Talk about a double whammy. The global financial crisis is hammering Mideast markets at the same time oil prices are plummeting. In once-booming Dubai, where I spent much of the past week, the bubble is bursting and the city-state's dream of being a regional financial center seems considerably further removed from reality. Before my trip I talked with Naguib Sawiris, chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom, which controls mobile networks in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. It operates separately but is part of the Orascom conglomerate, the largest private-sector employer in Egypt. Sawiris is more than just another Mideast billionaire. He is a keen and outspoken observer of the international business scene, with strong opinions about Barack Obama's election, the financial crisis, al Qaeda, and Iraq after the U.S. leaves.
What sort of reaction are you seeing in the business community in Egypt and across the Middle East to the election of Barack Obama?