The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Many observers of the military intervention in Mali are praising the Franco-African troops for what they already consider a guaranteed victory. Although a military win is assured given the superiority of the French army, it may be more difficult to ascertain, that as a result, the Jihadists are defeated. Indeed, as we look at the months ahead and beyond, the possibility of a conflict spillover is the most likely scenario. If such scenario does not happen, then we can salute this intervention in Mali as a victorious one.
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | In all our discussions with corporate executives, we end up with two critical conclusions regarding their exposure to the region and beyond. First, doing business in North Africa is important to them and their companies given the oil and gas sector, and the vast amounts of money governments there have to spend on economic buildup and reconstruction. Ignoring the region is not the smart option, and they know it. Secondly, however, the risk factor in the region is a permanent one, requiring higher operational cost and perpetual reassessment of postures and exit strategies.
The North Africa Journal | The real estate market in Tunisia is displaying mixed signals. Pockets of growth in the housing market continue to drive prices up, but these houses were designed for foreign investors and wealthy Tunisians. In contrast, the average Tunisian is priced out of these desirable real estate sites as their incomes do not meet the continuously rising prices in regions that have been insulated from the political crisis facing the country for the past two years.
[The North Africa Journal] The Tunisian leasing sector currently boasts 10 active companies competing for the market. Most of them are bank subsidiaries which have been set up in the 1990’s in a move to take advantage of a nascent activity which is, after all, a familiar activity for a banker and can be easily integrated in the banks’ main business.
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | China's Africa's economic policy remains a major topic among Analysts and watchers. But while the China offensive on the African continent seems unstoppable, a number of issue are facing Chinese companies as they deal with African decisions makers. Cultural differences, lack of transparency and corrupt practices have forced some Chinese companies to be on the defensive. And as the relationships between Africa and China grow stronger, Chinese executives and the officials that oversee them should think harder about the way they do business there.
The murky nature of Algerian politics and lack of transparency mean that the country is suffering from a major credibility and accountability deficit that is allowing many of its top leaders to abuse their power. As we approach the Presidential elections, more political and financial scandals are making it to the public, dragging with them names of politicians who used to be seen internationally as credible. Foreign justice systems in countries like Italy, Switzerland, Canada and elsewhere are probing cases of illegal payments made by companies to Algerian officials, investigations that are turning out to be a PR nightmare for the Algerian government.
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | I chuckle, often in admiration, when I hear some interesting names that defy mainstream. Former World Cup alpine ski racer Picabo Street comes to mind, but also Ms. Krystal Ball, the American politician who is often called on US TV channels precisely to make predictions. Some names are just funny. Take actor Jason Lee who is reported to have named his kid “Pilot.” Or the names of the children of many celebrities like Fifi, Apple, Kal-El, Coco and Kyd.