August MENA Monthly: Geopolitical tensions linger

Date: Jul 2019

  • Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports will continue to be affected by global economic developments, including the US/China trade dispute.
  • The passing of the Lebanese budget, better fiscal performance in Q1 and progress on electricity reform should help trigger some CEDRE funds, although we do not expect rapid pay-out.
  • An agreement in Sudan is designed to set a path towards stability, but the devil is in the detail, including defining the role of the new Sovereign Council vis-à-vis the prime minister and Cabinet.
  • Chinese private and state-owned companies are engaging with North African countries in the public transport sector in two ways: vehicle joint production/sales, and financing building railways.

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Saudi Arabia: A report card on Vision 2030

  • Since its launch in April 2016, Vision 2030 has had a mixed record of achieving its ambitious goals. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) has been able to launch some aspects of the agenda, such as cultural and social reforms, with dizzying spread and little resistance.
  • There have been some successes with governance reforms and in improving fiscal balances. But they have not come without challenges.
  • But other initiatives, including the partial privatisation of Saudi Aramco, have suffered delays. Foreign investment in the Vision’s industrial and real estate projects has also fallen below targets.

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