Post COVID-19: A Potential for Green Recovery in the Arab Gulf States

Post COVID-19: A Potential for Green Recovery in the Arab Gulf States

by Aisha Al-Sarihi

The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the GCC’s focus on environmental sustainability projects, as shoring up economies and protecting human health have become top priorities for governmental countermeasures. This Brief argues that associating COVID-19 economic recovery packages with measures aimed to safeguard the environment and tackle climate change, towards a so-called ‘green recovery’, will not only ensure long-term resilience and sustainability of economies as countries recover from the pandemic, but also boost economic activity, generate income and create jobs.

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Impacts of the War on the Telecommunications Sector in Yemen

Impacts of the War on the Telecommunications Sector in Yemen

The telecommunications and information technology sector in Yemen is the second largest source of public revenue after the petroleum sector, and contributes important work opportunities, whether directly or indirectly, through its connections to other sectors of the national economy. Some of the most important challenges of the sector are the unsuitability of the legal and institutional regulatory environments; fragmentation of public entities in the sector; the lack of separation between political, regulatory and operational roles within the sector; and the reliance on a weak and fragile infrastructure to provide these services. This Policy Brief identifies urgent as well as medium to long-term policies and programs to address these and other challenges identified in the paper.

Download the Brief in English or Arabic


Brussels MENA Briefing: Kuwait and the post-Sheikh Sabah Era

Brussels MENA Briefing: Kuwait and the post-Sheikh Sabah Era

On December 1, the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) hosted the ninth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on “Kuwait and the post-Sheikh Sabah Era”.

Speakers included Vice Admiral (ret.) Ahmad Al-Mulla, advisor to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, and Dr. Courtney Freer, assistant professorial research fellow at the Middle East Center of the London School of Economics. Well-known experts on the Persian Gulf region and members of the European policy community virtually attended this briefing, which was held under the Chatham House Rule.

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Project Announcement: VW- Foundation – Global autocratic collaboration in times of COVID-19

Project Announcement: VW- Foundation – Global autocratic collaboration in times of COVID-19

We are delighted to introduce the VW-Foundation funded project “Global autocratic collaboration in times of COVID-19: Game changer or business as usual in Sino-Gulf relations?”. The project will be implemented starting February 2021 by Tobias Zumbrägel together with Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber from the University of Erlangen and Julia Gurol from the University of Freiburg.

The project in a nutshell: While democratic backlash and a resurgence of autocracies have been identified by scholars since the 2000s,empirical evidence grows that the COVID-19 pandemic facilitates autocratization trends. This trend isvisible across the globe – regardless of whether the respective regimes are autocratic (e.g. Arabregion), hybrid (e.g. Latin America) or democratic (e.g. Europe).We argue that this development of fostering autocratic orderis not intrinsically national but reinforced externally. Similar to the ‘waves of democracy’ throughout the last century, this developmentis characterized by the promotion and diffusion of a certain model of political rule. This project explores the pathways, mechanisms, modes, scope and circumstances of the authoritarian surge and seeks to uncover its effects and repercussions for (trans-)regional power constellations in Sino-Gulf relations, asking.

The project duration is from February 2021 until August 2022. If you want to get further information please contact the project manager Tobias Zumbrägel.


Brussels MENA Briefing: The Biden Administration’s Middle East Policy and Transatlantic Relations

Brussels MENA Briefing: The Biden Administration’s Middle East Policy and Transatlantic Relations

On November 17, the EastWest Institute (EWI) and Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) hosted their eighth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on the recent election of Joe Biden as U.S. president-elect and the changes his administration could bring to both the United States’ own Middle East policy, as well as its transatlantic relations with the European Union (EU) vis-à-vis the Middle East. 

Speakers included Cameron Munter, former U.S. ambassador and former president of the EastWest Institute, and James Moran, associate senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The discussion was moderated by Wael Abdul-Shafi, EWI MENA program associate. 

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Brussels MENA Briefing: The Economic Dimensions of the Conflict in Yemen

Brussels MENA Briefing: The Economic Dimensions of the Conflict in Yemen

The seventh edition of the Brussels MENA Briefing, co-hosted by the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO), in partnership with the Rethinking Yemen’s Economy initiative, was dedicated to the economic impact of the ongoing conflict in Yemen—a war that started in 2014/15 and has since turned the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis according to the UN. 

The Rethinking Yemen’s Economy initiative aims to contribute to peacebuilding and conflict prevention, economic stabilization and sustainable development in Yemen by building consensus in crucial policy areas through engaging and promoting informed Yemeni voices from all backgrounds (the “Development Champions”) in public discourse on development, economy and post-conflict reconstruction in Yemen, and by positively influencing local, regional and international development agendas. It is implemented by CARPO, DeepRoot Consulting and the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies and is generously funded by the European Union and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Yemen.

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Economic Priorities for a Sustainable Peace Agreement in Yemen

Economic Priorities for a Sustainable Peace Agreement in Yemen

The Development Champions Forum stresses that the sustainability of a peace agreement in Yemen will, amongst others, depend on two critical insights: First, in a conflict that is largely over access to resources, the issues of distribution and control of those resources can make or break peace. Second, where peace agreements lack provisions that create overall economic stability, warfare can resume during the fragile implementation period. This infographic summarizes the Development Champions’ key recommendations on economic provisions that need to be included in the peace agreement.

This infographic is based on RYE Policy Brief 20.


Reconfigurations in West Asia and North Africa (WANA)

Reconfigurations in West Asia and North Africa (WANA)

When: Nov 19th 2020; 14:45-18:30 CET

The region that spans West Asia and North Africa (WANA) is in a process of a profound transformation. Despite their heterogenous character, all WANA countries experience social, (geo)political, environmental and economic challenges they need to overcome; albeit in different degrees. The current COVID-19 pandemic acts as an accelerator to this development while at the same time exposing the high vulnerability of the region.

CARPO’s first virtual research forum aims to address these reconfigurations in the region. With our speakers and audience, we not only plan to discuss some of the most pressing threats, including geopolitical shifts, questions of a sustainable development and more widespread social contestation, but we will also elaborate on the interplay of the different contexts (national, regional and global) in which these developments take place.

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Yemen’s Accelerating Economic Woes during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Yemen’s Accelerating Economic Woes during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since early 2015, Yemen has been almost completely dependent on three external sources to secure foreign currency inflows and stimulate economic activity: foreign humanitarian aid, Saudi financial support to the internationally recognized government, and – by far the most significant – remittances from Yemeni expatriates, most working in Saudi Arabia. All three of these foreign currency sources have dramatically declined in 2020 because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The current acute shortage of foreign currency has profound implications for the value of Yemen’s domestic currency, and the country’s ability to finance fuel and basic commodity imports. This is likely to lead to the rapid intensification of the humanitarian crisis. This White Paper presents policy recommendations to address this situation for relevant national and international stakeholders.

Download the White Paper in English or Arabic


Brussels MENA Briefing: Jordanian Foreign Policy in Light of Regional Geopolitical Shifts

Brussels MENA Briefing: Jordanian Foreign Policy in Light of Regional Geopolitical Shifts

On September 8, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their sixth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on the topic of “Jordanian Foreign Policy in Light of Regional Geopolitical Shifts.”

Speakers included Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh, professor at the University of Jordan and well-known security and political analyst, and Dr. Edmund Ratka, designated head of the Amman Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The discussion was moderated by Wael Abdul-Shafi, EWI MENA program associate.

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Microfinance in Yemen

Microfinance in Yemen

Since its introduction to Yemen in 1997, microfinance has been viewed as a strategic tool to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment, for it provided a means for the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of small and micro entrepreneurs by expanding financial services to them. However, persistent challenges facing the microfinance industry have stunted its development, reach within the population, and overall socioeconomic impact. To better place the industry to achieve its socioeconomic aims in the near term and contribute to Yemen’s recovery post-conflict, the Development Champions Forum puts forth several recommendations in four areas, namely, capacity building, financing, program design, and research.

This infographic is based on RYE White Paper 06.


Brussels MENA Briefing: How to Rescue Sudan’s Transition Process

Brussels MENA Briefing: How to Rescue Sudan’s Transition Process

On July 7, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their fifth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the MENA region—focusing on how to rescue Sudan’s transition process, as well as the role the international community can play in Sudan’s political transition.

Speakers included Yasir Zaidan, lecturer of international affairs and security studies at the National University of Sudan, and Dr. Annette Weber, senior fellow at the Africa and Middle East division of the German Institute for International and Security Studies (SWP) in Berlin. EWI’s Vice President of the MENA program, Kawa Hassan, served as moderator.

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Developing Yemen’s Fishing Industry

Developing Yemen’s Fishing Industry

Yemen’s fisheries sector holds untapped promise in contributing to the national economy, with a coastline of more than 2,500 kilometers and rich fishing grounds offshore. Yet the sector has long faced many structural challenges that have limited its production and potential contribution to overall economic output, which have been exacerbated during the ongoing conflict. This infographic provides an overview of the industry’s most important challenges as well as recommendations about how the sector could be developed now and in the future.

This infographic is based on RYE Policy Brief 19.


Deterioration of the Foreign Exchange Rate of the Yemeni Rial

Deterioration of the Foreign Exchange Rate of the Yemeni Rial

The Development Champions Forum held multiple online discussions in the period from 20-24 June 2020 to discuss the reasons behind the recent deterioration in the foreign exchange rate of the Yemeni rial. The Champions also discussed possible immediate interventions that can be applied by the concerned parties to curb the rial’s depreciation against foreign currencies. This Flash Report presents a summary of those discussions and the resulting recommendations.

Download the Flash Report in English or Arabic

Download the Follow-up Statement in English or Arabic


Brussels MENA Briefing: New Iraqi Government in Place: Challenges and Opportunities for Iraq in its Neighborhood

Brussels MENA Briefing: New Iraqi Government in Place: Challenges and Opportunities for Iraq in its Neighborhood

On June 9, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their fourth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of afterwork briefings on the MENA region—focusing on challenges facing the new Iraqi government, as well as the role the European Union (EU) can play in supporting the new government in Baghdad.

Speakers included Sajad Jiyad, visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and former managing director of the Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies based in Baghdad, and Daniela Verena Huber, head of the Mediterranean and Middle East Program of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). EWI’s Vice President of the MENA program, Kawa Hassan, severed as moderator.

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The Looming Climate Peril. Sustainable Strategies and Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

The Looming Climate Peril. Sustainable Strategies and Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

by Tobias Zumbrägel

Taking the viewpoint of ‘political ecology’, this first issue of the newly created CARPO Sustainability Series highlights the social and political implications of sustainable transformation across the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Overall, it aims to achieve four goals: (a) to provide a comprehensive overview of existing research and avenues of thought; (b) to supply a cross-sectoral analysis across the MENA region, rather than in-depth single case studies; (c) to uncover broader implications and dialectic relationships between sustainability and political power constellations; and (d) to sketch out some potential future developments and dynamics over the coming years.Read more


Annual Report 2019

Annual Report 2019

Beginning of December 2019, CARPO celebrated its fifth anniversary. So in addition to a look back at our activities of the past year, in this Annual Report we will also reflect on five years of CARPO’s existence. And we do look back in pride on our evolution since we first set out! Read more


Economic Priorities for a Sustainable Peace Agreement in Yemen

Economic Priorities for a Sustainable Peace Agreement in Yemen

The sustainability of a peace agreement in Yemen will, amongst others, depend on two critical insights: First, in a conflict that is largely over access to resources, the issues of distribution and control of those resources can make or break peace. Second, where peace agreements lack provisions that create overall economic stability, warfare can resume during the fragile implementation period. At the sixth Development Champions Forum in Amman, Jordan, from 25 to 27 January 2020, the Development Champions therefore focused on identifying urgent macroeconomic, fiscal, and monetary issues that pose a direct threat to the successful implementation of any peace agreement in Yemen. This Policy Brief summarizes their key recommendations on economic provisions that need to be included in the peace agreement.

Download the Brief in English or Arabic.