Aramco is quite simply unaffected by the Kingdom’s political and economic shortcomings. The company’s strategic importance insulates it from the power plays that serve to threaten most quasi political bodies, arguing the case that institutional independence can exist in the Saudi setting. Of course, its biggest test may yet come in the form of an emboldened Crown Prince.
Long uneasy with the threat posed by a free and independent media, Cairo’s power players are finding new ways to bring the press to heel. Sources reveal that corporate entities linked to the intelligence services may be an unlikely tool for the regime, as it seeks to stifle the media sector for good.
Evidence points to a shift in the landscape of Saudi Arabia’s defence sector. Traditional arteries of state prestige are no longer what they once were, as the new elite continue to consolidate their grip over state institutions. The establishment of a military holding looks set to ‘corporatize’ defence contracts in favour of Riyadh’s new power players.
Dubai’s port authority has extended the UAE’s reputation to far-off locations – for better or worse. Now the city’s leadership must focus on narrowing the space for DP World’s vulnerabilities to have negative impacts on the Emirate as a commercial hub. An intriguing political dynamic further colours this nuanced case-study.
Control the media and you control the masses – a motto applicable to Riyadh’s power players. Although media ownership garners less attention than petrochemicals and construction in Saudi Arabia, its relevance to understanding internal dynamics must not be downplayed.
It’s not all about Aramco. SABIC lives in the shadow of its energy cousin in Saudi’s corporate landscape, but evidence suggests that it may be of equal strategic value to Riyadh’s power players. As the path towards diversification continues, investors are advised to become familiar with SABIC.
Among the multitude of foreign actors vying for influence in Iraq is Russia. Western influence is on the wane as Moscow ups its efforts to engage the political elite; energy companies with ties to the Kremlin are central to this, spearheading a strategy of ‘commercial diplomacy’.
Egypt’s military is known for its economic prowess, crafting arguably a strong business reputation for itself. There are indications suggesting that its commercial portfolio extends to the agriculture sector, where a host of known interests may position it as a key industry player.
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This the first in a series analyses building up to the release of a Shadow Governance Intel Report on Egypt’s agriculture sector. Actors must endeavour to grasp sector dynamics at large; a critical prerequisite for reading between the lines of power plays, corruption allegations, and the political influences at work.
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.