88 percent of UAE CEOs are confident about their company’s growth prospects, reveals special KPMG report
The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook – UAE finds 92 percent of CEOs are confident about the country’s growth prospects compared with 82 percent of their global counterparts. Similarly, 88 percent are optimistic about their company’s growth. The prospect of a stronger future is a result of the UAE government’s response to the pandemic, such as imposing an early lockdown, promoting the vaccination program alongside spreading awareness, and government stimulus measures announced last year.
The survey found UAE business leaders believe inorganic strategies will be critical in driving their businesses forward over the next three years. Almost seven in ten CEOs say they will primarily use M&A (36 percent), strategic alliances with third parties (20 percent) and joint ventures (12 percent) to achieve this ambition. In addition, partnerships and industry collaboration will be important for driving digital innovation and acquiring technology capabilities.
Investor sentiment has increased due to the country’s recent progressive reforms, including new long-term visa schemes. Expo 2020 Dubai is also expected to play a big role in driving economic growth this year and next, boosting tourism and foreign investment and contributing to an anticipated economic growth rate of 4.9 percent in 2022.
Key findings include:
Connecting ESG strategy with financial returns: As CEOs plan to devote significant capital to becoming more sustainable, it’s important their digital investments are plugged into their ESG needs. Almost nine in ten (88 percent) of UAE CEOs say their digital and ESG investments are inextricably linked.
Digital disruption moves up on the CEO agenda: Since the onset of the pandemic, new perceived risks to growth have emerged. UAE-based business leaders identified disruptive technologies, in particular (28 percent of CEOs); climate change (16 percent); operational risk and tax risk (both at12 percent) as potential impediments.
Changing sentiment on the future of work: With people returning to places of work, CEOs are focusing more on flexibility rather than wholesale changes to office-based work. Only 8 percent of UAE CEOs plan to downsize (or have already downsized) their physical footprint or office space because of the pandemic and changing working habits.
The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook – UAE provides an in-depth three-year outlook from chief executives of major organizations in the country on enterprise and economic growth as part of the worldwide KPMG CEO Outlook series which offers a unique perspective on CEOs’ shifts in mindset on the Covid-19 pandemic and the way forward to post-pandemic recovery.