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Economics Middle East/North Africa

Walking the Tightrope: The UAE Makes Strides Towards Regional Power in the Gulf

The United Arab Emirates has taken increasingly bold foreign policy measures since the start of the pandemic. In a carefully crafted mix of economic and security measures, the UAE is not only on its way to repairing the economic impact of the pandemic but also to becoming a regional hegemon. The formal establishment of relations with Israel has significantly improved the UAE’s position in the short-term. However, the long term advantage of this agreement for the UAE will depend on Iran’s security status, and whether the UAE can compete with Saudi Arabia to become the region’s economic heart. 

Africa Economics

End of the CFA franc: A possible turning point in Francafrique?

The CFA franc has long been cited as the representation of France’s economic “grip” on Africa and forms a central pillar of Françafrique – France’s relationship with its former African colonies. However, in an effort to move away from the controversial aspects of the region’s common currency, France and the CFA countries have initiated a number of reforms – with the former also pushing for the adoption of the “Eco” by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This move would help remove the most visible elements of French influence; however, it is unlikely to assuage the allegations of French neo-colonialism that hamper Paris’ foreign policy objectives. 

Economics Finance

Finance in 2021: The Challenges and Opportunities 2020 Left Behind

Even though the new year has been around for a while, new trends keep emerging in the world of finance. The greatest challenges and opportunities of 2021 all rest on phenomena and policies initiated in previous years. Sure, what lies ahead is much less certain than some analysts seem to believe. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile for investors look at what they can expect in the next months and brace for it – or reap.

Asia Pacific Economics

Japan’s Tech Competitiveness: Why the Decline?

The Japanese government’s plans to increase economic efficiency and productivity through digitalisation reflect Japan’s growing need to develop new and innovative technologies in software and big data. However, Japanese firms’ incremental and often secretive R&D approach and risk-averse attitude to investments in startups undermine these efforts.

Central America Economics

Nicaragua: Risks to Economic Recovery in 2021

Like most other countries, Nicaragua’s economy slowed in 2020 owing to the international effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nicaragua was also affected by a rough hurricane season, sustaining damage particularly from Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Compounding these challenges, the country’s political environment remains an obstacle to encouraging foreign direct investment and improving the country’s socioeconomic situation. How is Nicaragua’s situation likely to change in 2021?

Economics International

US-China Phase One Trade Deal: Challenges for Trade Expansion

After a year since the United States and China signed the phase one trade deal agreement, it is evident there are several systemic challenges to its full implementation. China’s decentralized governance, limitations in the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, and failure to address structural issues in the bilateral economic relationship limit the prospects of reaching phase one goals of trade expansion. The consequent market distortions may negatively impact international trading partners, whereas China’s search for alternatives to US imports will hinder progress in subsequent negotiations.

Economics Europe

Britain’s Economic Outlook – Navigating Brexit

As news of the last-minute trade deal with the EU emerged, right-wing commentators in publications such as The Spectator embraced it with cautious optimism. Johnson’s administration will not be leaping into the dark, but the economic costs of the pandemic and Brexit, irrespective of the trade deal, will likely pave the way for a bleak decade. 

Economics Middle East/North Africa

What is next for Turkey?

With the Turkish lira at a record depreciation amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic,Turkish leadership is struggling to deal with an economic impasse and a seismic foreign relations shift as a result of the US election. 

Asia Pacific Economics

A Big Deal: Signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

On November 15th 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed. An ASEAN-led initiative, the agreement was signed during a virtual ceremony in Vietnam. The bloc takes sole position as the world’s largest trading bloc, representing roughly 30% of global GDP.
The signing of this imminent and long-awaited free trade agreement is between 15 nations: the 10 ASEAN members in addition to China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
The timing of this pan-Asian trading agreeement’s signing is symbolic – amid a global pandemic that has shaken the global economy and caused free trade and globalisation to be questioned; however, it’s significance goes far beyond symbolism.
While this agreement appears to support ASEAN’s incrementalist approach, the pact will do little to halt China’s creeping dominance over the surrounding region, nor influence America’s position of distancing itself from China, or indeed influence any agreement in which China plays a part.

Economics Finance North America

Killing the Dollar: A Side-Effect of COVID and its Cures?

Since the end of World War II, the US dollar has consistently functioned as a safe harbour for investors caught by any sort of turbulence. Thus, no one was surprised by its appreciation at the height of the current pandemic, which began in April 2020. And no one will be surprised if vaccine makers’ promises to end the pandemic null all those gains. Yet, the currency’s status and reputation have been weakening since the demise of the Bretton Woods Accord in 1974 to the point that, as a side-effect, COVID and its cures may be lethal for the dollar’s international dominance.