Menas Associates
Economy - Saudi Arabia

Specific measures expected to be introduced in early 2018 signal the government’s current commitment to reform

With the new GCC-wide value added tax (VAT) regulations being implemented from the start of 2018, the kingdom’s Citizen’s Account is being revamped and mobilised to offer rebates to low- and middle- income Saudi families. Similar in design to schemes elsewhere regionally, particularly to the now much publicized – and IMF monitored – Iran Subsidy […]

International Affairs - Saudi Arabia

Death of Saleh will shake up Yemeni politics but will not end the war

Just before he was killed, ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh had denounced his Huthi allies and called for negotiations with Saudi Arabia, which this time accepted them (having rejected previous pleas). Riyadh appears to have been aware of his plans but may not have fully appreciated the way that the Huthis had been undermining Saleh’s position […]

International Affairs - Saudi Arabia

The failure of Saudi policy towards Lebanon highlights MbS’ ineffective approach to foreign policy

The dispute with Qatar seems to be worsening – new attempts to stir up tribes and members of the ruling Al-Thani family against the Emir – without any tangible positive outcome for anyone. Meanwhile, MbS’ blatant interference in Lebanon backfired as the President of Lebanon – with open support from France – rejected what appeared to […]

Domestic Policy - Saudi Arabia

A populist, and popular, agenda consolidates MbS’ power seemingly beyond challenge

By focusing on what might be termed “non-transparent plea bargains” MbS has won widespread support for his action among the middle classes and the more than 50 per cent of Saudis below 30. Earlier in 2017, MbS had rejected pleas by the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of large contractors to compel Saudi ministers and […]

Domestic Policy - Saudi Arabia

Anti-corruption campaign may widen and concerns over the rule of law will remain

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) and his team assert that they have followed ‘internationally applied procedures’ and have implied that investigations will be limited to past operations in Saudi Arabia. However, they will need to demonstrate that there is a rule of law and a reliable means of handling disputes. They will also need […]

Economy - Saudi Arabia

The attractiveness of futuristic city NEOM to investors will depend on Saudi Arabia overcoming implementation challenges

There has been considerable media coverage of NEOM, which is a proposed plan to establish a US$500-billion futuristic business and industrial mega-city on the kingdom’s northern Red Sea coast close to Jordan and Egypt. In a 26,500 km2 (10,230 square-mile) zone, the city would focus on strategic industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced […]

Economy - Saudi Arabia

Any final decision on Aramco’s IPO could be delayed as far as is practically possible into 2018

Saudi Aramco’s planned IPO is a centrepiece of Vision 2030. It is viewed as a litmus test and the cornerstone of the kingdom’s partial privatisation programme. It is designed to increase transparency and raise revenues for economic diversification via the Public Investment Fund (PIF). While there is still no official confirmation of the IPO’s international […]

Economy - Saudi Arabia

Short-term capital flight and slowdown in FDI can be expected until relative calm is restored

The economic risks stemming from the recent events seem manageable in the short-term but significantly add to the complexities of business interactions and partnerships in Saudi Arabia. Investors should be wary of the simultaneous internal and geopolitical tensions on multiple fronts. While the economic and fiscal fundamentals remain in place — supporting the Saudi Arabian […]

International Affairs - Saudi Arabia

Follow up will be key after King Salman’s visit to Moscow, but the US will remain the indispensable partner

At first sight the outcome of King Salman’s visit to Moscow which began on 6 October — while MbS stayed at home — was impressive with announcements of deals to sell the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system and a range of battlefield weapons as well as commercial deals and substantial Saudi investment Russia’s energy sector. […]

International Affairs - Saudi Arabia

Regional challenges will test Saudi Arabia’s capacity to manage crisis and advance its interests

MbS is also playing for high stakes in Saudi Arabia’s regional conflict with Iran and shows no interest in ending the dispute with Qatar. Riyadh has been buoyed by President Donald Trump’s actions and statements regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. The war in Yemen will continue until Saudi Arabia has removed, in MbS’ words, […]