The Middle East Association was established in 1961 in the wake of the Suez Canal crisis by around 50 of the UK’s leading banks and industrial companies, with the objective of ‘promoting and encouraging closer trade relationships with the Arab countries and to establish understanding between the peoples of those countries and the United Kingdom.’
The past 50 odd years have witnessed seismic changes across the MENA region, and the business landscape in the UK has also changed considerably. The Association and its activities have evolved to reflect these changes. However its founding objective remains its purpose today, and is as relevant now as it was in 1961.
Despite the regional upheaval, there is enormous opportunity in the MENA region, which continues to grow strongly compared with the OECD economies, and where there is a huge reservoir of goodwill towards the UK and a thirst for British goods, services and expertise. Doing business in the Middle East requires insight and selectivity, as well as an acknowledgement of historic regional volatility, but innumerable businesses over many decades have overcome the barriers to success.
The MEA’s mission is to guide and help UK businesses today to capitalise on the opportunities, building on our legacy as the leading organisation promoting British trade and investment in the Middle East and North Africa, and the strong relationships which we have developed with government and business, both in the UK and in the region.