How is the political turmoil in Egypt impacting day-to-day business?

As political unrest sweeps throughout the Arab world, the question arises as to how drastically this will impact daily business interactions within Egypt, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. We turned to our panel of Zintro experts and here’s what they had to say:

Nitin Jain, an industrial sales and marketing professional with experience in design and business development for industrial and business automation systems in India and the Middle East, understands that life has been affected in different ways in different countries within the MENA region. Such a large and diverse geographic region results in varying socio-economic-political situations in almost every country. Jain explains that some countries run by an autocratic regime may not have democracy in principle, but in practice many citizens have a lot of freedom. Countries like Oman, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar “rely heavily in expat population and have over 50% of expats mostly from India, Southeast Asia and North Africa.” This causes such countries to be insulated from such events. Willis Black, an expert with over 30 years of international business experience encompassing commodity trading and hedging, international development, and finance structuring in developing countries, expects that the current situation in Egypt might cause a rise in phosphate prices in the region as well as in Tunisia and Syria. In addition, Black says that if the Suez is closed, “it will affect shipping to and from major markets in Asia.”

James M. Dorsey, with 35 years of experience as a journalist and analyst with in-depth knowledge of politics, economics and finance in the Middle East says that the impact of a political overthrow on business is substantial. In Tunisia, the overthrow of the president and the continued turmoil has severely affected tourism, exports and services. With anti-government protests sweeping the region, it will likely take Tunisia a lot of time to recover. Further, Dorsey knows that Egypt’s future prospects depend on how quickly the current crisis will be resolved. With only $25 billion in reserves, Egypt’s reserves “could quickly be usurped by rising wheat prices and Egypt being the world’s largest importer of wheat.” With demonstrations occurring in Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Jordan and Yemen as well as demonstrations planned in Bahrain and silent protests occurring in Saudi Arabia, governments are being forced to make concessions and attempt to buy off discontent. Dorsey says that in Kuwait, this has taken the form of cash handouts, while in countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan there is a revived emphasis on job creation programs. Ultimately, Dorsey believes that the turmoil will either “produce more populist regimes or a more populist environment” but there will be no radical decline in the business environment or attitudes for foreign investors.

Do you have a question (about the current situation in the Middle East or any other topic) you would like to ask Zintro’s experts? Click here. Would you be interested in signing to be a Zintro expert and generate free leads for your business? Click here.