As rivals are already deploying fibre, Vodafone's FTTH initiative will not fundamentally alter Ghana's broadband competitive landscape. However, it will help the company's revenue-diversification strategy as well as dilute the threat posed by MTN's 4G service.
The assassination of Kim Jong Nam will raise stresses within the North Korean regime, as senior officials increasingly fear for their own wellbeing. No changes to foreign policy are likely, but the growing climate of fear is likely to increase the chances of an eventual internal move to remove leader Kim Jong Un.
Bahrain is one of our favourite luxury goods markets in the Middle East, with the segment set for strong growth on the back of high household incomes and a growing reputation as a retail tourism destination. The development of modern retail spaces and strong consumer demand for Western labels will attract new market players and encourage the expansion of existing chains, particularly in the clothing and footwear sector.
AT&T is doubling down on its convergence and content strategy with its acquisition of Time Warner (pending approval) and the launch of its streaming service DirecTV NOW. The aim is to be able to offer premium and exclusive content to its consumers, as a retaining tool as there is little organic growth left in the US market, and to do so across multiple platforms and devices, giving consumers a seamless experience. Streaming and the use of wireless technology as a broadband alternative are part of becoming fully convergent nationwide, but AT&T will continue to face strong competition across all segments, especially in terms of pricing as it positions itself as a premium provider.
The acquisition of the Actavis Generics continues to have a pronounced impact on Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' financial performance. Teva has returned to be a primarily generics-led company; its generics segment sales for Q416 and the full-year 2016 will bode well for the company's leadership position in the generics business, underscoring the Actavis impact. Despite positive top-line results, a series of missteps surrounding best-seller Copaxone's protection will create considerable near-term uncertainty for investors. The threat of further generic competition, combined with escalating debt in an ever-challenging pricing environment, will seriously challenge Teva's performance in 2017- all whilst transitioning to a new CEO.
Gold miners will make prudent returns to deal-making over 2017, as balance sheets slowly improve on the back of rising gold prices and cost-cutting measures. Nonetheless, companies will remain focused on reducing debt and retaining cash to protect against gold price volatility.
The pharmaceutical and healthcare markets of North Africa will continue to present sizeable commercial opportunities within MENA for international drugmakers. While discrepancies exist at the national level with regard to market attractiveness, when taken as a whole, the region's close proximity to both European and African markets and its participation in a number of free trade agreements are a strategic operational advantage for multinational pharmaceutical firms. Entrenched market risks relating to intellectual property protection and a lack of healthcare access will, however, prevent an immediate uptick in multinational drugmaker interest.
We highlight strong growth potential in specialist coffee chains in Mexico amid growing levels of investment, while secondary cities beyond the capital offer large underdeveloped markets for casual-dining restaurants. Mexico's foodservices sector will benefit from rising incomes and further expansion by major international chains over our forecast period.
The crude oil shipping sector faces a number of key challenges, which will see rates continue to head lower. Primary among these is the OPEC deal to cut crude oil production, while long-standing issues regarding new tonnage and limited scrapping remain pertinent.