Nations that experienced uprisings in the Arab Spring require political stability before they can restore investor confidence and rebuild their economies, says Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
"We're witnessing a deterioration of economic outlook in what was originally a cry against lack of economic opportunity," said Dr Gargash, speaking at a conference yesterday in Abu Dhabi.
"It is affecting many of these economies - whether these economies are Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia - because capital, at the end of the day, needs clear governance but at the same time needs also stability."
He cautioned that even the UAE could, to an extent, become a victim of capital flight driven by fears of continuing instability elsewhere in the region in places such as Libya and Syria.
"Some of the investment will come to UAE and other countries in the region, but some of the money will just escape," said Dr Gargash.
"As people see opportunities in the region, people are sometimes also concerned about the continuation period of instability.
"Money is so fluid today that a large chunk of it will shift from region to region, rather than areas within the region."
The ultimate effects of social and structural upheaval across the Middle East will take years to become clear.
"It's like trying to read the Russian Revolution in 1918."