SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Economic, business and institutional environment of the Middle East and North Africa

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

The course aims to describe, explain and analyse the changing macroeconomic and institutional environments in MENA and analyse their implications on investment and doing business in the MENA region. One main objective is to evaluate the main institutional obstacles to domestic or foreign private sector participation in economic activity in the region. Another objective is to explain the investment liberalisation process and analyse the main impediments to foreign investment in MENA and the various ways in which foreign companies manage or mitigate these risks. The course examines financial reform, assesses the performance of the banking system and examines the development of capital markets in MENA, including the role of Islamic banking. The course also examines the state-business relationship and recent efforts to privatise state-owned enterprises. The course is designed to be accessible both to those with little prior knowledge of management issues and/or knowledge of the business environment in the MNA. The academic elements of the course will be reinforced by contributions to from practitioners to the internal management programme’s seminar series and invited lecturers.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • To define the region and analyze the main axes of differentiation within the region
  • To describe and analyze the main socio-economic features of MENA
  • To describe, analyze and identify the main elements in the macroeconomic environment affecting firms' operations and investment decisions
  • To assess the institutional environment in which firms operate and the main institutional obstacles facing private businesses
  • To analyze the business-state relationship and their implication on doing business
  • To analyze privatization process and the expanding role of the private sector
  • To assess foreign investment policy and analyze the main impediments to FDI including political risk
  • To understand the main features of the labor  markets and evaluate labor and migration policies in the Gulf and their implication for development of human resources


This module consists of a 2-hour weekly lecture over 10 weeks of term plus a revision lecture in term 3 as preparation for the final examination. Students will be supplied with a syllabus with a breakdown week by week of required and additional reading. Reading materials are usually accessed electronically from the BLE and students should come to class prepared.

This module also has a weekly 1-hour tutorial where the questions posed by the tutor relevant to the lecture are explored and discussed by the students. Students also prepare and deliver a short presentation.

Total Work load:
Students on this module will have 3 taught hours each week. Additionally, adequate personal study time should be allocated for reading and class preparation.

Method of assessment

Assessment for this module is in three elements:

  1. One tutorial presentation at 10%
  2. One essay of 2,500 words at 30%
  3. One unseen 2-hour written examination at 60%

All elements except the presentation may be resubmitted

Suggested reading



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