Summer 2018

OPINION: New income streams

Romil_PatelAlthough it is awash with oil and therefore capital, the Gulf region is at a critical juncture: it must diversify its economy away from a reliance on hydrocarbons. Petroleum prices may have revived lately in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal’s collapse, but they are still well below the highs seen in 2014. Previous attempts to reduce the region’s dependency on oil and open up other revenue streams have fallen short. Even so, experts are optimistic that it’s genuinely different this time. Diversification presents challenges, but these are dwarfed by the potential opportunities: to grow a competitive private sector that locals flock to for work; to liberalise certain aspects of society, such as the entertainment sector; and to reduce government subsidies. To that end, the Saudis certainly appear to have a plan, known as Vision 2030. Nonetheless, questions remain about the timeframe and the details (notably the location) of state oil giant Aramco’s stock market listing, seen as critical to the kingdom’s efforts. Targeting intergenerational wealth accumulation, sovereign wealth funds are financial heavyweights and an increasingly important part of the Middle East’s economic landscape. The region is home to no fewer than 14 – strategy and execution are key to a brighter future. For a region that has enjoyed the fruits of the oil boom for decades, reality has hit home. Hydrocarbons may not be the income generator they once were, but as the Norway model shows, they could be used to build a more economically sustainable future. Romil Patel, acting editor, Funds Global MENA ©2018 funds global mena

Executive Interviews

INTERVIEW: Totally mega

Jun 13, 2018

In 2016, global consulting firm PWC forecast the emergence of five global ‘megatrends’ in the next two decades. Stephen Anderson, its Middle East clients and markets leader, talks about their...

INTERVIEW: Protecting the investment

Nov 23, 2017

Rasmala’s trade finance fund recently passed $100 million in assets. Doug Bitcon, head of credit strategies, explains why he has to be hands-on.

Roundtables

MENA ROUNDTABLE: ‘The story is about reforms’

Jun 13, 2018

Our cross-industry panel discuss the positive backdrop in Egypt, the Dana Gas controversy and the potential index upgrades of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Chaired by George Mitton in Dubai.

SOUTH AFRICA ROUNDTABLE: Airline syndrome

Jun 13, 2018

Our panellists tell us that instead of launching competing national projects, African countries should work together for the sake of a bigger capital market. Chaired by George Mitton in Cape Town.