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Despite promises of being the antithesis to former President Morsi, Sisi’s administration is reverting to type. Elite networks and the relationships that underscore them continue to be the dominant force in Egyptian business and politics.
Regulatory bodies exist in the Financial Free Trade Zones to project the façade of internationally respected oversight and corporate governance. The case of the Kaloti Group highlights the arbitrary nature of regulation.
A series of mergers of state-owned companies gives particular insight into the political and financial priorities of Abu Dhabi, and acts as reassurance for investors who may be spooked by the prospect of non-performing investments.
Confrontation between one of Egypt's high-profile businessmen and the Central Bank is exposing a rift between private interests and the official strategies of the state.
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Assessing the last six months of political and economic development for the Emirates is less a focus on challenges to stability, and more an assessment of how the ruling elites rebalance to maintain control.
Apart for headline news sounding major commercial interest in Iran, private investors eager to reap benefits of the nuclear deal are confronted with a more sobering reality of factional infighting, a stagnant economy, and a private sector struggling to compete against quasi-government actors.
Despite President Rouhani’s promise to strengthen the private sector, state and so-called ‘quasi-state’ organisations continue to dominate the Iranian economy.
The Suez Canal is an emblematic symbol of Egypt's role in global commerce. It was therefore predictable for el-Sisi to announce an extension to the canal as an election priority – but the promise has yet to materialise.
The Egyptian Central Bank devalued the pound against the dollar on 14th March 2016 in an effort to take active steps to improve a faltering economy. This decision, however, is likely to increase political pressure.
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The UAE suffered significant economic shocks over the course of 2015, and now faces low oil prices, accompanying fiscal deficits, rising populations, terrorist threats and sectarian schism.
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Egypt shows little sign of improvement for 2016. Its political and social status quo has been built on layers of patronage networks; the challenge for predicting economic and political opportunity in Egypt comes from assessing how these informal networks are being reconfigured.
In the aftermath of the 2013 military coup against Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi, the UAE has become the most prominent backer of the new regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The decision is a strategic one.