Jordan’s privatisation success is based on a clear strategy: a strong reformist agenda that is fully supported by the government, the provision of the appropriate procedures for its implementation, and a high degree of transparency through the privatisation process.
As Rouhani presses on with forming his new cabinet in Iran, the composition of his government is worth reviewing. The President will face a number of political battles in Tehran over the next four years and is thus reliant upon those within the cabinet: a team comprised of those he trusts most as well as those who sit at the table as a result of compromises made within the establishment.
Like Abu Dhabi, Dubai is home to a cadre of merchant elite families who play prominent roles in the city’s economic and political affairs. Several key family names stand-out for their heightened ability to exert influence in the Emirate, whether commercial of political, and foreign investors would do well to identify these families.
As legitimate actors in the tobacco industry clamp down on the illicit cigarette trade, under regulated enclaves such as the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone in Dubai continue to award space for contraband and counterfeits. This may be fuelling international terrorist groups and presents a severe business risk to investors.
Russia and the KRG have enthusiastically announced a new deal for oil exploitation and commercialisation. While, officially, the economic benefits of this deal are being highlighted, their political implications are much more important. This deal remains obscure and politically exposed to the Kurdish power struggle.
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As investment opportunities continue to present themselves in the MENA region, identifying politically unexposed partners is the key challenge for foreign investors. A cadre of prominent commercial families who are not ostensibly beholden to the political elite exist, but diligence and foresight is needed to identify them.
As GCC countries lock horns over the direction that regional policy should take, a geopolitical realignment could feasibly crystallize in the Persian Gulf in the period ahead. Should Saudi and Emirati divestment across certain sectors occur, Qatar’s elite will invariably turn towards a cadre of new partners to plug the gaps in its economy. Enter Iran.
As the capital city and acting treasury for the UAE, Abu Dhabi is perhaps the real source of foreign intrigue in spite of Dubai’s overseas reputation as an investment hub. Besides the ruling Al Nahyan, there are a cadre of influential families that are gateways to obtaining a presence in the local market.
With Youssef Chahed ramping up the fight against corruption in Tunisia, many questions are left unasnwered. Chief among them is the Prime Minister’s intentions behind the crackdown and to what end it will be pursued going forward. The fate of the country’s businessmen exposed to the previous regime will also be determined.
The actors and transit routes involved in the DRC-Dubai gold trade raise suspicion; not least because estimates suggest that 70% of all DRC gold reaches Dubai. Those who stand to benefit may have little incentive to enforce a crackdown. Understanding the nuances of the DRC-Dubai trade route should be a priority for sector stakeholders.
Turkey and Qatar have come to the political rescue of each other twice in the space of 12 months; following the failed coup against Erdoğan in July 2016 and now as Tamim Al Thani faces a regional boycott. For investors, the bloated influence of the political sphere on commercial developments must be noted now more than ever.
Investment and religious connections have emerged as the driving forces behind the Gulf’s relationship with Africa. Qatar, lacking its neighbours’ religious, cultural and economic connections to the continent, appears to have been less effective in garnering African support.