorrow by thinking about a bad today. This, too, shall pass.