Abu Dhabi has a new poster boy. Khalifa bin Butti is believed to sit on over U.S. $1.5 billion worth of assets, after starting his career in energy company ADNOC, and is thought to be the youngest billionaire in the Emirates. Track his commercial network and find what underpins his success.
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.
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.
The UAE’s method of resource distribution is undergoing a period of rigorous testing, raising questions about its long term economic health. The Khalifa Fund was set up to nurture the private sector and may be the lifeline local entrepreneurs need; Shadow Governance inspects the Fund’s effect as well as those behind it.
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.
The private security industry's most famous name is plying his trade for leaders in emerging and frontier markets. The influence of the former founder of infamous Blackwater Worldwide is almost certainly higher than that of any other mainstream international businessman, with evidence to suggest he maintains informal networks with the world's most controversial political elites.
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.
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Saudi Arabia is on the move and its chief power player, Mohamed bin Salman, is wasting no time in rustling influential feathers. In light of November 2017’s mass arrests, questions are being asked with regards to the Kingdom’s outlook and, crucially, whether this move benefits the Crown Prince or the state.
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.