By Philippe de Pontet and Riccardo Fabiani of Eurasia Group
The investor and geopolitical impacts of the French-led intervention against Islamist militants in Mali will reverberate far beyond the country’s porous borders. Indeed they already have, as the grisly kidnapping of dozens of expatriates in BP’s southern Algerian gas field has shown.
Mali will continue to be the epicenter of combat, casualties, and French preoccupation, but the real risks to multinationals and foreign citizens will play out elsewhere in a vast region that spans North Africa, West Africa and the largely ungoverned Sahel which lies at crossroads of the two. Continue reading »
The past year was a difficult one for many Arab countries undergoing historic political and economic change – Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen. The environment is challenging, but the underlying hope remains the same – a new society based on greater openness, greater opportunity and greater equality, writes Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, in the FT .
The first building block of a more inclusive economy must surely be macroeconomic stability. Unfortunately, this has come under threat in some countries – from slowing global growth, growing social tensions and rising political pressures. Continue reading »
Egypt’s stock market seems to have stabilised since its dramatic 9.6 per cent fall on Sunday, triggered by the latest round of political turmoil. On Monday, the EGX30 index rose 2.6 per cent and was trading flat in the early afternoon, Cairo time, on Tuesday.
But the political confrontations of the last few days are a reminder that Egypt’s leaders are a long way from giving priority to the economy. The International Monetary Fund programme announced last week is anything but a done deal. Continue reading »
Algeria’s powerful armed forces, which already run Africa’s biggest defence budget, have requested a 14 per cent spending increase for next year, as the country prepares for security threats on its southern border.
Escalating disputes between labour unions and employers in north Africa are threatening to derail economic recovery after the uprisings that ousted long-ruling dictators in the region, writes Farah Halime.
Emboldened by the spirit of political change, thousands of workers in Egypt and Tunisia have staged a series of protests and are now in deadlocked talks with companies over demands for a minimum wage. Continue reading »
Economies in north Africa have suffered a sharp drop in direct foreign investment since last year’s Arab uprisings, and they have been hit hard by the eurozone crisis. What can they do to rekindle investors’ interest?
Egyptians will have to choose between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and a old retainer of the Mubarak administration in next month’s run-off of the presidential election.
As officials counted votes on Friday, the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was emerging as winner of this week’s first round. Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, appeared likely to come second. With centrist candidates falling behind, Egyptians seemed certain to face a stark choice in the second round: “revolution” or “counter-revolution”, in the words of one observer. Continue reading »
Libya barely has a functioning government. Armed militias that overthrew Muammer Gaddafi last year still roam the land. And some eastern Libyans want to bolt from the union. But people still have to eat…
Qatar’s top bank has purchased a major stake in one of Libya’s leading privately held financial institutions. The deal strengthens the commercial ties between two countries already bound together politically in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Following months of negotiations, Qatar National Bank, the energy-rich Arabian Peninsula kingdom’s largest financial institution, paid an undisclosed sum for a 49 per cent stake in the Bank of Commerce and Development. Continue reading »
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Algiers on Saturday and gave Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika a free pass on two major issues of contention between the two countries: his government’s upcoming rigged elections and his support for Bashar al-Assad in the worsening crisis in Syria.
In the midst of a regional tour to promote democracy-building and rally international support for intervention in Syria, Clinton’s sudden silence on these issues in Algeria spoke volumes. At the root of this silence is Algeria’s position as a cornerstone in the global oil and gas market. Continue reading »