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Past event summary

Staying Ahead of the Game Seminar

About the event

Staying Ahead of the Game -  Identifying and Navigating Market Opportunities and Challenges in the GCC Big 3: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is an event hosted by DMCC in collaboration with Control Risks, a specialist global risk consultancy, and Oxford Economics, the world’s largest macroeconomic consultancy.

This seminar on geopolitics and geo-economics looked at how businesses can identify and manage opportunities in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC), specifically in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Gulf states are adapting to a new economic reality. Though oil prices are now at a more comfortable level than they were several years ago, there continues to be a realisation of the need to diversify the sources of government revenue, attract foreign investment and spur private sector-led growth. As governments pursue ambitious reform agendas, companies must navigate between the opportunities and risks presented by political, regulatory and economic shifts.


The seminar covered the following topics:

  • Regulatory competition and policy priorities in the GCC.
  • Regional politics and its impact on the GCC.
  • Expansion of the GCC economies and the outlook for businesses.
  • How the markets and business environments are likely to develop over the short to medium term.


Who attended:
CEO, CFO, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Board members, Chairman, Regional Directors, Strategy Manager/Directors, Country Managers, COO’s, Senior Partners, Investment Directors, General Counsel, Legal, Compliance and any members of an organisation who are responsible or involved in strategic decision making.

Event details


Almas Conference Centre, Ground Floor, Almas Tower, JLT


9:00am - 11:00am, 01 Nov 2018

Registration starts at 8:30am

Additional Information


0830 - 0900

Registration and Breakfast

0900 - 0920

Graham Griffiths,
Senior Analyst - Control Risks

0925 - 0945

Mohamed Bardastani,
Senior Middle East Economist - Oxford Economics

0945 - 1015

Panel Discussion and Q&A

1015 - 1100

Closing & Networking


Graham Griffiths, Senior Analyst - Control Risks
Graham analyses political, operational and security developments in the Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Kuwait. He writes the daily analysis of operational and security risks for Control Risks’ online information platform, CORE. He also contributes to consulting projects for clients with specific interests in a range of sectors across the region.

Before joining Control Risks, Graham worked as an analyst for BehaviorMatrix, a social media analytics company, where he assisted in constructing a tool for analysing the emotional content of Arabic social media. He also advised on the Arabic-related aspects of a platform that enables analysts to collect and evaluate information from traditional and social media across the Middle East.

Graham graduated with distinction from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a Master of Arts in Arab Studies and summa cum laude from the University of Washington with degrees in Economics and Philosophy. He has been awarded numerous fellowships to study Arabic and Turkish and has lived in Syria, Egypt and Turkey. He has also completed internships with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a corporate diplomacy consultancy, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington DC-based think tank.


Mohamed Bardastani, Senior Middle East Economist - Oxford Economics
Mohamed Bardastani is the Senior Middle East Economist at Oxford Economics and is responsible for forecasting the macroeconomic outlook for several Middle Eastern economies with specific focus on the GCC. Mohamed’s a regular commentator on Middle Eastern economic issues and often appears on pan-Arab TV channels, including Dubai TV, Dubai One TV, Al Arabiyah, Sky News Arabia, among others. Mohamed joined Oxford Economics after working for the Central Bank of Bahrain, where he contributed to various publications and was involved in high-level assignments, including pitching Bahraini government bonds to international investors. He has completed a Bachelor degree in Economics from the University of Tampa, USA; and a Master’s degree in the same subject from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

How to find us

Almas Tower