Market Research

A profile of the Middle Eastern and African paint industries

March 13, 2012

IRL has published the fourth edition of its report, “A Profile of the Middle Eastern and African Paint Industries.”

The political and social uprising initiated at the end of 2010 known as the Arab Spring had and is continuing to have a huge impact on the political, social and economic systems of many Middle Eastern and North African economies, and the paints industry has not been immune to this unrest the firm said.

The Middle Eastern paint market has been estimated at more than 1.8 million tons in 2011, and is dominated by the huge Saudi paint and coatings market and the smaller Emirati and Qatari markets, according to the report. As well as being the leaders in size, these countries also offer significant growth opportunities, in particular Qatar. Qatar’s winning bid to host the Football World Cup in 2022 will likely accelerate many large-scale infrastructure projects.

Many Middle Eastern markets are showing positive economic growth rates despite the turmoil in many of the global economies—not least in the Eurozone—and have demonstrated their ability to recover relatively quickly from the economic crisis of 2008-09.

The African paint market is estimated at just above one million tons in 2011 based on the countries researched for this report. In Africa there is good growth mainly in the north of the continent, despite all the North African countries having been directly or indirectly affected by the Arab Spring.

Many paint companies have recently targeted Egypt for investment and with good reason. Egypt has enjoyed a really strong economic growth—up to 10 percent in recent years—and has become an increasingly important supply base for coatings, in particular to Libya. Despite recent political and social unrest, Egyptian GDP is expected to grow by around 3.5 percent in 2012 the report says.

In the African region, paint market growth is expected to be at around four percent per annum in the medium term, which seems to reflect many of the GDP growth rates found across the region, despite large inequalities between countries and sometimes within the same country. 

The key trends that stand out from this report include:

• After a massive drop in GDP growth over the last couple of years (GDP grew by only 0.6 percent in 2010), Saudi Arabia is now experiencing moderate growth thanks to the currently very high oil price and the on-going construction of the new economic cities;

• After being badly hit by the recession, the construction industries in the United Arab Emirates are now moving forward but at a slower pace compared to the past; and

• South Africa experienced a significant economic downturn in 2009-2010 and it is still recovering. As a result, the paint market has moved in favor of low-medium quality products.

“A Profile of the Middle Eastern and African Paints Industries” also includes historical trade data, key market data for 2011 and forecasts to 2016 for each country covered in the report. For more information visit, or email Cathy Galbraith at

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