The Gulf Arab states are an important regional trade hub that also offer opportunities to access Africa, South Asia and Europe. Its position as a growing centre for Queensland exports and the regional hub will present many opportunities for Queensland exporters.


The oil-based Gulf states of the Middle East are looking to diversify their economies, which will provide ongoing opportunities for Queensland companies in the food and agriculture, education and training, healthcare and infrastructure sectors.

While political stability in the region is an issue, in the long term the region is expected to grow significantly on the back of its young and ambitious workforce. The diversification of the Middle East economies will also see growing investments, as well as influence, in these regional areas.


Queensland companies with innovative offerings in the food and agriculture, education and training, and infrastructure sectors will be in high demand, especially those willing to consider market-entry strategies such as joint venturing and partnerships.

Exporting to the Gulf states can provide the ideal launch pad for expansion into the greater Middle East and Northern African region. The key states are:

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait.

The Gulf states are expected to become a regional hub for several industries, with their influence extending to include Eastern Africa, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, South Asia and Europe.

The diversification of these states is a long-term trend and will be the consistent thread driving the development of new industries in the region.

Dubai marina district, Middle East

Middle East opportunities



  • Food security, produce and aquaculture
  • Education (a drive to increase the number of schools and programs on offer)
  • Major events including Expo 2020 in Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
  • Environmental solutions


  • Processed foods and supply chains
  • Innovation in life sciences and biotechnology
  • Health care – especially research
  • Renewable energy


Sector opportunities in the Middle East


TIQ has moved quickly to secure contracts for innovative companies for the new Dubai South development in the UAE.

Centred on the new Al Maktoum International Airport and the World Expo 2020 site, Dubai South presents outstanding opportunities for companies with specialised niche offerings in infrastructure and related sectors. Several Queensland companies have already successfully tendered for projects related to Dubai South. To consolidate these projects, further contracts are currently being negotiated for Dubai Expo 2020.

Food security

Food security continues to be a key driver in the Gulf states’ markets.

The UAE currently imports 70% of its food needs, and safe reliable food sources like Queensland are of continuing interest.1

Opportunities exist in meat and horticulture, bulk grains, processed food and franchised operations.

Specific opportunities for services and equipment exist in the aquaculture sector as the Gulf states look to develop some level of self-sufficiency.


Education drive

The diversification of the Gulf states will be based on greater education – for example, the UAE is creating 60 to 100 new schools and aiming for 70,000 new school places by 2020, and opportunities exist in curriculum development, school franchising and partnerships.2

2UAE Ministry of Education (2017).