Index of econ freedom mostly not free (below vietnam but higher than russia) Gci 59th, less competitive than brazil & china but better than russia. Most problematic factors: inadequate supply of infrastructure, corruption, inefficient gov bureaucracy. Objective 7: developmental challenges of sea, africa, middle east, south america self-study. [middle east] a region that spans southeastern europe, northwestern asia, & northern africa. Synonym to near east in opposition to far east. Saudi arabia has of world"s oil revenues and used it to strengthen its regional power base. Historically, iran has been region"s military power, used oil revenues to promote muslim fundamentalism throughout the region. Iraq has world"s 2nd largest proven oil reserves. Energy: location of oil, natural gas, coal determines sources of world"s energy, middle east has 65% of world"s oil & 41% of world"s natural gas. [sovereign wealth funds] venturing abroad, new player in global capital markets. Swfs are a new & controversial source of capital in world economy.