Prospects for foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Middle East “remain bleak [with] rising political uncertainty a strong deterrent,” the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) says in its World Investment Report 2014, released this week.

Ongoing political and social upheavals following the 2011 Arab Spring continue to weigh down economic activity and deter potential investors. This comes despite an overall upturn in global economic conditions, and FDI, over the past year. Global FDI inflows rose 9% to $1.45 trillion last year, but for the MENA region inflows fell by 7% to $87.5bn (see table) (CONTINUED - 1017 WORDS)