GCC nations, particularly the UAE, are capitalizing on enhanced connectivity to revitalize and broaden their economies. Significant investments flow into critical financial services, logistics, tourism, technology, and manufacturing sectors. These strategic initiatives are positioning these countries for enduring growth and bolstering their economic resilience in the face of global challenges.

In their recent report, “The New Silk Road—Growth, Connection, Opportunity,” consulting firm Oliver Wyman highlighted the New Silk Road’s expansive reach, spanning Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. This vast region is home to 4.9 billion people and contributes to over 40% of the global economy.

Adel Alfalasi, head of the UAE at Oliver Wyman and partner in the government and public institutions practice, outlined the report’s six key themes: energy transition, mobility and transport, financial services, supply chain, emerging payments, and digital disruption. 

He emphasized that countries within the New Silk Road region are experiencing economic growth fueled by three primary factors: energy transition, disruptions in the global supply chain, and geopolitical tensions leading to regionalization.

Moreover, the report estimates that the New Silk Road’s share of the global gross domestic product (GDP) will rise to 48% by 2040.

“Companies, investors, and governments have an opportunity to capitalize on the increased connectivity, but they will need to adopt new strategies, operating models, value propositions, and mindsets,Alfalasi added.To capture the opportunities, private companies should establish cross-market strategies, align with national priorities, and find the right partners.”

Conversely, governments should deploy and leverage resources, such as sovereign wealth funds, to facilitate trade, investment, and technology flows and support private sectors.”

The New Silk Road is critical in fueling global supply chains. It holds 86% of the global export share for semiconductors, 65% for clothing, and 40% for oil. It also features some of the world’s largest export manufacturers, including China and Japan, as well as emerging countries like India and Indonesia. 

Two of the world’s three largest regional free-trade agreements—the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)—are focused on the New Silk Road region. 

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