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UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar Rank Among Top Emerging Markets


The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue to rank among the world’s top 10 emerging markets, improving or holding steady in key areas while neighboring Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait lose ground in the 15th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index.

UAE, No. 3 in the 50-country Index after China and India, held its rank from 2023, as did No. 6 Saudi Arabia and No. 7 Qatar. Oman (15), Bahrain (16) and Kuwait (21) all fell in the rankings.

In Agility’s survey of 830 logistics industry executives, respondents say Saudi Arabia and UAE are doing the most among GCC countries to accelerate economic diversification and lessen reliance on income from oil and gas.

UAE ranks No. 1 for best business fundamentals; Saudi Arabia is No. 3 in that category. Even so, logistics professionals in the survey identified further improvements for small businesses and multi-nationals as the most powerful drivers of continued diversification for all GCC countries.

The survey and Index are Agility’s 15th annual snapshot of industry sentiment and ranking of the world’s 50 leading emerging markets. The Index ranks countries for overall competitiveness based on their logistics strengths, business climates and digital readiness — factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, distributors and investors.

UAE and Saudi Arabia rank in the top 10 in every category. Qatar ranked among the top 10 in all categories except international logistics opportunities, where it was 20th. The only top 10 ranking for Oman, Bahrain or Kuwait was Bahrain at No. 8 for business fundamentals.

Half of the logistics professionals surveyed a global recession in the coming year – down from nearly 70% a year ago. Executives surveyed say they are battling higher costs, reducing dependence on sourcing from China, and planning to boost investment in Africa despite seeing emerging markets investment overall as somewhat riskier.

More than 63% of respondents say their companies continue overhauling supply chains by spreading production to multiple locations or relocating it to home markets and nearby countries. China, the world’s leading producer, stands to be most affected: 37.4% of industry professionals say they plan move production/sourcing out of China or reduce investment there.

2024 Index Highlights

SURVEY

  • Supply chain restructuring – India, Europe and North America rank ahead of China as destinations executives expect to move production to in 2024 and onwards.
  • China – 40% expect their businesses to be less reliant on China in five years. Leading factors in decisions to de-risk in China: difficulty of doing business; U.S.-China trade friction; a slowing economy; the harshness of China’s COVID restrictions.
  • Climate change – 66% say climate change is something they’re planning for or already affecting their businesses.
  • Emerging markets – the largest percentage sees increased risk/decreased rewards in emerging markets.
  • India – many see India growing in importance as a producer and market, but cite inadequate infrastructure and corruption as the biggest obstacles there.

COUNTRY RANKINGS

  • In the Middle East and North Africa, overall rankings were: UAE (3); Saudi Arabia (6); Qatar (7); Turkey (11); Oman (15); Bahrain (16); Jordan (17); Egypt (20); Kuwait (21); Morocco (22); Tunisia (37); Lebanon (38); Iran (40); Algeria (42); Libya (50).
  • Rankings in Sub-Saharan Africa: South Africa (24); Kenya (25); Ghana (31); Nigeria (36); Tanzania (41); Uganda (43); Ethiopia (45); Mozambique (46); Angola (47).
  • Index rankings in Asia: China (1); India (2); Malaysia (4); Indonesia (5); Vietnam (8); Thailand (10); Philippines (18); Kazakhstan (23); Sri Lanka (26); Pakistan (29); Cambodia (32); Bangladesh (33); Myanmar (49).
  • Rankings for Latin America: Mexico (9); Chile (12); Brazil (14); Uruguay (19); Peru (28); Colombia (27); Argentina (30); Ecuador (35); Paraguay (39); Bolivia (44); Venezuela (48).
  • In Europe: Russia (13); Ukraine (34).

Transport Intelligence (Ti), a leading analysis and research firm for the logistics industry, has compiled the Index since it was launched in 2009.

John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive of Ti, said: “Supply chain managers are still coming to terms with the political and economic instability characterising the post-COVID global economy. Geopolitical relationships are changing rapidly, and this is having a major impact on international trade and risk profiles. Businesses need to be alive to the opportunities and threats that exist in emerging markets and use data, such as that the Agility Emerging Market Logistics Index, to inform agile decision-making.”

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