The GCC states: political challenges and low oil prices

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Date: Thursday 28 July 2016

Time: 08:00 - 10:00

Saudi Arabia and the other GCC states face challenges posed by lower oil prices, growing populations and rising expectations. The Saudi national transformation plan exposes the scale of reform that is necessary - and being contemplated. Implementation will require determined leadership and test the country’s administrative capacity. The wider region is affected by the aftermath of the Arab Spring leading to greater GCC involvement in the civil conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and assisting Cairo to deal with the aftermath of turbulence Egypt. Relations with Iran remain tense and there has been some reassessment of relations with traditional allies, including the US. GCC unity has been strained as the GCC states react differently to these developments.

Covering all GCC states but with a focus on Saudi Arabia, the briefing will:

  • Analyse the various internal and external challenges
  • Examine how governments are dealing with rising political and economic risk
  • Assess how this will affect their investment climate.


Dr Noel Brehony is former diplomat and former Director of Middle East Affairs for Rolls-Royce and has been Chair of Menas Associates since 2000. He is a former chairman of the Middle East Association, the British Society for Middle East Studies and is currently chair of the Council for British Research in the Levant. He co-edited a Rebuilding Yemen with Saud al-Sarhan published by Gerlach and the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in 2016 and was author of Yemen Divided published in 2011.