Rohit Talwar, a UK-based futurist, strategist and change agent, was kind enough to carve several minutes out of his busy schedule for an interview with Logipi's Dustin Mattison. According to Rohit, "There has been a huge amount of wealth generated through oil revenues in particular, and that has led to an investment boom in the Middle East. At one point last year, the figure was over four trillion dollars of investment going into different types of projects in the region." And while Rohit acknowledges that the boom has waned some, he is still seeing a push by key players, particularly Saudi, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, to diversify and ween their economies away from oil dependency.
For example, in Abu Dhabi, we're watching the Masdar energy city being built, which will be the world's first waste-neutral, carbon-neutral, energy-neutral city. Right now, Rohit says, there are people developing new models and processes that will power buildings with renewable energy -- they have also recently piloted fully electric driverless taxis -- if they are successful, these innovations can be rolled out across the world. Saudi Arabia is pouring hundred of billion of dollars into high-tech cities driven by a whole new set of economics with a very real focus high-tech infrastructures and industries, as well as the industries that support them.
What we're witnessing in the Middle East, Rohit says, is the beginning of countries moving up the wealth ladder, along with rising income standards of the people, which equates to the consumption of more goods and services. That, coupled with elaborate construction projects, Rohit believes, will have an enormous impact on the logistics industry. "These countries will require a very effective supply chain to deliver a very broad range of goods and services in an efficient manner. That, in turn, is creating a demand for the skills of supply chain management, so the Middle East is really on the radar of the entire supply chain industry".