FSG in HBR: How multinationals can grow in the Middle East and Africa

May 3, 2017 – Martina Bozadzhieva, FSG’s Managing Director for Europe, Middle East & Africa Research, was recently featured in the Harvard Business Review to share how multinationals can grow in the Middle East and Africa region. You can access the full article here.


Despite President Donald Trump’s “America first” approach to dealing with U.S. businesses investing abroad, and despite his administration’s rhetoric about the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region (e.g., strong opposition to the Iran nuclear deal; a ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries), many companies are still looking to invest in the region.

As detailed in our MENA Regional Outlook report, the region will experience moderate economic growth and a slight improvement in confidence as the shock of the oil price drop subsides in 2017. However, volatility in international financial markets—in oil prices as well as currencies—alongside slow reform implementation and heightened political uncertainty after Trump’s inauguration in the US, will weigh on business performance. In MENA, MNCs will face higher operating costs, an increasingly price-sensitive public sector, and wider fluctuations in business and consumer demand, largely due to the effects of the fiscal reforms that both oil-importing and exporting governments will implement.

In order to maintain their market share, achieve consistent sales growth, and hit profitability targets, multinationals must avoid relying purely on overall market growth, and instead proactively diversify their MENA portfolios and adjust their sales strategies.

Our research team has identified three key areas that need to change in order to maximize opportunities in MENA:

  1. Demand creation
  2. Product adaptation
  3. Better distributor capabilities

With a focus on uncovering untapped new opportunities, strong product offerings, and more skillful channel partners, multinationals can not only improve their performance in the region, but also build resilience to disruptions they may face over the coming years.

FSG clients can access the full MENA Regional Outlook for 2017 on FrontierView here.

Not a client? You can access Martina’s HBR article, “How Multinationals Can Grow in the Middle East and Africa”, or purchase the full report on our online store.

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