The Middle East & Africa region is characterised by thriving economic growth and a drive for reforms, but it is also plagued by humanitarian crisis and political instability. The average growth is more than three percent, but several areas are still dependent on foreign aid. From a business perspective, Middle East & Africa is a dynamic region with great potential for Swedish companies thanks to the rapid urbanisation and technological development.

Transformation into a digital economy

Many cities in the Middle East & Africa region are already made up by a large pool of young, educated and tech-savvy professionals. The transformation of the region into a digital economy is to a large extent driven by this new, consumer-friendly middle class. A sharp increase in mobile phone and social media usage is changing the business landscape and speeding up the digitalisation process. Thanks to the accelerated urbanisation, business segments like ICT, transport and infrastructure, health, energy, and mining have huge potential within Middle East & Africa. Swedish companies are often well positioned due to a high demand of technological innovation.

Focus on local customer needs

To make the most of the impressive urbanisation rate, it is recommended to identify suitable areas for growth based on cities rather than on countries. A good way to start mapping the business landscape is to carry out a solid market analysis. After establishing the most relevant areas for investment, it is vital to understand local consumer needs and find the best communication channels to reach the local target audience. In a region so far from Scandinavia, it can be challenging to understand the local business culture. Many Swedish companies contact us both for general advice and hands-on support to navigate regulatory frameworks. Four percent of Swedish exports currently go to Middle East & Africa. There are around 200 Swedish companies present in UAE, which is the sixth richest country in the world by GDP per capita.

Our presence in the Middle East & Africa

Business Sweden helps businesses throughout the region from our five offices in Kenya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and UAE. Our mix of Swedish and local experts can help you navigate this diverse continent. Thanks to our wide contact network, we are in a great position to find suitable partners and introduce you to key stakeholders both in the private and public sectors. Business Sweden also supports companies in MEA that plan to extend their business in Sweden.