Writing for the Financial Times, Nasser Saidi, an expert speaker on Middle Eastern economies, believes that it is time to break down barriers to intra-Arab trade.
Nasser contends that “like Arab unity, the ambition of boosting intra-Arab trade has been a litany of bright promises but dismal performance.” He argues that regional trade agreements are in place, but enforcement is lacking and benefits are not visible. Significant obstacles include the region’s high non-tariff barriers, such as technical and health standards, along with pervasive red tape, which discriminates against both international and regional trade.
But what should be done? Nasser puts forward 3 ideas:
- Arab countries should invest heavily in trade-related infrastructure and trade facilitation.
- The Gulf Co-operation Council should invite the Arab countries in transition to join its free trade area, either as full members or through economic association agreements that would promote trade, investment and labour mobility.
- Arab countries should pivot east and develop their bilateral and multilateral relations with Asia and China.
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In a recent op-ed for Gulf Business, Dr. Nasser Saidi, Founder and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates, analyses the potential effects of Dubai’s hosting the World Expo in 2020.
Titling the piece “Dubai Expophoria 2020”, Dr. Saidi claims that such an event could “herald regional transformation”, and should ring in investor and consumer confidence. He lists four key points to illustrate how “Dubai’s strategy of investing in economic diversification is paying off”, and why the event is poised for success:
- Dubai has invested in infrastructure and logistics assets that are tourism and trade-oriented.
- There is a distinct geographical comparative advantage; two thirds of the world’s population lives within eight hours flight from Dubai and one third lives within four hours.
- Expo will boost growth and the services sector, as it is expected that Expo will generate 277,149 jobs from 2013 to 2021.
- Dubai’s hosting of World Expo 2020 increases the “brand value of the city” by $8 billion to $257 billion.
Dr. Saidi goes on to analyse what can be done to mitigate risk and create new opportunities. Click here to read the full article.
For information on Dr. Saidi’s speaking availability, please contact our Managing Partner, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8000
Rounding up our thought provoking series of reactions on the current state of Egypt; we spoke to the former Lebanese Minister of economy and industry, Nasser Saidi. He suggested economic factors have played a big role in encouraging protest, and remain a pertinent challenge for whatever government may emerge.
Egypt’s already fragile political transition has now become more uncertain, with the forcible removal of its first democratically elected president from office by the army. Will a new government be more inclusive, more consensus-building than the Morsi government which was dominated by a Muslim Brothers political agenda? Inclusiveness, broader political representation with less extremism will be required to undo the damage to the country’s institutions.
It is important to note that Morsi and his government failed in large measure due to their mishandling and neglect of the economy. A depreciating Egyptian pound, rising inflation, a budget deficit reaching 12% of GDP, declining in real wages, rising youth unemployment all signal growing macroeconomic instability. Investment – both domestic and foreign – plummeted and job creation was static. In fact jobs were destroyed. The 1.5 million new young entrants into the Egyptian labour force over the past two years are despairing. Expectations had been high that a post-Mubarak era would bring improved economic conditions and a ‘trickle down’ of economic benefits. There were bright promises but dismal performance. We should not be surprised that youth ended up once more in Tahrir square. The daunting task facing the President-elect and a new government will be to manage expectations and deliver in a short honeymoon period.
Expert on Middle Eastern finance and economics Dr. Nasser Saidi has been appointed deputy chairman of the Dubai-headquartered website Eureeca. Designed as a regional and internationl business platform, the site “operates as a marketplace for both businesses looking for funding and crowd investors seeking new investment prospects.” With a lower investment barrier to enter, Eureeca offers a wider pool of investor potential.
Nasser’s extensive business and financial experience make him an ideal deputy chairman for the website which was founded by experienced entrepreneurs and former investment bankers. Commenting on its launch last month, he said “Eureeca provides an alternative solution that addresses the persistent needs of entrepreneurs and SMEs for growth capital and has the potential to become a significant catalyst in developing the SME sector in the region and globally.”
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Nasser Saidi, former chief economist at DIFC, gave the keynote at the 2013 Asian Financial Forum (AFF). Entitled “Asian financial transformation: Developing an RMB zone & Redback market” Nasser described the systemic risks of a hub-spoke financial system predicated on too big to fail institutions in advanced economies. Instead, given the growing strength of Emerging Market Economies (EMEs) and Asian markets, he advocated a more distributed ‘spiders-web’ of global financial centres, underpinned by an RMB Zone and Redback market.
The 8th Arabian Business Forum was held on May 21st in Dubai, where a number of speakers were chosen to discuss some of the major issues currently facing the Gulf economies. The event was hosted by the renowned British broadcaster, political commentator and ITP Chairman, Andrew Neil.
Former Chief Economist for the Dubai International Financial Centre, Nasser Saidi is an expert on Middle Eastern finance and economics; Arabian Business magazine said “there aren’t many more prominent experts than Dr Nasser Saidi.”
In his keynote speech Nasser suggested that for 2013 the non-oil sector will aid growth in the economy as oil prices plateau and even drop. He also discussed unemployment and its effects as well as the loans that the government are encouraging banks to give to new companies.
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