Summary: With the promise of offshore gas resource wealth in jeopardy and the pressure on to recognise Israel, Mauritania faces a challenging time.
Ghazouani peacefully elected as president of Mauritania in place of Abdel Aziz – no change. Economy doing well.
Morocco’s right to exploit the resources of the Western Sahara is contested by Polisario and its supporters. Elsewhere on the Atlantic littoral, Mauritania has cooperated successfully with Senegal over shared water and gas resources.
Locust swarms around the Red Sea and across Arabia may cause serious harm depending on the next three months.
Western Sara – UN succeeds in bringing all the stakeholders in this ancient problem together. Algeria and Morocco bad neighbours. Talks to resume in 2019.
MBS visited six Arab states before and after the G20. Proof of confidence he is under no threat at home. Governments toe the line of friendship, with some rewards. Problems in the Maghreb.
Huge decline since 1990 in FGM in Africa where it is most prevalent. Information about the Middle East remains scanty.
Parliamentary elections on 1 September, presidentials next year. No change likely. Slavery still an issue. Offshore gas prospects. Security in the Sahel.
Mauritania: moves against slavery; the Sahel; the Qatar vs. four dispute and a strange report from DC.
Despite some decline in its relative contribution to Arab economies, agriculture remains important in both economic and social terms. Improved management, less bureaucracy and better access to markets could make it more so.