Opportunities in Middle East and Africa: WCOA 2022 (ICAI-IFAC)

Various speakers at the WCOA 2022 (ICAI-IFAC) conference discussed professional and investment opportunities in the Middle East and Africa, as summarised below:

CA Ankit Agarwal (Chairman, Doha Qatar Chapter, ICAI) stated that the search for diversification in the Middle East has led to the emergence of several new opportunities. He attributed this to the changing dynamics of the global oil market. The implementation of value-added tax across the region will result in an increase in the total amount of money that is available for investments and other activities of significant scope.

CA Anurag Chaturvedi (Chairman, Dubai UAE Chapter, ICAI) stated that the Middle East possesses an excellent strategy to invite talent from all over the world. These Middle Eastern countries are keeping an eye out for talented individuals from other parts of the world. Due to the fact that many reforms are being implemented, there is no better time than the present for companies to begin operations in the Middle East.

CA John George (Chairman, Abu Dhabi UAE Chapter, ICAI) noted that the relationship between the UAE and India over the past few years has undergone dramatic change, and that it is likely that the trade between the two countries will increase significantly.

CA Sriram Gopalakrishnan (Chairman, Kuwait Chapter, ICAI) stated that “Kuwait has a great respect for Indians, and they enjoy incredible relations.” It’s possible that the indirect tax regime in Kuwait won’t be put into effect for a couple more years. Any statutory function in Kuwait that could be performed by an outsider would be illegal.

CA Sharmila Shet (Chairman, Bahrain Chapter, ICAI) stated that the policies of the Bahraini government to attract FDI are quite liberal. The government does not restrict foreign ownership at any level. They have brought the topic of investment parks to the forefront.

According to CA Sajeev Surendran (Chairman, Muscat, Oman Chapter, ICAI), Oman has cultural fabrics that are comparable to those found in India. Activities of a professional nature can be pursued with relative ease by Indians in this environment. In Oman, starting a business is simple and quick thanks to the government’s encouragement of entrepreneurial endeavours and the country’s low start-up costs.

In his closing remarks, CA Samir Khatri (Chairman, Port Louis, Mauritius Chapter, ICAI) stated that it appears that the Middle East and African regions will continue to provide international accountants with a great deal of opportunity for business.

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