on assignment, Sana'a

on assignment, Sana'a

Collective Intelligence

Alaco's writing on a range of subjects


Is Mozambique ill-prepared for the predicted energy windfall?

Mozambique is forecast to become a leading energy supplier following the discovery of huge gas reserves. But if the government fails to tackle a raft of challenges, it may succumb to the resource curse that has plagued many other resource-rich African countries. more >

Communist Vietnam rides foreign investment wave

Vietnam has been experiencing record levels of foreign direct investment, defying the general downturn in emerging markets around the world. The country has one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, but the ruling Communist Party needs to press ahead with reforms if the pace of progress is to be maintained.more >

Turkey’s energy needs and isolation are key to rapprochement with Israel

After years of uneasy relations, Turkey and Israel appear to be inching towards restoring ties. The two countries are said to have agreed a draft reconciliation deal, with Ankara’s desire to end its dependence on Russian gas and regional isolation providing much of the impetus for the detente.more >

Angola attempts to escape the ‘resource curse’

Angola, one of Africa’s leading petroleum producers, has been badly hit by plummeting oil prices. Strapped for cash, the government has sought to diversify the economy – a move, the country’s President acknowledges, that is long overdue.more >

Buhari’s anti-graft drive makes progress but a long road lies ahead

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari swept to power pledging to fight corruption, which by most accounts had become rampant under his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan. He has thrown himself into the task, introducing reforms, shaking up ministries and arresting former officials, although it could be some time before his campaign delivers tangible results.more >

Libyan newcomers bring Malta mixed blessings

The small Mediterranean archipelago nation of Malta has long attracted sun-seekers from northern climes. Since joining the EU in 2004, it has also been positioning itself as a financial centre with liberal tax and regulatory policies. Besides the British and German tourists, well-heeled Arab and Russian businessmen can be seen in the baroque capital of Valetta and in the hotels of the nearby coastal towns. But the Arabic-speakers in Malta are not wealthy Gulf tourists that one would see in upscale Mediterranean destinations like France’s Cote d’Azur. They are mostly from Libya, the strife-torn state 180 miles south of Malta. more >

Could Egypt and Israel reach compromise over the Leviathan gas field impasse?

Israel’s long-delayed plans to develop the giant Leviathan offshore gas field have been dealt a new blow by Egypt’s decision to freeze talks on gas imports. The move came after international arbitrators ordered two Egyptian companies to compensate Israel in a long-running energy supply dispute. However, neither side is likely to severely escalate the dispute as this could harm the sensitive security and economic ties between the two countries. more >

The roots of Moldovan corruption

Moldovans are still struggling to come to terms with last year’s massive banking fraud that almost bankrupted the tiny European country. The scandal has been blamed on venal politicians, but what has led to corruption becoming so endemic?more >

Energy-rich Iraqi Kurdistan’s financial troubles are threatening political upheavals

The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq says a financial crisis has left it struggling to pay the salaries of Peshmerga fighters battling ISIL in the north of the country. Erbil’s economic problems have also fuelled political tensions which have threatened the stability of the territory. more >

Crimea struggles to attract investment as its economy worsens

The Crimean economy has deteriorated under the weight of sanctions and a blockade by Ukrainian militants. Moscow is committed to reviving the region’s fortunes, but it faces an uphill struggle.more >

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