As the country prepares to undergo what may be its first significant political transition in years, rumblings in Algeria’s energy sector suggest that the battle could be see former heavyweights involved. Staying abreast of emerging dynamics will be the key to anticipating where power will end up once power plays unfold.
Adorning the billboards around construction sites in Saudi Arabia is the Bin Laden family name. However, fame and fortune have not protected the company from Riyadh’s watchful gaze; the Crown Prince’s team are determined to reform the company and may be willing to usurp it if necessary.
Recent trends suggest that Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is undergoing substantive change, despite historically being a predictable pillar of the national economy. Combined with the Crown Prince’s ‘build it and they will come’ attitude, space is clearly opening up for new actors.
A relatively new member of Cairo’s business elite, Ahmed Abou Hashima is fast becoming the new face of Egypt’s steel sector. His source of wealth and early ventures helped carve out a reputation for himself, which ultimately attracted the attention of billionaire investors from the Gulf and unprecedented wealth.
The titans of Arab oil and gas usually belong to the ruling political families or in parastatal government bodies. Hamid Jafar, together with his three children, hold unique sway in the UAE's energy dealings thanks to high level political contacts in the Emirate of Sharjah - making them a private energy success story.
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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.
The startup scene in Iran is garnering momentum. If the national economy opens up to Western investors and its banking system accommodates external parties, understanding the lay of the land helps outsiders navigate what opportunities may await.
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With several of the region’s strategic sectors gearing up to ‘welcome’ private actors into the fold, international investors are bracing for renewed levels of access to old economies. As opportunities begin to present themselves, however, a host of hidden domestic dynamics will become more important than they have ever been.
Despite such a rapidly developing economy, the UAE’s telecommunications sector is off limits for multinational entities and even indigenous actors. Abu Dhabi’s premier family appear to control much of the telecom sector’s dealings and it has gained notoriety abroad over the past 12 years. Whether this is for political or commercial benefit remains debated.
In what is already a significantly destabilised operating environment, Libya’s oil sector is now beset by power plays. Both the National Oil Company and Presidency Council are vying for control over the future of the oil sector and have corresponding visions to go with it: the question is, which faction will win out and where does the upper hand lie?
With Iran’s government intent on developing its automotive sector, the space for profit and power will undoubtedly open up. That said, a complex set of dynamics already underpins carmakers’ ability to penetrate and subsequently compete in the Iranian automotive sector. With power plays abound, keeping one eye on the outcome is integral to understanding the market.
Endowed with a generous portion of the world’s known (and potentially unknown) mineral resources, Iran’s mining industry remains a veritable repository of untapped potential. Bereft of the necessary technology, Iran’s political elite must find ways to entice foreign actors into the fold – with the Chinese and Europeans ostensibly set to battle it out.
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