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AssessmentsJan 31, 2020 | 18:47 GMT
This photo shows a masked vendor and customers of his wares in an alley in Wuhan, China, on January 31, 2020.
Measuring the Economic Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak that has killed scores and sickened thousands is set to deliver a significant blow to China's already-weakening economy. Quarantines and travel bans put into place to limit the spread of the illness already have disrupted one of the country's busiest travel and spending periods of the year, the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Jan. 25. The lockdowns have created major supply chain disruptions in Hubei province, the key Chinese transit hub and major manufacturing center for automobiles, fiber optic cable and machinery where the outbreak started. Public transportation, including trains, planes and ferries in and out Hubei -- whose provincial capital, Wuhan, was the epicenter of the outbreak -- have been suspended, with the freedom of movement curtailed for some 60 million people. The disruptions are not limited to the province, however, as business and industrial activities across the nation, already substantially slowed or even suspended
AssessmentsNov 11, 2019 | 09:45 GMT
The European Commission's president-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, talks to the media during the unveiling of her new team for the 2019-2024 term. A graphic showing the specific commissioners is displayed on a large screen behind her.
What a New Commission Means for EU Policy
A new European Commission led by President Ursula von der Leyen is slated to take over in December after the European Parliament approves her team later this month. In preparation for her new post, von der Leyen has outlined a bold "geopolitical" vision that focuses on defending the European Union's interests amid growing competition among global powers like the United States and China. But whether the president-elect's commissioners will actually be able to follow through on her big plans once they take office next month will prove a far different story, as they'll be forced to work within the confines of the continent's increasingly divisive political climate and gloomy economic forecast. 
AssessmentsMay 20, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Sudanese celebrate an agreement on a civilian-majority legislative body following the removal of authoritarian leader Omar al Bashir in April 2019. The body will be in power for the next three years, after which, elections will be held to allow citizens to decide on its next composition.
After Decades in the Dark, Sudan May Soon Be Open for Business
Following President Omar al Bashir's ousting, a transitional civil-military council has brought hope for the many Sudanese who've suffered from the country's deteriorating economy and global isolation over the past 30 years. While negotiations over what the country's transitional government will look like have been rife with debate, there are now signs Khartoum could be inching toward a civilian-led government. Such fundamental political change could eventually prompt the United States to take Sudan off its terrorism list, which could allow the country to capitalize more on its strategic advantages -- including its fertile land, location on the Red Sea and large population -- by lifting a key longtime hurdle for business engagement. Indeed, if done right, the long-abandoned nation has the potential to be Africa's next economic success story -- representing a new zone of untapped opportunity for adventurous investors and businesses alike. But much of that prosperity will depend
SnapshotsMay 9, 2019 | 21:23 GMT
Libya: The Government of National Accord Takes Aim at French and Other European Firms
The Libyan civil war had already greatly complicated business operations for foreign companies, which have long had to deal with risks stemming from fighting among the country's powerful militias and from jihadist attacks. Now, firms must also worry about which of the country's two governments their home country backs. On May 9, the economy minister of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, announced that his ministry is suspending the operations of 40 companies including Total, Thales, Siemens, Petrofac and Alcatel-Lucent (now owned by Nokia), because their business licenses had expired and not been renewed. The concentration of French companies on the list, which also included some Egyptian and other regional companies and firms from other European countries, and the fact that Total was the only company on the list with significant operations in the country, suggest that the directive targeted France, specifically, for political reasons.
SnapshotsMay 1, 2019 | 21:15 GMT
Iraq: Baghdad Looks to Germany's Siemens to Help It Improve Its Electricity Supply
Iraq has approved a deal with Germany-based Siemens to upgrade its dilapidated power sector and build electricity projects. The deal, which could be worth at least $14 billion, was announced April 30 while Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi was in Germany for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Iraqi-Siemens "road map" to restore and boost Iraq's electricity supply will help Iraq slowly diversify its electricity sources away from Iran and could temper protests caused by chronic brownouts and blackouts.
SnapshotsFeb 6, 2019 | 20:56 GMT
EU: Mergers To Create Megacompanies Will Have To Wait
France and Germany's push to create large European companies that can go toe-to-toe with global competitors has hit a wall. On Feb. 6, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that Brussels would block a planned French-German merger between rail companies Alstom and Siemens, arguing that the plan is incompatible with the bloc's antitrust rules and could lead to higher prices for European consumers. In response, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called for Europe to better defend its interests against global competition. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Vestager's decision was an economic mistake that would benefit China, where companies often have deep linkages with the state and regularly receive significant state backing.
AssessmentsDec 11, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
This photo shows an Iraqi man checking a mass of wires connecting homes in Baghdad to electricity.
Iraq's Electricity Sector Is Caught in the U.S.-Iran Power Struggle
Iraq has an electricity problem. Blackouts and brownouts are common during the country's broiling summers. Its aging and inefficient generation and transmission systems suffered $7 billion in damage at the hands of the Islamic State, but even before the jihadist group's push through Mosul in 2014, Iraq's electricity sector was struggling to keep up with demand. To supplement its own production, the country imports electricity and natural gas from Iran, but even that incomplete solution to its power shortages could be coming to an end soon. As the United States continues its pressure campaign against Iran, Washington has demanded that Baghdad come up with a plan to wean itself off Iranian energy supplies, which constitute a significant chunk of Iraq's electricity needs. That presents new Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi with a formidable challenge. Annual demand for electricity in Iraq, which hit a peak of 24,000 megawatts (MW) in 2018, is climbing
SnapshotsOct 18, 2018 | 21:29 GMT
Saudi Arabia: The Khashoggi Disappearance Tarnishes Riyadh's 'Davos in the Desert'
Several high-profile political and business leaders have dropped out or withdrawn sponsorship of Saudi Arabia's "Davos in the Desert" Foreign Investment Initiative (FII) conference, citing the ongoing investigation into the disappearance and suspected death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The event is set for Oct. 23-25 in Riyadh, and an increasing number of accusers suggest that the conference's main sponsor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in the incident.
AssessmentsJun 7, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
An employee works at the Rumaila natural gas power station in southern Iraq. Like most countries in the Middle East, Iraq relies on natural gas for much of its electricity generation.
Nuclear Power's Fading Moment in the Middle East
The Middle East and North Africa sit at a crucial intersection of energy economics and regional security concerns. The region's growing populations and economies are using more electricity, and some key countries are seeking to diversify their electrical grids by reducing their reliance on generation fueled by oil and natural gas. Nuclear power factors in as a prominent part of the region's strategy to move away from fossil fuel. But advances in other energy technologies and the complications surrounding Iran's nuclear program are complicating their desire for nuclear power. The U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions could push Tehran toward resuming its enrichment of nuclear fuel, sharpening questions about the justifications that other countries in the region use for pursuing nuclear power. While the desire to develop nuclear power in the Middle East and North Africa is alive and well, the associated costs, the rise of
AssessmentsOct 25, 2017 | 16:29 GMT
Saudi Arabia's decision to construct the NEOM project, a futuristic city on the coast of the Red Sea, is a risk the country has to take.
Saudi Arabia Lays Foundations for a New Future
Saudi Arabia is again paving the way for a more diversified economy. The country kicked off the Future Investment Initiative on Oct. 24, in the hopes of furthering its efforts to attract foreign investment. The crown jewel of the event was the unveiling of the $500 billion NEOM project by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The NEOM project -- which takes "neo" from the Latin word for new and "m" from the Arabic word for future (mostaqbal) -- aims to develop a 26,500 square kilometer megacity in northwestern Saudi Arabia with an independent economic zone that stretches into Egypt and Jordan. It's an ambitious plan, one that could put Saudi Arabia on the map as a leader in developing the cities of the future using new technologies that other cities cannot. But there are just as many risks: There is no guarantee that the city will succeed, or even be completed
AssessmentsSep 28, 2017 | 17:08 GMT
A new Bombardier C Series aircraft takes flight.
Boeing and Bombardier Take Their Dogfight to Court
The aviation sector is one of the few which intersects significantly with geopolitics, and the challenges Canadian plane manufacturer Bombardier faces in the United States will reverberate around the world. On the evening of Sept. 26, the United States Department of Commerce issued a determination on imports of Canadian built aircraft. The Department of Commerce's preliminary duty determination would place a 219.63 percent tariff on the sale of airliners built by the Canadian-based company Bombardier -- the next generation C Series -- once the investigation is complete. Bombardier has already begun criticizing the investigation, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke out against the investigation in the run-up to the announcement. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's office stated that the United Kingdom was bitterly disappointed by the result. That disappointment comes as no surprise, given that Bombardier's plant in Belfast plant builds wings for the company's next generation C
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