Archive for the ‘Middle East ’ Category

MENA 2.0: The Arab Digital Market

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

A new engine of economic growth is quietly emerging in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Demographics, rising purchasing power and a burgeoning private sector are fueling economic development in a region where markets have been fragmented for too long.

Stretching from Morocco to Oman, MENA’s population tops 350 million, making it the world’s ninth largest market. But trade barriers among countries in the region have constrained market growth. Until now.

Today, an emerging trend is disrupting MENA’s traditional market patterns: a growing segment of urbanized, tech-savvy Arab youths is devouring on-line entertainment, gaming and social media, creating demand for digital services that are delivered across borders. Here comes the Arab digital content market.


Three Books on the Middle East

Friday, April 29th, 2011

If you’re absorbed by events in the Middle East and crave more information about the the region, here are three highly readable, essential books. Each provides a comprehensive view of a surprisingly diverse and increasingly dynamic part of the world.

The Middle East (1997) – Author Bernard Lewis is the senior dean of Middle East scholars. He’s a gifted storyteller with unparalleled subject mastery – a rare combination. Lewis makes clear sense out of complexity. This engaging primer is the gold standard of books on the region.

A Peace to End All Peace – The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and Creation of the Modern Middle East (2001) – David Fromkin toiled for ten years to describe the birth of the region’s nation states. This is the story of how the Western powers carved up the Middle East with little regard for the consequences. It’s required reading for anyone interested in understanding the forces that shape the region today.

The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War (2nd Edition) (2011) – This primer by Mehren Kamrava provides a sound historical context for the events of today’s Arab Spring. Kamrava updated the book in the 2nd edition, published earlier this year.  It’s recommended for anyone wanting to fill the gaps in their understanding of the region.

Cairo Streaming

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Cairo on the Nile

The images streaming in from Egypt are stirring. It’s evident that this uprising will reverberate not only in the region but around the world. What comes next is hard to fathom, but what the Egyptian people have accomplished is admirable.

My appreciation of Egypt and Cairo, in particular, dates back to my first trip there in the 80’s. I recall most vividly the felucca boats sailing along the Nile — symbols of the city’s timelessness. After many assignments there over the years, I still find Cairo to be one of the most enchanting cities in the world — on par with Paris and Istanbul.

The pulsating energy of this city of 16 million people comes not only from its density but from the stunning diversity of its people. Cairo is the largest city in the Arab world, Africa and the Mediterranean, and has been a magnet that’s attracted people from each of these regions and beyond.