The following text sets the context in which the briefing was given.
The past year has seen clear trends emerge from half a decade of instability in the Middle East & North Africa. By reviewing them, this talk will offer a frank assessment of the direction that this diverse, difficult, and indispensable region will take in 2016.
The year of the Islamic State group, the migrant crisis, and cheap oil has showed how the challenges of the region will not remain confined within its borders. But outside powers are being drawn in by investment opportunities, as well as by security challenges.
A drive to attract business towards North Africa, as well as the prospect of a post-sanctions Iran, offers the chance of a new horizon for companies. The region needs investment to achieve stability, but we can also expect efforts to force order on the MENA states in 2016. With world powers once again intervening, and regional states pursing their own policies, now is the time to ask who the spoils may go to, and what developments will set the trends in the year to come.
Nicholas Wade is a Senior Associate at Menas Associates, and the Regional Manager for the Middle East & North Africa. He previously worked as the BBC’s Middle East Analyst, providing a single point of factual reference for the whole corporation, and was formerly a journalist for World Service radio as well as a several other news outlets. Nicholas has two degrees specialising in Middle East studies from Cambridge University, and learned Arabic while living in Jordan during 2011 and 2012.