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: ‘Financing is the blood of Iran’s economy’

Amid a fresh wave of American sanctions, Romil Patel spoke to Meysam Hamedi, director of financial markets and instruments at Iran’s Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO).

INTERVIEW: Totally mega

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...

Roundtables

South Africa asset management roundtable: Global rebound on ice

Experts discuss the investment implications of the coronavirus pandemic, a delayed rebound in global growth and dealing with South Africa’s energy issues head on. Chaired by Romil Patel in Cape Town.

South African roundtable: Taking the bull by the horns

Our panel discusses Chinese investment in Africa, financial institutions’ contribution to economic sustainability and regulatory concerns. Chaired by Romil Patel in Cape Town.