MEED

Slow transition holds back Tunisian economy

MEED – 10 January 2013 Two years after the 23-year rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was brought to an end, the recovery of Tunisia’s economy is not going as smoothly as the government might have hoped. On 12 December, Fitch Ratings, one of three major international ratings agencies, downgraded the country’s sovereign ratings. Its [...]

Political change fails to quell unrest in Tunisia

10 January 2013 MEED When President Moncef Marzouki visited the small town of Sidi Bouzid in western Tunisia on 17 December, he met with a hostile reception. In a conscious echo of the protests in January 2011 that brought the end of the 23-year rule of Marzouki’s predecessor, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, demonstrators chanted “the [...]

Referendum victory a hollow one for Morsi

President Morsi must turn his attention from parliamentary politics to building a genuine consensus After a first round of voting in Egypt’s referendum on a new constitution, the ‘yes’ campaign is set for certain victory. Ten out of 27 governorates have voted, and the ‘yes’ vote is in the clear with 57 per cent, according [...]


Algeria moves to bolster oil and gas reserves

Sonatrach plans five new refineries and accelerated gas exploration as part of $80bn spending programme In early November, Algerian state energy company Sonatrach announced plans to invest $80bn in oil and gas projects over the next five years. The plans include a 50 per cent increase in the firm’s annual spend, to $15bn in 2013 [...]

South Sudan plans to resume oil production in September

Sudan intransigence on border issue could affect vital oil deal between Sudan and South Sudan South Sudan is planning to resume oil production in September, after a transit deal was reached with Sudan in early August, according to Pagan Amum, the country’s lead negotiator with Sudan at the African Union. It shut down exports of [...]

Cereal price rises threaten civil unrest

The Middle East must ensure food supply amid spiking global prices or risk potential civil unrest The current drought-induced surge in global food prices is causing disquiet in the Middle East and North Africa. Memories do not need to be very long to recall that when protesters took to the streets of cities across the [...]


Algiers’ smoke screen of reform

Against the backdrop of popular unrest in the region, Algiers promised political change. Yet, despite concessions, the regime is maintaining its grip on power Ever since January 2011, when Algerians took to the streets to protest their economic plight and demonstrate their political frustration alongside their neighbours in Tunisia and Egypt, the government has promised [...]

Muslim Brotherhood’s rise sparks paranoia in the GCC

Gulf states wary about the group’s recent political successes in North Africa Speaking at a Ramadan event in late July, Dubai’s police chief, Dahi Khalfan Tamim, issued a dramatic warning against any attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow the Gulf monarchies. The movement, he claimed, had “met people from the Gulf” to discuss “toppling [...]

Cairo: as the political crisis continues, the investment climate is suffering

Vital foreign investment into Egypt dries up

6 April 2012 Egypt’s struggling investment climate is having a major impact on the economy A lack of clear political leadership, an uncertain business environment and a struggling economy mean that firms are thinking twice before investing in Egypt. The uncertainty of the business environment has been thrown into sharp relief in recent weeks by [...]


Suez Canal delivers in tough year

The Canal has emerged as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise flailing Egyptian economy, with revenues touching a record high in 2010/11 It has been a testing few years for the Suez Canal. First, a rapid rise in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia in 2008 threatened [...]

Gas still a challenge for resurgent Middle East market

The combination of the global economic crisis and political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa made 2011 a tough year for investment in the region. But the significant increase in oil prices and the return of a degree of stability to several of the affected markets means the outlook for the coming year [...]

Middle East awaits steel demand recovery

As the region’s governments invest in downstream iron and steel projects, expectations are high that the commissioning of these new plants will coincide with a rebound in prices A strong outlook for global steel demand is encouraging Middle East countries to develop a processing industry that they hope will make the region a major hub [...]


High gold prices bode well for Middle East

The positive outlook for bullion is good news for Dubai as a niche gold trading centre, and for Saudi Arabia, which is pushing ahead with the exploitation of its gold reserves The inexorable rise of gold prices since hitting a brief low of just over $700 an ounce in late 2008 is showing little sign [...]

UAE economic growth to remain sluggish

The continued global economic uncertainty and a new conservative policy in Abu Dhabi mean UAE economic growth is set to slow in 2012 When the global downturn was biting in 2009, economists were gloomy about the outlook for 2010. But the consensus was that from 2011 onwards, economies around the world would gradually start to [...]

Options limited against Al-Assad

Despite the international outcry against the Syrian regime, the lack of a clear course of effective action means Bashar al-Assad is likely to battle out the challenges to his leadership in the short term Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is cutting an increasingly isolated figure. International demands for an end to armed attacks on protesters that [...]


New Libya still a distant dream

The Gaddafi regime may have fallen, but it will take time to restore order and stability With pockets of fierce fighting continuing in Tripoli and elsewhere, and former leader Muammar Gaddafi still at large, Libya’s new dawn must be viewed with caution. But one thing is clear, the 41-year era of Gaddafi and his idiosyncratic [...]

Unfreezing of Libya’s assets could take six months

Delays at UN could delay rebuilding work in Libya Releasing frozen overseas assets accumulated by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi could take six months, crippling the ability of Libya’s interim government to fund essential basic infrastructure work, a former UK ambassador to Libya tells MEED. An estimated $100bn of overseas assets have been frozen across [...]

Political uncertainty drags on in Egypt

The slow progress of political reform continues to frustrate people that are desperate for change The beginning of the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak on 3 August marked another step towards the consignment of Egypt’s old political order to the history books. But when it comes to the replacement of the old regime with [...]


Unrest hits Europe gas strategy

Civil war in Libya and uncertainty over available gas from Egypt and Algeria means major additions to supply from the three major North African markets is unlikely For several years, one of the key aims of Europe’s energy strategy has been to secure a diverse and reliable gas supply. The continent’s own gas production is [...]

Old tensions fail to disappear in Sudan

As Sudan splits, the issues that caused the bloody civil war will not be easily consigned to history If anybody thought that the success of the January referendum on the secession of South Sudan from the north meant that the hard work was over, recent events will have forced them to reassess. The backdrop to [...]

Morocco’s quiet revolution

The North African nation becomes first in the region to agree a programme for constitutional reform Compared with the political turmoil that has engulfed much of the Middle East and North Africa in recent months, Morocco’s revolution has been a quiet one. Protesters have taken to the streets in many of the kingdom’s major cities, [...]


Turkey is leveraging its trade advantage

Turkey is focused on expanding its trade with the Middle East to offset the downturn in the economies of Europe. But imports are growing faster, creating a widening trade deficit The Turkish lands have been the lynchpin of trade between Europe and Asia, ever since the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 sealed the shift in [...]

Turkey’s leaders consolidate backing

Under its ruling party, Turkey has enjoyed unprecedented political stability and economic growth. But unrest in Syria will test the government’s foreign policies The third consecutive victory of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the parliamentary elections on 12 June this year was no surprise. Since coming to power in 2002, the moderate [...]

Turkey: A strategic route for energy

Turkey is making the most of its geographical location between the energy-rich Middle East and Central Asia region and consumers in Europe Compared with its Middle East neighbours, Turkey’s oil and gas resources are negligible. According to the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2009, Turkey produced an average of just 53,000 barrels a [...]