Gulf's SMEs sector forecast to hit $920bn in 2023

By Sam Bridge / Gulf Business


SOURCE: Gulf Business - Gulf's SMEs sector forecast to hit $920bn in 2023

New research says employment potential for small and medium sized enterprises in the GCC is expected to touch 22 million in 2023

The SME market in the Gulf region could be worth as much as $920 billion in 2023, a growth of 156 percent on its current value, according to new research.

The second India-UAE Partnership Summit (IUPS) heard that the employment potential for small and medium sized enterprises in the GCC is expected to touch 22 million, up from 17 million in the same period.

The figures were in a research paper released at the opening session of IUPS, which was prepared by Crowe, the advisory partner of the summit.

“SMEs present a significant opportunity for India and the UAE to cooperate and add value to the robust economic potential of both the countries, particularly in the private sector,” said Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri.

The focus sectors of this year’s summit are Education, SMEs and Skill Development & Placement with four Indian states – Assam, Delhi, Punjab and West Bengal – showcasing investment opportunities in these sectors. The focus emirate of the UAE is Sharjah represented by the investment promotion agency, Invest in Sharjah.

According to the research paper, SMEs in the Gulf currently contribute 22 percent to the region’s GDP with the UAE leading in the rankings with the sector contributing 30 percent to the country’s overall national output and 60 percent of the non-oil GDP.

In other countries in the region, the share of SMEs to GDP is estimated at 28 percent in Bahrain, 22 percent in Saudi Arabia, 20 percent in Kuwait and 14 percent in Oman. In India, SMEs form the backbone of the country’s economy contributing 45 percent of the manufacturing output and 40 percent of exports.

“SME is a sunrise sector in India, the UAE and the region throwing open immense opportunities for private sector entrepreneurs to participate, which will further reinforce the robust economic relations between both the countries," said Ram Buxani, president of the Business Leaders Forum (BLF).

The summit heard that India has already received investment intentions of up to $52.14 billion from Gulf-based investors this year. India is the largest trading partner of the UAE with trade at $53 billion which is poised to grow to $100 billion by 2020.

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