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MENA Redefined: Emerging Economic Powers Beyond Energy

Key trends strengthening MENA’s economic role in a fragmented world. MENA emerging economic power.

6 hour course by Javier Albarracin (Consultant specialized in MENA economies & Blanquerna - Universitat Ramon Llull)

  • Schedule: 1, 2 & 3 July (11:15-13:15h)
  • Venue: Blanquerna

This course will analyse how, in last years, some key economies from the Middle East and North Africa are successfully redefining their economic and business model, developing news value added sectors and applying high tech to their socioeconomic development. Countries such as Israel, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia or Qatar are becoming international epicentres of key technologies (drones, AI, digital-farming, surveillance, airspace, new energies…). They are also attracting international talent while developing innovative and ambitious state-backed economic and business strategies (state capitalism). The region is home to multinational corporations that are becoming global players in strategic sectors such as logistics, utilities management, finance, digital economy or weapons. Some regional powers are using new economic tools to achieve global business relevance, such as their significant Sovereign Wealth Funds, or through the global promotion of an ‘identity-based economy’: the Islamic economy. All these regional trends are taking place in an international context defined by increased deglobalization, growing near-shoring business strategies and a growing weaponization of the economic factors. This emerging scenario is strengthening the Middle East role in key global economic flows, from trade to data, from energy to finance.

Javier Albarracin
Consultant specialised in the MENA economies and affairs with more than 25 years of job experience in the region.

He has been for 9 years the Director of Socioeconomic Development at the think tank European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). He was for 10 years the responsible for the Middle East and North African at the Consortium for Foreign Trade Promotion of Catalonia (COPCA), belonging to the Catalan Ministry of Innovation, Universities and Enterprise, with direct responsibility on the offices in Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Iran and with operations in the rest of the countries of the MENA region. 1998-99 he worked for the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX) in the Spanish Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Istanbul (Turkey). He is professor of International Relations and International Economy at the Blanquerna University of Barcelona and collaborates with several others (University of Girona, UAB…). He has a Degree in Political Science and Public Administration and Master in International Relations by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

He works with companies, institutions, research centers and other economic stakeholders with interests in the MENA region as well as the Muslim world at large.