The General Investment Authority of Yemen is courting foreign investment by simplifying investment procedures and offering tax holidays of between seven and 16 years. The country is also offering investors that commit more than $10m the possibility of free land, and is building the infrastructure necessary to support three designated industrial zones.

The strategy seems to be working: last year the country attracted nearly $500m in FDI inflows. Recent large-scale foreign investment projects include a cement plant, a Saudi-German hospital and a liquid petroleum gas plant.

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Cairo’s low cost of non-skilled labour ($0.45 per hour) helped to secure its position as runner-up. Industrial rents are some of the lowest in the Middle East. Cairo also won judges’ votes for its impressive FDI deals, including manufacturing plants for both Nissan and Cannon, and a training centre for Cisco.

Saudi Arabia’s Jubail Industrial City scored well on costs, as did the Palestinian areas of Gaza and the West Bank, and Agadir in Morocco.