“Instead of building roads the Middle East needs to build its financial infrastructure and take steps to open its markets further to international investors so that it can play a part in creating a global solution to the problems in the global economy,” says Jakobsen.

He warns that the Middle East must avoid protectionist measures while the economy is faltering and should look for opportunities for greater integration with western financial markets.

“The Middle East has a chance to play a huge role as part of the solution to global problems at the moment,” he says. “But it must make its domestic capital markets stronger and knock down the barrier that exists between the domestic economy and global economic activity in the region, so that capital can flow more flow more freely into, around and out of the region.”