Just as the world seems to be emerging from the Covid-19 crisis, CEOs worldwide are forced to contend with geopolitical instability, recession and record inflation. Still, they remain confident about their growth prospects, with leaders here, in the UAE, particularly well positioned to weather the storms ahead.
Thanks to the country’s leadership that has had the foresight to promote and invest in strategic areas such as infrastructure, digitisation and the circular economy, it’s little wonder Dubai is ranked as the world’s premier hub for foreign direct investment.
Local CEOs are forging ahead with bold visions. They are cementing strategies to combat inflation pressures and defend against cyberattacks, and are embracing sustainability reporting. This is what we learned speaking to 1,325 CEOs worldwide across 11 markets for this year’s CEO Outlook report. As CEOs around the world said they were getting ready to implement a number of resiliency strategies over the next 6 months, most CEOs in the UAE already had their strategies in place.
But that does not mean that this budget cycle will be without challenges. Local business leaders are facing inflation pressures, ESG difficulties and increased risk of cyberattacks. And as the world learns to live with Covid-19, the survey revealed that CEOs and their employees might have different ideas about returning to the office full-time.
Almost every CEO surveyed in the UAE, 96% reported having an aggressive digital strategy in place, much higher than the worldwide rate of 72%. UAE leaders appear to be increasingly technologically ambitious; last year’s figure stood at a much lower 64%. More than 80% of local CEOs thought that driving digital transformation at a rapid pace was critical to competing for talent and customers.
The UAE is one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, with the digital economy contributing 4.3% to GDP, and more growth on the horizon. The government has bolstered digital capabilities by improving IT infrastructure, increasing the speed of internet services, and promoting the use of smartphones and electronic payment systems.
CEOs around the world viewed geopolitical uncertainty as a reason to worry about cyberattacks within their organisations. In the UAE, 92% of respondents said their organisations were well-prepared for a cyberattack, compared to 56% of global CEOs. Again, it is evident that local CEOs appear to have shored up their digital defences—in 2021, only 56% said they were ready for a cyberattack.
UAE business leaders were also concerned about protecting their partners and suppliers, with more than 90% reporting that protecting their supply chains from cyberattacks was just as important as building their own organisation’s cyber defences. That figure was 76% worldwide. Attitudes have clearly shifted locally—the UAE figure in 2021 was also 76%, representing a year-on-year increase of 14%.
Source: CEO Outlook 2022: United Arab Emirates by KPMGClick below to share this article