Free Article
Shadow Governance Intel will be hosting a free webinar on 14th December looking at the 2018 presidential elections and the prospects for a post-Putin Russia. The session will look at the political and commercial Power Players and elite groups in Russia that stand to gain and/or lose from this emerging uncertainty; culminating in an outlook that will identify which personalities are set to rise in a post-Putin era, and most importantly what this means for organisations operating or looking to operate in Russia.
A draft proposal for a new Investment Code was released earlier this month in Uzbekistan. Devised to bring legislation on investment relations under one umbrella, and introduce market transparency, the draft code shows promise. Even if passed into law before 2018, implementation will be a struggle. Mirziyoyev realistically operates in a system that is still rooted in patron-client relations, nepotism and corruption.
Free Article
Tajikistan’s investment environment is inhospitable, regardless of an investors appetite for risk. Business and politics are inseparable in the country, and the political elite successfully manipulate the political and commercial environment to their benefit – seen through cases of embezzlement, corruption, intimidation of rivals, and the diversion of profits offshore. Those who challenge the Presidential family in private enterprise inevitably face repercussions.
A month after the Saudi King’s landmark visit to Moscow, the courtship between Russia and the Saudis is yet to show signs of a slowdown. While a lot of the discussion revolves around the geopolitical dividends for the Kremlin, the new partnership has more pragmatic business implications for key power players. Shadow Governance looks beyond the headlines to uncover the key Russian benefactors of the new friendship between Moscow and Riyadh.
Tajikistan’s kleptocratic system is characterised by government critics as one in which the ruling elite would rather have 100% of a $1 million pie, rather than 10% of a $100 million pie. This sentiment highlights the risks associated with doing business in a country where business and politics truly are inseparable.
Uzbekistan is on a path that is seeking to diverge from its past. It is shifting away from Russia and towards China; and, it is looking to introduce market transparency, initially through a concerted anti-corruption programme. Although the two policies can be viewed as progressive, they may not be able to co-exist over the long term.
During the economic recession, the Kremlin suggested that private players would need to secure their own financing to advance its energy ambitions in the Arctic. This might result in renewed corporate disputes, as state-owned monopolists of the Arctic shelf are determined to retain control over the hydrocarbon reserves of the Russian High North.
VTB’s involvement in the Mozambique debt scandal attracted attention to the bank’s operations in Africa and other foreign countries. The bank is closely connected to Russia’s most powerful elite groups who frequently use it to solve politically-sensitive problems. VTB’s foreign activity should be closely monitored vis-à-vis the Kremlin’s attempts to use it to informally promote its foreign policy goals.
Institutional and systemic lapses continue to undermine Georgia’s investment environment. Using the fertilizer sector as a case study, this analysis highlights how sustained interference of politically connected informal business networks in key enterprises has prevented modernisation, and further contributed to deepening a negative image of the country’s wider business and investment climate.
Uzbekistan’s banking sector is currently undergoing major reforms that have been initiated under the new government of President Mirziyoyev. On the surface, these reforms appear tied to attempts to attract foreign investment; however, the question remains whether these reforms will truly bring about transparency.
Although a lesser discussed set of bilateral relations, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates are sending signals of enhanced cooperation. Given the UAE’s desire to expand and diversify its economy, established investors should keep one eye on the effects that emerging bilateral agreements may have on their interests.
Lviv has been is at the forefront of Ukraine’s regeneration since the beginning of the Donbas war in 2014, with hopes that the city will add manufacturing to its two key growth sectors (tourism and IT). Despite opportunities, there is still much to be done to midwife the country’s investment environment to health.