Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Category: Qatar

Ambitious Gulf investors to launch Islamic bank in Luxembourg with goal of serving wider European market

 

Islamic Bank in Lux

Gulf investors are again attempting to launch an Islamic bank in mainland Europe, this time in Luxembourg.  There have been previous attempts at launching Islamic banks in France and Germany, but they were never launched siting an unaccommodating banking regulator as the reason.  Other Islamic banks were launched in Switzerland over the years, but their objectives were very narrow in scope.  The UK, on the other hand, has been the most successful in this regard since it was the first Western country to adopt Islamic banking regulation.  Today, there are four Islamic banks operating in the UK, one retail and three investment banks.  Will an Islamic bank in Luxembourg be successful?

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Amnesty exposes Qatar’s slave labor practices, Qatar hires law firm to investigate itself, other GCC countries continue with similar practices

qatar-laborers

All of Qatar’s construction workers are from poor neighboring countries such as India and Bangladesh

 

Last week Amnesty International exposed Qatar’s inhumane labor practices some describe as modern-day slavery.  In its investigation, Amnesty interviewed laborers, companies and government officials.  This story made worldwide headlines as Qatar has taken center stage recently as it prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.  Amnesty should have gone further and expand its investigation beyond Qatar.  These poor labor practices are not unique to Qatar, all neighboring GCC* countries are guilty of these same practices.

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Middle East high tech startups take off

Silicon-Valley-Middle-East-2013

Source:  Smithsonian.com

The Middle East has been a hotspot for tech start-ups lately.  This growing trend has been overshadowed by all the bad news coming out of the region since 2011.  Don’t expect any competition to Silicon Valley any time soon, but entrepreneurship is catching on in the Middle East in a big way.  Political troubles are only adding more fuel to the trend.

 

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Gulf countries to ban visas for gays using medical test to ‘detect’ homosexuality

Dubai Airport Immigration

 

It’s no secret that Gulf countries ban homosexuality and have been known to give jail time for those caught in ‘homosexual’ acts.  Now, however, they are going a step further and will soon ban visas for homosexuals and transgender individuals based on a medical test to ‘detect’ them.  This story will surely go down as one of those ‘what were they thinking?!’ stories.

 

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Salaries in Qatar rise 20% in 15 months

Qatar is Booming

The good times continue in Qatar as average salaries increase by 20% over the past 15 months.  Unemployment among Qataris is extremely low and a vast majority of them, who make up only 10% of the workforce, prefer working for the government.

 

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