The report covers 15 countries considered the major regional players and the most attractive emerging markets. The report explains succinctly the complex domestic and foreign political setting and sets out stability scenarios for the short, medium and long term.
This was a collaboration with Dr. Sufyan Alissa an economist specialised in economic and strategic issues in the Arab World. Over the last 10 yeas Dr. Alissa has been formulating strategies and action plans for implementing regional projects. He has worked as an advisor to local and international organisations. He also served at University of London, City University and Oxford University. He is currently at the World Bank.
The Middle East core issues and recurrent crisis:
The major concern of regional powers is to contain the conflict in Iraq and any jihadi spill away from its frontiers and to strike the right balance internally between ‘the reformists’ and an increasingly emboldened group comprising political and religious conservatives, islamists and a frustrated Arab Street.
The emergence of home grown terrorist groups in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco have been a challenge to internal security and regime stability. These disparate groups are being contained but their grievances are not resolved.
Localised conflicts are a likely scenario as well as an increase in militancy resolve. The threat from Al Qaeda-led or inspired terrorist attacks remains a constant, the possibility of another ‘spectacular’ has not been discarded.
However, the region’s wealth in oil and the flourishing financial sector and industry that resulted from a market flush with petrodollar remain attractive to investors whether those of long standing in the region or new comers. Traditionally short term instability has not had a substantial effect on the desire to pursue long term opportunities. A stabilizing factor remains job creation for a large and young labor force estimated at 100 million in 2010 and growing to 185 million in 2020.
Tracking political changes, shift of power, global terrorism or US foreign policy changes.
Bahrain started to review its media industry in 2005 with plans to overhaul the largely state controlled sector. Little has been achieved as a debate is raging over legislation. The conservatives and the reformists are in a tug of war over ceding ownership and editorial control of the television and printed media.
A comprehensive study looking into the politics, security, operational environment, demographics and the telecoms sector of CAR.
Islamic Finance Survey was ground breaking in that there were no prior attempts to understand the market for Islamic products. I lead a two persons team and conducted a three months campaign to survey over 800 global executives from 57 countries including those in the world’s top 50 banks, perception of Islamic finance. The results point to one overriding theme. While there are divergences between groups surveyed, which we consider opportunities to be tapped into, there is also underlying unity of thought particularly the perception of Islamic finance as viable alternative investment for muslims and non-muslims alike. The main finding is that there is no perceived substantial integrational struggle for Islamic finance within global systems and identifies the challenges ahead.
Orient Consulting Services designed the online survey so that it can be filled within 15 minutes. This was rolled out in the Orient Newsletter, on IFIS and on Orient Consulting website in English, Arabic and French languages and was email shot to Fortune 500 companies and to the Top 100 Arab Banks and Companies. Data was gathered over a period of two months.
The report itself was sold to three clients in Bahrain, Luxembourg and Dubai. A summary of the findings was distributed to participants and published in specialist media outlets in the UK, Asia and the Middle East including Euromoney portal and Al Hayat newspaper.