Upcoming Online Webinars

Guyana: the world’s fastest growing economy

Date: Wednesday 25 May | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

This webinar will be held on Menas Associates’ own platform (not Zoom) and will not require a separate registration.

The ExxonMobil led consortium, which has made 31 offshore discoveries, has increased its estimate of Guyana’s offshore oil and gas reserves to nearly 11 billion barrels and forecast that production will rise from the current 250,000 b/d to around 1.2 million b/d by 2027.

The impact of this windfall on Guyana and its very small English-speaking population of under 800,000 is already enormous. The IMF says that it is on track for 47.2% GDP growth in 2022. The non-oil economy will grow by 7.7% which will mainly be driven by rice (25.1%) and gold mining (12.2%) while public and private sector investment will result in 10.5% growth in construction.

The March 2020 election brought the centre-left People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) party and Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali to power as the country’s first Muslim president.

It is therefore an ideal time to learn more about the country and its exciting business opportunities.

The webinar will cover:

  • Introduction to Guyana’s economy and politics
  • Guyana’s rise to power through resources
  • Guyana’s challenges as an emerging economy


Neil Marks, is one of Guyana’s most experienced senior journalists. He is currently Producer and Editorial Consultant at News Room; and the former President of the Guyana Press Association.

Neil Passmore, CEO, Hannam & Partners
Neil is the CEO and co-founder of Hannam & Partners. He has worked for fifteen years in natural resources corporate finance, advising on a broad spread of capital market and M&A transactions for clients including Xstrata, Savannah, Amira, Ophir and others. He has raised over $30 billion in capital in more than 45 capital markets transactions in his career, as well as advising on several of the resource industry’s transformational mergers and acquisitions. He is a Director of YPO’s London Chapter and the Director of an agriculture company based in Guyana. In 2012 Neil was names one of the Rising Stars of Finance by Financial News. Neil was formerly a helicopter pilot in the British Army and has an MBA and an MA (Oxon).

Greg Falkof – Eversheds Sutherland. Greg is a Partner in the international arbitration group of Eversheds Sutherland LLP, and a key member of the firm’s energy disputes practice. He specialises in the resolution of complex international infrastructure, energy, oil and gas disputes, both for commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration.

Register now

Past Breakfast Briefings and Online Webinars

All change after Merkel? Germany’s new post-Ukraine policies and domestic politics

Date: Wednesday 20 April | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Strategic Insight Group

After 16 years of steadiness under Chancellor Angela Merkel, and barely two months into her successor Olaf Scholz’s tenure, Germany has had to drastically change course on defence spending, as well as foreign and energy policy. Despite its past history, Berlin’s European and Transatlantic partners have warmly welcomed this decision which will significantly strengthen Germany’s military capabilities. But will this fundamental change be sustainable when its goals conflict with the those of fundamental transformation that the three party ‘traffic light’ coalition has set itself?

The webinar will cover:

  • Merkel and Scholz: different personalities or two sides of the same coin?
  • Do ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’? The three party ‘traffic light’ coalition
  • The new focus on defence policy after 30 years of the peace dividend
  • An ecological transformation to meet ambitious climate goals
  • Do Germans rue the day they voted the Scholz coalition in?
  • The impact of these changes on the economy, trade, and business environment 


Andreas Busch is currently the Chair and Professor of Comparative Politics and Political Economy at the University of Göttingen. He was John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University; and Reader in European Politics at the University of Oxford from 2003 to 2008. He is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities and editor of the academic journal German Politics. 

Henning Meyer is Fellow at the German Federal Ministry of Finance; Honorary Professor of Public Policy and Business at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen; and Founder of Social Europe Publishing & Consulting GmbH.

South Korea’s election: all change or more of the same?

Date: Wednesday 16 March | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

South Korea and North Korea have significantly diverged since they were ‘temporarily’ partitioned 77 years ago. Yet the peninsula — long seen as a ‘shrimp among whales’ — now boasts the two strongest states its long history and they currently stride the world stage in very different ways.

South Korea (ROK) — a top ten global economy with growing political and soft power heft — is a robust democracy. On 9 March it elected the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol as President Moon Jae-in’s successor and he will now take office for five years in May. Seoul’s main challenge will be to navigate between its ally in Washington and its main trade partner in Beijing. Supply chain issues will loom large and its long-term goal is for new engines of growth.

North Korea (DPRK) chose a negative path because Kim Jong-un is a chip off the old block. His first of possibly many decades in power brought bigger and better missiles with 2022 beginning with a fresh flurry. Cautious marketisation has been rolled back, while sanctions and extreme anti-COVID measures — even closing borders to trade — have shrunk the economy and exacerbated suffering. Chinese support plus cybertheft currently sustain the regime.

The webinar will cover:

  • Who is South Korea’s new President? What are his key policies? Can he deliver?
  • How will Seoul balance the competing demands of Washington and Beijing?
  • Can inter-Korean relations recover from their three-year freeze?
  • Is there any hope of better ROK-Japan relations? What would that take?
  • What supply chain issues does Seoul face? How will it tackle them?
  • Can South Korea find new long-term growth engines?
  • How serious a threat is North Korea and to whom? What if anything can be done?
  • What is Kim Jong-un’s game? Might Biden, or a returning Trump, agree to talks?


Dr Edward Howell is a Lecturer in Politics at New College, University of Oxford. His research focuses on the international relations of East Asia; North Korea’s domestic, foreign, and nuclear policies; US-DPRK and US-ROK relations; and the politics of the Korean Peninsula (North and South Korea). Edward is a contributing writer for The Economist Intelligence Unit, and frequently offers analysis to media outlets, including NKNews and NKPro, The Spectator, The Diplomat, as well as The Daily Telegraph. He also engages actively in academia-policy dialogue.

Brandon Bae is a Senior Associate in Eversheds Sutherland’s Asia corporate team with particular focus on Korean clients and business. Prior to joining its international M&A team in Hong Kong, he practised in Seoul for more than 8 years with leading Korean firm Kim & Chang.

A China-Russia Alliance in the Eurasian Arctic?

Date: Wednesday 16 February | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

The Arctic is becoming the cockpit of the world for three central reasons:

  • The epicentre of the fastest rate of physical state change in the earth’s climate. 
  • The region where the 21st century’s most powerful countries will compete for strategic dominance: 3 Superpowers with nuclear weapons; the Northern Sea Route, reserves in hydrocarbon, fish, and rare-earth minerals, Space launch-location for digitisation
  • The Arctic Council (AC) is a successful model of governance for maintaining stability and predictability in the Arctic region.

Opportunities in the Arctic are now of global importance. The AC’s decision-making process and governance of the region is therefore increasingly influenced by non-Arctic states – and no longer just the AC. Russia is China’s sponsor in the Arctic

Unintended consequences of Russian Sanctions in the Arctic: There is a deepening and widening Sino-Russian relationship in the Eurasian Arctic and the main beneficiary of Western sanctions on Russia in the Arctic will be China.

Russia priority in the European Artic has changed from Securitisation to Militarisation. Sanctions have failed to restrain its freedom of movement and have, if anything, accelerated Moscow’s plans to unfold its Greater Eurasian Project strategy whilst concurrently facilitating and benefiting from China’s Ice Silk Road backed Arctic infrastructure and financing initiatives (e.g., NSR).

US/EU commercial withdrawal following sanctions — especially Big Oil — has left neither power with any kind of strategic geo-economic leverage over Russia in the Eurasian Arctic region and has created an economic vacuum which China is steadily filling. 

The webinar will analyse:

  • Sino-Russian (SR) relations in the Eurasian Arctic: Partnership or Alliance?
  • S-R Strategy & Methodology in the Arctic region: Strategic Implications.
  • Geo-economic Cooperation in the Pacific Arctic: from Globalisation to Regionalisation
  • Cooperation in LNG and Gas Markets in NE Asia; a Gas OPEC?
  • Global Economic influences: Technology, IPE, BRI, pivot to Asia, Institutions & Governance
  • Technology: competition for Space, and link with NSR and China’s BRI. Virtual linkage, technological connectivity, and global governance.
  • An Alliance? S-R de-couple from the West. The Critical pivotal moment(s)? 


Tim Reilly – Arctic Advisory Group

Tim’s PhD from the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, addressed the geoeconomics and energy relations between Russia and China in the Eurasian Arctic. He is the founder of the UK-based Arctic Advisory Group consultancy firm. Previous career appointments include Government Affairs Adviser to Shell Gas & Power in Russia/Ukraine, as well as working in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, and Ukraine, for companies such as Chevron and JKX Oil & Gas. His first experience of the Arctic was as a young paratroop officer in the 1980s where he was an instructor in Arctic warfare. 

Tim is a Russian speaker and was educated at Cambridge and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Since the 1990s he has lived extensively in the CIS. He was an expert witness to both the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on the Arctic, and more recently, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Arctic. Tim has authored various UK Arctic position/policy papers for the UK government. He currently advises, and is the creator of various recent Arctic scenarios/position papers, for HMG.

South Africa’s Road to 2024: Politics, Elections, Security, and the Economy

Date: Wednesday 26 January | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

South Africa’s November 2021 local elections led to a seismic political change by throwing the ruling ANC into disarray and suggesting a widespread legitimacy crisis in the young democracy. Both the overall turnout and the ANC vote dropped to historic lows while small parties collectively doubled their votes, making them unexpected key players in many local councils. Unprecedented levels of political violence swept the country which has led to: tensions within the ANC; and frustrations with the economy and broader democratic project.

But what does all of this mean for the 2024 national elections? Who are the new key players in South African politics? And how might the recent political developments impact on policy and the economy?

The webinar will analyse:

  • The outcome of the 2021 local elections
  • What this means for both the ruling ANC and South Africa going forward
  • The economic impact of recent political changes
  • The road to the 2024 elections
  • The macroeconomy and business environment


Sarah Lockwood is an Assistant Professor in Politics and Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, where she specialises in accountability and development in Southern Africa. She has covered and analysed events in South Africa for over 15 years, first as a Cape Town based journalist, and subsequently as an academic. Her current work is primarily focused on the relationship between the government and civil society, and the ways in which this affects policy development and implementation. 

She holds: a BA in Political Science from Columbia University; an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford; and an MA and PhD in Political Science and African Studies from Harvard University. She also has a research affiliation at the Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa at the University of Cape Town, where she co-directs the Political Parties in Africa Project.

Patrick Curran is a Senior Economist at Tellimer, where he focuses on emerging market macro/sovereign research across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Prior to joining Tellimer, he worked at Eaton Vance in Boston conducting sovereign fixed income analysis and spent time at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria. He holds an MA in International Economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and is a CFA charterholder.

Tanya Pollak is a partner at Eversheds Sutherland Johannesburg and practices in the commercial group. She specialises in corporate and commercial law bringing her own unique brand of practising law with a personal touch. She offers a diverse cross section of services in many aspects of law. Her main areas of expertise comprise mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, BEE transactions, cross border transactions, corporate structuring and restructuring, project finance, securitisations, insurance and reinsurance and advising on regulatory compliance.

The 21st century conundrum: Inevitable rise, or peak China?

Date: Wednesday 15 December | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Alaco

Xi Jinping has made it clear that the ‘Party leads everything.’ This makes it essential to understand the Chinese Communist Party’s role and rule if we are to calibrate our responses appropriately.

We are set for a more adversarial relationship with China: differences in systems, values, and national security considerations will define our future. Maximising good relations with China remains as important as ever but achieving that will be more difficult.

COVID-19, rising ideological differences, increasing nationalism and introversion make it ever more important to have clear-sighted analysis of where the CCP is taking China.

The webinar will therefore analyse:


  • What is Xi Jinping’s ‘new era’?
  • How popular is Xi and the Party, and how does the CCP legitimise itself?
  • How stable are Chinese politics: will Xi be in charge for life?
  • Is divergence/decoupling inevitable, desired even?
  • Is China trying to change the world, or is it likely to turn in on itself?


  • Peak property, a metaphor for the economy 
  • New development concept 
  • New industrial policy, private sector, regulation, dual circulation, common prosperity 
  • Debt, demographics, productivity and the middle income trap 



Charles Parton spent 22 years of his 37 year diplomatic career working in or on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with both the UK and the EU. He has also worked in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Libya and Mali.  He is a senior associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, an associate fellow of the Council on Geostrategy, and was a Specialist Adviser on China to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee for its 2018-9 China Inquiries. He has published extensively in academic journals, many UK newspapers, the Spectator, Times, Daily Telegraph and appears regularly on the BBC, France 24, LBC and other media.

Charles focuses in particular on the internal dynamics of Communist Party rule and on UK-China relations, an area where he has been a vocal advocate for a clearer understanding of China and of the need for a revised strategy for relations.

George Magnus is a research associate at Oxford University’s China centre and at SOAS. Previously he had been the Chief Economist and later Senior Economic Adviser at UBS from 1995-2016, and before that had held the role of Chief economist at SG Warburg, and senior positions at Chase Securities and Bank of America.

A regular and frequent visitor to China since 1993, he made China his principal focus after calling the financial crisis, and is the author of Red Flags: why Xi’s China is in jeopardy (2018), other books on emerging markets and ageing, and writes and speaks regularly in the media, on his website, and privately, on China. All his public work can be seen at www.georgemagnus.com. 

Angola: tackling problems before the 2022 elections

Date: Wednesday 17 November | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

Angola is reaching a critical moment. With the 2022 election fast approaching the MPLA government is simultaneously trying to deal with: a very damaging economic crisis; rising poverty; and political disillusionment. President João Lourenço’s strategy to save the ruling party — while simultaneously overhauling the economic system and tackling corruption — could be extremely painful, not only for the most vulnerable, but also for the elite and the growing middle class.

Unless it is careful this could generate public anger which could lead to social arrest. UNITA and other opposition parties are taking to the streets to protest against new electoral laws.

The country has enormous potential for western investors but this potential ‘perfect storm’ could, if mismanaged by the government, bring unrest to one of Africa’s largest oil producers and most securitised states.

The webinar will cover:

  • Domestic politics
  • 2022 Elections
  • Security
  • Foreign relations
  • Economy


Paula Cristina Roque is an independent analyst who has spent 18 years working on conflict analysis and human security with a focus on Angola and the Horn of Africa.

From 2016-2019 she was an Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa with the CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. She is a Senior External Advisor and co-founder of the South Sudan Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies in Juba.

She was previously the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst on Angola and Mozambique and, between 2008–2010, was a senior researcher for the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. She was previously the China in Africa Research Coordinator for the South African Institute for International Affairs.

She has: a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Oxford; an MSc in Human Rights from the LSE; and a BA in Social Anthropology from ISCTE in Lisbon.

Her forthcoming book Governing in the Shadows: Angola’s Securitized State, published by Hurst (African Arguments series), will be out in September 2021.

Stuart Culverhouse — is the Chief Economist and Global Head of Fixed Income Research at Tellimer.

He joined the company (formerly known as Exotix) in 2006 after ten years in the UK Government Economic Service, where he worked in HM Treasury and the UK’s export credit agency. He is a recognised expert in developing markets and sovereign debt restructuring, with 20 years emerging markets’ experience, and his geographical coverage includes Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub Sahara Africa and Eastern Europe. He has an MSc in Economics from Southampton University and previously worked at Goldman Sachs (London).

Sudan: Out from the cold and open for business?

Date: Wednesday 20 October | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Alaco

Since the 2018 Revolution that unseated Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year dictatorship, Sudan has been at pains to demonstrate that it is, once again, returning to the international fold. So far this has included: normalisation of relations with Israel; removal from the US’ State Sponsor of Terror list; the implementation of an IMF-led Staff Monitored Programme to get Sudan ready for debt relief; and the multi-stage nationwide peace process.

The jubilation from deposing al-Bashir led to unprecedented international support but very limited FDI. Difficulties include: the fear of sanctions blowback; the failure of previous post-dictatorship transitional periods; multiple armed groups which has made it difficult to implement the peace agreement; potential conflict on the border with Ethiopia; and the continuing domestic imbalance of power between Sudan’s military and civilian leadership.

Sudan currently stands at a crossroads: consolidating revolutionary dividends and moving forth with consensus-driven politics, or waiting for history to repeat itself. Despite the challenges, it has many opportunities for transformative change: inflation has started to decline; former security-owned enterprises are entering the official market, with greater civilian oversight; greater political pressure for security sector reform; and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s recently launched reform initiative which could kickstart the sluggish political system.

The webinar will cover:

  • Domestic politics
  • Foreign relations
  • Security actors and arrangements
  • Economy


Kholood Khair is the Managing Partner of Insight Strategy Partners (ISP) which is a new Khartoum-based independent think-and-do tank. She previously spent a decade working in the aid sector in Sudan and wider Horn of Africa.

Kholood is Senior Advisor for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and in her capacity as a senior expert on Sudan: has briefed the UN Security Council on the political implications of the new UN Integrated Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS); delivered lectures to global universities and research institutes; and provides regular political analyses to senior diplomats and regional organisations. She periodically publishes opinion pieces and analyses in international news publications, and contributes to high-level talks and prominent international seminars.

Kholood has an MSc in African Studies from University of Oxford and an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Stuart Culverhouse is the Chief Economist and Global Head of Fixed Income Research at Tellimer.

He joined the company (formerly known as Exotix) in 2006 after ten years in the UK Government Economic Service, where he worked in HM Treasury and the UK’s export credit agency. He is a recognised expert in developing markets and sovereign debt restructuring, with 20 years emerging markets’ experience, and his geographical coverage includes Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub Sahara Africa and Eastern Europe. He has an MSc in Economics from Southampton University and previously worked at Goldman Sachs (London).

Mexico’s Fourth Transformation: a great leap backwards?

Date: Thursday 16 September | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

Mexico is the world’s 15th largest economy and the second largest in Latin America. It has considerable natural resources and a solid industrial base. Since 1994 it has formed part of the North America Free Trade Area (NAFTA) — recently renegotiated under the USMEXCA treaty of 2019 — which gives it privileged access to the US and Canadian markets. Between 1982-2018 successive presidents encouraged foreign investment.

Former President Enrique Peña Nieto passed numerous radical reforms including a landmark energy reform in 2013. He was succeeded in 2018 by the populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) who won a sweeping victory on an anti-corruption ticket and with promises of subsidies and assistance to the poor and under-privileged. AMLO was also determined to restore Mexico to what he considered its golden age of the 1960s and 1970s, characterised by: a centralised political system and de facto one-party politics; a strong presidency; and state intervention, particularly in the energy sector. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic — which his government has badly mishandled and has led to over 500,000 deaths — his policies had to led to 0.5% growth and a sharp drop in FDI. Despite this he seems determined to continue on the same course, with a consequent detrimental effect upon growth and employment.

The webinar will cover:

  • Politics
  • Security
  • Foreign Relations 
  • Economy
  • Investment climate


Dr Dudley Ankerson was a member of H.M. Diplomatic Service from 1976 to 2006 and, among other postings he served in Mexico for three years. Since 2006 he has been undertaking political risk consultancy work for British and Spanish multinational companies on Latin America, and particularly on Mexico. For over 12 years he was also an advisor to the British Foreign Office, and has also worked for the previous Mexican administration on security matters, and the Colombian President on the peace process with the FARC from 2011 to 2018. 

Meriam Nazih Al-Rashid, Global Co-Chair of International Arbitration and Co-Head of the Latin America Arbitration Practice Group at Eversheds Sutherland, represents and advises clients on complex international disputes with a focus on public international law including issues related to human rights, international investment arbitration, international commercial arbitration, and foreign investor risk management. Praised by Chambers as a “standout lawyer” and “formidable litigator,” Meriam’s experience is vast across sectors, regions and arbitral institutions.

Meriam has served as counsel in disputes and transactions involving parties across the globe. Meriam’s practice covers various industries, including mining, mineral resources, infrastructure, oil and gas, civil engineering, textiles, hospitality and real estate.

Her experience includes participation in arbitrations before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), International Court of Justice (ICJ), Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Will the Sahel become ‘Africa’s Afghanistan’?

Date: Wednesday 21 July | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Alaco

The Sahel security crisis — across Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso — is escalating and threatens to become ‘Africa’s Afghanistan’ which could spread to other parts of the continent.

France’s intervention began in 2013 but Army Chief of Staff, General Lecointre, recently said that Europe would be militarily engaged in the region for another decade. However — following the April assassination of Chad’s President Idriss Déby and a subsequent coup d’état, and then Mali’s second coup in nine months — Paris now appears to have had enough. President Macron is facing re-election in April 2022 and his failed Sahel policy will be an election issue. In June he announced a military withdrawal but provided no details or a timeline.

Jihadist groups are taking advantage of the escalating chaos in the Sahel, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Nigeria and elsewhere. Simultaneously, Russia and Islamist extremists are accentuating the destabilisation of the CAR and eastern DRC. Mali could invite Russia to replace the French but it is more likely that the Algerians will do so. This will have dangerous wider ramifications across North and West Africa. Europe is unlikely to become more involved and Washington currently has no clear Africa policy. The AU and ECOWAS have also proven themselves incapable of offering more than platitudes.

The wider Sahel region could therefore become engulfed in a escalating spiral of violence, displacement, and chaos, in which the major players are an assortment of jihadist groups and Russia. Consequently, what President Obama once called ‘The Long War’ and which has global implications, threatens to get even longer.

The webinar will cover:

  • Domestic politics – Mali, Niger, Chad
  • The jihadist groups
  • France’s role and possible disengagement
  • The wider region and geopolitics
  • Future scenarios


Prof. Jeremy Keenan is a recognised world expert on the Sahara-Sahel where he began his studies in 1964. Jeremy now has 10 books and over 350 publications to his name. He is also the author of Menas Associates’ Sahara Focus monthly. He regularly briefs the British and US governments, the EU, UN, NATO, as well as international agencies and numerous media organisations (BBC, RFI, France24, VOA, Reuters, etc.) on these issues.

Where is Iran heading after the 2021 presidential elections?

Date: Wednesday 30 June | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

Iran's likely next president Ebrahim Raisi
Iran’s likely next president Ebrahim Raisi

President Hassan Rohani’s outgoing government is determined to de-escalate Iran’s external relations before leaving office in late July 2021.  This includes: a return to what is known as a ‘compliance-for-compliance’ JCPOA which would pave the way for the lifting of most of the current US secondary sanctions; and mending fences with Iran’s Gulf neighbours and especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  

Following recent confirmation by Ayatollah Khamenei that all foreign policy decisions are made in the Supreme National Security Council it is clear that there is a regime resolve behind these decisions.  Nonetheless — as seen during former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad years — the emergence of a hardline president could change the overall dynamic and impact all areas of policy making.

The webinar will therefore:

  • Analyse the outcome of the June 2021 presidential elections 
  • Assess whether the new president will continue the de-escalation or can a more hardline tone be expected from Tehran.  
  • Assess the election’s impact for international business in Iran.
  • Examine legal issues that current and potential investors should consider


Dr Bijan Khajehpour is a managing partner at the Vienna-based Eurasian Nexus Partners, a Senior Associate at Menas Associates, and the editor of our monthly Iran Strategic Focus for over 20 years. Bijan is a commentator on the geopolitics of energy and an analyst of Iran’s political and economic developments, and especially its energy sector.  He is also a member of the advisory board of the European Middle East Research Group (EMERG). He has been published widely in international books and media.  He completed his graduate studies in management and economy in Germany and the UK and his Doctorate of Business Administration at the International School of Management in Paris.

Iraq: Politics, Economy, and Doing Business in an Election Year

Date: Thursday 3 June | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC+1)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

On 10 October 2021, Iraq will hold sixth national elections since regime change in 2003. They are being held early because of the Thawrat Tishreen, (October Revolution) mass demonstrations which saw tens of thousands of young people take to the streets of Baghdad and most central and southern cities in 2019 and 2020.

They caught a widespread public mood when they damned Iraq’s ruling elite and the political system they preside over, critiquing the high levels of corruption, institutional weakness and societal alienation it created. Although prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, was removed over 600 were killed when the protest movement was suppressed by the government and its allied militias.

As Iraq enters another election season, its state institutions remain enfeebled by politically sanctioned corruption. Opposition activists are regularly assassinated by militias which act with impunity. Although rising oil prices have temporarily suspended the economic crisis, the state payroll is heavily overstaffed with civil servants who are employed because of their affiliations to political parties rather than their ability to deliver much needed basic services.

The webinar will analyse:

  • Domestic politics 
  • Security 
  • Foreign Relations
  • Macro-economy and business climate
  • Regulatory/legal update on doing business with particular focus on oil and gas


Toby Dodge is a Professor in the International Relations Department at LSE.  A frequent visitor to Iraq, he has carried out research in Basra, Baghdad, Ramadi, Mosul and Erbil over the last 20 years. His publications include three books: Inventing Iraq: The failure of nation building and a history denied (2003); Iraq’s Future: The Aftermath of Regime Change (2005); and Iraq: From War to a New Authoritarianism (2013). He has advised the US, UK and European governments and numerous multi-national companies about the politics of Iraq and the wider the Middle East.

Ahmed Tabaqchali — an experienced capital markets professional with over 25 years’ experience in US and MENA markets — is the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of AFC Iraq Fund. He is also: an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUIS); Senior Fellow at the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at AUIS; and non-resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council.

Tawfiq Tabbaa – Middle East Managing Partner, Eversheds Sutherland.
Tawfiq specialises in corporate and commercial law as well as regulatory reform and litigation and has 20 years of experience. In 2004, he set up the firm’s offices in Baghdad and later in Erbil and has advised on a steady stream of instructions for international clients in the field of oil and gas, transportation, supply management, real estate, telecommunications, media, agency, banking and contracting in Iraq.

Forget the Turkey you thought you knew

Date: Wednesday 21 April | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Beazley

Turkey’s relations with the West have undergone a strategic shift in the past five years, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party has set the country on a new course.

Amongst other issues are:

  • Is Turkey’s external self-confidence a response to domestic political pressures or a sign of a shift in the global balance of power?
  • How will relations with the Biden administration develop in light of the purchase of a Russian air-defence system and breaches of sanctions against Iran?
  • The EU response to Turkey’s policies in the Mediterranean and the plight of its four million Syrian refugees.
  • Turkey’s external liquidity squeeze and implications for managing domestic COVID-19 risks.
  • Does the appointment of the fourth central bank governor in two years mark an end to a brief flirtation with conventional economic policy?

The webinar will analyse:

  • Foreign relations with MENA region; EU and US 
  • Domestic politics; 
  • Scenarios for mid-term; 
  • Macro-economy;  
  • Business environment.


David Tonge is the Istanbul-based director of IBS Research and Consultancy — which he founded in 1985 — and has over 30 years’ consulting experience for leading companies on Turkey and Central Asia and, in particular, in the energy sector. IBS has carried out over 250 projects in power and gas, acting for international and local companies and financial institutions, both for business development and dispute resolution. David’s knowledge of Turkey — and its leading companies, practices and institutions — is complemented by experience in the Caucasus and Central Asia. He is author of a wide range of publications on Turkey, and is also a Natural Sciences and Economics graduate from the University of Cambridge.

Patrick Curran is a Senior Economist at Tellimer, where he focuses on emerging market macro/sovereign research across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Prior to joining Tellimer, he worked at Eaton Vance in Boston conducting sovereign fixed income analysis and spent time at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria. He holds an MA in International Economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and is a CFA charterholder.

Putin’s perestroika and scenarios for Russia’s future

Date: Wednesday 24 March | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Beazley

President Gorbachev’s late-1980s perestroika — starting changes in order to improve the system but then losing control — used to be Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare but he now appears to be following in Gorbachev’s shoes.

Putin’s political transformation, started in January 2020, aimed to keep him in power beyond 2024 when his third presidential term ends. It was more or less going as initially planned — despite the oil price collapse and COVID-19 pandemic — until: the unsuccessful attempt to poison the country’s most visible opposition politician, Alexei Navalny; his escape to the West but subsequent return; and the resultant anti-Putin mass protests that followed. Although they were brutally suppressed by the siloviki, Putin’s legitimacy has started to erode which has put the system at existential risk and makes him a poisoned asset rather than a base for stability.

The webinar will analyse:

  • Domestic politics
  • Political elite, its renewal and evolving design
  • Siloviki and their role
  • Centre-regions relationship
  • Foreign policy implications
  • Future scenarios 
  • Russia’s macro-economy
  • International sanctions


Nikolai Petrov — a professor at the political science department, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow; and currently senior research fellow at the Chatham House, Russia and Eurasia programme — holds a PhD in geography from Moscow State University. For many years he was a scholar in residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center where he directed the Society and Regions project. In the 1990s he served for five years as an advisor to the Russian parliament, government, and presidential administration. 

He is the author or editor of numerous publications on Russia’s political regime, post-Soviet transformation, socioeconomic and political development. They include: Russia 2025: Scenarios for the Russian Future. Palgrave Macmillan (2013), The State of Russia: What Comes Next” (co-edited with Maria Lipman). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Dr Richard Connolly is a director of Eastern Advisory Group, and an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. He was previously director of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES) at the University of Birmingham and an associate fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House. He is a specialist on the Russian economy and is the author of Russia’s Response to Sanctions (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and the Very Short Introduction to the Russian Economy (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Mozambique: Turning an opportunity into a crisis

Date: Wednesday 24 February | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Beazley

Mozambique is the site of Africa’s biggest private sector investment but also the latest frontline of Islamic State linked terrorism. As it emerges from the ‘hidden debt’ scandal which dominated the mid-2010s the conflict in Cabo Delgado is the new crisis the country is grappling with. Posing a direct threat to the multi-billion-dollar LNG projects — which led to Total’s decision to temporarily halt the project and withdraw its staff — global powers are now offering help but  they are reluctant to be drawn into a potentially bloody and prolonged conflict. Despite preparations for a sovereign wealth fund, serious questions remain over whether the gas riches will ever benefit the wider economy and population. Meanwhile the race to succeed President Filipe Nyusi has begun.

The webinar will therefore cover:

  • Domestic politics
  • The Renamo conflict
  • The Cabo Delgado conflict
  • Mozambique’s future as an LNG exporter
  • The macro-economy


Tom Bowker is co-founder and editor of the English-language Zitamar News which provides breaking news and analysis on Mozambique’s business, economy, politics. He leads Zitamar’s participation in the Cabo Ligado project in partnership with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). Tom has lived in Mozambique since 2014, and co-founded Zitamar News in 2015 with Leigh Elston before they founded Zitamar Consulting LLP in 2019.

Paul Eardley-Taylor – Oil & Gas, Southern Africa, Standard Bank

Paul has 23 years of energy banking experience, has been based in Africa since 2007 with a close involvement in Mozambique LNG/Gas since 2013.

Iran-US Relations in the Post-Trump Era

Date: Wednesday 27 January | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

Iran-US relations during President Trump’s four-year term were mainly defined by escalation of conflicts with maximum US pressure being met Iran’s maximum resilience. While Trump sought to completely dismantle the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the other signatories tried to sustain it in order to reviving the JCPOA after Trump leaves office.

After Joe Biden takes office on 20 January there will be key questions regarding Washington’s Iran policy. While it will de-escalate tensions with Iran, two main paths are being considered:

  • An unconditional return to the JCPOA, setting the scene for a new period of diplomacy with Iran; and
  • An assertive approach using alleged leverage to force Iran into accepting other contentious issues, including missiles, in a new negotiated deal.

For Tehran the strategic questions will be: 

  • Should Iran trust the US side?
  • What foreign policy orientation should it follow after its Trump era strategic affinity to Russia and China?
  • What impact would the revival of the JCPOA have on the Iranian economy and how?

The webinar will therefore cover:

  • US-Iran relations under various 2021 scenarios 
  • The latest economic developments
  • Emerging scenarios for Iran’s June 2021 presidential elections


Dr Bijan Khajehpour is a managing partner at the Vienna-based Eurasian Nexus Partners, a Senior Associate at Menas Associates, and the editor of our monthly Iran Strategic Focus for over 20 years. Bijan is a commentator on the geopolitics of energy and an analyst of Iran’s political and economic developments, and especially its energy sector.  He is also a member of the advisory board of the European Middle East Research Group (EMERG). He has been published widely in international books and media.  He completed his graduate studies in management and economy in Germany and the UK and his Doctorate of Business Administration at the International School of Management in Paris.

Ethiopia, the Red Sea and the wider region

Date: Wednesday 16 December | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:15 (UTC)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

Ethiopia’s young, dynamic, and ambitious new leader Dr Abiy Ahmed has — after having made peace with Eritrea after 20 years; changed policy towards Somalia; and opened up to Gulf finance — made the regional integration of the wider Horn of Africa a central element of his foreign policy.

While carrying out major political changes and opening up the economy under his philosophy of medemer (synergy, unity, dialogue) he has made it clear that, despite Ethiopia’s lack of a coast, he wants to establish a navy and re-establish the country Ethiopia as a Red Sea and regional power.

The Red Sea is of great strategic concern to the US and China — both have military bases in Djibouti — and to the EU. Regional powers deeply involved in Red Sea politics and security include: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Iran, Qatar and Turkey. Israel also has an interest.

Regional problems include: the war in Yemen; piracy, migration; terrorism; poverty; Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam; and the impact of the internal problems of South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and more recently Ethiopia.

The webinar will address:

  • Ethiopia’s domestic politics including the Tigray crisis
  • Ethiopia’s foreign policy and regional relations
  • The Red Sea and the wider region
  • Ethiopia’s macro-economy
  • Investment opportunities


Patrick Gilkes was Advisor, Strategic Planning, in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 15 years from 2004 until December 2019). He previously worked as; Senior Research Analyst on the Horn of Africa in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2002-2003); a political consultant on the Horn of Africa for various international organizations; and in the BBC World Service (1974-93). He has written and broadcast extensively on the Horn of Africa. His latest contribution is ‘Eritrea-Ethiopia Rapprochement and its Impact on Foreign Policy’ in Ethiopia and Eritrea, Insights into the Peace Nexus, ed. Belete Belachew Yihun, Tsehai Publishers, Los Angeles, 2020.

Patrick Curran is a Senior Economist at Tellimer and focuses on emerging market macro/sovereign research across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Prior to joining Tellimer, he worked at Eaton Vance in Boston conducting sovereign fixed income analysis and spent time at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria. He holds an MA in International Economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and is a CFA charterholder.

Brazil’s current and likely future politics and economy

Date: Wednesday 25 November | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:15 (UTC)

Co-host: Beazley

Besides the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil’s highly divisive President Jair Bolsonaro is also facing serious political, economic, and social problems which he may not be able to resolve before he seeks re-election.

This month’s municipal elections will largely determine the likely result of the presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative elections in 2022. The relative strength of the political parties, and the runners and riders, will therefore be significantly determined by events this month.

It is therefore an ideal moment to examine Brazil’s current and likely future political and economic scene.

The webinar will address:

  • Introduction to Brazil’s current politics  
  • The November 2020 municipal elections and their results
  • The implications for 2022 and Brazil’s political future 
  • Major domestic and foreign policy issues
  • The macro-economy and business environment


David Fleischer — a US-Brazilian dual national since 1995 has lived and worked in Brazil for over 50 years — had a long and distinguished academic career in the Political Science departments of three leading Brazilian universities. He was also a visiting professor in three US universities. He is actively involved in political risk analysis and has published the weekly Brazil Focus reports — which are essential reading for anyone seriously interested in Brazilian politics — since 1996. One of David’s current research interests is comparative political corruption, and he is the president of TCC-Brazil (Transparency, Consciousness and Citizenship) which joined other NGOs to found Transparency Brasil. He is married to Edyr Resende and they have two children who are both anthropologists.

Alfredo Saad-Filho is Professor of Political Economy and International Development at King’s College London and incoming Chair of Department of International Development (2021-24). Previously, he was Professor of Political Economy at SOAS University of London, Chair of the SOAS Department of Development Studies (2006-10), Head of SOAS Doctoral School (2018-19), and Senior Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD (2011-12). He has degrees in Economics from the Universities of Brasília (Brazil) and London (SOAS), and has taught in universities and research institutions in eight countries. His work has been published in two dozen countries and in 15 languages, and presented over 200 academic events in 30 countries.

ESG: How firms should respond to protect and adapt their businesses

Date: Thursday 15 October | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:30 (BST UTC+1)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

The Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) theme is big news and is dominating global headlines as part of the wider issue of sustainability. A broad range of events have recently combined as the world lurches from one crisis to another with a wide range of impacts from severe financial to severe societal ones.

The spotlight on ESG raises the question: ‘How should firms respond to protect and adapt their businesses?’ This webinar conders the following as a useful discussion framework to help develop an enterprise strategy around the incorporation of ESG into a firm’s business models.

The webinar will:

Show me the evidence that ESG is here to stay

  • Policy Momentum: what have Governments, Academicians and Standard Boards done?
  • Early Movers: is it just Banks, Asset Managers, Insurers, Oil Majors, Miners
  • Spectrum: it’s easy to identify good & bad, but how to deal with everything in between?
  • Scope: is it just ESG or is it also Climate Risk and other Sustainability themes?
  • Software & Services: who is entering the toolkit/services/consulting market for ESG?

Show me the impact on business practices

  • Use of Funds: will these become more prescriptive and hence restrictive?
  • Lenders & Investors: are there early indications of shifting trends in lending & investment criteria, including full look-through?
  • Mandatory Disclosure: will regulation force me to be transparent?
  • Operating Model: how will I need to adapt or change my operations?
  • Private Lenders: can I shift from Public to Private lenders and avoid scrutiny & cost?

Show me the impact on my industry, my lines of business & my funding

  • Competitors: what are they doing across the spectrum from leaders to laggards?
  • Lines of Business: are they future-proof, just viable, for disposal, for closure or pivotable?
  • Access to Funding: which pools of funds are shrinking/growing?
  • Credit Spreads: what are the trends for rollover, refinancing, new money?
  • Equity Premium: what are the barriers for perpetual funds and debt/equity ratios?


Johnny Mattimore has over 30 years’ experience in the financial markets having graduated in mathematics from the University of Bristol in 1988 and then trained as a markets specialist in sovereign & political risk, securities risk and economics. He has specialised in raising and managing funds, and running risk across developed and emerging markets, including during various crises from the 1980s emerging debt crises to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

His breadth of financial services experience includes banking, wealth management, asset management, hedge funds, private equity, clearers and exchanges. In recent years, this has extended to the application of blockchain/DLT technology to digital transactions and digital market infrastructure for financial services, commodities and supply chain management across all industry sectors.

Since 2012, he has been acting as an independent consultant, leadership executive and investor. He advises at C-level & MD-level and has implemented solutions for a wide range of business problems. Across all of these activities, digitisation of businesses and the adoption of new technology have been central to the solutions.

Michelle T Davies, International Head of Clean Energy and Sustainability, Eversheds Sutherland
Michelle set up the International Clean Energy and Sustainability Group 18 years ago which has advised on over 50GW of clean energy projects. Michelle is a partner in the firm’s corporate department and is International Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group. Michelle is actively involved in the clean energy sector both in the UK and globally. She advises across all renewable technologies including offshore and onshore wind, biomass, solar, hydro and biofuels. Her focus is on corporate strategy within the sector including M&A, equity raising and investment and exit mechanisms. Michelle’s clients range from utilities to IPPs, private equity and infrastructure funds, institutional investors, banks and governments.

Africa’s Elections in the Pandemic – What is the collateral damage?

Date: Wednesday 16 September | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:15 (BST UTC+1)

Co-host: Beazley

So far — with over a million cases and about 24,000 fatalities — the direct consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are less widespread than feared but it is: up-ending Africa’s political and economic prospects; exposing weaknesses; and accelerating political change.

The 18 August putsch against Mali’s President Ibrahim Keïta may not be the only one this year and particularly in the Sahel. As economic conditions sharply deteriorate there are rumblings among Zimbabwe and Zambia’s political class. In many countries frustrated citizens are taking to the streets and demanding political change in a new wave of mass protest.

A new UN report accuses some governments of human rights abuses as they impose lockdowns and curfews. Africa’s biggest economies — Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa — are reeling as collapsing export prices rack up more debt.

Against this backdrop several governments face key elections this year with some announcing possible delays until the public health risks can be better contained. Others want to go ahead but argue that election campaigning and public meetings will be restricted to contain the health risks.

The webinar will analyse:

  • Tanzania — whose President John Magufuli has been criticised for his autocratic rule — faces national elections in October
  • Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara — who has delivered strong economic growth — will run for a third term in October despite recent unrest
  • Ghana — one of the longest established multi-party democracies — is due to hold national elections in December
  • Burkina Faso and Niger, in the troubled Sahel, which were due to hold national elections by the end of 2020 are reviewing the political calendar

Patrick Smith is Editor of Africa Confidential, the premier newsletter on economic and political developments in Africa, which is owned by UK-based Asempa Ltd and an Editor at the Paris-based The Africa Report. His other work includes: Associate Producer of Channel 4’s 2005 documentary “My Friend the Mercenary”, on an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea; Technical Advisor to the UN panel on the exploitation of mineral and other resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2002-2003); and expert witness to the UN Security Council on conflict in the Mano River region (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) in 2000. His publications include: Who’s Who in Southern Africa (Blackwell Publishing 1997) and Africa 2000 (Blackwell Publishing 2000). He contributed to a collection of short stories about Ghana to be published as “Accra Noir” by Akashic Books, New York, in 2020. He tweets @patrick_africa

Stuart Culverhouse — is the Chief Economist and Global Head of Fixed Income Research at Tellimer. He joined the company (formerly known as Exotix) in 2006 after ten years in the UK Government Economic Service, where he worked in HM Treasury and the UK’s export credit agency. He is a recognised expert in developing markets and sovereign debt restructuring, with 20 years emerging markets’ experience, and his geographical coverage includes Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub Sahara Africa and Eastern Europe. He has an MSc in Economics from Southampton University and previously worked at Goldman Sachs (London).

The COVID-19 pandemic and the oil market

Date: Wednesday 08 July | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:30 (BST UTC+1)

Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

Oil markets and crude oil prices were in turmoil as a result of the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. This was compounded when the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread lockdowns, economic recession in many countries, and a dramatic fall in the demand for oil that pushed crude oil prices lower.

The current situation in oil markets raises questions about what will happen next in the short, medium and longer term:

  • How long will the pandemic last?
  • Will the changes in behaviour by oil consumers last or will they become a blip?
  • How might governments’ (oil exporters and importers) policy change?
  • What will the impact be on the large international oil companies?
  • What are the implications for the speed and depth of the current energy transition?

Professor Paul Stevens – educated as an economist and as a specialist on the Middle East at Cambridge and the School of Oriental and African Studies; 1973-1979 teaching at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon; 1979-93 at the University of Surrey. Between 1993 and 2008, Professor of Petroleum Policy and Economics at CEPMLP, University of Dundee.  Since 2008 he has been working with Chatham House – the Royal Institute of International Affairs.  He is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Dundee and a Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Energy Economics Japan in Tokyo. In March 2009, he was given the OPEC Award for 2009 for services to improve the understanding of the international oil industry.  In May 2018 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for the Advancement of Education for Future Energy Leaders by the Al-Attiyah Foundation.

US politics, society, and economy in an election year

Date: Wednesday 17 June | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 13:45 – 15:00 (BST UTC+1)

Co-host: Beazley

President Donald Trump is seeking re-election in November 2020. His Administration is currently facing three simultaneous but related crises: the COVID-19 pandemic which has already killed over 100,000 Americans;  an economic meltdown which has resulted in over 15% unemployment; and now the escalating nationwide protests following the televised killing of George Floyd by a policeman. Under such unprecedented circumstances, will President Donald Trump — who is often underestimated by the foreign media — be re-elected and what implications will it have for US domestic politics, foreign policy, and its economy?

This breakfast briefing will address:

  • The current political, social, and economic situation
  • The presidential election campaign
  • A Trump second term – domestic, foreign and economic implications?
  • A Biden victory – return to the status quo ante?


    Hugo Gurdon is the editor-in-chief of the Washington Examiner. Previous positions have included: editor-in-chief of The Hill (2003-2014); managing editor of the National Post of Canada (1999-2002); the Daily Telegraph’s Washington Bureau chief (1997-1999) and its foreign correspondent (1987-1999).

    Iranian Economy under Sanctions, COVID-19 and Low Oil Prices

    Date: Wednesday 20 May | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:30 (BST UTC+1)

    Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

    The Iranian economy has been in a state of stagflation for the past two years. The emergence of the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as the collapse in global oil prices, have further undermined the country’s economy. At the same time, the Trump Administration has continued its maximum pressure campaign in the belief that the Iranian economy will collapse. This briefing will address this question and discuss the outlook of the Iranian economy and what this would mean for the country’s domestic and regional policies.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Update on latest macro-economic indicators in Iran
    • Government responses and policies
    • Outlook for Economic Developments until 2022
    • Implications of the economic decline on domestic and regional policies
    • Implications for International Business


    Bijan Khajehpour – is a senior associate of Menas Associates, the editor of Iran Strategic Focus and also the managing partner of the Vienna-based consulting, Eurasian Nexus Partners. He is an economist by education and a strategy advisor focused on the geopolitics of energy. He has written and commented extensively on the Iranian economy and energy sector.

    This year, next year, sometime, never: can China become a superpower?

    Date: Wednesday 29 April | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:30 (BST UTC+1)

    Co-host: Beazley

    It is generally assumed that China will be the superpower of the 21st century. But will it? Back in 2013, Xi Jinping described the Chinese economic and social model as ‘unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable’. Hence the need for reform outlined at the 3rd Plenum. But progress has been slow. Meanwhile new immediate and longer-term challenges have raised their heads. This Menas Associates Breakfast Briefing will analyse these challenges and consider whether the Chinese Communist Party’s system of governance is suited to overcoming them.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • The Communist Party faces challenges this year and next including: the political and economic implications of the coronavirus; Hong Kong; Xinjiang; Taiwan; and relations with the US.
    • Longer term challenges to the Party, not just debt and demographics but, perhaps more important, the environmental and especially a looming water crisis.
    • What the ‘D’ word — decoupling or divergence — might herald as we enter a data revolution.
    • The impact of Coronavirus on China, global supply chains and the global economy.


    Charlie Parton spent 22 years of his 37-year diplomatic career working in or on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  He has also had postings in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Libya and Mali.  In 2017 he returned to Beijing for four months as Adviser to the British Embassy to cover the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Congress.  He is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and was a Specialist Adviser on China to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee for its recent China Inquiry.  He runs his own advisory company on China, China Ink, and is a trustee of the environmental NGO Chinadialogue.  He writes regularly on China for RUSI, the FT, the Spectator and other publications.

    Ben May is a Director of Global Macroeconomic Research at Oxford Economics; helps produce and present the company’s global macroeconomic views; and plays a leading role in its coverage of the advanced economies. He has over 20 years’ experience as a macro economist in the public and private sector and has over a decade’s expertise covering the Eurozone economy. Prior to joining Oxford Economics he spent: six years at Capital Economics covering the southern Eurozone economies; seven years at the Bank of England, working in three divisions of the Monetary Analysis area. Ben has a BSc in Economics with Statistics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Economics from University College London.

    Kenya: once again pushing debt and politics to the limit?

    Date: Tuesday 07 April | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14.00 – 15:30

    Co-host: Eversheds Shuterland

    Kenya is often lauded as an island of relative stability in an often unstable neighbourhood. The most diversified and largest economy in the East African Community (EAC) makes it a natural regional entry point for foreign investors. In recent years, however, Nairobi’s focus on large-scale projects financed by commercial loans has driven up expensive debt which will not be offset by the returns from these projects. This has increased the risk of debt distress. Meanwhile the ongoing fight for the Presidency has sucked the air out of other equally pressing issues.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • COVID-19. Kenya’s response and the political and economic consequences.
    • Election 2022: Who are the likely candidates and alliances, and will there be a 2020 referendum to change the constitution?
    • Debt and public finances: How has sovereign debt changed under President Kenyatta’s administration? 
    • Economy: What are the weaknesses and bright spots? How far has the implementation of Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ strategy advanced? 
    • What is the outlook for the EAC’s economic integration and is region becoming less stable? 


    Andrea Bohnstedt is an independent country risk analyst working on East Africa with a main focus on Kenya. Her consultancy services for clients — including for Menas Associates on an ad hoc basis — include country risk analysis; political and economic analysis; corporate investigations and due diligence; sector/industry research; investor contacts and networking.

    Can Algeria’s new president fix the country’s political and economic crises?

    Date: Wednesday 19 February | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Eversheds Shutherland

    Algeria held a highly dubious presidential election on 12 December. Only 24 hours earlier the country’s strongman and effective ruler, General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, discovered a plot to oust him. He therefore appointed Abdelmadjid Tebboune as President. Four days after the inauguration, however, Gaïd Salah unexpectedly died. So where will Algeria go in 2020?

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Can Tebboune resolve the political and/or economic crisis?
    • How will he respond to weekly public protests — the Hirak — which have lasted a year
    • Will he engage in dialogue and, if so, with whom?
    • Will the Hirak weaken following escalating repression or intensify its determination to forge a ‘second republic’?
    • The economy in 2020 as plans give way to ‘emergency measures’
    • Will the scrapping of the 51%-49% investment rule entice foreign investors?
    • Will the new Hydrocarbons Law resolve the sector’s many problems?


    Prof. Jeremy Keenan — a recognised world expert on Algeria and the Sahara — began his studies in 1964 and has ten books and over 350 publications to his name. For over ten years he has been the author of Menas Associates’ Algeria Focus monthly and Algeria Politics & Security weekly reports. He also regularly briefs governments, multinational organisations and companies, and the international media on the region.

    Nigeria in 2020: Mega-tests for the economy and security


    Date: Wednesday 29 January | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00


    Co-host: Beazley


    This year —  with the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) dominating the National Assembly and the majority of the 36 state governments —  President Muhammadu Buhari has the political space to focus on the pressing need to boost economic growth and jobs, while the security services tackle the widening domestic and regional security threats.


    This briefing will analyse the new political landscape and the risks and opportunities facing the new government as senior politicians jockey for the succession ahead of the 2023 elections. It will review the government’s anti-corruption policy and the myriad of law suits which are mainly linked to the oil and gas sector.


    It will cover the regional and national security risks including: the spreading power of insurgent fighters of Islamic State in West Africa Province; continuing attacks by the Boko Haram militia; clashes between herders and farmers; secessionist groups in southern Nigeria and militant oppositionists in the Niger Delta.


    Finally, we will assess the government’s economic strategy — foreign exchange policy; effects of the border closure;revenue generation; financial sector reforms; oil and gas investment and restructuring — and the risk that, without effective remedial measures, Nigeria could be home to 25% of the world’s poorest people by 2030.


    This breakfast briefing will address:


    • Domestic Politics: President Buhari and the succession
    • Changing balance of power in the National Assembly and the 36 state governments
    • Security
      • The Niger Delta: militant factions are regrouping
      • ISWAP, Boko Haram and regional insurgent groups
      • Herder-Farmer clashes
      • Effects of conflict in western Cameroon
      • Criminalisation and sector reforms
    • Oil & Gas Sector: reforms and restructuring; the Dangote refinery project
    • Macro-Economy & Debt; the revenue crisis




    Patrick Smith — the editor of Menas Associates’ Nigeria Focus; Africa Confidential; and Africa Report — lives in Paris and spends about half the year reporting from Africa. He has been one of the world’s leading experts on Nigeria for over 30 years and was based in West Africa as a correspondent for Associated Press and the BBC for a decade.




    Stuart Culverhouse — is the Chief Economist and Global Head of Fixed Income Research at Tellimer. He joined the company (formerly known as Exotix) in 2006 after ten years in the UK Government Economic Service, where he worked in HM Treasury and the UK’s export credit agency. He is a recognised expert in developing markets and sovereign debt restructuring, with 20 years emerging markets’ experience, and his geographical coverage includes Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub Sahara Africa and Eastern Europe. He has an MSc in Economics from Southampton University and previously worked at Goldman Sachs (London).

    Guyana: from sleepy mining economy to global oil power play

    Date: Tuesday 10 December | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

    Guyana’s has risen from a quiet agriculture and mining based British colony to catching up with Brazil’s oil production by 2025. It is the third smallest and only English-speaking country in South America with a population of only 800,000. Its main exports — rice, shrimp, sugar, aluminium, bauxite and gold — are about to be dwarfed by the new offshore oil sector which will begin production in 2020. By 2025 it could exceed Brazil’s oil production and provide Guyana with the world’s highest per capita income. It is therefore an ideal time to learn more about the country and is exciting business opportunities.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Introduction to Guyana’s economy and politics
    • Guyana’s rise to power through resources
    • Guyana’s challenges as an emerging economy
    • Ways to invest in Guyana’s economy


    Hamish Clegg – Director, Hannam & Partners
    Hamish has 15 years of experience in financial markets. He was formerly a top ranked integrated oil analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. During his time there he was responsible for covering the large cap integrated oils. He was integral in several IPOs and capital raisings, as well as playing a senior leadership role across the Global team. From 2005-2012 Hamish was a director at J.P. Morgan (and J.P.Morgan Cazenove), where he carried out the specialist sales role in oil & gas. This involved a wide role from driving global distribution and client servicing, to heavy involvement in placing the firm’s pipeline of primary deals (E&P, OFS, Refiners and Integrated Oils). Headline deals include the IPO of Rosneft and placings in Inpex and Petrobras. Prior to J.P.Morgan, Hamish started his career as a buyside analyst responsible for natural resources and IPOs at Odey Asset management.

    Alice Carroll, Head of Marketing & IR, Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas
    Alice has over five years of international experience in strategic communications and public and private company investor relations in the oil and gas sector, prior to which she held sales and portfolio management roles in real estate for private clients.

    Scenarios for Iran-US Relations in 2020

    Date: Wednesday 27 November | Location: London | Time: 17.00 – 19.45

    Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

    The briefing will discuss the current state of relations between Iran and the US and identify the key parameters determining what can be expected in 2020.

    Following various attempts to pave the way for Iran-US negotiations, it is still open whether the two sides will manage to de-escalate their relations through bilateral or multilateral talks. In the absence of de-escalation, one could either witness further escalation or a continuation of the status quo.

    Bijan Khajehpour will analyse the various domestic, regional and international factors that could shape the relationship, and also assess whether the relations could change after the November 2020 elections in the US.


    Dr. Bijan Khajehpour is the Managing Partner of the Vienna-based Eurasian Nexus Partners GmbH. He is a very well-known expert on Iran and has been the editor of Menas Associates’ Iran Strategic Focus monthly reports for over 20 year.

    Renewable Energy: The sector, opportunities, and practical issues

    Date: Wednesday 20 November | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Beazley

    Renewable energy sources — windfarms, solar panels and renewable biomass plants — recently provided more electricity (40%) to UK homes and businesses than fossil fuels (39%) for the first time since the UK’s inaugural power plant began operating in 1882. This year zero-carbon electricity — renewables and nuclear — will overtake gas and coal-fired power for the first time since the industrial revolution. The sector’s global growth rate has significantly exceeded forecasts. It is therefore an ideal time to learn more about the industry, its opportunities and risks.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Introduction to the renewable energy & clean technology sector
    • The domestic and international opportunities – what is driving growth?
    • Are there any problems and risks?
    • How best to access new markets for renewable energy & clean technologies
      • Policy support: Subsidies (history and available today), competitive, land provided? Local content
      • Key Stakeholders: UK Government, Regulators, Connections to Grid Infrastructure, Utility, Offtaker/Guarantor,
      • Investment Environment: Currency, minimum/maximum shareholding’s, interest rates, secondary markets, tax, funders
      • Bankability and marketability: PPA, real estate, local content, restrictions on sell down, structures to overcome this
      • Local partners: Bid rules, necessity, managing expectations
      • Managing risk: Holdco structures, BITs, insurance


    Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive, REA
    Nina became the CEO of the REA — the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies — in July 2013. It represents British renewable energy and clean technology companies operating across the power, heat, and transport sectors, including energy storage and electric vehicle charging. Nina has over 30 years’ experience in the Energy Industry working in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. She was the first female power station manager for RWE npower in the UK and was also an executive Board Member of RWE’s Dutch business delivering electricity and heat generation as well as leading new energy and sustainability developments. She is also Member of the Board of Transport for London (TfL).

    Michelle T Davies, International Head of Clean Energy and Sustainability, Eversheds Sutherland
    Michelle set up the International Clean Energy and Sustainability Group 18 years ago which has advised on over 50GW of clean energy projects. Michelle is a partner in the firm’s corporate department and is International Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group. Michelle is actively involved in the clean energy sector both in the UK and globally. She advises across all renewable technologies including offshore and onshore wind, biomass, solar, hydro and biofuels. Her focus is on corporate strategy within the sector including M&A, equity raising and investment and exit mechanisms. Michelle’s clients range from utilities to IPPs, private equity and infrastructure funds, institutional investors, banks and governments.

    Senegal: Opportunities and Risk for Western Business in West Africa

    Date: Friday 18 October | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

    Senegal offers an excellent environment for Western businesses to invest and expand into West Africa. There are several contributory factors:

    • it has an expanding economy, which will grow even further with the upcoming production from its large offshore oil and gas fields;
    • it is a stable democracy which benefits from sound strategic economic planning;
    • it has the necessary functioning institutions to make government and society work;
    • enjoys relative peace and stability; and also
    • serves as a regional hub for neighbouring countries.

    Senegal’s opportunity comes, however, with some complexity and risk. It has little experience dealing with an oil and gas sector which makes it ripe for politicisation and the government has already experienced some growing pains in its past handling of oil and gas contracts. Although Senegal is stable, regional terrorism and violence will continue and probably escalate in the foreseeable future. China also has influence and economic interests in Senegal as it does elsewhere in Africa. Fortunately, with understanding and insight, Western businesses can position themselves to take advantage of the major opportunities in Senegal.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Oil & Gas sector
    • Energy sector – reform and opportunity
    • Governance, stability, and security
    • China and other influences
    • Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and the wider region

    William Linder is based in Dakar where he heads the 14 North Strategies niche commercial intelligence and strategy advisory firm. William — a retired senior CIA operations officer and three time Chief of Station — served in Africa, Europe, and South Asia, including assignments in Senegal and Mali. Prior to joining CIA he served as an officer in the U.S. Army Special Forces and worked extensively in Mali in the late 1990’s. He is a 1992 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

    Algeria: the people’s revolution – peaceful democratic transition or violent counter-revolution?

    Date: Wednesday 25 September | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Beazley

    2019 has seen: the cancellation of planned elections; the removal of President Bouteflika and his entourage; the effective take-over by the head of the army; a peoples’ revolution and massive weekly demonstrations; politically motivated anti-corruption trials; and the near collapse of the real economy. The current stalemate between the Algerian people and an increasingly hardline regime cannot continue much longer. The Breakfast Briefing will analyse what is happening beneath the surface and provide possible weighted scenarios for what will happen next.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • How we got to this point
    • The Hirak vs the regime
    • The impact on the economy
    • Possible future scenarios

    Prof. Jeremy Keenan — a recognised world expert on Algeria and the Sahara — began his studies in 1964 and has ten books and over 350 publications to his name. For over ten years he has been the author of Menas Associates’ Algeria Focus monthly and Algeria Politics & Security weekly reports. He also regularly briefs governments, multinational organisations and companies, and the international media on the region.

    India: Politics and economy in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term

    Date: Friday 13 September | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

    The 2019 general elections underlined a political paradox of 21st century India. An aspirational, anti-elite, young, and largely unemployed population demonstrated that it is buoyed, not by policy success or economic delivery, but by ideology and branding. Despite its first term failings, the idea — rather than the reality of — a rising India persuaded people to return Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back to power with a decisive mandate.

    How the Modi 2.0 government deals with the disconnect between essential multi-sectoral reforms which the BJP has failed to delivery so far will be an issue of paramount importance both India’s domestic population and foreign investors in the next five years.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Domestic politics
    • Foreign relations
    • National Security
    • Macro-economy
    • Investment climate


    Dr. Avinash Paliwal is the Deputy Director of the South Asia Institute and a Lecturer in International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS University of London where he specialises in contemporary Indian politics and South Asian strategic affairs.

    His first book, My Enemy’s Enemy: India in Afghanistan from the Soviet Invasion to the US Withdrawal was published in 2017 by OUP, and he is currently authoring a strategic history of India’s approach towards its eastern neighbours.

    Avinash holds an MA and PhD in International Relations from King’s College London, and a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Delhi. Formerly a Visiting Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, Avinash also worked as a foreign affairs journalist before turning to a career in academia.

    Argentina: is there a boom after the bust?

    Date: Thursday 25 July | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Beazley

    For more than a year Argentina has been hit by an apparently relentless run on the currency, persistent high inflation, and a sharp recession. Despite financial support from the IMF, this toxic economic cocktail could destroy a re-election bid by the incumbent and market friendly President, Mauricio Macri. The October/November election could see the country once more swing in a populist/nationalist direction with the return of former President Cristina Fernández. The risks are real but so too are scenarios in which market friendly policies are repositioned and create major opportunities for multinational companies in mining, agro-industry, shale oil and gas, and other sectors.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • The latest developments and alliances in the political campaign running up to the October/November elections
    • Argentina’s recent history of booms and busts
    • Opportunities in agro-industry, mining, and shale gas
    • 2019-2013 investment scenarios and risks for the next government
    • Investment climate


    Andrew Thompson — born in Uruguay and partly brought up in Argentina and Brazil — is a journalist and economic analyst on Latin America. He has been a foreign correspondent in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico for Times, Guardian, BBC and others. He worked as a BBC producer/reporter and was head of the its Latin American service. He now works as a freelance analyst and consultant and writes for a number of outlets including the EIU and Latin News. He is an Associate Fellow at Canning House.

    Stuart Culverhouse — is the Chief Economist and Global Head of Fixed Income Research at Tellimer. He joined the company (formerly known as Exotix) in 2006 after ten years in the UK Government Economic Service, where he worked in HM Treasury and the UK’s export credit agency. He is a recognised expert in developing markets and sovereign debt restructuring, with 20 years emerging markets’ experience, and his geographical coverage includes Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub Sahara Africa and Eastern Europe. He has an MSc in Economics from Southampton University and previously worked at Goldman Sachs (London).

    The Kabila-Tshisekedi transition:
    A new chapter for the DR Congo?

    Date: Wednesday 29 May | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Beazley

    The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — Africa’s second largest country in Africa and bordering nine countries — has the potential to become a regional economic driving force because of its vast natural resources and strategic location. The long awaited presidential elections in December 2018 saw the first peaceful post-independence transfer of power since 1960. The officially declared winner, Felix Tshisekedi, was sworn into office in January despite evidence that his main challenger Martin Fayulu probably won a landslide victory. Despite allegations that the election was fraudulent and potentially manipulated by former president Joseph Kabila the relatively peaceful handover of power has demonstrated the country’s progress.

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • The Kabila-Tshisekedi transition and post-election environment
    • The country’s future political risk profile
    • The political economy and regional security
    • The opportunities and outlook for business, trade and investment


    Ben Shepherd – Director of the Africa Research Group
    Ben has worked as a researcher and analyst on the DRC since 2002, including as the FCO Central Africa specialist (2004 – 2011). He is currently Director of the Africa Research Group, a private consultancy, and Consulting Fellow to the Africa Programme at Chatham House.

    Holger Grundel – Managing Director of Levin Sources Limited
    Holger is an international development professional with a track record of building and implementing complex policies and programmes for public and private sector clients. He is the Managing Director of Levin Sources, a specialist consultancy firm and social venture with a strong global reputation for advising governments and companies on responsible value chains in the mineral sector. He previously worked as the Global Lead for Extractive Industries for DFID and shaped its policy positions on mining, and oil and gas.

    China: whither growth in 2019?

    Date: Tuesday 16 April 2019 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Eversheds Sutherland

    ClimateChange1China’s economy  a key global growth driver  is currently at an inflection point. While it can hardly cease to grow, it is faltering and is attempting to grow in new ways. At domestic debate over the need for market reform is back in fashion, while the State-Owned Enterprise sector remains dominant. The overseas message talks up foreign investment, Belt and Road, and breaking new ground in Europe. What, however, is the deflationary risk from China?

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Annual work report assessment
    • Where are the new growth drivers?
    • Where are long-term growth drivers?
    • What is the future of traditional industry?
    • Can technology drive China?


    Philippa Jones is the founder of Beijing-based, China Policy, a strategic advisory servicing government, corporate and non-profit clients. Systematic mapping and tracking equip her teams to anticipate change and deliver unparalleled insight in the policy process. A trade policy specialist, prior to China Policy, Philippa worked for the EU and the Australian government. She has served an expert witness on two major WTO cases. Philippa is a graduate in Oriental Studies (Chinese) from the University of Oxford.

    Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for the Private Sector

    Date: Friday 22 March 2019 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Beazley

    ClimateChange1Climate change has become a globally important political, social and economic issue because climate impacts ecosystems that cannot be contained by state boundaries.

    The link between climate change, political economy and human security was first recognised in the early 2000s. By examining diverse national and local experiences — including the proliferation of extreme weather events, coastal erosion, migration and threat multipliers — an emphasis has been placed on the critically important climate adaptation and mitigation policies.

    How will climate impacts differ under the t Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C and 2°C temperature targets compare with our current trajectory? This requires a multi-stakeholder approach to address both the avoidable and unavoidable impacts of climate change on every country’s economy and security.

    Mitigating and adapting to climate change will require trillions of dollars of investment in infrastructure and especially in developing countries. Much must come from the private sector whose efforts are shaped by laws, regulation and policy. Law-makers, regulators, governments and practitioners will need to cooperate to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement. This both challenges the world’s regulators and presents risks and opportunities for the private sector. What types of law and regulation can encourage finance at scale, project pipelines, and corollary benefits of economic and social development in a sustainable way?

    This breakfast briefing will address:

    • Regional impacts of climate change under 1.5 °C, 2 °C and beyond.
    • Country examples of the economic and security questions surrounding climate change.
    • The relationship between climate risk and financial stability.
    • Legal and regulatory ‘readiness’ for green finance: innovations and implications.
    • Opportunities and challenges for mainstreaming green finance in emerging economies.


    Dr Megan Bowman directs Climate Law & Governance at King’s College London. She is author of the ground-breaking study Banking on Climate Change: How finance actors and transnational regimes are responding (Kluwer 2015). Her expertise focuses on the intersections between corporate, financial, and environmental law and regulation in transnational contexts with particular emphasis on the private sector. She is currently leading an international project with UN Environment (UNEP) to investigate innovative legal and regulatory options for mobilising public and private climate finance in-country; and consults to national governments and prominent NGOs on implementing the Paris Agreement. She is a qualified barrister and solicitor with an LLM in International Law and a PhD in regulatory theory.

    Dr Simon Chin-Yee is a research associate in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and an associate lecturer in Politics at Sheffield Hallam University. His expertise focuses on the influences on climate policy processes in the lead up to the 2015 Conference of Parties in Paris. He is the author of a new study ‘Climate change and human security: Case studies linking vulnerable populations to increased security risks in the face of the global climate challenge’ (KCL/EUCER 2019) which looks at regional and country experiences with a changing climate. Simon also has extensive experience in international cooperation and policy having worked on UN projects primarily in Africa.

    High risk and high reward: Understanding the Sahel Region

    Date: Friday 25 January 2019 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Beazley

    Sahel BB

    From Mauritania to Sudan, Algeria to Burkina Faso, the vast Sahel covers an area that is almost as large as Europe or the US’ Lower 48 states. Historically the region has received little attention and minimal investment. But — with its oil, gas and gold reserves; and its porous borders and smuggling routes — the Sahel is fast becoming a new regional and international geopolitical and economic battleground. This Breakfast Briefing: analyses the Sahel’s importance to domestic and international stakeholders; explains the security myths; and reveals future investment opportunities.

    Key discussion areas:

    • The Sahel’s state and non-state actors
    • Illicit local economies and the stability paradox: stability from instability
    • Geopolitics in the Sahel: multilateral initiatives, bilateral players and economic stakeholder
    • Future opportunities for growth: the oil and gas sector; gold mining; solar power; etc


    Prof. Jeremy Keenan – is a recognised world expert on the Sahara-Sahel where he began his studies in 1964. Jeremy now has 10 books and over 350 publications to his name. He is also the author of Menas Associates’ Sahara Focus monthly. He regularly briefs the British and US governments, the EU, UN, NATO, as well as international agencies and numerous media organisations (BBC, RFI, France24, VOA, Reuters, etc.) on these issues.

    Nigeria’s Great Divide: the February 2019 elections

    Date: Thursday 6 December 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Herbert Smith Freehills

    A Man Drops His Voters Card In A Ballot

    For the first time in decades, the leading candidates for the presidency in the February 2019 national elections offer competing views of how Nigeria and its economy should be run.

    The election will be about policy, money and jobs. Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country has to take some tough decisions about how best to: develop its world class oil, gas and mineral resources; adapt to new technology; and create jobs.

    Key discussion areas:

    • The importance of these elections and the timeline of events.
    • The key policy differences between the two leading candidates and their parties.
    • The election issues and likely scenarios during the campaign.
    • The prospects for the current and post-election investment climate.
    • Key opportunities for Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and other industries.


    Patrick Smith — editor of Africa Confidential and Menas Associates’ Nigeria Focus — lives in Paris and spends about half the year reporting from Africa. He was previously based in West Africa as a correspondent for Associated Press and the BBC for a decade.

    Christopher Dielmann – Senior Economist, Exotix Capital

    Paula Hodges QC – is the head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ global arbitration practice and has over 25 years’ experience advising clients in international disputes, particularly in the energy, telecommunications and technology sectors. Her expertise in international arbitration, the energy sector and Africa-related disputes is consistently recognised by local and global legal directories. Paula’s recent cases include matters in Nigeria, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Chad, Egypt, Algeria and Togo.

    The Limits of Russia’s Power: Regional Strategies in the Caucasus and Central Asia

    Date: Thursday 15 November 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Russia Flag 575x323 ImageMoscow’s strategy towards its traditional periphery in the Caucasus and Central Asia has adapted with: the changing world order; the Kremlin’s shifting interests in the region; and its perceptions of US objectives. Meanwhile, the regional states play an unprecedented active role — albeit in different ways — at staving off Russia’s ambitions. This Breakfast Briefing will address the broader questions of: Russia’s strategy and objectives; the means that it is prepared to use to achieve its goals; and the key risks for stakeholders in the region.

    Key discussion areas:

    • What are the key drivers of Russia’s strategy in the Caucasus and Central Asia?
    • Is Russia resurgent and is its regional behaviour imperialistic and militant?
    • How have the regional states responded to Russia’s policies in the key economic sectors?
    • What scenarios are most and least likely for regional development?
    • Key future risks and opportunities for stakeholders.


    Dr. Nazrin Mehdiyeva is an Academic Visitor at St Antony’s College, Oxford University, and consultant who specialises in energy security and geopolitics in Russia and Eurasia. She is the co-author of Beyond Blood Oil (published in 2016) and wrote Power Games in the Caucasus (published in 2011).

    Unlocking Namibia’s Potential: Political Stability and Economic Transformation

    Date: Tuesday 23 October 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Co-host: Herbert Smith Freehills

    Namibia FlagNamibia largely remains — despite Prince William’s recent high profile visit in support of wildlife conservation — off the radar for most British investors. A functioning democracy with an active civil society, free press and judiciary, it has large untapped natural resource potential and is amenable for value-added export. But incomes remain highly-skewed and land reform has been slow.

    To promote transparency and set a personal example President Hage Geingob publicly declared his personal assets when taking office in 2015. Investor incentives are being revamped under a structural reform programme with no compulsory provision for local ownership stakes.

    How can Western investors best leverage opportunities and compete with China? Can the government continue to manage land reform within the constitution and without strife?

    This briefing will analyse:

    • Economic prospects
    • Political outlook including the land issue
    • Where investors should look
    • Oil sector – why Namibia is attracting IOCs


    Roger Murray – is a leading expert on Namibia, with over 30 years’ experience, including as a consultant for both the UN and Namibian government on the economy/mineral resources. He currently works as an independent analyst, correspondent and consultant on Namibia, as well as the global diamond and uranium markets, for, amongst others, Africa Risk Consulting, the EIU, and Mining Magazine. He is also a global correspondent for the Washington DC-based Fuel Cycle Week newsletter.

    Daniel McKeown, Managing Director, Azinam – Azinam holds working interests in a total of six offshore licences across 62,000km2 of the Walvis Basin. Backed by Seacrest Capital Group, Azinam is leveraging its technical strengths to unlock the significant potential of 10 billion barrels of net unrisked prospective resources.

    John Ogilvie – is a partner in dispute resolution at Herbert Smith Freehills, he acts for commercial clients across a wide range of complex contentious issues occurring in the United Kingdom and emerging markets, particularly Africa.

    Mexico: the Political and Security Challenges facing AMLO’s Presidency

    Date: Wednesday 19 September 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Mexico FlagThe incoming administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (a.k.a. AMLO) will have a diverse cabinet which will attempt to redefine Mexican policies and politics in a significant number of areas. The policy agenda will centre on: increasing employment opportunities and education availability; reducing socioeconomic inequality; fostering domestic industry; and political reform. Security is AMLO’s greatest challenge; last year saw the highest recorded murder rate in 20 years, and this has continued with 2018’s expected 32,000 homicides.

    Key discussion areas:

    • What does AMLO’s victory mean for the future of Mexican politics?
    • What strategies will the new administration adopt to address the country’s security crisis?
    • What is the outlook for NAFTA and Mexico-US relations?
    • What is the outlook for Pemex and oil sector reform?


    Professor Kevin J. Middlebrook is Professor of Latin American Politics at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He is the former Director of the Centre for US-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and he has written extensively on Mexican politics and US-Mexican relations.

    President Erdoğan’s Turkey: The challenges facing investors

    Date: Wednesday 18 July 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Erdogan 180President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now Turkey’s executive president with unprecedented power and influence over the country’s institutions. This will also have major economic ramifications. Turkey — despite having the G20’s fastest growing economy in 2017 — has unnerved foreign investors and the Lira has more than halved against the US$ since 2014. At around 70% of GDP corporate debt makes Turkey very vulnerable to US interest rate rises. What impact will Erdoğan’s sweeping new powers have for the economy, and what are the key risks?

    This briefing will analyse:

    • President Erdoğan: his friends, foes and his plans for Turkey beyond 2018
    • How Erdoğan won the 2018 presidential elections
    • Saving the economy: avoiding a currency crisis
    • A divided country: threats to Turkey’s stability
    • Opportunities and risks for investors: key sectors to watch


    Christopher Copper-Ind is publisher of the London-based International Investment which focuses on emerging markets. Having lived in Istanbul in 2013-2006 he regularly writes on Turkey, Egypt and Iran, and has also worked on projects in over 25 countries during the past 14 years.

    Open for Business? Investing in Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe

    Date: Thursday 28 June 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Zimbabwe flagZimbabwe entered a new era last year following the military’s removal of president Robert Mugabe after 37 years in power. The new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, immediately declared the country to be “open for business”, signalling his intent to attract new investment and re-engage the global community. With many of the old guard still in place, however, how much has really changed in the country? And what does the new era offer to potential investors? This briefing will analyse:

    • The upcoming elections
    • The economic and political outlook
    • The opportunities for investors

    Speaker:  Sarah Lockwood – is one of Menas Associates consultants on Zimbabwe and the companies lead consultant on South Africa. Sarah is a PhD Candidate and Presidential Scholar at Harvard University. Her research focuses on government accountability and political protest in post-apartheid South Africa, and she has also worked extensively as a journalist. Gavin Davies – a senior corporate M&A  lawyer, with particular expertise in public takeovers, shareholder activism, private equity and venture capital investments, and in investment work in Africa. Gavin has 23 years of experience supporting international financial investors and multi-national corporate clients on cross-border M&A and investments across Europe and Africa.

    Algeria’s unpredictable future: political, economic and investment scenarios

    Date: Thursday 10 May 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    Algeria’s economy has been severely damaged by the post-2014 fall in oil prices. The authorities are seeking to address the crisis by ‘printing money’, contrary to the IMF’s advice, which could have disastrous consequences.

    Algeria also has another major challenge, presented by the political vacuum at the centre of power. The country is effectively run by a secretive cabal composed of the incapacitated President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s immediate family and a tight-knit, corrupt, clientelist entourage. With a presidential election scheduled for May 2019 the paramount question is: Who will succeed to the Presidency?

    This briefing will analyse:

    • What are the most and least likely political scenarios?
    • What are the security risks from domestic social unrest and regional terrorism?
    • What are the most and least likely scenarios for the economy and the hydrocarbon sector?
    • In this uncertain and unpredictable environment, what are the risks and opportunities for foreign investors?


    Jeremy Keenan – is a recognised expert on the Sahara-Sahel and Algeria, where he began his studies in 1964, Jeremy Keenan has around 350 publications to his name, including 10 books. He is a recognised authority on the regions political and security situation and briefs the British and US governments, the EU, UN, NATO, several international agencies and numerous media organisations (BBC, RFI, France24, VOA, Reuters, etc.).

    Resetting Egypt’s economy – third time lucky?

    Date: Wednesday 28 March 2018 | Location: London | Time: 08.00 – 10.00

    A resetting of Egypt’s economic landscape started to occur following a US$12 billion support programme agreement with the IMF, as well as a significant devaluation of the Egyptian Pound in late 2016. This ‘resetting’ has augmented foreign investment inflows into Egypt’s debt markets whilst also amplifying recovery in foreign direct investment; especially within the energy sector. Both inflation and interest rates appear to have peaked, so we should expect to see lower inflation and cuts in the interest rate this year and into 2019.

    There are, however, a number of outstanding issues that add to the complexity of forecasting and therefore need further focus. These include: how much Egypt will benefit from recent oil and particularly large gas discoveries finds; whether the use of Egypt’s LNG facilities to re-export gas from Israel and Cyprus will produce any gains for Egypt; whether the rapidly rising population will result in new jobs having to be created even faster; and the vitally important issue of water stress. All these need to be addressed and resolved by the government in order to gain investor confidence.

    This briefing will analyse:

    • This is Egypt’s third economic reform programme in 25 years – will this programme succeed?
    • Can foreign inflows rise in the equity market?
    • Although the economy has recovered, the private sector has yet to benefit from higher government spending – when will the private sector witness a stronger turnaround?

    Speaker – Angus Blair

    Menas Associates’ lead Egypt consultant began his career with a distinguished period in the City of London before working in the financial services sector of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Angus founded and manages a leading Cairo-based financial consultancy company, and is the COO of a local investment bank.

    The ANC’s December 2017 Elective Conference and the Future of South Africa

    Date: Thursday 18 January 2018 | Location: London | Time: 17.30 – 19.30

    The ANC’s 54th elective conference — which took place on 16-20 December in Gauteng — was a crucial one and arguably one of the most significant in the organisation’s history. Not only does the future of President Jacob Zuma and the ANC hang in the balance, but the conference also saw the emergence of a number of policy directives, that provided key insights into how the ANC intends to govern the country going forward.

    This briefing will analyse:

    • The outcome of ANC’s December 2017 elective conference
    • What this means for both the party and South Africa going forward
    • The road to the 2019 elections
    • Key policy directives, and their implications for investors


    Sarah Lockwood is the South Africa consultant for Menas Associates Ask our Experts service, and a PhD Candidate and Presidential Scholar at Harvard University. Her research focuses on government accountability and political protest in post-apartheid South Africa, and she has also worked extensively as a journalist in the region.

    North Korea: will there be war?

    Date: Wednesday 13 December 2017 | Location: London | Time: 8:00-10:00am

    Tensions still remain dangerous, despite a two-month hiatus in Kim Jong-un’s testing of ever-better ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. President Trump was placid on his Asia trip, but in a fresh war of words North Korea has sentenced him to death. China has made up with Seoul and sent an envoy to Pyongyang, whilst proposing a dual freeze of DPRK WMD tests and US-ROK war games. South Korea, whose liberal President Moon Jae-in seeks to engage with the North, hopes Trump’s visit showed him how catastrophic any new war would be. Yet in 2018 (if not sooner) Kim will provoke again. Washington needs a policy, not posturing. Which way will Trump jump?

    We will be holding this Breakfast Briefing in association with our partners Beazley, in the City. Breakfast will also be provided.

    The presentation will cover the following topics:

    • Another year, another Korea crisis – but is this one more serious?
    • The reasons behind North Korea’s unfaltering drive for WMD. Can this be curbed?
    • Regime change, Pyongyang: how does Kim Jong-un differ from his father Kim Jong-il? Might events in Zimbabwe worry him?
    • Regime change, Washington: can Trump succeed where his predecessors have failed?
    • Despite North Korea’s economy growing faster than the South’s last year, might they feel the effects of the latest sanctions?
    • Is there a military option? Would Trump really take that risk?
    • Can fresh diplomacy resolve the crisis, and on what basis might dialogue resume?


    Aidan Foster-Carter – is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea at Leeds University. His interest in North Korea dates back to 1968. Since 1997 he has been a full-time analyst and consultant on Korea: writing, lecturing and broadcasting on political, economic and security issues in both Koreas for academic, business and policy audiences in the UK and worldwide.

    Richard Lloyd has worked with China Policy for over two years, covering technology, industry and foreign policy. Richard graduated with a First class honours degree from the University of Oxford in Chinese Studies. He travelled to North Korea from Beijing in December 2015, and pays close attention to developments in China-North Korea relations.

    Morocco: Advancing…. but swiftly enough?

    Date: Wednesday 22 November | Location: London | Time: 8:00-10:00am

    Morocco has made more progress than its neighbours in diversifying its economy and consolidating strategic investments into Africa, which have attracted the attention of Chinese as well as Gulf, European and other foreign investors. However, structural problems remain in maintaining a dynamic of inclusive development across Morocco’s diverse regions and in responding to increasing socio-political demands. In the wake of the recent government sackings, can a new political and economic balance be struck?

    This Breakfast Briefing is in association with our partners Herbert Smith Freehills.

    Key discussion points:

    • Morocco’s 2011 constitution, devolving powers to the regions, remains to be fully implemented: what are the pros and cons?
    • The economy remains subject to centralisation and the vagaries of the weather: what is needed to unleash a new private sector?
    • Youth unemployment and internal security issues require new solutions: where will these come from and who will resist?
    • The status of the Western Sahara has not been resolved, despite diplomatic advances within Africa: how much of a hindrance will this pose  to Morocco’s regional and global integration?
    • The monarchy is a source of stability as well as a pole of attraction: can it evolve to embrace the digital era?


    Dr. Claire Spencer – Senior Research Fellow in the MENA Programme and Second Century Initiative at the foreign policy institute Chatham House. Educated at Bristol University (BSc Politics) and the SOAS, University of London (Ph.D), Claire’s core research interests are in the changing dynamics of the Mediterranean region, the geopolitics of economic change and the socio-cultural dimensions of regional political developments.

    Paul Welch – CEO of SDX, he is an international energy executive with over 30 years of industry experience having worked for Shell Oil Company (12 years), Hunt Oil Company, Pioneer Natural Resources among others. Earlier this year, he acquired the producing assets of Circle Oil PLC which expanded SDX’s producing operations to Morocco from its base in Egypt. Mr Welch graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with both a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Petroleum Engineering. He also holds an MBA in Finance from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

    Craig Tevendale – is a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and Head of their International Arbitration group in London. He has broad experience of commercial arbitration, court and expert determination proceedings in a wide range of industries. Craig has lived and studied in the Middle East and is fluent in Arabic and French. He has worked on many cases involving the Middle East and North Africa, notably Morocco.

    Nigeria: the lead up to the 2019 Presidential elections, a panel discussion

    Date: Thursday 28 September 2017 | Location: London

    Due to unforeseen circumstances Patrick Smith is no longer able to speak at this event. In his place we have put together a panel to analyse Nigeria’s current situation and the short to medium-term future in the run-up to the 2019 presidential elections. Our speakers are: Nina Bowyer – Corporate & Energy Projects, Partner & Co-head Africa Group, Herbert Smith Freehills, Paris Stuart Culverhouse – Chief Economist and Global Head of Research, Exotix Partners LLP, London Jerome Okolo – General Secretary, National Think Tank (Nigeria), and Executive Vice Chairman, GeoQinetiq Ltd, Abuja and Lagos For the Q&A session they will be joined by: Chief John Nnia Nwodo – lawyer, economist, and former minister. He currently serves as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo (the leading socio-cultural organisation that represents and protects global Igbo rights and interests).

    Saudi Arabia: Political, Economic, Regional Policies, and Qatar

    Date: Thursday 27 July 2017 | Location: London

    The campaign against Qatar is the latest example of more assertive approach in regional politics first seen in the war against Yemen and associated with Prince Muhammad bin Salman, now the heir apparent. In the light of these regional changes we will be holding an evening seminar, followed by a drinks reception, to discuss a variety of points.

    The presentation will cover the following topics:

    • The campaign against Qatar, and Doha’s response
    • Developments in the regional conflict with Iran
    • Stalemate and likely outcomes in Yemen
    • The prospects for achieving NTP 2020 and Vision 2030 and the likely consequences of success or failure


    Dr. Nader Alyani

    Náder is Menas Associates’ Gulf region lead. His academic, consulting and managerial activities focus on capability development, facilitating risk analytics with inter-professional judgement, and implementing innovation for strategic alignment in firms. His career has spanned positions in the public and private sector in London and abroad, and as an adviser to MNCs (on FDIs, PPP and local content), having served with research, consulting and policy-design and implementation institutions.

    Dr. Noel Brehony

    Noel sat as Chair of the Council for British Research in the Levant, and was former chair of the British Society for Middle East Studies, the British Yemeni Society; the Anglo-Jordanian society and the Middle East Association. He co-edited “British-Egyptian Relations from Suez to the Present Day”, was author of “Yemen Divided: the story of a failed state in South Arabia”, published in March 2011. Noel is also co-editor of “Reconstructing Yemen”, which was published in 2015.

    Explaining Egypt, its Economy, and Outlook

    Date: Tuesday 27 June 2017 | Location: London

    Traders work at the Egyptian Stock Exchange in Cairo August 11, 2011. Egyptian stocks tumbled to two-year lows at the start of the week as concerns about the U.S. economic slowdown and the euro zone banking system hit stocks in riskier emerging markets, before staging a partial rebound on Wednesday.

    Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (Egypt)

    In the six years since the January 2011 uprising, Egypt’s economy has continued to underperform. However, since the long-needed flotation of the Egyptian Pound in November 2016, there has been a resurgence of interest from both direct and indirect investors. We shall review: the restructuring that has undertaken so far; the likely areas for reform; and the challenges faced by the Egyptian government as it seeks to revive investment and economic growth.

    The presentation will cover the following topics:

    • The restructuring of the Egyptian economy since 2016, including the flotation of the Egyptian Pound
    • The more likely economic reforms in the next two to three years
    • The challenges for the government, including excessive population growth and high rates of inflation
    • The economic and political outlook


    Angus Blair

    He began his career with a distinguished period in the City of London before working in the financial services sector of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Angus founded and manages a leading Cairo-based financial consultancy company, and is the COO of a local investment bank.

    Previously, he has been head of equities and later also of sales and trading, for a number of emerging markets and ING Barings and the ABN AMRO, based in London. He headed the team which started the first coverage of the Arab stock markets by a global investment bank.

    Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa bust: the risks of conflict and social unrest ahead of the 2020 elections

    Date: Thursday 18 May 2017 | Location: London

    Cocoa prices have recently fallen in Côte d’Ivoire, already causing some decline in the foundational sector of the Ivoirian economy. Consequently, social unrest has increased and political risks are seen as having risen. At a time when a still fragile peace had seemingly been consolidated, these issues could compromise the stability of the country.

    The presentation will cover the following topics:

    • Which outcomes are most and least likely?
    • Can investors continue to be bullish on Côte d’Ivoire, or should they have more “realistic views” on all possible outcomes of present uncertain social context?
    • How can investors prepare for possible uncertainties ahead?


    Brian Klaas — Our primary Côte d’Ivoire expert is a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of economics, where he focuses on African politics, elections, and political violence. Brian received his DPhil at the University of Oxford

    He has experience in both NGO and commercial consultancy work, including for the International Crisis group and the Carter Centre. He was formerly Malachite consulting’s lead consultant on Madagascar analysing the 2013 elections, as well as advising on risks to investment.

    Leïla Hubeaut — Leïla is a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills’ Paris office and has built significant experience advising on mergers, acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures and project development, principally within the power, mining, hydrocarbons and infrastructure sectors. Leïla has a particular focus on Francophone North and sub-Saharan Africa.

    Does the future of globalisation depend on China?

    Date: Friday 28 April 2017 | Location: London

    President Xi Jinping The China Policy speakers will analyse how President Xi Jinping will use this autumn’s 19th Party Congress to further consolidate his power. It will look at what that means for: the progress of the domestic reform programme; tackling major economic and social issues; and for a more assertive role in global affairs in light of recent developments in both the US and Europe.

    The presentation will cover the following areas:

    • Xi Jinping will take a major step in consolidating his power at the 19th Party Congress and he will need to as the economic clouds gather
    • The progress of key reforms will always come second to the ultimate priority of maintaining social and political stability. Rhetoric about ‘supply side reform’ will therefore run ahead of bellwether reforms in areas such as the state owned enterprises, debt management, and local government financing
    • It is important to realise that the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is a domestic policy despite its geostrategic consequences
    • There are some black, or at least grey, swans in China’s foreign relations that could affect foreign investors in the coming 12 months: the Trump factor, Brexit, North Korea, and, greyest of all, the environment

    Charles Parton spent 22 of 37 years as a diplomat, first for the British Government and latterly for the EU working in or on China. He has had postings in the British Embassy in Beijing working on trade and economic matters, in Hong Kong in the team negotiating the 1997 handover, and in the EU Delegation in Beijing as its expert on the domestic politics of China.  He speaks and reads Chinese fluently. Other postings have included Afghanistan, Cyprus, Libya and temporary duty in Mali. He is now based in London working with China Policy and Menas Associates.

    Richard Lloyd has been working as a Research Manager at China Policy for two years, covering technology and industry policy. Richard’s research includes strategic emerging industries and Made in China 2025. Richard graduated with a First class honours degree from the University of Oxford in Chinese Studies.

    East Africa: Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

    Date: Wednesday 22 March 2017 | Location: London

    Most East African countries have registered increased economic growth and investment in the last decade with visible large infrastructure projects. However, in spite of the often lauded ‘Africa Rising’ narrative, increasing income inequalities and security threats continue to impede governance and development. This presentation hopes to highlight East Africa’s progress and challenges towards prosperity.

    The presentation will cover the following areas:

    • A general overview of the political, security and economic situation
    • The rise of the developmental state in Tanzania
    • What would Magufuli do? Tanzania after Magufuli prospects
    • Al-Shabaab and the security implications in Kenya and Uganda
    • Impact of infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) and the LAPSSET corridor
    • Kenya’s ‘winner takes all’ politics and Uganda’s ‘movementocracy’ prospects
    • Prospects of the 2017 elections in Kenya

    Njoki Wamai is a Gates Cambridge Scholar who has recently completed a PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. She focused on the politics of intervention in Kenya with regards to the International Criminal Court. Njoki has previously worked in governance, security and development think tanks and charities in Kenya as a researcher. She has consulted for the United Nation’s Development Programme and the Women’s entity, UNIFEM on youth and women’s inclusion. She is a contributor of leading Kenyan dailies and online blogs such as the This is Africa, Pambazuka News and the Huffington Post. She is an alumnus of the University of Nairobi and King’s College London.

    Tom Gray is Menas Associates’ Regional Analyst for Sub-Saharan Africa. In this role, he manages and edits all SSA publications; recruits authors and consultants; and writes analysis pieces on events in the region. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and an MPhil in African Studies from the University of Cambridge, where he focused on politics, conflict and law. Tom’s interests in Africa stem from his work and travel in Tanzania. Burundi is his particular country of interest, along with eastern Africa, South Sudan, the Great Lakes region, and Nigeria more generally. Tom has expertise on the African Union and its security and developmental role on the continent. He speaks basic French and Swahili.

    Cyber Security – Markets, Risks and Hackers

    Date: Thursday 02 March 2017 | Location: London

    liveDDosOver the last 25 years, the Internet has evolved from small-scale exchanges between defence organisations to a global vehicle for communications, service delivery, commerce, and marketing. Cyber security has paralleled this growth. It has evolved from one-upmanship between geeks to a global problem involving organised crime, fraud, extortion, theft, state-sponsored espionage, cyber-warfare, and a free-for-all for hobbyists, stalkers, terrorists, and hacktivists.

    For many organisations – banks, trading houses, brokers, lawyers, on-line retailers and governments – it is now the dominant business risk. But many –mostly outside the FTSE250 – have not yet addressed the issue in full. There is increasing regulatory pressure on boards to respond and in November 2016, the UK Government announced a £1.9 billion National Cyber Programme. It mandated that all its suppliers meet the Cyber Essentials standard. There is also now an emerging cyber-insurance market that is driving quantification of risk and requiring clients to implement much stronger measures before they can be insured.

    This Breakfast Briefing, led by a cyber security company CEO, will give an overview of cyber-crime and prevention measures before looking at the mind-set of the hacker and using this, rather than just technical measures, to design more effective prevention.

    Stuart Bladen studied Engineering at Oxford University and joined the nuclear industry where he qualified as a Chartered Engineer. He then finished an MBA at London Business School before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers where he advised utility companies and implemented large-scale computer systems for military logistics and government procurement.

    Stuart Bladen was appointed CEO of Falanx Group Ltd* in October 2016. But previously has held senior positions at Hewlett Packard, Hitachi and Unisys among others.

    *Falanx Group Limited (ticker: FLX) is an AIM-listed cyber security and intelligence provider based in London, United Kingdom. They are a world-leading team of security professionals and technology experts who work in close partnership with blue chip and government clients to help them defend against a wide range of global security threats.

    Ghana: A smooth transition precedes the hard work ahead

    Date: Friday 27 January 2017 | Location: London


    After the presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December tested Ghana’s track record of political pluralism and stability, the winning team led by three time candidate Nana Akufo-Addo will have to turn its attention to an economy hit hard by crashing commodity prices, rising unemployment and the regional slowdown. With Ghana signed up to an economic reform programme with the IMF and foreign debts levels at over 70% of gross domestic product, the new government inaugurated in January 2017 will have little room for manoeuvre. But it remains a popular investment destination and a politically progressive force on the continent.

    Editorial director of Africa Confidential and Editor of Nigeria Focus Patrick Smith, who has been covering the election campaign in Ghana and their aftermath, will look at the challenges confronting the new government:

    • Consolidating power across the country after the election tensions
    • Delivering on promises to tackle fast-rising youth unemployment
    • Servicing and managing a ballooning foreign and domestic debt burden
    • Wide-ranging reform of the mining and oil and gas sectors to boost production and processing capacity
    • Sharply increasing investment in development of educational, vocational training and health service capacity


    Patrick Smith – Our Lead Ghana consultant is editor and publisher of our monthly Nigeria Focus publication and Africa Confidential, a fortnightly newsletter reporting and analysing political and economic developments in Africa. Subscribers include the UN, the World Bank, the IMF the late Nelson Mandela, African and Western Governments, among others.

    He lived in Accra and Lagos throughout the 1980s when he was West African Correspondent for Associated Press. He wrote extensively for the guardian, the Observer, and Economist Intelligence Unit, and filed news and feature reports for BBC television and radio.

    Nina Bowyer – Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills – Nina is the global co-head of the firm’s Africa practice group and has over 10 years’ experience working on transactions in Africa. Based in our Paris office, Nina works with a broad range of clients on single and multi-jurisdictional mergers, acquisitions and disposals, joint venture structuring, project development and related financing arrangements in the oil, gas, power and mining sectors. Her practice focuses in particular on transactions and projects across West Africa, including Ghana, where she is currently advising on the implementation and development of projects in the mining sector and various opportunities across the power sector.

    Brazil: a light at the end of the tunnel?

    Date: Thursday 1 December 2016 | Location: London

    56e61cbac36188ce628b45e7The tumultuous political and economic events of the past months have highlighted a number of deep-rooted problems in Brazil’s polity and economy, including corruption, governance, governability and economic mismanagement. What is the new government doing to address these problems and how likely is it to succeed? And, what are the prospects for the 2018 election? The talk will address these questions within the context of short-term developments and long-term trends in Brazil’s politics and economy.

    The breakfast briefing will address:

    • The root causes of the recent political crisis.
    • The strength and weaknesses of the Temer administration.
    • The priorities for the economy.
    • Prospects for political reform.
    • The recent municipal elections and the 2018 presidential election.

    Francisco Panizza is Professor in Latin American and Comparative Politics in the Department of Government of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has written extensively about contemporary developments in Latin American politics, particularly on the countries of the Southern Cone. He has followed Brazilian politics for the past 30 years. He is a frequent contributor to major international news networks including the BBC, CNN and Sky News.

    Iraq: the battle for Mosul and beyond

    Date: Tuesday 8 November 2016 | Location: London

    retaking_fallujah_from_isis_by_iraqi_armed_forces_and_patriot_militiasIraq has made huge strides in its battle against Islamic State (IS) over the past months. It has done so against the odds given the complete breakdown of the political process both in Baghdad and Erbil. Yet as it gears up for the all-important battle for Mosul, the ousting of Islamic State (IS) is finally starting to look like a reality.

    While this is clearly welcome news, victory in Mosul will not work as a panacea for Iraq. Rather, it will amplify many of the existing problems that have ravaged the country for years, as well as throw up a whole new set of challenges, many of them even more intractable. Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divisions, chaotic security arena, broken polity and seemingly interminable conflict between Baghdad and Erbil will all need to be dealt with if Iraq is to get back on its feet again. So too will the endless meddling by regional powers. Indeed, how Iraq navigates the aftermath of the Mosul campaign will be crucial to its future as a unified state.

    This talk will examine the issues facing Iraq, including the KRG, as it enters what will be its most important battle yet and will discuss whether in the face of all these challenges it will be able to hold itself together.


    Alison Pargeter – Our Lead expert on Iraq and Kurdistan, Alison has been with Menas for over 10 years, and has followed the country and the wider MENA region for much longer. She is widely published and specialises in political Islam and radicalisation.

    She has held positions at universities including the University of Cambridge and King’s College London. She is also a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), as well as being a Senior Associate at Means.

    International Organisations she has worked for include the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for International Development (DFID), IAEA, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Freedom House, and other European governments.

    Ahmed Tabaqchali, CIO of AFC Iraq Fund, is an experienced Capital Markets professional with over 22 years experiences in US and MENA markets. Currently a board member of the Credit Bank of Iraq. He is a former Executive Director of NBK Capital, the investment banking arm of the National Bank of Kuwait as head of Brokerage.

    Ahmed has an M. Sc. in Mathematics from Oxford University in the UK, a B.Sc. (Hons, 1st class) in Mathematics from Victoria University in New Zealand and a B.Sc. in Mathematics from Canterbury University in New Zealand. Ahmed is an Iraqi & a British national.

    Ethiopia: Africa’s China?

    Date: Tuesday 11 October 2016 | Location: London

    the-grand-ethiopia-renaissance-dam-gerd-under-construction-but-almost-completed-has-caused-much-consternation-in-egyptThe pace of economic change in Ethiopia over the last fifteen years has been staggering. A country — known largely for its catastrophic famines — has emerged as the fastest growing economy in Africa, and one of the fastest in the world. This is not simply down to a commodity price boom. Ethiopia has few marketable minerals, and growth has been broadly based on agriculture, communications, and increasingly light manufacturing. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, now under advanced construction, will become Africa’s biggest source of hydroelectricity, and the country is making a major push for FDI, especially in manufacturing.

    The big question is whether this growth is sustainable. The government has a major commitment to the project, and is investing in both the physical infrastructure (transport, electricity) and the social infrastructure (education, health) needed to maintain it.

    There are nonetheless significant obstacles. The economic ones relate especially to the roles of the public and private sectors, and the need for the public sector to relax what has hitherto been a dominant role, in order for the domestic and external private sector to take the leading role in boosting production. Given the hierarchical tendencies entrenched in Ethiopian governance, this is a matter as much of social attitudes as of government policy.

    The more pressing problems, however, are political. The country has recently experienced widespread social protests, and the government faces a difficult balancing act. It will need to combine an essential level of public support — even within a non-democratic structure — with the maintenance of effective policymaking. The next few years, or even months, will prove critical to the success of the Ethiopian experiment.


    Professor Christopher Clapham is based at the Centre of African Studies at Cambridge University. Now retired, he has written extensively on the politics and international relations of Africa. His particular focus is the Horn of Africa and especially Ethiopia. His latest book, The Horn of Africa: State Creation and Decay, 1991-2016 will be published by Hurst and Co early in 2017.

    Algeria’s economic crisis: the way in and the way out

    Date: Wednesday 21 September 2016 | Location: London

    Algiers the capital city of Algeria, Northern AfricaAlgeria is facing its greatest political and economic crisis since the 1990s’ civil war, and the situation could still get worse.

    The regime’s failure to diversify the economy is turning reduced oil revenues into a profound economic crisis.

    Whilst many commentators believe that it is too late to reform the Algerian economy, this talk considers the ‘positives’ that are beginning to emerge and that suggest the country and its economy still offer opportunities for foreign investors. There is an urgent need for foreign investment in a number of sectors and industries that have been hitherto largely ignored but could offer a ‘way out’ of the crisis.

    This more optimistic scenario requires significant political, economic and cultural change. The shock of collapsing oil prices has yet to galvanise the regime into enacting the necessary reforms. It will need to do so quickly to ensure a more positive future.

    This Breakfast Briefing will address:

    • the inter-relation between the economic and political crises in Algeria;
    • the reasons behind and the nature of the regime’s in-fighting, with a particular focus on the following perennial question: Who and what sort of regime will succeed the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika?;
    • the measures that the regime is belatedly implementing to tackle the economic crisis, including structural changes such as diversification, financial reforms, business deregulation and liberalisation;
    • the significant opportunities that exist for the foreign investors who understand the country, make committed partnerships, and are willing to take a risk.


    Jeremy Keenan is Visiting Professor in the School of Law, Queen Mary’s University, London (QMUL). He is also Professorial Research fellow at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). A recognised expert on the Sahara-Sahel and Algeria, where he began his studies in 1964, Keenan has around 350 publications to his name, including 7 books on the Sahara and a further three in progress. He is a recognised authority on the region’s political and security situation and briefs the British and US governments, the EU, UN, NATO, several international agencies and numerous media organisations (BBC, RFI, France24, VOA, Reuters, etc.). He is the author of three of Menas’ publications: Algeria Politics & Security, Algeria Focus and Sahara Focus.

    Laurence Franc-Menget joined the disputes group in Paris in 2008 after a few years in a French law firm. She has extensive international arbitration experience and has acted in both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations (including ICC, UNCITRAL, ICSID, AFA, and SCC arbitrations). In particular, she has been involved as counsel in disputes on corporate issues, joint ventures, construction and distribution contracts as well as in investment disputes involving sovereign States.
    Laurence also acts as an arbitrator. She appears before French Courts, in international private law disputes and in cases arising from arbitration (i.e. jurisdiction issues, enforcement and setting aside of arbitral awards).

    The GCC states: political challenges and low oil prices

    Date: Thursday 28 July 2016 | Location: London

    In association with international insurance firm Beazley

    Saudi Arabia and the other GCC states face challenges posed by lower oil prices, growing populations and rising expectations. The Saudi national transformation plan exposes the scale of reform that is necessary – and being contemplated. Implementation will require determined leadership and test the country’s administrative capacity. The wider region is affected by the aftermath of the Arab Spring leading to greater GCC involvement in the civil conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and assisting Cairo to deal with the aftermath of turbulence Egypt. Relations with Iran remain tense and there has been some reassessment of relations with traditional allies, including the US. GCC unity has been strained as the GCC states react differently to these developments.

    Covering all GCC states but with a focus on Saudi Arabia, the briefing will:

    • Analyse the various internal and external challenges
    • Examine how governments are dealing with rising political and economic risk
    • Assess how this will affect their investment climate.


    Dr Noel Brehony is former diplomat and former Director of Middle East Affairs for Rolls-Royce and has been Chair of Menas Associates since 2000. He is a former chairman of the Middle East Association, the British Society for Middle East Studies and is currently chair of the Council for British Research in the Levant. He co-edited a Rebuilding Yemen with Saud al-Sarhan published by Gerlach and the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in 2016 and was author of Yemen Divided published in.

    Argentina: Open for Business

    Date: Tuesday 19 July 2016 | Location: London

    In association with international law firm Kennedys

    Buenos Aires, la ciudad contada (c) Hernán PiñeraThe inauguration of Mauricio Macri as Argentina’s president in December 2015 marked the first time in decades that the South American giant has elected a leader who genuinely believes in a market-oriented economy.

    In the wake of this sea change, the opportunities for international investors are both large and varied. Moving away from the protectionist policies of the Kirchner administration, all sectors will now have to adjust to a more open and less regulated economy.

    At the same time, Argentinian companies will face domestic and world-class foreign competition both at home and abroad.

    These changes will force them to seek foreign partners that can provide them with capital and technology. In addition, the government will call for bids on large infrastructure projects and services, and international players will be warmly welcomed.

    Argentina’s assets are still relatively inexpensive compared with those of its South American neighbours. Investors should remember that ‘the early bird catches the worm’ because this will change as foreign investment accelerates and Argentinian funds are repatriated back home.

    This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

    • President Macri’s approach to the economy
    • The current structure of Argentina’s political system and its possible evolution
    • Argentina’s return to the international stage
    • Macri’s approach to Mercosur, Mercosur-European Union negotiations, TPP, and the Malvinas-Falklands issue
    • Opportunities and risks for the energy and mining sectors, including exchange rates, price structures, and the rules for public tenders for alternative energy projects

    Speaker: Carlos Regúnaga  is an Argentinian lawyer and Menas Associates’ lead Argentina expert. He has undertaken research and held academic posts at universities including: the Universidad de Buenos Aires; New York University; Princeton University; Universidad de Belgrano; and the Lutheran University of Brazil.

    Regúnaga has served in public office as Chief of the Cabinet of Advisors to the Secretary of Commerce. He was previously president at Digital Angel S. A, before which he was a legal advisor and board member of several corporations belonging to the Bridas Group.

    He is currently director of the Argentina office of the Center for Strategic & International Studies; a consultant at the Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales; and director of International, Scientific, and Cultural Integration Studies of the Amílcar Argüelles Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Buenos Aires.

    South Africa: navigating the current challenges in search of future opportunities

    Date: Tuesday 5 July 2016 | Location: London

    South Africa Breakfast Briefing, Rhodes must fallSouth Africa is currently going through turbulent times. The Rand remains weak, the ruling ANC party is in the middle of an increasingly vicious internal faction fight, allegations of state capture abound, the risk of a downgrade to junk status looms large, and violent protests have shut down communities across the country in the run-up to the August elections.

    As well as all of the negative news, however, the last few months have also seen a number of very positive blows struck in favour of the country’s democratic institutions. In March 2016, for example, a Constitutional Court judgment found that President Jacob Zuma had ‘failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution’ over the Nkandla issue. In April the North Gauteng High Court declared invalid the 2009 decision to discontinue the prosecution of President Zuma for 783 charges of corruption, racketeering and fraud. While there are short-term uncertainties, therefore, there are strong signs that South Africa has the institutional strength to weather these storms, and significant opportunities exist for those firms that are able to successfully navigate these currently turbulent waters. This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

    • The current state of democracy in South Africa.
    • The upcoming local elections and the ANC leadership battle.
    • The current political instability and its likely impact on the economy and investment.
    • Protest trends, strikes and the continuing problem of contentious labour relations
    • And key recent/ongoing legislative changes including:
      • The Protection of Investment Act
      • The International Arbitration Bill
      • The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment Bill
      • The Mining Charter

    The main briefing will be followed by an outline of the recent legislative changes in South Africa and the impact on foreign investors from Peter Leon, partner and co-chair of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Africa practice.


    Sarah Lockwood is the South Africa consultant for Menas Associates’ ‘Ask our Experts’ service. She is a PhD Candidate and Presidential Scholar at Harvard University, where her research focuses on government accountability and political protest in post-apartheid South Africa. Fluent in French and Swahili, she has also worked extensively as a journalist in the region. Her previous consultancy work with Menas has involved analysing policy developments in South Africa and their impact on the mining and energy industry in the country, as well as providing detailed information on the possibility of further strikes within the mining sector.

    Peter Leon co-chairs Herbert Smith Freehills’ Africa practice. Peter is independently rated as one of the world’s pre-eminent mining lawyers and his areas of expertise include mineral and petroleum regulation in developing countries, black economic empowerment and indigenisation law, international investment law and financial services regulation.

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    Turkey: current challenges and future possibilities

    Date: Wednesday 25 May 2016 | Location: London

    Istanbul (c) Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho, CC by 2.0

    Turkey is facing unprecedented domestic and regional challenges. These range from: deteriorating security conditions; difficulties responding to changes in its immediate neighbourhood;  as well as the domestic political uncertainty as the AKP government seems set on pursuing a presidential system and silencing opposition.

    Beyond the headlines, a complex web of factors has created a perfect storm which has derailed the country’s promising developments and stability between 2002-2011.

    Now, Turkey is often chastised by its international allies for its democratic lapse, but it is also seen as a sine qua non partner for addressing a wide range of issues facing Europe.

    All these factors raise serious questions about Turkey’s future direction and the consequent implications both for foreign policy-makers as well as investors who have a stake in the country’s future.

    In this briefing, Ziya Meral will provide an overview of complexities of a country that is often confusing for the outsiders, as well as some scenarios for its future.


    Ziya Meral is a Resident Fellow at the UK Army’s Centre for Historical Research and Conflict Analysis, and founder and director of the Centre on Religion and Global Affairs.

    He is a widely-published expert on Turkish and Middle Eastern foreign policies and thematic issues of religion and violent conflict. He has undertaken field research and studies in a wide range of countries including Iran, Egypt, China, Israel, Nigeria, USA, Jordan, Turkey and Canada.

    Previous positions include Joseph Crapa Fellow at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and as a human rights advocate focusing on religious freedom and religious minorities in the Middle East.

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    Nigeria: after a year of Buhari-nomics and crashing oil prices, what next?

    Date: Monday 25 April 2016 | Location: London

    Nigeria NairaIn a groundbreaking election in March 2015, Muhammadu Buhari led an opposition coalition to become president, defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. It was a personal victory for Buhari but also for his All Progressives’ Congress, which had won power at the national level – both the executive and the legislature – and pushed the People’s Democratic Party from power for the first time since the return to civil rule in 1999.

    On his inauguration on 31 May President, Buhari set out his agenda: item number one was the war against corruption across the government and private sector.

    Closely that behind was national security, the fight against the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, and securing oil and gas production in the Niger Delta, which has been hit by sabotage, oil theft, and piracy.

    Third, Buhari sketched out ambitious plans for the radical reform of the state oil company and rapid diversification of the economy to boost agriculture and revive agro-processing and industry across the country.

    So far the results sheet has been mixed. Buhari is seen as one of the country’s most credible corruption-fighters and the restructured military has stepped up the fight against Boko Haram but there is far less support for his economic policies which have come under fire multi-national companies, local business and trades unions.

    This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

    • Successes and failures in the fight against corruption

    • The government’s new macro-economic economic strategy and the team that is to implement it

    • The exchange rate debate and trade reform: the policy options under discussion

    • The imperatives for reform of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas and national energy policy

    • The new political landscape: in Abuja and in the 36 states

    • What the new security strategy and reorganisation of the armed forces will mean

      Patrick Smith, Editor of Africa Confidential and Menas Associates Nigeria Focus, lives in Paris and spends about half the year reporting from Africa. He was based in West Africa as a correspondent for Associated Press and the BBC for a decade.

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    The roots and risks of jihadism in North Africa

    Date: Thursday 31 March 2016 | Location: London

    Tunisia Revolution

    The questions of why young people fight with the Islamic State group, and what threat they pose when they return, are some of the most pressing in today’s security environment. Behind the lurid videos of atrocities and the shock of terrorist attacks stand young people, drawn mainly from the populations of Middle East and North African states that are overwhelmingly youthful. In this region, issues of economic deprivation and political frustration are fusing to create a potent mix with long-term implications. Our speaker provides a unique perspective, after a year of field research in Tunisia speaking to young men in the economically marginalised neighbourhoods from which extremists recruit. His work has involved conversations with committed jihadist ideologues, close friends and family members of those who have travelled abroad to fight with extremist groups, and those wrestling with the temptation of extremist ideology. Assessments of what threat the Islamic State group can pose, and what whether its appeal and power in the region will grow or wane, can be drawn from the experiences of individual Tunisian men and women. They have profound implications for the entire Middle East. This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

    • Why do people join the Islamic State, and other extremist groups?
    • What threat do returning jihadists pose in their countries?
    • The future of Islamist militancy, and its appeal to young people
    • The risks to foreign assets and individuals in North Africa
    • The political environment

    Speaker Mike Marcusa is the Tunisia consultant for the ‘Ask our Experts’ service of Menas Associates, and a PhD candidate at Brown University researching dynamics of youth and radicalisation in Tunisia. He is based in Tunis but travels through the poorer interior of the country, where his experiences as an American meeting jihadists have been published in such magazines as the Atlantic.

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    Understanding Iran: post-sanctions investment in a post-elections landscape

    With Pinsent Masons

    Date: Thursday 3 March 2016 | Hour: 08:30 – 11:30 | Location: London

    Iran BriefingSince the beginning of 2016, Iran’s moderate government has scored a number of successes: the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on 16 January 2016, and the consequent lifting of many international sanctions, was followed by a successful visit to Italy and France by President Hassan Rohani during which billions of dollars’ worth of contracts were signed with European firms. There is no doubt that Iran offers extensive opportunities to international companies. However, President Rohani is facing mounting domestic opposition from hardline factions. These used their influence to bar many reformist and moderate candidates from standing in the forthcoming elections for parliament and the Assembly of Experts. At the same time, regional tensions, especially those with Saudi Arabia, are undermining Iran’s political development. This is a paid for event, the fees are as follows:

    Early bird (first 30 registrations) – £75+VAT

    Standard registration – £125+VAT


    Bijan Khajehpour, Menas Associates

    • The domestic political dynamics in the aftermath of the twin elections, held on 26 February
    • The outlook for the country’s political and economic developments.
    • The risks and opportunities facing international companies investing in Iran will be evaluated.

    Fleur Cowan, US Embassy

    • General US policy towards Iran
    • US sanctions relief towards Iran post- Implementation Day and remaining restrictions
    • Non-sanctions barriers to trade in Iran and regional issues

    George Booth, Pinsent Masons

    • Structuring your investment into Iran
    • Iran law for international investors
    • The legal environment – the oil and gas sector

    Investing in a revolving Egypt

    Date: Wednesday 10 February 2016 | Location: London

    Investing in a revolving Egypt

    Egypt has undergone enormous political and economic changes since the January 2011 uprising, and the repercussions will continue to impact Egypt’s evolving political and investment landscape.

    The increasing stresses within the economy, compounded by the quickly-growing population and high inflation rates, are felt by foreign investors facing foreign currency shortages and capital controls. The general level of risk has risen.

    However, these issues also mask some very significant strengths, not least in the very low levels of private sector and household debt and an exceptionally vibrant informal sector, which have kept the economy growing. With the largest consumer market in the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt has also seen significant foreign direct investment, not least in the consumer and energy sectors. Much more is needed, and planned.

    With a new parliament now sitting, Egypt also has an accountable political body. This will now, along with President Abdelfattah El-Sisi and the cabinet, need to take some tough political decisions to achieve further economic reform.

    This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

    • The overall economic background and outlook
    • The major stresses in the economy and whether the government will do enough to diminish them
    • A review of the positive areas for investors, including the oil and gas and consumer sectors, as well as various infrastructure schemes, including the development of the Suez Canal zone
    • The outlook for foreign direct investors
    • The political environment


    Angus Blair, the author of Menas Associates’ ‘Egypt Politics & Security’ publication, began his career with a distinguished period in the City of London before working in the financial services sector of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He lives in Cairo, where he founded and manages the Signet Institute and is the COO of Pharos Bank.  Angus has covered the MENA region for more than twenty years, advising private clients as well as international organisations.

    The event will be hosted by Craig Tevendale. Craig is an Arabic-speaking disputes partner from Herbert Smith Freehills. He has lived in the Middle East and has extensive experience of cases relating to Egypt and the Arab world.

    Angola: Crisis and Repression or Resilience and Growth?

    Date: Thursday 28 January 2016 | Location: London

    LuandaThe recent oil price shock has hit Angola particularly hard. The country’s currency has lost almost a third of its value in the past year on official exchanges and even more on parallel markets. Restrictions on foreign currency have been put in place while deep cuts were made to the 2015 budget – particularly in new public investment. At the same time, the government has been embarrassed by high profile attention on recent crackdowns against dissent and what may be growing social unrest.

    While the country’s economic situation is indeed severe, many analysts have also found signs that Angola is weathering this storm better than expected. This may be an indication of a strengthened non-oil economy and more economic diversification than was previously recognised. Signs of greater resilience in Angola’s economy and in Africa’s response to the end of the commodities boom more generally suggest a need to probe more deeply into local content policies and other state-led development.

    This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

    • The impact of lower oil prices on the economy
    • The level of resilience and strength of the non-oil economy
    • Local content policies and state-led development
    • The role of local elite and climate for foreign investment
    • Rising political tensions and social unrest


    Jesse Salah Ovadia is a Lecturer in International Political Economy at Newcastle University and Director of the MA in Globalization, Poverty and Development. Focusing on the political economy of oil and development in Angola, Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea of Africa, he writes about local content policies and their role in linking oil extraction to industrial development and economic growth in the non-oil economy. Ovadia has also acted as a consultant for the DFID project Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform in Nigeria (FOSTER) and for private companies in Angola promoting local content. His new book, The Petro-Developmental State in Africa: Making Oil Work in Angola, Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea, will be available in December 2015 from Hurst Publishers and a forthcoming edited book, Energy, Capitalism and World Order: Toward a New Agenda in International Political Economy, will be available in January 2016 from Palgrave Macmillan.