Steffen Wippel studied Economics and Islamic Studies at the Universities of Freiburg and Aix-en-Provence. He holds a PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin and obtained his Dr. habil. at Erlangen University. His main research interests are issues of economic and urban development in North Africa and the Gulf region. In his academic life, the author has been affiliated with a number of institutions mentioned in the article. Presently, he is a Visiting Professor in Contemporary Middle East Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. email: