CbI’s Research Director Eleanor Gillespie gave a presentation on 12 August at Major Events International's Business Opportunities in Qatar, organised by and hosted by Simmons & Simmons.
Eleanor’s talk started with coverage of Qatar’s history, including three key periods that have made Qatar what it is: the beginnings of an autonomous state 1850-1920s, the discovery of oil in the 1930-40s and the reign (1995-2013) of Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the architect of modern Qatar.
She then turned to the current government of Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, focusing on his policy and the massive challenges his government faces with the IMF recently warning the budget could fall into deficit as early as 2016. Emir Sheikh Tamim has overseen a reorganisation of government bodies and a push for Qatarisation, with big cuts in expatriate staff ongoing at institutions such as Qatar Foundation and Qatar Petroleum.
Eleanor profiled a few members of his cabinet including Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani and Finance Minister Ali Al-Emadi. Her talk concluded with a look at more general issues such as the economy, crime and corruption, and external perceptions of Qatar in the light of the unfavourable press attention it has received over its hosting of the FIFA 2022 World Cup and poor labour standards for migrant workers.
Eleanor plays a lead role in the development and management of CbI’s special research and due diligence capabilities - particularly the development of local research capacity in the Middle East and Africa - and in the editorial direction of Gulf States News (GSN).
She has been instrumental in the expansion of CbI’s coverage and understanding of the Gulf and its ruling and merchant family elites and has undertaken research into Gulf businesses investing in Africa’s energy industries.
Eleanor grew up in West Africa and the Gulf, and has led CbI’s analysis of political risks in a wide range of countries across Africa and the Middle East, co-ordinating with on the ground sources and liaising with clients. Read more about Eleanor's research interests.