As the face of wealth in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, Alwaleed bin Talal is the envy of many. Connections to the power core afforded him great prestige in his rise to the top but he has since strayed from the accepted line; an act that will not be tolerated under King Salman or Crown Prince Mohammed.
With a monopoly over the production of electricity cables, the Elsewedy family are quite simply giants in Cairo’s business scene. Trends suggest that they are seeking to safeguard their assets by gaining strong political status, which has profound implications not only for sector dynamics but systemic integrity as a whole.
Out with the official institutional parameters of Emirati politics lies the role of the majlis. The UAE’s power brokers are seeking to build reputations as inclusive leaders through popularity in the majlis, but this dynamic is more complex than it appears on the surface. The majlis is an interesting institution, with many sources suggesting this is where many business deals originate.
Six months on from the sweeping arrest of politicians, princes, and businessmen in Riyadh, there are still questions surrounding the Crown Prince’s motives. Intrigue into the billions of dollars’ worth of assets that Saudi authorities acquired will continue to grow; but the silence on this topic fails to dispel concerns.
Morocco’s growing economic and diplomatic influence across sub-Saharan Africa does not appear to be slowing as the north African country seeks to join ECOWAS and cement its position as a regional leader and economic powerhouse in West Africa.
President Sisi's war on the judiciary is just getting started. Victory in April will grant him four more years at the helm and entail four more years of vying for influence vis-à-vis the judiciary. Cairo's top brass will stop at nothing to undercut rival institutions; the Courts are currently the prime target.
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Cairo's top brass waxes lyrical about its anti-corruption stance, but actions speak louder than words. Egypt's various supervisory bodies have been increasingly curtailed by the President's manipulation of the country's legal framework; empowering himself at the expense of genuine anti-corruption actors.
Top of the King and Crown Prince's agenda in recent months has been to secure widespread support through the appointment of loyalists. These new power players enjoy access to the Kingdom's strategic affairs, making it critical to assess who falls into the camp of Riyadh's new elite.
As China looks West in search of economic partnerships, it finds a Kingdom uniquely positioned to assist its 'One Belt One Road' strategy. While their bilateral ties are rooted in energy dealings, Saudi's maritime capabilities may be set to catapult its fortunes in line with Beijing's grand plans.
Riyadh's political elite are engaging in power plays not only to overhaul the state, as they repeatedly claim, but also to safeguard the regime from a coup d'état. Although their rule may seem guaranteed, the princes in charge have used every opportunity to safeguard Saudi's military apparatus.
Mohammed bin Zayed has spent years manoeuvring loyalists into the key posts around him, which will truly bear fruit once he formally inherits the throne. Commercial actors must endeavour to understand the significance of this, as the country's open-door economic policy is largely dependent upon the Crown Prince's own longevity.
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Irrigation-based challenges may be detrimental to the Iranian state, but for actors with sufficient capital and expertise, it represents an opportunity. Successful navigation of Tehran's political elite could bring access to a profitable and prestigious sector, ultimately bolstering Iran's water security in the process.