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.
Rouhani’s second term may yet throw up major power plays between the President and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Although united under a mantra of “Iran first”, Rouhani is arguably limiting the IRGC’s access to economic prestige at home and fails in propagating their networks in line with his more hard-line predecessors.
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?
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Although referred to as Courts, the Royal Court and Crown Prince Courts in Gulf countries do not belong to the judiciary. Instead, they are offices of the King or Crown Prince which provide advisory services to the political elite. A strong understanding of these informal advisory offices provides insight into the wider dynamics unfolding in traditionally ‘closed’ settings.
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.
With private investments set to provide a U.S. $10 billion injection into Egypt’s economy, the in-roads for foreign investors are now opening up. A timely example is Enppi in the country’s energy sector. However, privatisation is a politicised issue and dealing with public stakeholders will be simply unavoidable. Moreover, the post-IPO dynamics in the energy sector may not unfold as expected.
Rumblings in the Saudi Stock market have piqued the interests of international investors, who are enticed at the prospect of potential returns. Navigating Riyadh’s political agenda, however, will be equally as critical to entering the Tadawul as a sound investment strategy with political exposure currently at its height.
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.
Investors are increasingly interested in the power players in Saudi’s banking sector. With limited space for foreign actors, it is key to understand who already has a presence and what the current dynamics may mean for the future of banking as the Kingdom’s economy undergoes a period of marked transformation.
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.
A month after the Saudi King’s landmark visit to Moscow, the courtship between Russia and the Saudis is yet to show signs of a slowdown. While a lot of the discussion revolves around the geopolitical dividends for the Kremlin, the new partnership has more pragmatic business implications for key power players. Shadow Governance looks beyond the headlines to uncover the key Russian benefactors of the new friendship between Moscow and Riyadh.