Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Potential economic benefits from uprising in Egypt

                             fig 1 : Egyptian Flag ( source:

In the last blog, the author discussed about the short term loss on account of the Arabic Uprising. Though there have been losses of high magnitude, destabilizing individual economies for the time being, the uprising can bring a new change in the entire region, not only in socio -political sphere, but also in the economic one. The region, known for autocratic governments, corrupt bureaucratic machinery and lack of liberalization always struggled hard in achieving its full potential. The given uprising followed by regime change in many of the individual nations can help building a new Middle East, marked by transparency, efficiency and inclusive growth. The following blog will do a brief analysis of  the future prospects for Egypt, one of the largest Arab state and focal point of this uprising.  


Egypt had been the focal point of the latest Arab uprising. The protest, breaking out in January end, finally ended up with extirpating the Mubarak regime. Though facing the heat of high inflation and huge loss in tourism sector, one of its prime sectors, Egypt holds a strong future ahead, provided the much needed transition into a stable and transparent democracy happens as soon as possible. 

Recent Situation #

Egypt is a US $ 188 Billion economy (nominal) with a population of 84 Million and a per capita income of US $ 2,450. In recent years, it had shown a decent growth in the range of 5-7% (fig 2), coupled with reform majors taken by the Mubarak regime; nevertheless 30% of population is living below the poverty line (Stuart Kauffman, 2011) with around 11.9% of the active population unemployed. In terms of various human development indicators, it had so far shown sub standard performance with a literacy rate of 66%, internet penetration of 21 % and had been ranked 101 out of 169 nations in the Human Development Index indicator (HDI). With a rank of 96 out of 179 nations in the “Economic Freedom Index”, it is considered as a less free economy. Tourism plays an important role in the economy, generating around US $ 10.8 Billion as revenue in 2009 and employing 12% of the work force. Another major source of revenue is oil and petroleum exports, (fig 3 gives a brief analysis of export items of Egypt in the year 2007) though Egypt is not considered among the major global petroleum exporters, yet valued at US $ 8 Billion, oil and petroleum exports constitutes around half of Egyptian exports. Other areas of foreign currencies are remittances from Egyptians living abroad and Suez Canal. (Dinarstandard, 2011)

fig 2: GDP Growth Rate of Egypt (source:

                                        fig 3: Major export items of Egypt in 2007

Though Egypt had shown strong growth in the recent times (as shown by the figure as well), its economy has some major flaws, which are as follows (Isobel Coleman, 2011):        

 Egypt had grown with the rate of 4% during the 90s. In 2004 the Mubarak regime implemented major reforms, including institutional changes and reduction of tariff and taxes, there by making a growth of 6-8% in recent years, even during the global economic slowdown Egypt maintained a decent growth of 5%, but in spite of such growth there is a huge amount of economic inequality in Egypt. Much had trickled down to the poor populace.
  •        Recently the food inflation had been very high in Egypt. Egypt is one of the major wheat importers and spends around US $ 15 billion in food subsidies for the people living below the poverty line. 

  •           Egypt had made phenomenal progress in its education sector, with near 100% enrollment of girls and boys in primary schools. Even the enrollment for tertiary education has increased from 14% to 28%. In spite of such commendable success, there has not been a very concrete link between the education system and growth of the nation. The education system had been unable in equipping its populace to be employed by the private sector. Hence the rate of unemployment is around 30% among the university graduates.  

  •             Though Egypt seems comparatively liberal on paper, most of the businesses are still run with the help of personal contacts in the govt. authorities, there by undermining the innovative and entrepreneurial  abilities  of the educated youth.    

Current economic turmoil

Egypt had been hit hard by the uprising. It had been calculated by a French bank that at the height of revolution Egypt was loosing US $ 300 Million a day (Heather Murdock, 2011). Uprising, which happened during peak tourist season, ended up one Million tourists leaving Egypt, there by hitting hard a very important source of foreign currency. As an after effect of political turmoil; banks are conscious of lending and there had been a significant decline in credit growth; in the light of more govt. spending, the fiscal deficit of the govt. is expected to touch double digit; food supply had been affected in many areas, resulting in high price of food items; the Egyptian stock market was closed for five weeks, resulting in huge losses whose exact value is not known; many of the international corporations like Coca Cola, Volkswagen, General Motors, Marico etc have discontinued their operation for the time being. The annual growth rate, expected to be 6% in the beginning of the year had been revised to 4%. (, 2011)    

The way ahead: a new begining

Egypt had definitely been affected by the uprising in the short term; the stock market plunged by 9 % on 23rd March, 1st day of opening of stock market after two months. As described earlier the growth forecast had been revised by one third of the earlier projections. It is expected that it will take another one/ one and half years for the Egyptian economy to fully stabilize. In the midst of the present crisis there are some signs of recovery: many of the multinationals like Shell, Nestle, Asian paints etc have resumed their work, industrialists have vowed not laying of workers and to get back to the original condition soon, tourism business is expected to restore soon. But what is really exciting is the great change expected from the impending socio political restructuring and constitutional reforms, coupled with economical reforms and institutional changes. If every thing falls in place, this short term economic turmoil will evaporate sooner or later giving way to a democratic, transparent and development oriented Egypt where the benefits of growth, developments and liberty will be equally shared among various sections of the society. The following points can play an important role in defining future, desired by the Egyptians in large: 

·        Providing stability: Mubarak regime was providing the needed stability at the surface, but beneath, there was a tremor, resulting from the collective rage of the people, towards the corrupt and authoritarian Mubarak regime. This would have been making investors wary of investments, fearing that a wide spread protest might spread anytime, making the current system collapse (and the same happened). If after the uprising Egypt successfully transforms itself into a stable, transparent and liberal democracy, there will be a boost in the investor’s confidence in the market, leading to an increase in investments over the period of time.

·        Further education sector reforms: Egypt have made considerable investments in the education sector, there by achieving high enrollments in schools. But as discussed earlier, the system based on rote memorization, does not help individuals, getting job with the private sector. Egypt needs to further reform and streamline its education system, helping individuals in getting jobs with the private sector and benefiting from more globalization and privatization. (Knw@asb, 2011)

·        Making Egypt more competitive: Egypt along with other countries in the MENA region had not been benefited much from globalization owing to its poor competitiveness. So far since 1990s the region had just been able to maintain its share of per capita export where as many other emerging economies have doubled it. In order to alleviate poverty and provide job for its vast pool of youth, Egypt needs to become more competitive by reforming education sector, further integrating its economy with the world economy, streamlining further deregulation and investing in infrastructure. (Knw@asb, 2011

·        Cutting subsidies: Egypt provides petroleum products at deep discounts there by benefiting its rich class, since petroleum is primarily consumed by the richer sections of the societies. Rather than this, the given money can be diverted to labor incentive economic policies, there by enabling Egypt in employing its vast mass of youth and also boosting exports.

·        Silicon Valley of Middle East: The offshore outsourcing industry at Egypt is valued at US $ 1.1 Billion with global players like Microsoft, Google and Hewlett Packard ,having its operation units in Egypt. On the A T Kearny index of 2009, it ranked 6th as a global outsourcing destination, ahead  of countries like Jordan, Israel and Morocco. Egypt on account of its; vast pool of multilingual people speaking a wide range of languages such as English, Arabic, German, French, Spanish etc; proximity to major European business centers; overlapping time zones and working days on Saturday and Sunday (Egypt has non working days on Thursday, Friday) has the potential to transform itself into silicon valley of Middle East.   (Thomas White Global Investing, 2010)

·        Integration with Israel: during the past few years there had been some warmth in the Israel-Egypt relationship with Egypt supplying natural gas to Israel. The new govt. at Egypt must try carrying this relationship forward. Both, Egypt, on account of its large pool of hardworking people and natural resources as well as Israel, on account of its technological know how and Western orientation has ample space for economical integration. This will not only bolster peace in the region but will also make huge economic sense for both the strong forces from the Middle East. 

·        Using Turkey as the role model: After the revolution, Egypt basically can have  two role models for guiding itself through the future, Iran and Turkey and it must reject the former while select the later. Turkey, a very moderate, liberal and prosperous Islamic society with Western orientation can provide guidance  to Egypt in deciding  its future course of action. The Turkish model will ensure prosperity and liberty for Egypt along with commitment to its rich religious and cultural heritage. (Knw@Asb, 2011)      

# : most of the data are with respect to the year 2009


1>  Stuart K, 2011, A new economic future on the horizon,, available at < >

2>  Dinar Standard, 2011, Egypt revolution: business facts and updates, available at < >

3> Heather M, 2011, Egyptian economy: facing the unknown,

4>, 2011, worries about fallout of unrest on Egyptian economy, available at <>

5> Isobel C, 2011, Egypt’s uphill economic challenges,, available at  

6> Knowledge@ Australian school of business, 2011, Uprising in Egypt: Rebirth of an ancient land, available at <>

7> Knowledge@ Australian school of business, 2011, Uprising in Egypt: Rebirth of an ancient land, available at <>

8> Thomas White Global Investing, 2010, Egypt: the new outsourcing hub, available at <

9> Knowledge@ Australian school of business, 2011, Uprising in Egypt: Rebirth of an ancient land, available at <

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Analysis of Economic loss due to Arabic Uprising

                       fig 1: Arabic stock market (source:                                                     
One of the biggest events which 2011 had witnessed so far is the Arab uprising. Fueled with the help of social media, this wide spread revolt, mainly by the youths attempts; uprooting authoritarian and ignorant incumbent regimes, promoting democratization of the over all political system and implementing more development and social welfare. Many of the political pundits are viewing this movement, which started in Tunisia and then spread vigorously across various parts of the Middle East, in line with famous reforms in the East Europe during 70’s. Though the latest Arab uprising will definitely have great positive impact on the Arab world in long term, but had also resulted in huge economic loss in the short term. The market capitalization for 16 Arab stock exchanges, valued at US $ 1002 Billion on January 25, went down to US $ 862 Billion by March 4, there by losing US $ 140 Billion. (Shane McGinley, 2011)

Last couple of years was quite de motivating for the Arab economies, on account of factors like  global economic slowdown followed by dip in oil prices and Dubai real estate crisis. But the market seemed to be bullish in the beginning of the year. The over all MENA (Middle East and North Africa) regions were expected to grow at 5.1% of GDP according to IMF and economic conditions seemed to be strong, owing to increase in oil prices. But the recent uprising can end up wiping of 2 percentage growth points.The uprising had following impact on various individual economies:


The uprising started in Tunisia during December, 2010, finally culminating into overthrowing president Ben Ali on January 14, 2011. The Economic loss of the revolt is estimated to be around, US $ 3.48 Billion (, 2011). The Tunisian stock market, started in  1969 and enjoying a long period of growth since 2003, crashed , making the index fall by 12 percentage points during a week of turmoil. The stock market closed during the turmoil had finally re opened. Presently valued at US $ 13 Billion, with 56 firms being listed, the market is yet to get back to its original form. Though IMF is predicting long term gain for Tunisia on account of reforms and transparency expected from the new govt., the ferocity of short term losses due to burning up of factories during revolt, tourism hitting a low with a drop of 40% from January to February, canceling or halting of several real estate projects worth US $ 45 Billion etc; can not be discounted. (, 2011) 


Egypt had been badly hit by the revolt. It had been calculated by a French bank that at the height of revolution Egypt was loosing US $ 300 Million a day (Heather Murdock, 2011). Uprising, which happened during peak tourist season, ended up one Million tourists leaving Egypt, there by hitting hard a very important source of foreign currency. As an after effect of political turmoil; banks are conscious of lending and there had been a significant decline in credit growth; in the light of more govt. spending, the fiscal deficit of the govt. is expected to touch double digit; food supply had been affected in many areas, resulting in high price of food items; the Egyptian stock market was closed for five weeks, resulting in huge losses whose exact value is not known. The annual growth rate, expected to be 6% in the beginning of the year had been revised to 4%. (, 2011)   


Libya is another country, where wide spread protest is happening against the oppressive Gaddafi regime.  Situation in Libya is worsening day by day and most of the expatriate population has left the country. The food supply system had collapsed and food prices have sky rocketed. Libya, one of the biggest oil producers in Africa, exported 1.3 million barrel of oil a day, constituting around 2 % of global consumption, but after the crisis, with most of the foreign companies discontinuing their operations in Libya and many major customers imposing sanctions, it had come to a halt. The freezing of oil export will not only affect Libyan economy vehemently, but will also have negative impact on global oil prices. In contrast to Egypt and Tunisia, where the revolution served the purpose of regime change, in Libya the war between Gaddafi’s supporters and opponents are still on and Gaddafi and his supporters seem to be reluctant to give up very easily. This is making the situation worse.     

Other Economic impact:

Other than economic wreckages felt in individual countries, there can be some wide spread economical impact, being felt across the region. Such as:

  •   Due to tension in the region tourism industry in other parts of  Middle East might make loss
  • Airlines, operating in Middle East might make loss following a drop in tourism in Egypt and   Tunisia. Many of the leading airlines have reduced their operation in this region. (, 2011)
  •   In order to prevent  future possibility of any uprising, many countries in the region are coming up with stimulus packages. For exp: recently Saudi Arabia declared US $ 36 Billion stimulus package.
  • Stock market in various parts of the Arab world is plummeting. There is a wide spread fear that the uprising will spread to various other parts of the region, there by making the investors wary of investing in the Arab world. Market capitalization of Saudi Arabia, the biggest GCC (gulf cooperative council) nation had gone down to US $ 286 Billion in March 2 from US $ 340 Billion in January end, a loss of  US $ 54 Billion. Similarly for other gulf countries like Qatar, Kuwait and Dubai, the loss had been of the magnitude of US $, 14, 16 and 2.7 Billion respectively. (, 2011)    
The given blog had analyzed the short term loss due to the uprising, nevertheless  in the long run the wide spread movement is expected to create huge economic gains on account of transparency in the over all system, efficient allocation of resources, better power to the common citizen  (besides mass level political and social reform). The next blog will try analyzing the long term economic gains from the uprising. 


1>   Shane M, 2011, Analysts say 2011 could be a lost year for Arab bourses,, available at
2>, 2011, Popular uprising rip through Middle East, available at  
3>, 2011, Tunisia crisis, available at
4> Heather M, 2011, Egyptian economy: facing the unknown,, available at
5>, 2011, worries about fallout of unrest on Egyptian economy, available at <>
6>, 2011, Crisis in Arab world can hurt airlines, available at < >
7>, 2011, unrest in Arab world caused Saudi market $ 54 Billion, available at < html

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Major construction projects in Abu Dhabi

fig 1 : Abu Dhabi grand prix construction,Yas Island, Abu Dhabi,2008 (Source:                                                          

In the last few years, the construction sector in UAE had undergone a huge boom (baring the real estate bubble burst in Dubai which happened as an aftermath of global economic meltdown). Last decade had seen UAE coming up with a range of extravagant construction projects, in order to transform itself as a world class tourist destination, marked by magnificence and splendor. The leading Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi had executed some multi Billion dollar projects that can make any one awestruck. The following blog will give a brief description for some of these projects by Abu Dhabi that had either been completed or undergoing construction. #

Ferrari theme park: This multi Billion US dollar project which is the biggest indoor theme park in the world had been developed with collaboration between Ferrari and UAE based construction giant ALDAR. The agreement for this 1st ever Ferrari theme park was signed between the two parties in 2005, and was planned to be opened by 2008, though got delayed and was finally opened in November 2010. Constructed on an area of 86,000 SQ M, it’s a multi experiential theme park with some 20 different types of ride. Reflecting the brand values of passion, technical innovation and excellence of Ferrari, the park is considered to be one of the biggest tourist attractions of Abu Dhabi and expects around 10,000 visitors a day. (, 2011)

Saadiyat Islands: Saadiyat islands project will consist of developing low lying islands, 500 Meter off the coast of Abu Dhabi and will be center of architectural and cultural excellence along with being a business, educational and residential place with 38,000 apartments and 8000 villas. Completed by 2018, this 27 Billion US dollar project aims to offer a unique emotional, aesthetic and commercial experience to different sections of tourists. It will be developed by TDIC (tourism development and investment company), an independent entity owned by govt. of Abu Dhabi, involved in developing a large number of tourist destination in the Emirate. Saadiyat Island will consist of a; cultural district with five world class museums designed by world famous architects, a 7- Star hotel, luxury villas and a wide range of retail shops ;Al-Marina district consisting of business complexes, lavish residences, educational institutions and places for leisure activities; four other districts comprising of state of the art golf course, exotic beaches, villa residences, lagoons, nature reserves, eco hotels etc. (, 2010)

Dessert Islands: Dessert Islands are a set of eight islands at the West Coast of Abu Dhabi. Blessed with pristine natural beauties, wild life reserves and historical art facts, it consists of Bani Yas Island, Dalma Island and six other islands. The Dessert Island project, started in 2007 is a 3 Billion Us dollar project intended to transform the islands into a world class, Eco, Nature and adventure tourism destination. The project being executed by TDIC, Masdar (Abu Dhabi govt.’s new energy sustainability initiative) and other private and public players, includes developing 5 star hotels and luxury resorts with around 4000 rooms and aims at maintaining overall conservation and sustainability of the ecology, cultural heritages and energy consumption in the region. Initially it is expected to be visited by around 250,000 tourists annually, rising to over a Million a year (consisting of day trippers and overnight stayers) by 2017. Once being fully operational it is expected to earn US $ 326 Million along with providing 6,500 jobs. (, 2007) Ready by this time the islands offer a wide range of activities such as kayaking, nature and wild life drives, nature and wild life walks, mountain biking, boat snorkeling, sunset cruises, scenic sea plane flights etc and top notch accommodation in the form of luxury resorts and hotels. (Dessert island ,2011)

Al- RAHA beach development project: Aldar’s Al-RAHA beach development project is a US $ 11.7 Billion project situated along the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, and is located opposite to AL-RAHA garden ( Spread across a vast area of some 5 SQ KM, it includes constructing a wide range of accommodations, consisting of 60 storey towers as well as low rise buildings and villas and is expected to accommodate 120,000 individuals. It will also be have large number of parks, cafes and other leisure destinations. The project is currently under construction and is expected to be finished by 2018. (, 2009)

• Al- Reem Island project: One of the biggest real estate projects in the Middle East, Al-Reem Island project consists of developing state of the art residential, commercial and business complexes on the natural island of “Al- Reem”, situated off the North Western coast of Abu Dhabi city. The US $ 30 billion project aims to be an example of magnificence by offering advanced and rich lifestyle experiences to its residents and is been developed by three entities: TAMOUH, Sourah and Reem developers, while TAMOUH is developing 60% of the project, Sourah and Reem are developing 20% of the project each. The work for the project had started in 2006, will be constructed in phases and is expected to be finished by 2023. Once being fully completed the ambitious real estate project will have a total built up area of 1.1 million SQ feet and will be housing some 200,000 residents. Along with top notch residences with state of the art technological facilities, the project will also include shopping complexes, parks, a 27-hole golf course, schools and colleges. Foreign nationals can also own properties in the complex for a 99 years lease. (, 2011)

Mohammed Bin Zayed City: Developed by KEO International on behalf of Abu Dhabi Municipality, Mohammed Bin Zayed City is a US $ 7 Billion project with accommodation, commercial, retail and business related offerings. Expected to be finished by 2012, the project consists of developing; 349 residential towers with 30,000 apartments capable of accommodating 85,000 individuals; wide range of facilities such as health clubs, swimming pools, spas, retails, cafes and restaurants and will be having a built up area of 5.8 Million SQ M. (, 2011) Basically being aimed at underserved middle income group people, the project will also ensure financial benefits for the tower owners and is being considered as a sign of overall sustainability. ( , 2009)

YAS Island project: the US $ 40 Billion (approx) Yas Island project, developed by Aldar, is one of the biggest and most ambitious projects not only in the Middle East but across the whole globe, aiming to convert the island into one of the biggest leisure and entertainment destinations in the world. Initially started in 2006, the whole project will be executed in four phases and is expected to be finished by 2020 (though the initial claims were to finish the project by 2011). Out of the total area of 25 SQ KM of the Yas Island, 17 SQ KM will be used for the project. The project includes developing exciting avenues for entertainment; luxury hotels, resorts and spas; sports clubs; polo clubs; golf course and shopping centers (near about 300,000 SQ M will be utilized for retail purposes). The 1st phase of the construction is over and includes ; Yas Marina circuit, venue for world class motor race events and conducting Abu Dhabi grand prix since 2009; Ferrari world Abu Dhabi, world’s 1st Ferrari theme park (had been discussed above in details); Yas links golf club, a semi private, state of the art golf club set against the admirable beauty of Arabian gulf and is designed by world famous golf course architects Kylie Philips; a range of seven hotels with around 2000 rooms, including the exotic Yas Hotel which is half built in land and half built in water and Yas Marina yacht club, an exquisite yacht club (, 2011). There are various exciting future offerings such as; Warner Bros theme park, a joint venture between Warner Bros, Aldar properties and Abu Dhabi Media company, the project includes Multiplexes, hotels and film production unit beside the theme park; Yas Island water park,($) a water park developed over 16.4 hectares of land and having around 40 rides and many other exciting avenues where splendor and extravagance will blend with dynamism and adventure. (, 2011)

Other than these extravagant projects, there are other end numbers of projects being executed in Abu Dhabi such as airport expansion plan, Abu Dhabi metro project and Al Ras Al Akhdar etc.,as a part of its vision 2030, the total worth of construction assignments in Abu Dhabi is estimated to be around US $ 563 Billion (,2011) . In order to support its anticipated economic growth Abu Dhabi is seeking huge investments in infra structure projects and it is expected to see many such other state of art projects being executed in the nearby future.

# This blog had been devoted for some of the large construction projects of Abu Dhabi, some subsequent blog will be dealing with the other Emirate, Dubai.

$: the water park project had been awarded to UAE based developer, Alec, Its a 165 Million US dollar project , commencing on February and expected to be finsihed with in 18 months. (the point had been added after the blog was published)  


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