One thing you’ll notice in the UAE is that it’s earnestly attempting to move from the ’emerging’ category to the ‘mature’ category. The UAE doesn’t believe in taking its time — indeed, it loves to do things first and achieve them at record speed. This is UAE philosophy at the core, “First and Fastest”.

From my perspective in a market research agency, I see associations on my left and right either mustering strength or in the process of forming itself. These are regulatory bodies, the glue which binds a mature market together with those lovely best practices and international standards we all know are quite vital.

Transparency is an issue in the middle east. There is nothing new about that statement. UAE, Saudi, the GCC, the region, North Africa — governments have a difficulty addressing this side of their administration. And western citizens, expatriates to their exotic lands, find it awkward to live in countries where this democratic principle is not held at the highest of concerns. That is to say, marketing sometimes clouds government perceptions in the same way that vanity clouds the good sense of the average Joe.

But associations are forming and these bring about research, wide and prestigious members from international bodies, and this will attract the medium and smaller sized firms to join the fun. Eventually, perhaps in a matter of 5 years, the UAE and other countries (dare we say the MENA region) will adopt attitudes and behaviours which will truly begin to form a globalized standard to hold everyone everywhere to, and across all sectors and industries.

These are high aims and high ideals, but I am optimistic as long as this recession doesn’t reveal anything under the rugs in certain countries which I have been oblivious to. Ideally, regardless of any pains and struggles to come, maturity in this region through regulatory bodies will come to fruition.


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