The Gulf states are a regional industrial hub and also offer opportunities into Africa and Asia.


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 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 work force.


Queensland companies with innovative offerings in the food and agriculture, education and training and infrastructure sectors will be in high demand.

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

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

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

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 drive increasing the number of schools and programs on offer
  • Major events including 2019 AFC Asia Cup in UAE, Expo 2020 in Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar


  • Processed foods and supply chains
  • Innovation in life sciences and biotechnology


Sector opportunities in the Middle East

Major events sparking infrastructure boom


Trade and Investment Queensland has moved quickly to secure contracts for innovative companies for the massive new Dubai South development in the UAE.

Centered 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.

UAE imports 85% of their food needs

Food security

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

The UAE currently imports 85% of its food needs, and safe reliable food sources like Queensland are of continuing interest.

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.

60-100 new schools

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.

Relevant library resources Complete library

Middle East Market Overview

Middle East Market Overview

September 30, 2016

Export market overview and commissioner profile in Middle East

View this resource

Commissioner’s intel: How to take your business to Middle East

View the videos below, and hear from TIQ’s Trade and Investment Commissioner as she speaks of the opportunities in Middle East.

Donna Massie: Business trends in the Middle East: Emerging opportunities in the market

Donna Massie: Practical tips: Hands on advice for doing business in the Middle East

Donna Massie: Doing business with the Middle East? Learn how TIQ can assist

Donna Massie: opportunities in food and agribusiness sector

Donna Massie: opportunities in education and training sector

Donna Massie: opportunities in urban infrastructure and knowledge industries sector

Donna Massie: A Queensland defence success story in Middle East

Donna Massie: Tips for entering the Middle East market