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  • Author: Edward C. Chow, Andrew J. Stanley
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia was roiled by political and economic chaos, many state-owned assets were privatized based on political connections and corrupt practices. The oil sector was a particularly attractive, but by no means the only, target for these privatizations. By the end of the 1990s, almost all of Russia’s oil production was privately owned. In spite of continued nontransparency, the oil sector began to resemble a competitive market with private investors introducing Western technology, financial accounting, and operating and management practices. It also started to attract major foreign investments. The remaining state oil assets were managed by a sleepy state enterprise named Rosneft that, in spite of its name (Russian Oil), produced less than 5 percent of Russia’s oil. Today, majority state-owned Rosneft produces almost half of Russia’s oil. Its daily oil production of 4.6 million barrels, according to its last reported quarterly results, is double that of the world’s largest oil company by market capitalization, ExxonMobil, which last reported daily liquids production of 2.3 million barrels. Rosneft’s rapid rise coincided with the rule of Vladimir Putin, who first became president of Russia in 2000. Its production increases were built largely on the backs of controversial acquisitions of assets previously held by private companies such as Yukos, TNK-BP, and Bashneft. Rosneft’s acquisition spree accelerated after Putin’s close associate and Russia’s then-deputy prime minister Igor Sechin became chairman of its board of directors in 2004. Sechin left government in 2012 to take over as Rosneft’s chief executive officer. Rosneft’s board of directors is now chaired by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Rosneft’s transformation as Russia’s national oil champion is consistent with Putin’s policy of regaining state control over the commanding heights of the Russian economy, which is more reliant on oil income today than the Soviet Union ever was. Rosneft is Russia’s largest taxpayer and contributed a quarter of government revenue in 2014. Until recently, Rosneft concentrated mainly on consolidating its dominance over the domestic oil patch. It is also Russia’s leading refiner and is increasing natural gas production for direct sales to domestic gas users, producing 67 billion cubic meters in 2016. In 2014, Russia was hit by the twin shocks of a global oil price collapse and Western economic sanctions enacted after its aggression against Ukraine in the Donbas region and annexation of Crimea. These developments affected Rosneft severely since it involved the value of the commodity it produces and sells and restricted Rosneft’s access to international financing when it was heavily indebted from the aforementioned acquisitions. A normal company might hunker down, repair its balance sheet, and wait for external conditions to improve. Instead Rosneft has done the exact opposite and expanded its international business aggressively. As part of the 2014 U.S.-led sanction efforts, Igor Sechin, as the leading figure of Russia’s largest petroleum company and his having “shown utter loyalty to Vladimir Putin,” was directly sanctioned. Further Russian sanctions enacted by Congress in 2017 called on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to submit a detailed report on senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities as determined by their “closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” While the unclassified version of the report released to Congress on January 29 included Igor Sechin, the report was poorly received and largely regarded as nothing more than a “rich list” by Russian experts. However, the report also contains classified annexes, including a list of parastatal entities and supporting analysis, which by definition would have included Rosneft. Although Rosneft’s rapid international expansion is too recent to assess definitely, this paper describes some of Rosneft’s overseas ventures and explores possible motivations, economic and political, behind them.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Foreign Direct Investment, Sanctions, Gas, Transparency, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Richard Downie, Jennifer G. Cooke
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Africa's changing economic landscape is prompting a shift in how U.S. policymakers view the continent. High growth rates, new technologies, and a rapidly expanding consumer class are driving greater global competition for investment and access to potential export markets, and the United States is recognizing that it will need to step up its game to remain relevant and influential in an increasingly crowded and competitive environment. This will mean placing a stronger emphasis on strengthening trade and investment ties and encouraging U.S. companies to take fuller advantage of expanding opportunities. Playing up these opportunities will not only serve long-term U.S. commercial interests in Africa but will serve U.S. development and diplomatic objectives as well. U.S. investments, done right, can have long-term development impacts in Africa, through technology and knowledge transfer, training, systems development, and partnerships. And a new, more optimistic engagement with Africa's citizens and entrepreneurs will have strong resonance with the continent's up-and-coming generation, creating links based on enduring mutual interest.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Scott Miller
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The link between economic development and state security has been well established but is still too often overlooked. Former secretary of defense Robert Gates argued in support of development efforts as a form of “preventative diplomacy,” preventing the conditions where violent crises occur that may require more aggressive intervention. For example, rising food prices in Egypt have been cited as a major instigator for the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. That does not mean that Mubarak could have stayed in power if only food were more affordable, but higher levels of economic development and the concurrent factors that encourage it could have made the transition more stable and less violent.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeri Jensen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Obama administration has the opportunity to achieve more sustainable development solutions with a new model of development relevant in a world where private investment is the primary driver of economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jake Cusack, Matt Tilleard
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper outlines a new tool for policymakers to deploy to encourage private-sector development in developing nations. Specifically it argues that in fragile states there are systemic failures that cause an intermediation gap between sources of capital and entrepreneurs seeking investment. This gap prevents investment by raising transaction costs and exacerbating information asymmetry. We present a case study of this gap as observed in our work in South Sudan. Then we propose a model of investment facilitation that bridges the intermediation gap. The model is based on donor funding of a neutral nongovernment facilitator to identify attractive investment opportunities, link them to capital, and facilitate transactions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Johanna Nesseth Tuttle
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the introduction of Feed the Future (FTF)—the U.S. government's program to refocus foreign assistance on agricultural development—the private sector has been named a priority partner. President Barack Obama made a bold statement in his 2009 inaugural address, pledging that the United States would work with countries to support and promote food security. Private companies are enthusiastic about engaging in development efforts, and FTF may provide that avenue. The food and agriculture sector has significant capabilities, and market opportunities in developing countries are large and growing. Many companies have engaged in discussions with FTF leadership, and a number of partnerships have been launched. These are important efforts, and more are under way. The fact remains, however, that funding for agricultural development is relatively small—a three-year, $3.5 billion budget, compared to a six-year, $63 billion budget for health—and the investments needed in agriculture are massive: it would take $88.7 billion to meet U.S. global agricultural development goals.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Emerging Markets, Foreign Aid, Food, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Levett, Ashley E. Chandler
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While the promise is still far greater than the reality, strategies and programs built on the positive impact on development from private-sector initiatives in frontier and emerging markets is gaining acceptance and driving change in corporate boardrooms and NGO projects. Multinational corporations (MNCs) engaged in these initiatives represent sectors as diverse as extraction and agriculture, tourism and technology, and pharmaceuticals and electronics. Corporations point to their balance sheets as the motivation for policies, projects, and practices that create businesses, jobs, national and family wealth, and new economic opportunities across the developing world. While these outcomes have long been the goal of international donors and development organizations, it now appears that the private sector may be better prepared to accomplish many of them using their own funds, skills, and practices—and with motivations that are less lofty.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Non-Governmental Organization, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment