Seminars & Events

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch)

Socio-economic and socio-political trends in the GCC

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch) is a lunchtime workshop open to public, including IDE staffs, visiting research fellows, IDEAS students, outside researchers and graduate students. This workshop provides a platform for presentation of any work in progress where we can discuss in either English or Japanese.

Those who would attend a seminar are asked to announce yourself to receptionists on your arrival at the IDE and to obtain APL Organizers' signature on your admission card after the seminar.


September 15, 2016. (Thursday) 11:00-12:30


Socio-economic and socio-political trends in the GCC


I argue that GCC countries are turning the challenge of low-oil price environment into an opportunity for doing away with public finance burden like reducing subsidies but without undertaking political reforms. Adopted measures include revisiting subsidies for food and subsidies as well as utility. Still, new fees are being introduced like airport use fee in Dubai and Qatar. Other moves entail VAT from 2018.

Reengineering subsidies and raising fees pose a particular challenge to the expatriate community, in turn compromising the majority of work force in all GCC countries. There are signs of some foreign workers leaving due to payment problems though not necessarily reflecting living costs.

Still, some countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are pressing for economic reforms. Saudi Vision 2030 calls for greater role for the private sector. Likewise, the plan calls for tripling the number of people performing Umrah, which takes place anytime except during the annual Haj; currently, some 8 million Muslims perform Umrah annually.

With regards to Bahrain, a newly-founded economic drive designed to liberalise the economy. A fresh plan calls for allowing non-locals to own entire stakes in numerous business activities, including recreation and leisure, health and social work, information and communication, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, real estate and water supply.

Wrongly, the notion of (no taxation without representation), which initiated in the US is not necessarily true in the case of GCC. In reality, economic reforms are being forced without consultation. In fact, pro-government, non-state actors, argue that where possible, locals should forgo certain civil liberties in return for security. Arguments used are those of security risks in the region including ISIS and unfriendly ties with Iran.

On regional politics, Saudi Arabia has difficulty accepting normalized ties between the West and Iran. Saudi Arabia likes to see victory of conservatives in the 2017 presidential elections, with all their adverse views of the West. Tensions of Haj had added to animosity between Teheran and Riyadh.


Dr. Jasim Husain (Former member of the Bahraini Parliament, indepen reseacher)



Institute of Developing Economies, APL Organizers
IMAI Kohei  E-mail:kohei_imaiE-mail
Ogawa Michihiro E-mail:Michihiro_OgawaE-mail
TSUBURA Machiko E-mail:Machiko_TsuburaE-mail
ASUYAMA Yoko E-mail:yoko_asuyamaE-mail