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Upheaval in the Arab world

think: act CONTENT

After the protests and changes of government in Tunisia and Egypt, the situation is being repeated in almost a dozen Arab countries – Libya is currently only the most dramatic example. But where is this all going? The region's future does not depend so much on the consequences of the "Day of Rage" protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen and the new power structures that emerge. Instead, the critical question is what will happen in Saudi Arabia, the region's resource-giant. Will there be increasing Islamization? And what new political and economic freedoms will emerge – if any? The latter is particularly relevant to us Europeans, as a neighboring region, and may be an opportunity for Europe.

We are not attempting to paint a comprehensive (political) picture of the situation in the Arab world here. Instead, we are focusing on the economic impact. That is why we have conducted a survey among 100 German managers over the past few days that shows what fallout German companies are currently dealing with, what they expect over the next few months and what long-term strategic challenges they face.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN THE REGION – OUR THREE MENA SCENARIOS

Together with colleagues from our MENA offices, we have developed three scenarios that could help with assessing the long-term prospects. The core questions are: How long will the crisis last? How many countries in the region are affected? And how comprehensive and long-lasting are the upheavals? We first analyzed the underlying strengths and weaknesses of the MENA region, and then evaluated the consequences of global trends on the area. Lastly, we analyzed the impact of the crisis: is the crisis-hit country itself affected first and foremost, such as by declining numbers of tourists or a brain drain? In what cases will the crisis affect not just the countries themselves but also their trading partners (as we can see from the examples of German companies)? And finally: What will be the consequences of the upheaval in the MENA states on the global economy, for example via the oil price, refugee flows or terrorism?

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