Serbia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been growing, and showing resilience in the face of economic crisis. Will the government’s newly found interest in this sector enhance opportunities, or potentially stymie growth? This depends on whether Belgrade shows support by initiating necessary reforms, or looks to exert undue influence by exposing it to an informal power play.
The energy sector in the TRNC is in need of investment, particularly to modernise its infrastructure. While the current government is losing political legitimacy, new political actors with strong ties to Ankara are likely to take control. If this happens, there is a high probability that they will increase their dealing with Turkey, potentially to the detriment of the TRNC’s own needs.
The Syrian refugee crisis is worsening the problem of child labour in Turkey. It is believed that as many as 1 million children in Turkey could be exposed to informal labour networks. Expanding concerns about child labour in Turkey are concerns for international investors, further enhancing the need to conduct integrity due diligence on supply chains and partners.
Fiat's 10-year contract with Serbia expires in December 2018, but will likely be extended. Serbia offers a favourable and profitable environment for Fiat; and will do so for as long as fully automated production is more expensive than human labour. Serbia’s sweatshop model of economic growth, however, only feeds the political elite, with low-cost manufacturing jobs contributing to poverty and a growing grey market for employment.
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Etihad’s financial woes may complicate life for Air Serbia, with the Serbian government particularly placed in a precarious position if the Gulf airline withdraws from this venture. Facing additional pressure from regional low-cost carriers, the one airline that may eventually come out on top to dominate the regional aviation sector may be Lufthansa – but it may not risk doing so directly.
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Nigeria has become one of Turkey’s most important providers of liquid natural gas (LNG), and with the LNG industry in both countries gaining increasing prominence, LNG trade between the two is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.
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Turkish-Serbian business relations are set to enter a new era, with the Turkish President noting his commitment to direct more private Turkish investment to Serbia. There are indications that this is another example of Erdogan dovetailing Turkey’s minor foreign policy with securing commercial opportunities for his loyalists.
Serbia’s overblown and unreformed public sector, almost completely under informal political control, produces a staggering amount of debt, and represents a key instrument of social and political manipulation. While the structure of debt is often complex, its background is relatively simple: clientelism and corruption - too much political influence and too little reform.
Despite on-going reforms in the Serbian energy sector, including reforms at state-owned EPS, the political situation in Serbia does not herald the emergence of a more transparent and liberalised energy market. EPS remains a resource distribution tool, with indications that President Vučić will likely seek to exert more control over it.
Greece is toying with expanding its ties to China, Turkey and Russia whilst its relations with the EU falter. In addition to intelligence of various ‘unofficial’ meetings being held between the leadership of these countries; growing ties are evident in the identity of those taking part in Greece’s ‘golden visa’ scheme.
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With the growing personalisation of politics in Turkey, embodied in President Erdoğan, a patron-client environment is emerging in the private sector. The President has secured a new loyal group of businessmen in his circle – in exchange for preferential access to state resources, these private sector players support Erdoğan and the AKP in any form required.
Recent purges in Turkish academia are likely to have a devastating impact on society in generally, but also on industry as Erdogan’s purges threatens to create an intellectual desert that will inadvertently diminish the quality of the country’s innovative workforce.
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