PwC Middle East develops framework to address megatrend challenge

19 April 2018 3 min. read

The Middle East arm of Big Four advisory firm PwC has developed a new framework to help address what it considers the five long-term global trends set to have a seismic impact on the region, formulated together under the acronym ADAPT.

The world at large has entered a period of profound disruption, from a shifting political and economic landscape to the advent of the digital era, and, according to the Middle East practice of Big Four professional services firm PwC, the region finds itself at the epicenter of five of these historic global trends – which will together reshape the entire Middle East as it is today.

Together with the rising shift in global power and expected technological disruption to just about every facet of life, the firm has cast a further eye on the changing demographics, growing urbanisation and ever-looming issue of climate change unfolding across the globe – banding the greater trends under the acronym ADAPT: assimilation, disruption, age, populism (and) trust.

Such unstoppable forces, beyond the measure of any government to avert alone, present profound challenges for governments and businesses alike – especially in a region already confronting a rapid drop in oil prices, which are now considered unlikely to recover to anywhere near their levels of yore. However, as with most threats, these global megatrends also represent a strategic future opportunity – and through its newly devised ADAPT framework, PwC intends to present a clearer picture of both.It groups today’s pressing issues into 5 categories:Firstly, a word of caution. While the ADAPT framework seeks to illuminate long-term solutions, the firm believes that to successfully address the issues confronting the region will require immediate action. “We do not have the luxury of delaying a response to these challenges. They are not something for another generation to address… The precarious combination of issues facing the Middle East means that both governments and businesses are forced to respond at a scale and with an urgency that is unprecedented.”

With that said, PwC also contends that the old modes of thinking, approaches, and assumptions of the past will no longer provide an effective answer to the fresh forms of disruption – ‘however far-reaching and effective they may have been.’ The landscape, the firm argues, has changed too dramatically. And with the growing levels of urgency, so too the trade-offs between the short and long-term pressures.

The aim of ADPAT is to work through the near-term manifestations of the interacting trends with a mind for future-proofed solutions, bringing together insights into the growing disparity between the wealthy and poor (Asymmetry); the social, political and economic impact of advancing technologies (Disruption); the exploding population and consequent demographic upheaval (Age); the move toward political nationalism (Populism), and; a public breakdown in the confidence of and disconnect with governmental institutions (Trust).

“Challenges and opportunities are so closely intertwined that they can even become interchangeable. And as the Middle East continues to shift and develop at remarkable pace, it must recognise the need to, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, ‘treat those two imposters just the same,’” PwC Middle East Clients and Markets Leader, Stephen Anderson, concludes.