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.
Free Article
European investments in Iran are following a tentative course, primarily due to political uncertainty from across the pond. Should the issue of the nuclear deal finally be put to bed in Washington, this may trigger widespread investment. However, President Trump’s hawkish administration could still throw a spanner in the works.
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.
Sources indicate that the aviation industry in Saudi is set to fly high. With a swathe of deals already under its belt, the space for investment in the Kingdom’s airports are well and truly opening up. In line with the broader reforms being implemented domestically, the aviation sector may undergo a boom in the medium-to-long term.
Summary: Among Egypt’s less explored commercial opportunities are those that lie in the technology sector. A work in progress, the Suez region has been chosen to play host to Egypt’s ‘Technology Valley’ in the hope that tech companies and ICT services will support the domestic shipping industry and contribute to the wider economy. The balance between opportunity and risk merits attention.
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.
Sources suggests that Egypt’s ‘deep state’ is lobbying to improve its reputation in the United States. By agreeing contracts with various PR firms, the mukhabarat is now assuming a role that was once upon a time the remit of official state institutions. This highlights the bloated role Egypt’s intelligence community now plays, which may have profound implications on the economic and investment prospects.
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.
Free Article
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.
Although a lesser discussed set of bilateral relations, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates are sending signals of enhanced cooperation. Given the UAE’s desire to expand and diversify its economy, established investors should keep one eye on the effects that emerging bilateral agreements may have on their interests.
Free Article
As interest gathers in Egypt’s energy sector, ahead of the planned launch of production from its Zohr gas field, important sector dynamics must be considered. Egypt’s political upheavals appear to have left their mark on the Ministry of Petroleum, which is indicative of under-the-surface dealings. Investors should engage but exercise vigilance.