Hamad Al Wazzan – A strong return for Europe in the next 20 years!
Hamad Al Wazzan | The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 and the current COVID-19 pandemic invite comparison with the Great Depression and global influenza crisis of the first half of the 20th century. So is it farfetched to suggest that the world could be in for an extra dose of optimism and progress in the 2020s – much like what occurred in the 1920s? We asked real estate entrepreneur Hamad Al Wazzan to shed the light on this issue.
“Glimmers of pent-up demand began to appear during the summer months of 2020, with shopping centers and popular brands reporting large queues and the need for crowd management. This was short-lived – infections surged once more, stores had to reclose, and lockdown measures resumed”, he explained. According to Hamad Al Wazzan, despite increased inequalities between socio-economic groups in 2020, many consumers felt far better off than previously.
“Spending on commuting costs, leisure activities, and annual holidays plummeted. And savings ratios more than doubled in some countries, highlighting a spending pot that can be easily tapped to facilitate pent-up demand when the pandemic is under control by successful vaccination programs and consumer confidence returns”, explained Hamad AlWazzan.
He believes that demand for travel is likely to surge after 2020’s postponed and cancelled holidays and business travel, and as families long to reunite. “The reopening of hospitality venues in greater numbers and larger audiences should help meet that demand and increase output from the sector. If the hospitality and retail sectors rise from the ashes, it may not look too different from the legendary 1920s parties”, added Hamad AlWazzan.
In his opinion, the €750 billion Next Generation EU recovery plan agreed to in July 2020 was unparalleled. “For the first time, it allowed the EU to issue debt. If Next Gen EU will transform Europe to such an extent remains to be seen, but it certainly has brought the continent closer to political and financial unity than was previously conceivable, reviving a dream that had all but vanished in the last few years”, said Hamad AlWazzan.
According to him, the Eurobonds raised from capital markets will help member states address the pandemic’s economic and social impact while ensuring their economies undertake green and digital transitions to become more sustainable and resilient. “This could have a considerable impact on Europe’s real estate sector. The European Commission recommends that renovating housing be one of the national recovery and resilience plans’ priorities. Such renovations could simultaneously help achieve the two European goals of ecological transition and digitalization of the economy through smart buildings that are more energy efficient”, concluded Hamad Al Wazzan.