MAP Strategy Note: Shifting Dynamics in the Gulf

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The business landscape in the Gulf is bullish because of recent diplomatic overtures, economic and social reforms and a strong economic performance.

Saudi Arabia is driving this dynamic, with policy decisions focused on national interests such as its central Vision 2030. Saudi Arabia wants to play a more prominent global role and recent foreign policy decisions reflect its desire to insure its new economic model with a more stable region.

China’s increasing footprint – diplomatically and economically – is unlikely to cause friction in the business landscape unless states cross US red lines. Chinese corporates are strongly positioned to take advantage of economic opportunities from growing bilateral connections between China and Gulf governments. 

The West still has space and opportunity to leverage connections between private business and investment funds such as the PIF.

Still, the dynamic is fragile. Iran remains the biggest potential spoiler to regional stability.

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