Middle East

and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa refers to the countries around the southern and eastern shores of he Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf. It includes Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa, and Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar in the Middle East.

This is a region with seemingly intractable religious and ethnic tensions. The Israel-Palestine conflict is chief amongst these and numerous summits, accords and peace initiatives have failed to find a lasting solution. There is also deep hostility between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and the growth in influence of Islamic State (IS) has created new threats to regional stability.
In several countries authoritarian regimes have been overthrown, often with outside assistance, but this has left power vacuums, which have brought underlying hostilities to the fore.
The Middle East and North Africa is a region rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, but it is a geopolitical minefield. It requires expert insight to understand it and to optimise benefits from operating within it.

Consultants

Middle East and North Africa

Our intelligence consultants specialising in the Middle East and North Africa

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Our Expert

Bernard Siman

Independent investment and banking professional with strong specialisms strategic risk analysis and advice. He has worked for Jardine Fleming, UBS and Nomura in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, Turkey and Japan...

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Our Expert

Charles Millon

Charles Millon is a French politician who served as France’s Minister of Defence from 1995 to 1997 in Alain Juppe’s government and French Ambassador to the United Nations from 2003 to 2007...

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Professor Dr

Amatzia Baram

Professor Dr Amatzia Baram is Professor Emeritus at the Department of the History of the Middle East and Director of the Centre for Iraq Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel...

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Professor Dr

Udo Steinbach

Professor Dr Udo Steinbach is a Middle East specialist who teaches at the Centre of Near and Middle East Studies at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany...

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Russia

and its neighbours

This region centres on Russia, but it includes its relationships with its fourteen neighbours: Norway, Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, North Korea and China.

Russia, once one of the two super powers in the age of the bipolar world, tries to reach/maintain this status today while the world has become multipolar. The country is rich in oil and gas and is a main supplier of energy to Europe and China. However, its far east is underdeveoped, it has struggled to develop a knowledge economy and the “social contract” it has with its people will be hard to fulfil.Difficult relations with Western Europe and the United States have added to Russia’s economic challenges and many of its production sectors are struggling.
Corruption is widespread and amongst the biggest problems for Russia’s economy. This, and its renowned centralism and bureaucracy, make international investment challenging without sound and reliable insight and support.

Consultants

Russia and its neighbours

Our intelligence consultants specialising in Russia and its neighbouring countries

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Professor

Stefan Hedlund

Stefan Hedlund is Professor and Research Director at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, at Uppsala University, Sweden...

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Southern Caucasus

and Central Asia

This region stretches from the eastern shore of the Black Sea to Kazakhstan. Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan form the Southern Caucasus and Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan comprise Central Asia.

This is an energy rich region, whose countries’ economic and political fortunes are heavily influenced their relationships with Russia and China, as well as US and EU. It is linguistically, culturally and ethnically diverse and its countries’ strategic alliances are likely to be tested by China’s growing economic and political power.

As former Soviet republics, the political systems within these countries are often far from democratic and the legacy of authoritarian rule remains. Georgia with functioning democracy and aspiration to join NATO and EU is the most vivid exception to the general pattern.

The region has considerable natural resources and is located at the crossroad of key trade routes connecting east and west, historically known as the Silk Road. The region has the potential of playing greater role for the energy security of Europe. However, the need for greater economic diversity has resulted in several bilateral agreements with China, whilst Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have acceded to the Eurasian Economic Union.

Both territorial and ethnic tensions abound and Islamic fundamentalism, in particular, threatens stability within and beyond the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia.

Consultants

Caucasus and Central Asia

Our intelligence consultant specialising in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia

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Our Lead Expert

Eka Tkeshelashvili

Eka Tkeshelashvili is the President of the Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies. She was the Vice Prime-Minister, State Minister of Georgia for Reintegration, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice...

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Asia Pacific

China, India and South East Asia

This region includes China, India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), as well as Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The emergence of China and, to a lesser extent, India on the global stage has been one of the most significant geopolitical developments of the past 25 years. Between them, they account for more than a third of the world’s population, but whether they can maintain their impressive economic growth over the long term to become genuine world leaders is questionable.

China is investing heavily overseas, including in Central Asia, Latin America and Africa. It has also developed bilateral agreements several of its neighbours. But it must overcome huge environmental, socio-economic, demographic and domestic security challenges if it is to become a real economic powerhouse. Its economic strength has led military assertiveness, prompting a greater focus on defence and security by other countries in the region.

Consultants

China, India and SE Asia

Our intelligence consultant specialising in China, India and SE Asia

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Our Lead Expert

Timothy Beardson

Timothy Beardson, one of Hong Kong’s most successful entrepreneurs. He founded and ran Crosby Financial Holdings, the largest independent investment bank in the Far East, which at its height employed 650 staff in 17 cities in 13 countries from New York to Beijing, with an annual transaction volume of US$ 20 billion...

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Europe

Western and Central

Europe stretches from the Iberian peninsula in the west to the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova in the east. It includes all the 28 members of the European Union, non-Members in the Balkans, and Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

Between 1945 and 1989, Europe was divided into two political and economic blocs:, which were commonly defined as the capitalist West and the communist East. The collapse of the Soviet Union has shifted Europe eastwards and Membership of the European Union (EU) now stretches to countries on Russia’s doorstep. This has contributed to an uneasy relationship between the region and Russia and amplified existing geopolitical tensions.

Democratic deficits, bureaucratic inefficiencies, stronger national and cultural identities, huge sovereign debts, and inequalities between Member States that share the same currency all threaten European integration. Europe’s focus on “soft power” also leaves it militarily exposed to external threats. However, this region still includes some of the world’s most influential countries and it has significant physical and human capital assets.

Consultants

Western and Central Europe

Our intelligence consultants specialising in European issues

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Professor

Enrico Colombatto

Enrico Colombatto is a professor of economics at the University of Turin, Italy. Professor Colobatto is also Director of the International Centre for Economic Research (ICER) in Turin and Prague and Director of Research...

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Professor Dr

Christoph Schaltegger

Professor Dr Christoph Schaltegger is an economist, author and academic who specialises in the economics of Europe. Dr Schaltegger is Director at the Swiss Institute of Public Finance and Fiscal Law IFF...

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Professor Dr

Michael Wohlgemuth

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth is an economist and has been Director of Open Europe Berlin since August 2012. He has an MA in economics from Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg...

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Africa

North and Sub-Saharan

Africa is split into 6 parts: Northern Africa, the Sub-Saharan Africa or the Sahelian Zone, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and finally Southern Africa.

Africa is rich in energy and commodities and has become the focus of significant investment, particularly by China. Nevertheless, former colonial powers still have significant influence in many of the continent’s English, French and Portuguese speaking countries.

Tribes still play an important role in politics, but tribal conflicts can often be the cause of damaging civil wars. Crime, corruption and poverty are widespread which, along with the growth of radical Islam, contribute to high levels of displacement and migration.

However, there is also the “new Africa”, where economic growth is among the strongest in the world and where democratic structures and the rule of law have become established, providing greater stability for new and existing investors.

Consultants

Africa

Our lead intelligence consultants specialising in Africa

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Our Lead Experts

Charles Millon

Charles Millon is a French politician who served as France’s Minister of Defence in Alain Juppé’s Government between 1995 and 1997 and as French Ambassador to the United Nations between 2003 and 2007. He is a leading specialist on French-speaking Africa...

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Professor Dr

Jaime Pinto

Historian and political writer with specialisms in Portuguese and African affairs. He is President of Luso-African Foundation for Culture (FLAC), an NGO that supports the formation of political and military cadres of Lusophone Africa countries.Professor Nogueira Pinto is the Director of GAPORSUL and shareholder of DELTA/MOSEG, the second private security consortium in Mozambique, responsible for the security of major infrastructure projects...

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Latin America

Latin America includes countries from Mexico to Chile and Argentina on Cape Horn and Tierro del Fuego. These are predominantly Spanish, Portuguese speaking countries, although the area also includes French and English-speaking countries the Caribbean.

For a region that has historically been known for its authoritarian dictatorships and volatile economies, most of Latin America has been relatively stable in recent years. However, its constituent countries have quite different political outlooks, which are often strongly influenced by pro or anti US sentiments.

The region’s macroeconomic stability, together with the expansion of the region’s middle class, Brazil’s growing international profile, Mexico’s excellent access to US consumers, and the region’s energy and commodity assets, all make Latin America attractive to investors across many sectors.

However, drug trafficking, corruption and security concerns bedevil the region and the gap between rich and poor is wide in many countries. Expert advice and support is, therefore, needed to manage political risks, and to gain access to markets.

Consultants

Latin America

Our lead intelligence consultant specialising in Latin American issues

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Dr

Joseph Tulchin

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars...

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