Diverse opportunities in the Middle East and India are good news for NZ companies

Diverse opportunities in the Middle East and India

02 July 2019

Tony Martin / Regional Director, India, Middle East and Africa More articles from Tony Martin

Two major deals in the space of a week have demonstrated the range of opportunities for New Zealand business in the Middle East and India.

In Beirut, Lebanon, an air traffic control training facility opened last week, which uses simulation technology developed by Airways New Zealand. Meanwhile, Fonterra launched a range of dairy products in India under the brand Dreamery through a joint venture with retail giant Future Group.

Airways in Lebanon

More than 71,000 aircraft movements are handled annually at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, with more than 50 airlines operating flights to and from destinations throughout the Middle East and internationally. Passenger use and aircraft movements at the airport have increased each year since 1990, with more than 8.2 million passengers using the airport in 2017, and that number is expected to reach 10 million by 2020.

Despite this growth, the airport, the only civilian hub in Lebanon, is woefully short of certified air traffic controllers – employing only a fifth of the number recommended by global standards.

Air traffic controllers in Lebanon will soon be training in a ‘real world’ air traffic environment using highly advanced simulation technology developed in New Zealand. Airways has developed and installed the air traffic control (ATC) tower and surveillance training simulators for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Lebanon at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport.

With a 20-year history of delivering ATC training solutions and consultancy services to the Middle East, Lebanon is the newest market in the region for Airways.

While the business and economic environment is challenging in Lebanon, the country is focused on improving market access for international businesses, offering incentives for businesses such as competitive corporate tax rates, one of the world’s best educated workforces (ranked 17th in the world in 2017 for the quality of its education system), and access to Europe and other Middle East and North African markets through its many free trade agreements.

Fonterra in India

The Dreamery range, which is designed in New Zealand and includes flavoured milk, yoghurt and skim milk, launched last week in Mumbai and will be available on retail shelves in cities including Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Surat.

The milk for the new range will be supplied from Indian dairy farmers that meet New Zealand dairy standards, while cheese and cream from Anchor Food Professionals for the foodservice industry will be imported into India from August.

The joint venture combines Fonterra’s expertise in global dairy innovation, manufacturing and nutrition with Future Group’s knowledge of the Indian market and their nation-wide cold chain and distribution network. In our experience of supporting New Zealand businesses grow in India, finding the right partner is key for a successful venture.

India is currently self-sufficient in dairy production, and while dairy already forms about a quarter of the local diet, consumer demand for dairy is expected to increase by 82% over the next seven years. India has a growing middle class population who are looking for higher nutrition products and more innovative ways to consume dairy akin to what they might have experienced overseas.

Future growth

Both deals show the diverse range of opportunities in India and the Middle East. While primary products are still New Zealand’s biggest exports to the region, increasingly value-added products and services are in demand as New Zealand’s reputation as an innovative, forward-thinking country is better understood.

New Zealand has an opportunity to further showcase our ingenuity through Expo 2020 Dubai. More than 15 million people are expected to visit during the six-month world expo, with a significant portion of business travellers likely to come from China and India.

To leverage this global event, NZTE has created a programme of activities in the lead-up to, and during, Expo 2020 to help businesses navigate and take advantage of the commercial potential on offer. Our first activity starts in October to coincide with Gulfood Manufacturing, the region’s biggest food and beverage processing industry trade event. Suitable for New Zealand companies active in India, the Middle East or Africa who provide ingredients used in food manufacturing or manufacture food handling equipment, the week-long programme will help exporters understand the growth potential of this exciting sector.

Now is a great time to be exploring opportunities for your business in India and the Middle East.

Find out more and register your interest here.


*Tony Martin is NZTE’s Regional Director for India, the Middle East and Africa.