Middle East & North Africa

18 Items

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

StockSnap/Pixabay

Analysis & Opinions - The Economist

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

| Oct. 03, 2018

What the Iron Man-like character is claiming for his futuristic automotive company is not unheard of. On a systemic basis, mammoth institutional investment—especially from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—is flowing into start-ups and technology-oriented publicly traded companies. In this case, Saudi billions would help Mr Musk escape the pressures of being publicly listed. SWFs have invested large sums into high-growth start-ups promising innovation and financial returns. In fact, just this month, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced a US$1bn investment in Tesla’s rival, Lucid, and a US$2bn stake in Tesla. The rise in SWF balance sheets and activity is having ramifications on global efforts to be more Silicon Valley-like, and on Silicon Valley itself.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stands with other Foreign Ministers whose countries are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council following a meeting on January 23, 2016, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Department of State

Journal Article - New Political Economy

Domestic Sources of Twenty-first-century Geopolitics: Domestic Politics and Sovereign Wealth Funds in GCC Economies

| Feb. 05, 2018

The present article brings domestic politics into an analysis on sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) that are relevant for the study of contemporary geopolitics. What are the domestic drivers behind SWF creation, and how does a country’s domestic political environment affect the creation of these funds? Using a comparative historical case study on sovereign funds in Gulf Cooperation Countries, this article investigates the effects of domestic state–society structures on decisions about SWF creation and their evolving structure.

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders talks to reporters as he arrives at at Quicken Loans Arena before the start of the second day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Putting the Populist Revolt in Its Place

| October 6, 2016

In many Western democracies, this is a year of revolt against elites. The success of the Brexit campaign in Britain, Donald Trump’s unexpected capture of the Republican Party in the United States, and populist parties’ success in Germany and elsewhere strike many as heralding the end of an era. As Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens put it, “the present global order – the liberal rules-based system established in 1945 and expanded after the end of the Cold War – is under unprecedented strain. Globalization is in retreat.”

In fact, it may be premature to draw such broad conclusions.

Some economists attribute the current surge of populism to the “hyper-globalization” of the 1990s, with liberalization of international financial flows and the creation of the World Trade Organization – and particularly China’s WTO accession in 2001 – receiving the most attention. According to one study, Chinese imports eliminated nearly one million US manufacturing jobs from 1999 to 2011; including suppliers and related industries brings the losses to 2.4 million.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

A 30-Year-Old Saudi Prince Could Jump-Start The Kingdom - Or Drive It Off A Cliff

| June 28, 2016

The tensions unsettling the Saudi royal family became clear in September, when Joseph Westphal, the U.S. ambassador to Riyadh, flew to Jiddah to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, nominally the heir to the throne. But when he arrived, he was told that the deputy crown prince, a brash 30-year-old named Mohammed bin Salman, wanted to see him urgently. Senior Fellow, David Ignatius, discusses Mohammed bin Salman opportunity to transform Saudi Arabia.

Report

Rewriting the Arab Social Contract

| May 16, 2016

During the fall 2015 semester, former Minister Hedi Larbi convened eight distinguished experts, each with direct operational and academic experience in Arab countries and economies to participate in a study group titled Rewriting the Arab Social Contract: Toward Inclusive Development and Politics in the Arab World. Over the course of seven sessions during the semester, these experts contributed  to an integrated approach to the historical, social, political, and economic dimensions of the Arab uprisings, focusing in particular on the often overlooked economic and social issues at the root of the uprisings.

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries meet at a summit in Doha in December 2014.

Getty Images/Marwan Naamani

Analysis & Opinions - Agence Global

The GCC states face their biggest challenge ever

| December 30, 2015

"Keep your eyes on the oil-fueled Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Arab states in the year ahead, because they are just starting to experience a genuinely novel, almost existential, challenge that will test the quality of their statehood and national integrity as these have never been tested before. The issue that sparks this historic reckoning of statehood and citizenship in the GCC is not Iran’s nuclear future, the fate of “Islamic State,” nor the wasteful war in Yemen. It is the sudden array of sharp fiscal adjustment measures that most GCC states have announced in the past three weeks..."

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Iran's Radioactive Financial Industry

| June 12, 2015

Aaron Arnold, Associate of the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, writes that while Iran may receive sanctions relief as part of a final nuclear deal, it needs to take actions to strengthen its financial laws and regulations in order for it to truly be integrated into the global economy. He argues that Iranian financial laws, specifically those relating to money-laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing, remain weak and do not meet the standard of the international financial community. These legal weaknesses have caused Iran to remain designated by the U.S. Treasury as a "jurisdiction of primary money-laundering concern," making it much harder for the Iranian financial sector to operate using American currency or the American financial system, which, despite recent developments such as the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, maintains the dominant role in global finance. He concludes that without these reforms to Iran's banking sector, its benefits from the ending of sanctions will be much smaller than desired by Iranian policymakers.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

How to Know if Iran Breaks its Word: Financial Monitoring

| May 26, 2015

Aaron Arnold, Associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center, and Nikos Passas, Professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, argue in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that an important, and generally overlooked, aspect of any deal with Iran is the role of banks and financial institutions in monitoring proliferation related transactions and keeping Iran from cheating on the agreement. They point out that banks are necessary for the monitoring and verification of a nuclear agreement because they provide the information used by sanctions enforcers to track illicit proliferation financing. At this point, several holes exist in detecting proliferation financing, including the lack of a clear template for banks and regulatory agencies to be searching for, and the lack of binding regulations for all forms of financial institutions, such as money remitters. They suggest that the Iranian nuclear deal offers a chance for these systematic holes to be plugged by centralizing analysis of data for proliferation financing and seeking reforms in the Iranian financial system.