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Saudi powers ahead
While the world fears another recession, Saudi’s economy continues to grow. It dominates the Gulf economy – as it would any single currency – but it has its problems, too.
November 22, 2010 12:37 by Samuel Potter
WHAT ABOUT THE JUDICIARY?
• King Abdullah removed in 2009 the head of the supreme court, a hardline cleric, as part of efforts to modernise the court system but diplomats say the pace of reforms is slow.
• The only concrete step is the set-up of appeals and commercial courts. But there is still no consistent law application with courts in different provinces handing out different verdicts for the same crime — often to a point of embarrassment for the government.
• The case of troubled family firms fighting out a lawsuit in New York shows that even locals do not trust the court system.
HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE PLANS TO ATTRACT MORE INVESTMENT?
• Efforts to attract more investment have been hampered by a debt crisis involving family firms unveiling debt restructurings but have declined to detail the size.
• Saudi Arabia’s bourse, the Arab world’s largest, has allowed limited ownership of shares but disclosure rules fall short of standards of more mature markets.
WHAT ABOUT AL QAEDA THREAT FROM YEMEN?
• Saudi Arabia is worried about infiltration by al Qaeda militants from Yemen via the 1,500 km- (900-mile) -long border the two countries share, and which is known for smuggling. The Yemen-based regional wing of al Qaeda (AQAP) has said it wants to topple the Saudi ruling family. In August 2009, an AQAP suicide bomber tried to kill Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who heads Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorism campaign.
(Source: Reuters. Reporting by Ulf Laessing; editing by Mark Heinrich)