Results for Category: GCC
The economic integration has always come first in the GCC, while political cooperation has tended to be shaky. This is because there has often been a general concern among the members about ceding sovereignty in favour of adopting a more homogenous foreign policy. Despite the political differences, the GCC is still seeking ways to cooperate.
The new emir was tested by the Saudis and Emiratis with the aim of changing Qatar’s regional policies, and after the crisis was resolved there was an improvement in relations, notably with respect to the Iran nuclear deal and Syria. But this proved to be temporary and was followed by the much larger crisis that persists until today.
The low oil prices are no longer seen as only temporary. And the way things look—with continuing low demand and OPEC not fundamentally changing its position—this will not change anytime soon. “It may actually be a blessing in disguise,” says a Bahraini businessman working in Al Khobar (Saudia Arabia). “In the past, when you saw a project with a budget of 100 million, you could be sure that it could be done for half the price,” he says. “Now, costs are cut on all sides, which is a good thing.”
Currently, there are national debates in the Arab Gulf on how to invest in local cinema production. The challenge lies in producing long films that are consistent with Arab Gulf values and heritage and are narrated, directed, and acted by Arab Gulf artists. Until then, only television dramas fulfil the expectations of the local audience, who will continue to rely on foreign movies.
Gulf countries are as richly endowed with renewable resources as they are with hydrocarbons. They benefit from strong regular sunshine and the space to develop large solar power plants, but despite the potential, some barriers remain that may prevent renewable energy from becoming a reality in GCC countries. These include an absence of renewables-friendly regulations and highly subsidised fossil fuels.
No matter how rich, the care-free life of the past decade or so is at risk. In April 2015, the World Bank estimated that the GDP of the GCC states could fall in 2015 by $215 billion, about 14 per cent of their combined GDP, so it is time to come up with a plan to fix, or at least mitigate, the budget deficits. The governments could choose to spend less or to generate more income from sources other than oil: both paths are a challenge.