Across the Middle East, where more than half of the population is under the age of 24, educational systems are strained and unemployment rates are high. Even in the oil-rich Gulf, fiscal pressures from lower hydrocarbon revenues are forcing governments to cut back on the largesse their citizens have come to expect.
The Middle East has faced numerous economic and political challenges in the last few years, but to its credit, it has weathered them reasonably well. That is due in part to the considerable oil wealth that characterizes countries throughout the region; although lower oil prices in the last two years have significantly impacted fiscal revenues, particularly in the larger more-oil-dependent economies such as Saudi Arabia.
Many dyed-in-the-wool foreign exchange traders lament the regulatory changes sweeping the industry more than six years after the global financial crisis. The market has become too boring for them. In the US, the Volcker Rule has caused banks to shut down their proprietary trading desks, while provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act are causing big FX banks to stop making markets in currencies and to act simply as agents for their customers.
Though Africa has experienced impressive growth for well over a decade now, domestic markets and intraregional economic relations have remained constrained, with national economies driven primarily by mounting foreign demand for the continent’s natural resources and commodity exports.
Today, however, things appear to be changing.