Baghdad has embarked on a spending spree in an effort to cement the gains from an improving security situation, but regional turmoil continues to make life hard
The Abu Dhabi emirate government launched another package of initiatives to spur on the local economy on 25 June – the latest in a string of efforts since the Dh50bn ($13.6bn) Ghadan 21 economic stimulus was announced in June last year.
The Council of Ministers (cabinet) has approved a plan to loosen restrictions on expatriate visas in an effort to attract more international investment into the kingdom. The new ‘green card’ permits will be offered without the need for a local sponsor; those granted a new residency permit will be allowed to allocate visas for family members and to own real estate in the country. There will be two types of permit: one offering permanent residency and the other renewable on an annual basis. It is not clear when the authorities will start issuing the permits and who will be able to apply; further details are expected in the coming months.
Jordan has secured funding for renewable energy projects, but there are many other areas where project finance is needed
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The government has reportedly ditched plans to reform Bahrain’s costly subsidy system amid fears that such austerity measures could provoke further public unrest. It comes just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Manama to make further fiscal and structural reforms, to strengthen government finances and promote sustainable growth.
The Dubai authorities are having to contend with a potentially delicate political balancing act involving the battle for control over port operations in Djibouti, and the commercial emirate’s relations with the Chinese government – which has made a big entry into Djibouti – and its Belt and Road Initiative, a global trade strategy in which Sheikh Mohammed wants to take a big role
With a foreign policy that seeks to balance out his proxy-warring neighbours and plans to take greater control of infrastructure and other developments, PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi is working to overcome his government’s lacklustre start in office, while four important portfolios remain to be filled and political rivals bicker
European diplomats fear that the hardline attitude of leading players in Washington will push Baghdad closer to Tehran, rather than further away
The government has scrapped a scheme designed to help more low-income citizens buy homes less than a month after launching it – seemingly due to the costs involved – and reverted to its previous programme.