Investors are increasingly interested in the power players in Saudi’s banking sector. With limited space for foreign actors, it is key to understand who already has a presence and what the current dynamics may mean for the future of banking as the Kingdom’s economy undergoes a period of marked transformation.
Iran’s telecommunications industry is full of opportunity, but remains one that must be considered alongside the political and economic barriers facing the country as a whole. Investors must familiarise themselves with the sector proclivities, namely by gaining familiarity of its key players, and being aware of the informal trading that continues to blight the sector’s legitimacy.
Peeling back the outer layers of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation is the most effective way for investors to assess its overall integrity levels. Forced resignations, bribery, and political instability cast doubt as to how trustworthy the centralised control over Egypt’s agribusiness is in reality.
Reforming Iran’s decades-old banking laws is of the utmost priority for the new Rouhani administration. More than 18 months after ‘Implementation Day’ of the nuclear agreement, and despite positive developments in terms of GDP growth, Iran’s fledging banking sector remains a major hurdle preventing the economy from realising its potential.
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Island based development projects are growing increasingly central to the United Arab Emirates’ (“UAE”) domestic investment strategy. Yas island provides a case study in how Mohamed bin Zayed is leveraging his vision and power in Abu Dhabi as well as who the benefactors of resource distribution under the Crown Prince will be going forward.
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.
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.