Business Interview: Standard Chartered regional head Marcus Bailey on risk management
- April 2015
Vol. 7 No. 4
ESCAPING THE HEAT The cause and effect of rescheduling the 2022 World Cup ENGLISH VS. ARABIC
Focusing on the use of language in the Qatari workplace
SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS
Milaha chairman Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Mohammed Al Thani talks maritime logistics
Growth expected in Qatari retail Popular mobile platforms at risk Stabilising gas revenues
contents April 2015 Milaha New FP TheEdge66.pdf
w w w.t h e e d ge. m e
Business Interview: Standard Chartered regional head Marcus Bailey on risk management
- April 2015
50 In an exclusive interview with The Edge, HE Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Milaha talks about the company’s business focus, evolution since it was set up in 1957 and its prospects for the next three years.
- QATAR’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE - Vol. 7 No. 4 - Issue 66 - April 2015
Vol. 7 No. 4
ESCAPING THE HEAT The cause and effect of rescheduling the 2022 World Cup ENGLISH VS. ARABIC
Focusing on the use of language in the Qatari workplace
SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS
Milaha chairman Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Mohammed Al Thani talks maritime logistics
Growth expected in Qatari retail Popular mobile platforms at risk Stabilising gas revenues
Ever since Sepp Blatter revealed that the State of Qatar had been awarded the 22nd World Cup, the international governing body of association football and the country itself have faced a seemingly relentless barrage of media criticism around the world. This has continued unabated with the recent confirmation that the event would be played in winter, and not summer. Lee Winter examines the repercussions of this most recent development in the ongoing saga of the 2022 World Cup.
features Business Interview: Milaha’s supply chain solutions 50
HE Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Milaha, talks about the company’s business focus and the evolution that it has been through since it was set up in 1957 and the prospects of the company for the next three years.
Feature Story: The use of language in the workplace 56
With English as the lingua franca of business in Qatar, how does the 2012 Qatari Supreme Education Council decree, which changed the medium of instruction in four colleges at Qatar University and the independent schools from English to Arabic, apply ?
Business Interview: Standard Chartered’s risk charter 62
Marcus Bailey, the chief operating officer for the corporate affairs function and regional head of corporate affairs for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Standard Chartered Bank, speaks exclusively with The Edge about how reputational risk is key for any organisation.
56 Kawader is a five-month long development programme designed for Qatar graduates that plays a tremendous role in developing crucial business knowledge and building employees’ soft skills, such as proficiency in the English language, and thus instils confidence and promotes success in the professional environment. (Image courtesy QFCA)
The Edge | 3
Finance & Markets 29
Retail sales growth across all the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is expected to remain positive between 2013 and 2018, and the outlook for Qatar is most optimistic, with a projected growth rate at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.8 percent.
Energy & Sustainability 33
With lower hydrocarbon revenues occurring at the same time as commitments to rising spending ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s fiscal balance is expected to tip into deficits in coming years, requiring Qatar to boost oil output and stabilise gas revenues.
Three oil fields - Al Shaheen (pictured), Dukhan, and Idd Al Shargi - account for slightly more than 85 percent of Qatar’s crude oil production capacity. (Image courtesy Maersk Oil)
Real Estate & Construction 37 Daruna Development has announced a high-quality labour camp in Al Wakra, which will have 6000 beds and will be ready for use in 2017.
Tech & Communications 39
Devices running on the two most dominant mobile platforms in the market – Android and iOS – are increasingly at risk, according to FireEye, a United States-based IT security company.
Business Insight 67
Akshay Randeva, director of strategy and business intelligence, Qatar Financial Centre Authority , speaks Qatar Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh with The Edge about the Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani opened the ninth Middle East and North Africa edition of Multaqa (MENA) insurance markets; Qatar, held in March. and Rahul Joshi, Visa’s country manager for Qatar, talks about the trends in the card payments sector.
regulars From the Editor 8 Photo of the Month 12 Business News 14 Qatar Perspectives 24 Products & Reviews 73 The Edge | 5
District Cooling Embraces Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) Water resources are becoming increasingly scarce, especially in countries within the region that do not have access to sanitary water. Local authorities in Qatar have developed a conservation plan with all major district cooling companies in the country, who have access to readily available TSE to switch from potable water to TSE. Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) in the Middle East and other Gulf Countries is a resource that is under exploited, with forty to sixty percent discarded to the sea without being utilized. In the District Cooling Industry, this excess water can be used in two ways. The first method is the direct usage without any dilution in the condenser water system. The addition of certain water treatment chemicals, with minor construction and MEP works, makes the conversion inexpensive with low maintenance and simple operations
are required to protect the condenser water system. These are monitored and controlled to the point where the blown down water is discharged to the surface water network, and finally into the sea, all with the requirements set out by the Ministry of Environment. Alternatively, TSE polishing plants can be provided in new plants or in existing plants where space and power is not an issue. The polishing plants use the same TSE water which is cleaned and treated through the process of Reverse Osmosis, to obtain water parameters similar to potable water. However, the polishing system has other drawbacks since there is a large volume of reject water that needs to be discharged into either, the sewer network or the surface water networks. In either case the reject needs to be diluted to meet the relevant authority requirements. There are also other considerations when using polished
water and are essentially operational (electrical costs), servicing and maintenance costs. In general, when using potable water or polished water the cooling tower operates on a cycle of concentration (COC) of approximately nine, and in a cooling plant where direct TSE is used the plant operates on a maximum of three cycles, before being discarded into the sea. The use of TSE in district cooling, regardless of the COC decrease is still better for the environment and the saving of resource. Regardless of the method in which the TSE is used as makeup in the condenser water system the overall usage of TSE water per Refrigeration Ton is the same outcome. Therefore, TSE is a commodity that should be extensively and properly used without being restricted to irrigation. Below is a typical diagram outlining the implementation of TSE in a district cooling plant.
Hot water Cooling Tower
RO Polishing Plant
TSE Water Supply from ASHGHAL
RO Reject Diluted with Product Water
Product Water to CT Make-up
Sewer Water Drainage Chemical Dosage TSE Water Supply from ASHGHAL TSE Buffer Tank
Cooling Tower Blow-Down Water Chiller Condenser
CT Make-up Water Condenser Water Pump
Potable Water Storage Tanks (Emergencies)
Surface Water Drainage to Sea
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editorâ€™s letter Disregard the accusations of bribery and corruption at FIFA made by international media. Remove, with conscience, any allegations migrant worker abuses and criticisms of the kafala system in Qatar by human rights organisations and overseas media outlets. Forget the sceptics at home and abroad, who cite previously late mega projects in the country as evidence that Qatar will not be ready in time. Do not listen to those who voice concerns over whether Qatar will be able to logistically and organisationally pull off hosting the worldâ€™s largest sporting event. Forget all the talk of boycotts by European clubs and litigation by nations who lost bids, should the tournament dates or host country be changed. Ignore those in the media, online forums and on the street who believe that Western football fans will not travel to a conservative Muslim state, will not be able to obtain alcohol or drink it here if they do. Never mind the naysayers who think that the whole 2022 World Cup is a travesty and that it should have been awarded to another country. No, by finally voting in Zurich this March to unequivocally and officially move the Qatar event to the cooler winter months of November and December 2022, the FIFA Executive Committee has not only underlined its determination to stick by the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in the region, but also clearly underlined their support for Qatarâ€™s awarded right to do so. In this magazine, we have long put forth that if the 2022 World Cup was removed from Qatar solely or mainly due to concerns about the summer heat, FIFA would basically be stating that the event will never be held in North Africa, the Gulf or surrounds, which all experience similar summer temperatures. In the history of the event, the football
World Cup has never been played outside of the northern hemisphere summer period, conveniently placed in the off-season for the European football leagues who make up the majority of the players in attendance. So to vote to do so certainly was an unprecedented step. Yet, despite some rumblings of discontent from factions in the European leagues and reams of critical analysis online and in print around the world in recent weeks, at the time of writing, no organisation or individual has publicly stated they would boycott the event or instigate legal action against FIFA for the rescheduling. Indeed, as Lee Winter writes in our cover story on page 44, to actually find a legal standpoint from which to do so is a murky realm. On what grounds any country that bid for the 2022 hosting rights (which all agree would only be Australia) could sue an omnipotent organisation such as FIFA, and in what jurisdiction, is one for the lawyers. But it might be telling that this has not yet happened and probably never will. Indeed, it seems testament to the sheer iron grip of power that FIFA, under Sepp Blatter, has on world football that all manner of alleged irregularities and inconsistencies, including the transfer of television rights etcetera, associated with this decision will largely go unchallenged. And once the media has moved onto other juicier stories, this story will eventually fade away. Of course, the above doubts, concerns, allegations, accusations of racism, denials, counter allegations, stonewalling and silence and scepticism will continue. This is after all the only World Cup to be awarded as yet that has its own Wikipedia page devoted solely to the scandals and hubris surrounding it. But what is football really, if nothing but a big old drama, a massive soap opera with many actors, players and the largest global audience in the world, all gushing, gasping, moaning and cheering every move, on the field and off? One thing is now clear. The juggernaut that is the 2022 World Cup Qatar is now firmly rolling, and short of an unbridled natural disaster or the conflagration of a Gulf-wide conflict in 2022, the event will take place in Qatar. Of that now there can be no more doubt.
By voting in March to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter, the FIFA Executive Committee underlined its determination for it to be held Miles Masterson here and its support for Qatar. Managing Editor 8 | The Edge
State sojourn 12 | The Edge
photo of the month
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India receive the Emir of the State of Qatar HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as he arrives for his ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan on March 25, 2015 in New Delhi. India and Qatar signed six agreements, including one on the transfer of sentenced prisoners. More than 400,000 Indian nationals work in Qatar, comprising the largest expatriate community in the country. It was HH the Emirâ€™s first state visit to India on a journey that also included inaugural visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. (Image Getty Images) The Edge | 13
GCC firms ‘no longer need local partner’ in Qatar
A recent decision from Qatar’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, that companies from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) may enter the local markets without a Qatari partner, may have significant implications on doing business in the country. by Aparajita Mukherjee
main story 14 | The Edge
The Court recently allowed GCC companies to conduct economic activities in Qatar, in the areas of industry, agriculture, animal resources, fisheries and contracting, without the need to establish a Qatari company with a Qatari shareholder. The story began in 2010 when the claimant (a construction company) filed a civil case before the Court of First Instance in Qatar, seeking the termination of a contract and compensation in relation to a construction agreement. The defendant (the contractor) submitted to the Court a counter claim seeking the remainder of his outstanding money in relation to the same agreement in addition to compensation. The Court appointed an expert who approved the defendant’s dues towards the claimant. In 2012, the Court of First Instance took a decision to dismiss the original claim filed by the claimant and in the counter claim, ordered the claimant to pay the amount of USD107,000 (QAR389,480) but refused to order any compensation to be paid. In 2012, the claimant and the defendant brought the decision of the Court of First Instance before the Court of Appeal, which upheld the finding of the Court of First Instance and awarded the defendant a further compensation amount of USD20,000 (QAR72,800) as damages for the delay caused by the claimant’s non-payment. In 2013, the claimant lodged a further challenge with the Court of Cassation, seeking to overturn the judgment and based its argument, rejecting all grounds of the claimant’s appeal and reasoned that Article 3 of Law No. (6) of the year 1983 relating to the executive measures for the Unified Economic Treaty between the countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, effective from March 1, 1983. It provides “it is permitted to the nationals of the countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf - either the juridical persons or the natural persons – to perform economic activity in Qatar in industrial, agricultural, fishing, animal wealth and contracting sectors provided that in order
for the nationals of the council for the Arab States of Gulf to conduct business in any of the pre-mentioned sectors, they have to share their business with Qatari nationals with not less than 25 percent quota in the business. This sharing shall continue to a period not less than five years starting from the date of enforcement of this law”. This judgment is considered a practical application of the provisions of Law No. (6) of the year 1983, which ratifies the economic treaty between the GCC states pursuant to the articles of incorporation of the Cooperation Council (which calls for stronger ties and cooperation between the states of the GCC). Explaining the impact of the judgement, David Burgess, general manager, The Links Group Qatar, said that “it also doesn’t apply to all GCC companies. According to Article 3 of Law No. (6) 1983, it is permitted for nationals from GCC countries to perform five years of economic activity in Qatar in industrial, agricultural, fishing, animal wealth and contracting sectors...As Qatar gears up to host the 2022 World Cup, there is no doubt foreign expertise will be required to complete the country’s ambitious infrastructure and construction projects”. Commenting on the judgement, Dr. Minas Khatchadourian, international arbitrator and legal adviser at the Qatar International Center for Conciliation and Arbitration, told The Edge, “This ruling of the Qatari Court of Cassation does not concern all the foreign entrepreneurs or companies but exclusively the GCC national companies who enjoy – under the Unified Economic Agreement of 1981 – the liberty of establishment in any of the GCC countries.” “This ruling stresses the economic integrity and the free movement of capitals and persons (something on the lines between the European Union countries) within the GCC countries with a view of a common market and currency later on,” furthered Dr. Khatchadourian, adding, “As for the Qatari business activity, this ruling shall strengthen competition in the GCC markets (inter-GCC open-door policy) and may encourage other GCC entrepreneurs to settle their activity in Qatar.”
“This ruling stresses the economic integrity and the free movement of capitals and persons within the GCC countries.” – Dr. Minas Khatchadourian, Qatar International Center for Conciliation and Arbitration.
by the numbers GSAS: Promoting sustainable urbanisation in Qatar Dr. Yousef Mohammad Al Horr, founding chairman of the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD), spoke to The Edge about the Global Sustainability Assessment System – a green rating designed with consideration for the region’s environmental needs. How has the response been so far? GSAS was quickly adopted into the environmental design curriculum at Qatar University and King Fahd University, and its requirements were integrated into the Qatar Construction Specifications. This means that upcoming designers are systematically trained in GSAS, and mandatory compliance by developers is simpler to achieve as the system is now codified in national building specs. Dr. Yousef Mohammad Al Horr.
What makes GSAS more relevant for Qatar and the Middle East? GSAS aims at creating a sustainable urban environment to reduce the environmental impacts while satisfying community needs. Studying the local situation in Qatar has led to the formulation of value statements that are at the core of GSAS development. These criteria were weighted according to their environmental impacts. In addition to addressing all locally relevant aspects of sustainability, ecological impact and green building design criteria, GSAS developed a standalone building energy standard to support Qatar’s building energy ratings. What are some deterrents to green construction in Qatar? There are eight barriers to sustainability adaptation, which include lack of builder’s incentives; lack of products/systems information and sourcing; inadequate client knowledge; perceived and actual cost increases; lack of knowledge about green construction; certification cost/paperwork; lack of regulations and supportive building codes, and social acceptance and behaviour. In order to eliminate these barriers, GORD has created its own holistic approach, which includes incentive programmes, outreach activities, mega-projects implementation, demonstration projects, research and education, systems and set-up, and law and codes.
NUMBER OF THE MONTH
The percentage of private businesses in the Middle East owned or controlled by families, according to Deloitte. “If a business is to remain sustainable and its handover to the next generation is to be successful, the founders of the family must see succession planning as a priority,” said Walid Chiniara, Deloitte Private, Middle East.
Qatar’s growing tourism sector contributed
USD7.6 billion to GDP
Qatar’s travel and hospitality sector contributed USD7.6 billion (QAR27.6 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product in 2014. This represented an
percent share in the country’s nonhydrocarbon economy
visitors entered the country
percent An increase in numbers over the previous year
jobs in the tourism sector
Hotel occupancy increased by
of tourists to Qatar came from GCC countries
from Asia and Oceania
from European countries and
Related projects currently underway have been valued at
billion (QAR9.1 USD848 billion billion) worth of contracts were awarded in (QAR3 trillion) the hotel and tourism sector in 2014 Sources: Qatar Tourism Authority, MEED, Arabian Travel Market.
The Edge | 15
business in quotes
“It is encouraging to hear the Emir’s personal commitment to workers’ welfare and to get a sense of the improvements planned for all workers in Qatar...As various human-rights groups have recently noted, progress has been made already...But more must be done in Qatar to ensure uniformly fair working conditions for all.” After a meeting with HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, appreciated Qatar’s progress on the welfare of migrant workers engaged in 2022 World Cup project. On March 20, Blatter chaired the FIFA Executive Committee, where the football authority moved, 2022 World Cup date to November/December, with the final to be held on December 18.
“We have sufficient capability to protect our territories and sovereignty... A [military] manoeuvre here or there will not affect GCC states.” Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah at the 134th session of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Ministerial Council, held in Riyadh, where foreign ministers of the region discussed the political situation in Yemen.
16 | The Edge
Business News in Brief Salam International chairman bestowed with honourable title
Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa, chairman and CEO of Salam International Investment received the honorary title of ‘Commander in the Order of Leopold II’ at a ceremony in the Gate Mall in March. The award was bestowed by HRH Princess Astrid, on behalf of His Majesty Philippe, King of the Belgians. The award recognises his significant contribution to the Belgian presence and activities in Qatar, strengthening the cooperation between the two countries. The ceremony was held on the occasion of the Belgian Economic Mission to Qatar and was attended by highranking officials and dignitaries. As chairman and CEO of Salam International, Abu Issa has been instrumental in diversifying the family business by establishing strategic partnerships with several reputable international firms.
From right, Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa, chairman and CEO of Salam International Investment, HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium and Belgian ambassador and Belgian federal secretary of state for foreign trade, HE Pieter De Crem.
ValuStrat Qatar celebrates first anniversary
Among the hosts of ValuStrat LLC’s first anniversary in Qatar was vice chairman and managing director of ValuStrat Qatar, Bilal Moti. Other senior members from across the group’s MENA offices network also attended. Operating from the Qatar Financial Centre over the last 16 months, ValuStrat LLC has been providing valuation and advisory services in Qatar.
The ceremony was attended by senior government representatives, professionals and businessmen.
business in brief
FNAC to open Middle East’s first outlet in Doha
FNAC, the French retail store renowned for their diverse offerings will soon open doors to its first outlet in the Middle East at Lagoona Mall, Doha. Founded in 1954, FNAC is a globally recognised retailer with stores worldwide including Europe, South America and North Africa. Doha will be the region’s first destination for the concept store that has entertained audiences globally and will boost the retail brand’s expansion strategy in the Middle East in partnership with Darwish Holding.
Qatar achieves top 20 worldwide financial centre ranking
The latest Global Financial Centres Index, GFCI 17, sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, covering 82 financial centres from around the world, ranks Qatar in the top 20 leading financial centres from across the globe. Qatar’s ranking rose by seven points, mainly driven by its increasing competitiveness, international relations and perceived significance as a leading global financial centre. The index saw the rankings of Doha, Riyadh and Casablanca reflect the biggest gains in the region.
Art for tomorrow held at W Doha
The first ever International New York Times Art for Tomorrow conference took place at the W Doha in March. Based on the premise that there is a defined intersection between art, economics and commerce, architecture and tourism and more, the conference sought to explore these overlapping areas and how they could be better integrated for the benefit of all. Distinguished invites included architects Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, celebrated artist Jeff Koons, Jack Lang, former French minister of culture under François Mitterrand, and HE Majed Al Sabah, creator of Kuwaiti fashion retail brand Villa Moda, among many others.
Art for Tomorrow hosted delegates such as artists, gallerists, architects, urban planners, political decision-makers, and cultural and financial experts.
18 | The Edge
Now in its second year, Empower World is a ‘professional coaching’ service started by two expatriate women Mary Quigley and Jeanine Bailey (pictured above), who recognised a need for this kind of professional training in Qatar and now boast an impressive roster of Doha’s largest companies. “We were both looking for an opportunity where we could practice what we’re really passionate about: empowering people to bring out the best in themselves, “explains Bailey, “Professional coaching is for everyone who wants to move from where they are to where want to be.” What is professional coaching? The International Coaches Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential [and] means that the coaches they partner with are trained to a high standard and are accredited with a reputable coaching body such as the International Coach Federation (ICF). We are both ICF accredited coaches and the coach training that we deliver is also ICF approved. This is really important to us and we believe it sets us apart and ensures our participants are being trained in accordance with the highest standards. What has the feedback been like from Qatari business leaders? We’re always blown away by the feedback we get when they realise coaching is about really making sustainable lifelong, positive change. We’ve got some amazing Qatari clients that bring coaching in for their staff and they know that this will have such a positive impact on the bottom line for the organisation as well as provide a fantastic ‘gift’ of development for the individual which will support both their professional and personal lives. What have been the main challenges in setting up your business here? The main challenge for us over the past
two years is managing our time and moving from being coaches to business owners. We are still a small business and for a long time there was only two of us...so it’s been a lot of wearing different hats and trying to juggle all of that within a day/week/month. Because demand has been strong, we have had to turn some opportunities down in the past due to lack of resources to ensure we take care of ourselves which is vital for the health of our business. You are also prolific podcasters through Ginger Camel Media Network? The podcast is a new medium for us and it is still early days to say what benefit it provides our business. We have a belief that through this medium, we are imparting knowledge, information and inspiration to those who cannot access our trainings or avail of our coaching skills and we believe this will also ultimately support our business. Is there anything else that you would like to share? If you get an opportunity to be coached, take it. You will be surprised by what’s possible when you open yourself up to your own strength, unique qualities - when you take the action to move forward and go for what you want. Find out more at www.empower-world. com
Business Events Calendar April-May 2015
27-28 April Qatar Green Building Conference 2015
The Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) will host its first annual conference to address major issues and provide answers to some of the most significant challenges of environmental sustainability and promoting best practice for the built environment for Qatar, the Gulf region and beyond. QGBC aims to support the overall health and sustainability of the environment, the people, and economic security in Qatar and these principles underscore the conference’s four key themes: Passivhaus in the MENA region; Retrofitting Doha; Carbon Footprinting and Qatar’s National Vision (Measuring Sustainability and Carbon Footprinting) and Future Sustainable Cities.
Qatar’s National Convention Centre will be the location of the first ever Qatar Green Building Council conference in April.
6-7 May WRPTS
WRPTS is the 4th Annual World Refining and Petrochemical Technology Summit 2015, which will present attendees with the opportunity to meet some of the most influential decision-makers from the major oil, gas, petrochemical and refining sector across the Middle East and around the world. There will be more than 20 industry presentations from global experts, and leaders in the field of petrochemicals and refinery operations, the latest technological developments around refineries and petrochemical processes and new application procedures and plant management 20 | The Edge
Qatar’s hydrocarbons sector will be in focus at the 4th Annual World Refining and Petrochemical Technology Summit 2015 in Doha in May.
will be on offer and there will be ample opportunity to network and interact with peers from the industry and global solution providers.
11-13 May The Real Estate Summit (Cityscape Qatar 2015)
The Qatar Real Estate Summit is the only platform in Qatar focusing solely on the real estate sector, bringing together the major players for candid debates, indepth analysis and current trends. A new feature will be The Sector Series on May 13 and another highlight will be a series of roundtable discussion focusing on key industry sectors and led by the industry’s key sources to timely market intelligence and targeted networking. The Qatar Real Estate Summit returns with a fresh format to give delegates all the information and networking desired, in a more compact 1+1+1 format, allowing attendees to pick and choose which themes and session they wish to attend, with more time to meet other delegates and visit the Cityscape Qatar Exhibition.
13-14 April Arab Future Cities Summit 2015 12-19 April 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice 23-25 April Arab Diabetes Medical Congress 2015
May 4-7 May Project Qatar 4-7 May Qatar StoneTech 4-7 May Heavy Max Machinery Exhibition 6-7 May HVACTech Qatar 6-7 May Future BIM Implementation Qatar 18-21 May World Stadium Congress 18-22 May Expo Expo Middle East Summit
Remy Rowhani, director general, Qatar Chamber will be a headline keynote speaker at the Qatar Real Estate Summit at Cityscape Qatar 2015 between May 11 and 13.
Closing Up Shop: Keep Open Provisions in a Qatar Retail Lease With an estimated “annual average rise of 7.9% on the space dedicated to ‘modern retail sales’ in Qatar” by 2018, it is hard to imagine any retailer wanting to close up shop. But there will be casualties as supply starts to exceed demand. For retailers and landlords entering into long term leases and making significant capital investment in one of Qatar’s emerging malls, consideration should be given to the effects of agreeing to a “keep open clause”. Keep open Keep open clauses are commonly found in leases for retail units in shopping and retail centres. The purpose of these clauses is simple and two-fold: to dictate the opening hours of the retail shops and to ensure that the tenant of a retail unit continuously trades throughout the term of the lease. The level of detail found in keep open clauses can vary widely from lease to lease. The commercial objective of the keep open clause is basic, landlords want all shops in its centre, (especially its anchor tenants) open for business and trading for the advertised opening hours to attract as much passing trade as possible. Where the centre rents are based on turnover, the keep open clause is even more desirable to a landlord. Obviously, closed shops even where the tenant continues to pay the rent are undesirable, as closed shops can detract from the reputation and profile of the centre and ultimately the profitability and investment value of the centre.
unlikely that the meaning of this ground would be extended so as to include a breach of a keep open clause. Whilst specific performance and injunctive relief are available to the landlord in Qatar under limited conditions, neither option is without potential difficulty. An order for specific performance can be refused if the performance of the same would be considered unduly onerous on the tenant. A tenant should also bear in mind that courts also have powers to award in certain circumstances, penalties for non-compliance with an order for specific performance and compensation should a tenant fail to comply with such an order. How the Qatar courts will interpret a keep open provision forcing a tenant to continue or resume trading is yet to be tested. What is clear is that the keep open clause must be drafted in detail and very clearly to establish both the purpose of the clause and the benefit of reliance, in order to increase the likelihood of success in enforcing the same in Qatar.
Tenant to be mindful However, a tenant will not want to be obliged to keep open or keep operating its shop at full rent unless either: an “anchor” tenant in the centre, or a certain number of other “major” tenants or indeed, as a very minimum, that a certain number of “shops” are also open and trading. In agreeing to a keep open clause, the tenant must be mindful of: 1. 2.
the level of discretion given to the landlord to change the opening hours and any financial penalties that can be imposed; finding an obligation to stay open even when other shops, in particular an anchor tenant (upon which it is relying for passing trade) is allowed to close for refurbishment or moves out permanently; and ensuring it has the flexibility to close for periods of operation reasons.
What if a tenant decides to cut its losses and close up shop ? If a tenant ceases to trade, but continues to pay rent and comply with all other terms of its lease then it will be in breach of its lease, but what can a landlord do? Unlike the Landlord and Tenant Law in Dubai which provides a specific ground for eviction of the tenant of a commercial shop where “the tenant left the same without occupation and without legal reason for 30 continual days or 90 non-continual days in one year”, the Qatar Lease Law has no specific ground for termination and eviction based on “closing up shop”. Whilst it may be arguable that closing up shop falls within the remit of the ground for eviction under Article 19 (iii) of the Qatar Lease Law i.e. that the tenant is using the leased premises for purposes contrary to the lease provisions, it is
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Hydrocarbon pricing: What is the impact on Qatar? The fall in crude oil prices will materially affect Qatar’s fiscal revenues and export receipts, both directly and through knock-on effects to natural gas and other hydrocarbon prices. Thanks to Qatar’s past saving from times of higher oil prices, it need not react with immediate sharp cuts to expenditures. However, given expectations that oil prices will not reach recent previous highs in the medium term, gradual measures to improve budget balances would be desirable, writes the IMF’s Alberto Behar. Crude oil prices have fallen dramatically. For example, after peaking at about USD115 (QAR420) a barrel in June 2014, Brent Crude has traded at below USD50 (QAR182) prices for some parts of 2015. Derivatives prices for future delivery of oil suggest the market on average thinks crude oil prices could rise gradually to about USD75 (about QAR275)** in 2020. At least three determinants have contributed to the decline in oil prices. First, the United States (US) dollar has appreciated. A stronger US currency means fewer dollars are needed to buy things, including commodities such as oil. Second, the demand for oil was weaker than expected. According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), actual oil demand for the second half of 2014 was well below forecasts from just a few months earlier. This is consistent with indicators of actual and forecast economic activity, which were revised down especially in many energy-hungry emerging markets such as China. Third, potentially the largest contributor is unexpected rises in supply. Production from unconventional producers
In Qatar, more than 90 percent of budget revenues and exports are effectively tied to the hydrocarbon sector. in the US has been growing for some time, but disruptions to production in the Middle East and elsewhere averted a supply glut. After Libya and Iraq managed to increase production despite increasingly difficult security conditions, the market became unexpectedly oversupplied. The market was also taken by surprise by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision not to reduce its quota at the November meeting. In Qatar, more than 90 percent of budget revenues and exports are effectively tied to the hydrocarbon sector. Crude oil represents less than a quarter of hydrocarbon exports and liquefied natural gas is more important. However, many gas contracts are linked to the price of crude oil such that lower crude prices transmit to lower gas prices, but with a lag that could last up to a year. The implication is that both fiscal and external balances will deteriorate soon and not recover to the levels seen in previous years. For example, after many years of high fiscal surpluses, the government budget could fall into deficit sometime over the next couple of years. Of course, this forecast is based on the path of crude oil prices projected by the futures markets, and actual price developments could surprise either on the upside or downside. External and fiscal surpluses indicate how much of the hydrocarbon receipts are being saved for unfavourable times (for example, periods of low oil prices) and to ensure future generations attain their fair share of the oil and natural gas taken out of the ground today. Past surpluses have put Qatar in a strong position to weather the current market storm. However, in order to
**Conversion of QAR to USD on the implied 2020 exchange rate.
24 | The Edge
ensure intergenerational equity, it would be desirable to adopt gradual policy measures to improve budget balances. Specific steps could include further efforts to prioritise public investment while raising its efficiency, gradual subsidy reductions, additional savings in administrative expenses, and new nonhydrocarbon revenues. Clear medium-term fiscal objectives, binding annual budgets, and further increases in fiscal account transparency would also aid the endeavour. Further efforts to diversify the economy into other sectors would also increase resilience to oil price fluctuations. Specific measures to support private-led nonhydrocarbon growth include simplifying business administration, improving contract enforcement, enhancing the quality of education, and increasing labour market mobility.
Alberto Behar is an economist in the Qatar country team at the International Monetary Fund.
What drives the success of innovation entrepreneurship? When one looks back at the history of technological innovations in the past few decades, we are struck by how a significant percentage of those innovations were developed and launched not by large established corporations but by new start-ups. What is it that triggered well-known technology companies to be set up by beginners but which overtook the growth of established market players? So asks Dr. Maher Hakim. From Apple to Microsoft in the 1970s, to Cisco and Dell in the 1980s, Amazon and Google in the 1990s, Facebook and YouTube in the 2000s, and finally leading to Uber and Instagram in our current decade, the history of high-tech innovation is full of examples of how the underdogs, starting with almost no resources, have managed to unseat the mighty incumbents. Silicon Valley has had its unfair share of those innovations, along with the value created by them. However, in the past few years, ‘innovation hubs’ from China to Germany to Chile have sprung up, and some are already showing signs of great success. For example, in the past 15 years, China has incubated and produced some of the most valuable technology start-ups ever. Alibaba, an e-commerce company founded in 1999, has recently gone public and is valued at over USD200 billion (QAR728 billion) today. Xiaome, a mobile phone startup founded in 2010, has recently raised a private investment round that has hiked its value at USD45 billion (QAR163.8 billion). Baidu, China’s number one search engine, is valued today at around USD75 billion (QAR273 billion). So, what is the secret of innovation? Why are start-up companies better at it than large corporations? And why are some innovation hubs, such as Silicon Valley, better at it than others? Can this secret be learned and replicated here in our region? Innovation is a process that leads to the 26 | The Edge
The innovation process starts with the innovators who not only think big but also have the passion and perseverance to endure the process. development of new products, services or processes that change people’s lives for the better, and in the meantime, generate substantial economic benefits for the innovators and their investors, or great societal benefits for their communities. Innovation is a long and unpredictable process that follows nature’s law of survival of the fittest. For an innovation process to have a chance of success, four key factors must be available: 1. Behaviours: The innovation process starts with the innovators who not only think big but also have the passion and perseverance to endure the process. Research in innovation has identified key behavioural skills that successful innovators possess: listening, observing, networking, experimenting and associating. The development of these skills is often driven by a desire to change the status quo and a healthy appetite for taking calculated risks. An environment where those skills are encouraged and developed will produce more successful innovators than an environment where they are suppressed. 2. Incentives: Innovation entrepreneurs are missionaries, not mercenaries. They are not after salary raises, fancy titles and large bonuses. They are pursuing a mission, which, if successful, will change their financial and social status in a revolutionary, not evolutionary way. Understanding and creating the right incentives in a start-up venture is essential to recruiting, motivating and retaining would-be innovators. 3. Access to capital: As innovative ideas move from the early, start-up phase into the scale-up phase, significant funding is required. Because of the risky
nature of the innovation process, this funding cannot be secured through traditional loan-based financing, but through different financing vehicles such as venture capital, incubators and angel investments. In successful innovation hubs, such financing vehicles are abundant. 4. Experienced know-how: As the startup enters its scale-up and growth phases, it needs to acquire the talent necessary to move forward: skilled professionals who have years of experience working in product development organisations. Without them, the company will lack the expertise required to organise the teams and establish the processes required to scale up and grow to be successful. Any innovation hub (including the ones established within large corporations) hoping to spur and benefit from the creation of tomorrow’s innovation must ensure that these factors are available within its environment. Without them, its efforts will not likely produce any winners.
Dr. Maher Hakim is an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University Qatar.
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Contents: Qatari retail markets to grow at 9.8 percent CAGR. 29 . Qatar moves fiscal year to December31 from March31. 30.
finance & markets While retail sales growth across all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is expected to remain positive between 2013 and 2018, the outlook for Qatar is most optimistic, with a projected growth rate at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.8 percent, as against an annual average growth rate of six to seven percent for the rest of the GCC nations, writes Alpen Capital’s Sanjay Bhatia.
atar is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the GCC region. Its retail industry is strengthened by factors such as a boom in its infrastructure sector, government development and welfare spending, growing affluent class, rising expatriate population and surging demand for retail brands. International retailers are attracted to the country by these favourable demographic trends. Most of the retail activities in Qatar are concentrated in Doha. The country’s modern retail space per 1000 people is more than 200 square metres (m2), which is expected to increase as the country plays host to the 2022 World Cup. Modern retail concepts are fast developing in the country that is home to an increasing number of hypermarkets and supermarkets. In 2013, the completed modern retail sales area was approximately 0.4 million m2. In fact, the infrastructure in Qatar, both housing and retail, is growing rapidly. In order to balance out the supply and demand in its retail property market, the country needs to register a five percent annual population growth. Qatar is also a growing market for luxury retailers driven by one of the largest per capita disposable incomes in the world. The passenger traffic at Doha International Airport grew by 10 percent to 23.2 million in 2013, boosting its airport retail sales. The country expects a high inflow of passengers in light of the 2022 World Cup and growth in new infrastructural facilities, helping sustain the doubledigit growth of the airport retail sales going forward. Since Hamad International Airport (HIA) started its operations in May 2014, it has enhanced Qatar’s connectivity with the world and thereby adding to the opportunities in its retail sector. Qatar Duty Free, which is the second largest duty free operator in the region, has shown a strong double-digit annual growth over the last several years.
Qatari retail markets expected to grow at 9.8 percent CAGR
The population base of the GCC region is one of the fastest growing, with 41 percent of its population in the age group between 15 and 34 having a strong preference towards international brands. The region also has one of the most attractive corporate tax regimes which works as an attraction to retailers. Over the years, the region has emerged as an international tourist hub, enjoying popularity among leisure travellers, international
Most of the retail activities in Qatar are concentrated in Doha. The country’s modern retail space per 1000 people is more than 200 square metres, which is expected to increase as the country plays host to the 2022 World Cup. (Image Arabian Eye/ Reuters)
The Edge | 29
sectors | finance & markets
Although the GCC retail industry is growing there are few factors that pose a threat or challenge to its growth which include falling oil prices, an increase in retail rental rates, dependence on an expatriate workforce, increase in competition, inadequate infrastructure for online retail as well as trade of counterfeit products. Despite various challenges and change in trends, GCC’s retail sector is placed on a sturdy foundation of robust economic growth, rising disposable incomes, a young and growing population base fascinated with brands. Overall, the retail sector in the GCC region presents investors with good opportunities as the market is expanding and is expected to perform well in the future. All stakeholders are making concerted efforts to tap the potential, with the robust fundamentals of the region being a strong motivating factor.
payment plans, increasing consumer confidence and government initiatives to promote infrastructure, hospitality and tourism sectors.
shoppers and pilgrims. A high influx of tourists presents an environment conducive for the growth of the retail industry. The region’s economy has emerged as one of the richest and fastest growing in the world, largely on the back of its proven crude oil reserves. The region is comparable to some of the strongest developed economies of the world, supported by its cash-rich governments, healthy credit ratings and strong currency reserves. Dubai’s successful bid to host the World Expo 2020 paves the way for further growth of its non-oil sector, lending momentum to the construction, tourism and hospitality sectors. Qatar’s non-oil sector increased by more than 10 percent in 2014, stimulated by its major infrastructure projects such as the Doha Metro and the Hamad International Airport. Some countries in the region are however yet to reduce their dependence on the hydrocarbon sector to a meaningful degree. Among other key driving factors of the industry are the increase of retail sales area, growing e-commerce segment, easy availability of credit and interest
Retail sales growth across GCC countries
The population base of the GCC region is one of the fastest growing, with 41 percent of its population in the age group between 15 and 34 having a strong preference towards international brands.
Source: Alpen Capital
Sanjay Bhatia is managing director, Alpen Capital Investment Bank (Qatar) LLC.
Qatar moves fiscal year to December 31 from March 31 Qatar’s government is moving the end of its fiscal year to December 31 from March 31 and giving more power to the finance ministry in reforms designed to help the government. The changes are contained in a financial system law issued recently, HH The Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar News Agency (QNA) has reported. 30 | The Edge
Finance minister HE Ali Sherif Al Emadi has told QNA that the change to the fiscal year-end would make government operations more compatible with the requirements of the private sector and international financial institutions, which tend to base their budgets on calendar years. The state budget for the current fiscal year to March 31, which originally envisaged a 3.7 percent rise in government spending to QAR218.4 billion riyals, will be extended
to the end of 2015. The transition will not affect any of the government’s planned projects and investments, Al Emadi added. The new law also gives the finance ministry authority to prioritise economic development projects if there are disputes about them among state entities, enlist the aid of other government councils and ministries, and issue government debt in local or foreign markets in coordination with the central bank.
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Contents: Can Qatar stabilise oil output and boost gas revenues? 33. Pearl GTL train shuts down for maintenance and upgrade. 34.
energy & sustainability
Can Qatar stabilise oil output and boost gas revenues?
With lower hydrocarbon-sector revenues occurring at the same time as commitments to rising capital spending ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s fiscal balance is expected to tip into deficits of 2.2 percent of gross domestic product this year, 3.4 percent next year, and 3.7 percent in 2017. It is no surprise, then, that Qatar Petroleum (QP) announced recently that it seeks to maintain oil revenues – even at current low prices – by implementing a redevelopment programme to “steady production” at its oil fields. But, analysts warn, this will not be easy, reports Simon Watkins.
or a start, three oil fields - Al Shaheen, Dukhan and Idd El Shargi - still account for slightly more than 85 percent of Qatar’s crude oil production capacity, with only one new significant discovery having been made in the last 20 years; the Al Rayyan field, Christopher Cook, director of global energy consultancy, Wimpole International, in Edinburgh, told The Edge. Hopes to hold output levels at the first two of these major sites – Al Shaheen at 300,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), and Dukhan at 225,000 bbl/d – look highly optimistic, said Cook, given that they
have already been subject to extensive enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, thus leaving little left to do to exploit these sites further. The same lack of further options applies to the country’s second-tier fields of Bul Hanine (45,000 bbl/d), and Maydan Marjam (22,000 bbl/d), both of which have also been subject to extensive enhanched oil recovery operations, whilst Qatar’s pedigree in new oil fields discovery remains less than encouraging, with only Al Rayyan having been uncovered in the last 20 years, (Iran)
Qatar’s resource-rich North Field, which, it is reported, has lost pressure recently, borders Iran’s South Pars gas field. (Image courtesy EIA)
Qa tar -
Qatargas and Rasgas
Ira (Iran) nma riti me bo un da ry
Qatar Dukhan field
Do lph in p ipe line
Qatar selected energy infrastructure Saudi Arabia
Oil pipeline, operating
Ports & terminals
Natural gas pipeline, operating
Oil & natural gas field (Iran)
LNG facility, operating
Oil & natural gas field
The Edge | 33
sectors | energy & sustainability
Three oil fields - Al Shaheen (pictured), Dukhan, and Idd Al Shargi - account for slightly more than 85 percent of Qatar’s crude oil production capacity. (Image courtesy Maersk Oil)
and which only produces 8000 bbl/d. Indeed, even according to Qatar National Bank (QNB), projections Qatar’s crude oil production levels are expected to reach 800,000 bbl/d by 2017 instead of the 1.2 million bbl/d target previously held by the government. Moreover, Qatar’s plans to offset any decline in oil revenues by a concomitant increase in revenues from its gas sector also look optimistic. For a start, added Cook, the progress of the cornerstone of the country’s plan to increase its use of natural gas from the giant non-associated gas North Field – the development of the Barzan Gas Project (BGP) – has been fraught to say the least. The final completion date for this QP and ExxonMobil joint venture has already been revised to the end of 2021, from the original estimate of 2016, and Train 1 has been at the same level of completeness (95 percent) – according to the firms – for many months now. QNB recently reiterated that Barzan would drive growth in the hydrocarbon sector 0.8 percent in 2015, 1.8 percent in 2016, and 1.9 percent in 2017. However, said Cook, “It’s all very well saying that 1 and 2 [Trains] will produce at least 1.4 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas from the North Field, and that this will lead to a net increase in the country’s hydrocarbons sector revenues, but as yet no concrete developments have been made for some time.” There may also be difficulty ahead in Qatar’s efforts to further develop the North Field, due to the activity of neighbouring Iran, which controls a 3700 square kilometre (km2) sector of the 9700 km2 basin. Last year, the United States Energy Information Administration 34 | The Edge
stated that reports suggest that the high existing production rates on both sides of the field’s shared basin (Iran’s South Pars section and Qatar’s North Field site) have caused the pressure to drop in many wells, reducing flow rates, despite Qatar’s North Field still being the subject of a moratorium on expansion.
Richard Mallinson, senior geopolitical analyst for international energy consultancy, Energy Aspects in London told The Edge that Qatar has repeatedly stated that too much Iranian drilling might impair recovery rates for both sides. “Given this, Qatar has offered to give Iran advice on technology and share the results of the studies on the geology of the basin, while on Iran’s side, it has said that it wants the two countries to work together to maximise production and cooperate on development of the shared resource,” Mallinson added. Nevertheless, while the trans-border issues between the two countries on this basin have yet to result in serious disagreement, as the fields become more mature this may change, he concluded.
Pearl GTL train shuts down for maintenance and upgrade The planned current shutdown of one of the two production trains of Qatar Shell’s flagship Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City – scheduled to last a couple of months at least – is designed to allow for more than just routine planned maintenance works.
Qatar’s plans to offset any decline in oil revenues by a concomitant increase in revenues from its gas sector look optimistic.
This is according to London-based Roger Nightingale, CEO of international economic consultancy firm, RN Associates. “Late last year,” he informed The Edge, “Shell [Qatar] did award a long-term EPC [engineering, procurement and construction management services] contract to SNCLavalin that not only related to general maintenance but also to effect changes to the plant, designed to increase production there substantially. The first phase of this upgrade appears to be scheduled to kick in over this two- to three-month period.” Before the current shutdown, the joint Royal Dutch Shell/Qatar Petroleum GTL facility – one of only four such operations worldwide, together with South Africa’s 45,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) capacity
energy & sustainability | sectors
1.6 bn The amount in cubic feet produced by Oryx GTL in Qatar, the world’s largest facility of its kind.
Mossel Bay facility, Malaysia’s 14,700 bbl capacity Bintulu plant, and Qatar’s 30,000 bbl capacity Oryx operation – was already the largest GTL plant in the world, producing 1.6 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), which generates 140,000 bbl/d of GTL products and 120,000 bbl/d of natural gas liquids and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). However, said Nightingale, the plan is ostensibly to upgrade the facilities in order to initially meet rising domestic demand and then to increase export revenue from these higher-value products, given the current squeeze on prices for plain hydrocarbons output. In the case of the former, in fact, natural gas consumption domestically has tripled from 2003 to 2014, to over 1.3 bcf/d currently, while in the hydrocarbons sector Qatar has seen its revenues from oil, for one, decline sharply in line with the falling oil price, and production also falling – to around 674,000 bbl/d in January – as reserves in its ageing fields have become harder to exploit. The timing of the closure for maintenance and upgrading of Pearl GTL has not been ideal, though, adds Nightingale, as production from Qatargas’s 7.8 million-tonne-per-annum (mtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant (Train 4) was set to resume operations on March 25. Train 4 is part of the two-train Qatargas II, the world’s largest LNG project inaugurated by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum in April 2009, with total combined capacity of 15.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.7 mtpa of LPG, and 90,000 bbl/d of condensates, which not only supplies LNG to buyers in Britain, Europe, and Asia, but also the domestic market. Ultimately, with the project covering 30 offshore wells and three new platforms in Qatar’s 6000 km2 North Field section of the giant 9700 km2 nonassociated gas basin that it shares with Iran (the South Pars site) the offshore platforms are expected to have a sustained daily output of 2.9 bcf/d, to be pumped to shore via two wet-gas pipelines. Given that its 12,000 metric tonnes per day common sulphur system serves all related businesses in Ras Laffan, it could have been optimal for Qatar’s overall energy mix to have closed both Train 4 and the one train of Pearl GTL at the same time, said Nightingale.
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Contents: Qatar to have 6000-bed facility for labourers by 2017. 37. Several national and international schools to be operational in Doha by 2018. 38.
real estate & construction The labour camps being built for construction workers will be used beyond 2022 for other growing industries in Qatar. (Image Corbis)
Qatar to have 6000bed facility for labourers by 2017 Addressing international criticism about the living conditions of migrant workers in Qatar’s construction sector, Daruna Development has announced a high-quality labour camp in Al Wakra.
fter a recent meeting with HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter assured the international community of Qatar’s progress on the treatment of migrant workers. “As various human-rights groups have recently noted, progress has been made already, especially with regard to the standards introduced by the Supreme Committee relating to 2022 construction sites, but more must be done in Qatar to ensure uniformly fair working conditions for all,” he said. Much of the resistance against Qatar’s winning bid for 2022 World Cup has been linked to the living conditions of labourers. Addressing international
criticism, Qatar’s Daruna Development has announced to deliver a 6000-bed worker accommodation in Al Wakra by September 2017, later expanding the number further. Speaking about the project, Daruna’s chairman, Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman bin Nasser Al Thani, said, “As Qatar is trying to be the icon in sports for the region, for example, and the icon for medicine and health and education, we are also going to be the starting point for being an example and standard for the worker accommodation.” Providing details about some features of the project, Al Thani said the facility will have everything workers need to live a good life, including retail outlets, wireless
Internet, means of telecommunication, laundry services, and security services, while Daruna is also aiming to have a police station housed in the vicinity. “The new accommodation opportunity is going to reach up to a million beds within the next three to five years, and we would be happy to contribute the biggest amount of beds we can,” said Sheikh Al Thani, who also said that while the issue of migrant workers exists worldwide, Qatar has been in the limelight because most of its workers come from abroad. With plans to expand the accommodation facility once the first 6000 beds are delivered, Daruna Development has recently signed an agreement with
The Edge | 37
real estate & construction | sectors
Workers playing basketball in a labour camp in the industrial area of Doha. With poor living facilities provided by many construction companies in Qatar, the country also houses some of the best accommodations for labour. (Image Arabian Eye)
Wasita Group at the Meed’s Qatar Projects Conference. Under this contract, Wasita will be responsible for housekeeping, catering, laundry and maintenance services of the accommodations owned by Daruna. Commenting on Qatar’s role in improving the life standards for labourers, Blatter said, “It is clear that Qatar takes its responsibility as host seriously and sees the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for positive social change.” On a national level, further progress on this front was made in March when the Cabinet approved the draft decision to establish a joint committee to study labour
Several national and international schools to be operational in Doha by 2018 Doha’s school market shows slow growth compared to other emerging economies within the Gulf. After residential rents, what remains another challenge for many expatriates in Doha is the schooling of their children. On one hand, the cost of educating a child in Qatar is high compared to the cost of education in home countries for most expatriates settled in Doha. On the other hand, Doha has a low number of schools while the number
38 | The Edge
accommodation projects and strategy. Speaking about Daruna’s strategy on worker accommodation after the 2022 World Cup, when many workers currently hired would have gone back, Sheikh Nasser said that the worker accommodation project goes beyond 2022, and aligns with Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Once the construction labour leaves, he explained the accommodations can be used by other growing areas such as education, tourism and the leisure industry. “We are going to need people to support us, we are going to need residences to be there. So having
of children continues to grow with the increasing influx of expatriates. According to recent statistics released by ISC Research, part of the International School Consultancy, currently there are 1329 English-medium international schools in the Middle East teaching 1.17 million students. Of these, Qatar has 147 international schools teaching 111,200 students. Housing 130 of these schools, Doha urgently needs more schools to meet the requirement of the increasing number of students. Comparatively, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads the Gulf Cooperation Council with 505 schools teaching more than 452,900 students. Looking at a comparative growth chart, the number of in-school children in Qatar has grown at a steady rate compared to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, both showing marked growth in the last two to three years. While the population rate of Qatar has grown tremendously since 2010, the growth of international schools does not seem to match the rising demand levels.
“The new accommodation opportunity is going to reach up to a million beds within the next three to five years.”- Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman bin Nasser Al Thani, chairman, Daruna Development. our standards implemented, we’d provide them with better lifestyle in the future,” said Sheikh Nasser.
Ostensibly, a key factor driving the increasing levels of demand is the choice of many parents to get their child in British and American international schools while schools with Asian nationalities remain less preferred. Meanwhile, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has announced to open 33 new schools and kindergartens, ready for the 2015-16 academic year in Qatar. According to ISC Research, by 2018, Qatar will have several national and international schools.
The current number of international schools in Doha.
Contents: Cyber crime threat to mobile devices. 39. What is the ‘New IP’? 40.
tech & communications
The Middle East cyber security market is set to grow by 84 percent from USD5.17 billion (QAR24 billion) in 2014 to USD9.56 billion (QAR34.7 billion) by 2019. Qatar’s State Cabinet recently strengthened the country’s position against cyber threats by approving the formation of two new bodies to monitor online threats: the National Center for Cyber Security and the National Committee for Information Security. (Image Arabian Eye)
Popular mobile platforms at greater risk of cyber crime Devices running on the two most dominant mobile platforms in the market – Android and iOS – are increasingly at risk, according to FireEye, a United States-based IT security company, which in a recent report revealed that it had found a 500 percent increase in the number of Android apps designed to steal financial data, writes M. Iqbal.
ireEye also found more than 1400 iOS apps publicly available on the Internet that introduce variants of security issues. The company’s report identifies a new delivery channel for iOS malware that bypasses the Apple App Store review process. Attackers can take advantage of ‘enterprise/ad-hoc provisioning’ to deliver malicious apps to end users. Enterprise/ad-hoc provisioning allows organisations to deliver inhouse apps directly to their employees’ iOS devices, thus bypassing Apple’s security.
The report, Out of Pocket: A Comprehensive Mobile Threat Assessment of 7 Million iOS and Android Apps, is based on an analysis of seven million mobile apps on both platforms between January and October 2014. Researchers reviewed popular apps with more than 50,000 downloads to assess their exposure to a common vulnerability, and found that 31 percent of them were exposed to it. Of those, 18 percent were in categories with potentially sensitive data, including finance, medical, communication, shopping, health and productivity. The Edge | 39
sectors | tech & comms
“Qatar has been at New technology the vanguard of cyber Is ‘New IP’ the key defence in the region.” – to delivering better, Nader Henein, BlackBerry “Today, mobile apps represent a significant threat vector for enterprises,” said Manish Gupta at FireEye. “Worse, most enterprises have little or no information on mobile security risks nor any way to deal with an advanced attack on a mobile device.” The 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers identified cyber crime as the second most common form of economic crime reported in the Middle East, behind asset misappropriation. This growing sophistication and proficiency of cyber-attacks is prompting governments and organisations in the region to invest in more secure IT infrastructure to protect against cybercrimes. The Market Forecasts and Analysis Report (2014-2019) by MarketsandMarkets forecasts that the region’s cyber security market will grow by 84 percent from USD5.17 billion (QAR24 billion) in 2014 to USD9.56 billion (QAR34.7 billion) in 2019. Nader Henein at BlackBerry Advanced Security Solutions’ Advisory Division said, “Qatar has been at the vanguard of cyber defence in the region for the past few years now, thanks chiefly to ictQatar, which combines multiple functions and overarching responsibilities that would normally sit with a half dozen departments in most other governments. As such ictQatar is able to monitor, act, instruct and discriminate guidance swiftly and efficiently which has kept the country as a whole safe.” Last month, Qatar’s State Cabinet strengthened the country’s position against cyber threats by approving the formation of two new bodies to monitor online threats. The National Center for Cyber Security will be set up under the Ministry of Interior and will monitor and follow up on cyber threats to government entities. The second body, National Committee for Information Security, would carry out the National Cyber Security Strategy. Cyber crime: Mobile phone statistics in Qatar
The number of mobile phones in Qatar that are smartphones.
the percentage of total mobile malware attacks in Qatar that are aimed at the Android platform.
The average number of mobile phones owned by each person in Qatar.
The expected increase in mobile phone traffic in the Middle East and Africa between now and 2017.
The number of variants of mobile phone malware prevalent in Qatar tripled in 2013.
Source: Qatar Computing Research Institute’s (QCRI) Emerging Cyber Threats 2014.
40 | The Edge
“With ‘New IP’, the hardware and software are combined to meet the needs of the specific environment. This allows each user to move at [his/her] own pace,” said tech firm Brocade’s MEMA director Yarob Sakhnini.
Understanding the concept of ‘New Internet Protocol (IP)’ is essential for enterprises in Qatar if they are to harness the power of this new kind of network that delivers better services while saving money, according to an industry expert.
Yarob Sakhnini, regional director, Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa (MEMA) at communications firms Brocade, believes that there is new demand for massively scalable networks, driven by the mobile data explosion, the popularity of cloud-based services, the rise of big data and the accompanying analytics and the advent of the ‘Internet of Things’. Marcus Jewell, vice president Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) at Brocade provided an example of this in a recent article. He referred to the growing number of employees worldwide – 1.3 billion, or 37 percent of the workforce – who will choose to work from home in 2015. Companies providing these employees remote access to workplaces will see greater strain on their existing network infrastructures. The answer, he said, is New IP. Sakhnini says that New IP refers to a new class of IP networking gear – consisting of hardware and software – that allows companies to build programmable networks to innovate more rapidly at lower cost. The open, highly-virtualised, software-centric technology supports rapid service innovation and user self-service at a lower cost than traditional IP networks. Virtualisation in New IP, in the form of software-defined networking (SDN), makes it possible for networking to be an ondemand resource, thus allowing for network resources to be used much more efficiently. The approach looks beyond the function-specific hardware that has made legacy IP networks reliable but also inflexible and expensive, towards network functions virtualisation (NFV), according to Sakhnini. The building blocks of The New IP are software-based and will create a new virtualised network services layer. The technology is easily adaptable to meet the needs of varied users. “With New IP, the hardware and software are combined to meet the needs of the specific environment. This allows each user to move at [his/her] own pace,” said Sakhnini. However, he is also quick to point out that New IP is not the exclusive domain of a single vendor or geographic market – it is, in fact, a class of gear that is being promoted and sold by vendors globally.
The Edge | 41
INNOVATION IS THE KEY Congratulations on receiving the Best Money Exchange Awards! What has attributed to this achievement? Thank you. We are extremely delighted and it is really a very proud moment for all of us at Qatar-UAE Exchange. Awards and accolades are the recognition for hard work and such special moments make one’s convictions stronger. The honour was bestowed on us by the Global Banking & Finance Review, an informative and independent online community for finance, which recognises financial entities that show signs of consistent attempts to achieve excellence. Since inception in 2011, the awards reflect innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community. This year, we received the award for being the Best Money Exchange in Qatar. I must thank my team, whose committed efforts and unconditional dedication has been recognized with this award. Their relentless hard work has been the reason for our customers, partners and regulators to bestow their trust on us. I believe that our penchant for excellence in enhancing customer experience, and the faith customers bestow on us, are some of the main reasons for this milestone. What is UAE Exchange’s formula for excellence in quality and customer service?
ATAR-UAE EXCHANGE IS BESTOWED WITH THE BEST MONEY EXCHANGE AWARD BY GLOBAL BANKING AND FINANCE REVIEW, AN INFORMATIVE AND INDEPENDENT ONLINE COMMUNITY FOR FINANCE, WHICH RECOGNIZES COMPANIES WHICH HAVE EXCELLED IN SPECIFIC AREAS OF FINANCE. TALKING ABOUT THE AWARD, OPERATIONS IN QATAR AND MORE IS MR. EDISON FERNANDEZ, COUNTRY HEAD – QATAR-UAE EXCHANGE.
Quality is the core of any business to survive in the market. When a brand, product or service is launched, after the initial euphoria comes down, it’s only the quality that enables it to achieve longevity and success. We take utmost efforts to communicate our vision and values to all our employees, motivate and empower them to take the right decision at the right time. This inculcation of the culture of excellence across the length and breadth of the organization, our stringent quality audits across all departments, products and processes
in the organisation, help us to further improvise the results, enabling to move a step closer to excellence. Our core values of Integrity, Empowerment, Commitment and Care are the cornerstones of our organization. These values are well embedded into the culture of the company and reflect in each of the activities that we do. They inspire us to go that extra mile in each of the initiatives that we take up, because only when we contribute that bit extra, will we be able to stand up to the expectations of our customers and provide with an enhanced customer experience, every time. Only when we consistently surpass the customer expectations, will we be able to sustain their loyalty towards the brand, which in turn will spread our goodwill farther and wider. What is your take on innovation? Innovation is the only way to prevent ourselves from being obsolete. As an organization, we believe that we need to constantly evolve to be sustainable. And innovation helps us on this path. Our products and services cater to all sects of the community. We take care to ensure that our services address the varied expectations. We are launching our services like Smart Pay, our payroll solution, Money2anywhere.com, our online money transfer portal and Gocash,
our multi-currency prepaid travel card services in Qatar. The same have been innovative trendsetters in other markets. Our tryst with technology has been legendary. We have always been in sync with the latest in technology, adopting it to the advantage of our customers. This has enabled us to foresee the requirements of our customers and introduce optimised solutions, powered by technology. So customers get to experience the best of conveniences, first with us. Our innovative introductions in due course emerge as the standards of the industry, making us a trendsetter in the segment. How has the journey in Qatar been so far? Eventful is the word. We started operations in 2007, and in a short span of time, we could become the favourite of customers, across the kingdom. This success was possible due to the business-friendly environment created by the authorities in Qatar. Today, we have nine branches, where our thousands of customers can easily walk in to transfer money and exchange foreign currency. Our high quality products, services and promotions help in bringing more convenience to customersâ€™ lives, making it quite a rewarding experience, every time they deal with us. Both expatriates and Nationals in Qatar turn to us to address their multiple financial
requirements and we go that extra mile to enhance their experience with us. As a responsible corporate entity, we also are among the first to respond to any requirement, social, environmental or humanitarian. We join hands with various NGOs, hospitals and other governmental authorities to contribute and make a difference to the society. Future plans? We have plans of further expansion of our operations across the Kingdom of Qatar. Our aim is to be the trusted remittance brand in the neighbourhood for our customers and constantly look for opportunities to improve proximity. Our range of products and services offered in Qatar will also widen in the months to come, enhancing customer convenience to new levels. We are in the process of launching our payroll solution, online money transfer portal, bill payment facility and prepaid travel card. We will continue to lay emphasis on innovation and explore new horizons, pushing our limits to incessantly enhance customer experience. We will strengthen our compliance measures, aligning ourselves to the requirements laid out by the regulators. We shall work in tandem with partners to add more value to the relationships, thus emerge as the most admired brand in money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions.
Escaping the heat
With the change, from a summer 2022 World Cup to a winter tournament now official, what will the repercussions be? The Edge investigates.
2022 world cup | cover story
The 2022 World Cup has arguably commanded more media coverage than any other international tournament in the history of modern sport. Ever since Sepp Blatter revealed that the State of Qatar had been awarded the 22nd FIFA World Cup, the international governing body of association football and the country itself have faced a seemingly relentless barrage of media criticism around the world. This has continued unabated with the recent confirmation that the event would be played in winter, and not summer. Lee Winter examines the repercussions of this most recent development.
llegations of corruption, human rights violations, searing summer temperatures and, until recently, uncertainty about the dates have been the most prominent points of censure. Complications regarding TV rights, a potential three-year disturbance of European domestic leagues, alcohol availability, threats of litigation, enthusiasm towards the sporting landscape as a whole within the Gulf, even the sexual preferences of players and fans constitute a long list of debatable topics that have rumbled on and on since December 2010. Indeed, the catalogue of controversies and points of contention are so extensive that they even warrant their very own Wikipedia page. On Friday March 20, 2015 a FIFA Executive Committee meeting held in Zurich ratified the decision to shift the tournament – until now held exclusively during the summer months of May to July – to the months of November and December. It marks the conclusion of four-plus years of discussion, but given the complications associated with such a pronouncement, FIFA would be naïve to think the deliberation will simply end there. So, why the switch and what does it mean? The root cause is naturally the oft-debated summer heat of Qatar, where temperatures often exceed 50°C throughout the day and sometimes into the late evening. There is also incredibly high humidity during the summer months, creating a climate very few would argue is suitable for any physical activity outdoors. Qatar had offered to provide air-conditioned stadiums and fan zones, yet whether these would have been sufficient we will never know. But the World Cup is so much more than a collection of football matches with a trophy at the end. It is a cultural juggernaut that allows all comers to experience a foreign land, to engage with a diverse and distant people, to interact with a deluge of nationalities, all of them sharing the same passion for the beautiful game. The atmosphere is intoxicating and it cannot be defined nor replicated. People take to the streets to mingle, share, argue, discuss; to co-exist. And you cannot air condition the streets. Common sense prevailed and it was agreed to change the date. With May, June and July all but ruled out, that left August and September, which though marginally cooler than mid summer, were also deemed unsuitable due to high temperatures (40°C is not
ideal for aerobic sportsmen either). With the Winter Olympics of 2022 for January/February of the same year, that was out of the question, as were January/ February of 2023, for undisclosed “legal reasons”. April was scratched off next, due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan falling within this time in 2022, during which the country slows down as a result of reduced working hours to compensate for the fasting traditions of Islam. This left only the four weeks of March (not enough time to hold the monthlong tournament, given the mandatory release of players from club commitments two weeks prior), or October through to December. Which is why we, with such inevitability, now have a tournament that runs from November 19 to December 18.
Touching briefly upon the “legal reasons” that supposedly prevented the tournament from taking place in January-February 2023, you will be hard pressed to find any legal mind to tell you what law under what jurisdiction FIFA is required to answer to in this regard. Alas, to claim that FIFA is no stranger to an illogical and opaque declaration would be to some to display a flair for understatement that would rival anything Lionel Messi could replicate on the pitch. Speaking of Mr. Messi and his Barcelona team, there is a realistic possibility that, in Europe at least, the seasons both before and after the rearranged tournament may also be inescapably affected. The season containing the World Cup will now have a prospective startdate of mid-July – a minimum of two, but in most cases as much as six weeks earlier than the usual start time for all of the major European leagues. This may force organisers to consider an earlier start to the preceding 2021-22 season, in an attempt
In March, the FIFA Executive Committee ratified the decision to shift the tournament – until now held exclusively during the summer months of May to July – to the months of November and December 2022.
cover story | 2022 World Cup
A junior team training at Aspire in Doha, Qatar. Many international media outlets have been scepitical whether Qatar, at current position of 109 by far the lowest ranking country ever to enter football’s premier tournament, will do anything but lose in the first round. With 12 years to prepare since the venue was announced, the country is determined to prove them wrong. (Image Arabian Eye/Corbis)
Australia’s soccer chief Frank Lowy has previously stated that his country – one of the four losing nations during the bidding process - may begin litigation proceedings in light of the winter switch. 46 | The Edge
to compensate for a shorter summer break leading up to the World Cup. Moreover, the World Cup-affected 2022-23 season will likely conclude later than usual (mid-June versus the usual end dates of mid-to-late May), which may lead to a later start date for the subsequent 2023-24 season. Perhaps one or two of the detractors were onto something when they cried how irksome it would prove to simply pop a sixweek event into the middle of a season. But are the European leagues being just a little bit precious about all of this? Most of them do, after all, impose an entirely voluntary Christmas break in the middle of their seasons. Could they not shift it to an earlier time just once? Those that don’t – the English Premier League, for example – will still be able to salvage the majority of its Christmas programme from Boxing Day onwards, should it so desire. Previous FIFA World Cups have always interfered with the domestic leagues in the Americas, yet we never hear the same complaints from them. Certainly no talk of compensation, which has been bandied about all too frequently, including most recently by The European Professional Football Leagues Association, which stated
it would support any leagues taking legal action against FIFA over the scheduling of a winter World Cup in 2022. Australia’s soccer chief Frank Lowy has also previously stated that his country’s Football Federation (FFA) – one of the four losing nations during the bidding process - may be one such body that will begin litigation proceedings in light of the winter switch. “There will be no compensation,” the ever-uncompromising Jerome Valcke (FIFA’s secretary general) had said of the European leagues’ potential claims. “They have seven years to reorganise football around the world for this World Cup. It’s not perfect, we know that, but why are we talking about compensation? It’s happening once, we’re not destroying football.” Moreover, FIFA is adamant that there are “no grounds” for compensation for any of the losing bidders. This is a sentiment echoed by Mel Sims, managing partner of DLA Piper – the law firm instructed by Qatar to undertake an independent review of the legislative and enforcement framework of its labour laws. “It is my opinion that none of the countries that lost out in the bidding process to host the finals in 2018 or 2022 will be serious about litigating with FIFA over
2022 world cup | cover story
the bid process,” Sims tells The Edge, “as to do so would bring their own conduct during the bid process under the microscope. The whole question of canvassing votes and what is acceptable and what is not acceptable is a very grey area.” Indeed, the inducements that are on offer are widely reported, without ever really being fully declared. “For instance,” Sims continued, “would a former World Cup winning country be considered to have crossed the line by organising an otherwise unjustifiable showpiece game in Asia shortly before a major championship tournament – involving lengthy travel, risk of injury and untold knock-on effect in terms of the teams overall stamina – if it were not for the prospect of securing a favourable vote from the hosting Asian country? There are other countless examples that can be cited and no serious enforcement of regulations and rules governing the process.”
Channels and fans
United States (US)-based channel Fox Sports originally bought the Englishlanguage broadcasting rights within the US for both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments for USD425 million (QAR1.4 billion). The switch, however, now means a clash with
Fox’s coverage of the National Football League (NFL) season, which will potentially lead to lower audiences watching the World Cup than previously anticipated. And owner Rupert Murdoch is not a man who takes this kind of disappointment very well. Some might feel that it is convenient, then, that Fox has since been awarded the rights to the 2026 World Cup without all that time-consuming and bothersome paperwork associated with a bidding process. It is an unusual move, considering how feisty and unexpectedly expensive the 2018 and 2022 bidding war became, which forced Fox to pay quadruple that which ESPN had to pay to broadcast the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Ostensibly the hastiness to extend the deal with Fox (as well as Telemundo and CTV/ TSN), when surely FIFA could have expected a similar war to break out for the 2026 tournament rights, does bear further scrutiny. But what of the fans? The World Cup final is to take place on December 18, 2022: Qatar’s National Day and a proud day indeed for all who reside in the Gulf state. But that is just seven days before Christmas. Is FIFA running the risk of discouraging the Western audience by expecting them to travel thousands of miles around the globe to spend a large part of their annual holiday in a conservative Gulf state? James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s
Is FIFA running the risk of discouraging a Western audience by expecting them to travel thousands of miles around the globe to spend a large part of their annual holiday in a conservative Gulf state?
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter following a press conference at the end of the FIFA Executive Comitee meeting at the FIFA headquarters on March 20, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland, where the official announcement regarding the rescheduling of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter was made. (Image Getty Images)
“We have always said right from the very beginning that we are ready for whatever the football community decides,” Hassan Abdulla Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in the US recently. “When the decision is made we will comply with it.” (Image Getty)
The Edge | 47
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An artists impression of the interior of Al Bayt stadium in the Qatari city of Al Khor, one of the eight locations earmarked for games during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. (Image courtesy Qatar 2022)
S. Rajaratnam School and author of the influential blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, does not think so. “Those who will travel to Qatar to celebrate that World Cup will be the true fans, and that’s what Qatar will really want anyway. And besides, is it that much of a sacrifice, really? It finishes seven days before Christmas Day – it takes seven hours to fly to London.” And what of the local audience? There have been questions concerning the enthusiasm towards sport in general in the Middle East, owing to reports from Associated Press that organisers have hired workers to “watch matches and pretend to have fun”. Dorsey dismisses this equally when he describes how “low attendance and empty stadiums has long since been an issue faced by the game in the Middle East, but this has nothing to do with a lack of enthusiasm”. He continues, “This is more owing to the fact that many fans use their non-attendance as a form of protest against the ownership of the clubs and their desire for restructure in this respect, in addition to, of course, the poor facilities that can be found in the presently-used stadiums.”
With a reported USD4 billion (QAR14.56 billion) being spent on eight new stadiums, one can only hope that these new facilities will encourage a larger audience to a sport 48 | The Edge
that Qataris are genuinely passionate about. And one can only hope that Qatar will be able to produce a team capable of gracing such stadiums, too. With a current FIFA World Ranking of 109, questions will obviously be raised about the quality of the host nation. As hosts, Qatar will kick off proceedings in the tournament’s opening match and, were it to take place tomorrow, the result would likely not be great. Mercifully, it is not though and a great deal can change in the world of football in seven years. Belgium, the current world number four for example, dropped as low as 55 in 2008. Similarly, the current world number five, Colombia, were a lowly 49 in the same year. Both countries reached the quarter final stage of the 2014 World
The price for the English-language broadcasting rights within the US for both the 2018 and 2022 events, paid by US channel Fox Sports.
Cup. Of course, there is a marked difference between going from number 50 in the world to a top five spot, and scaling respectable heights from position 109 (not to mention the difference between the legacy and professionalism that the Colombians and Belgians can boast over that of Qatar and the often criticised accuracy of the FIFA world ranking point system anyway), but this does give a glimpse of hope that significant improvement can be achieved with the time that is available leading to the tournament. The plethora of criticisms being levelled at Qatar regarding its winning bid are clear for all to see; what may be less clear however, is the distress that these criticisms have caused. Qatar is extremely proud to have won the opportunity to bring such a wide-reaching event to the Middle East for the first time, and Qataris will not let this opportunity pass them by. There is a perceived propaganda of the westernised media against Qatar and they are willingly taking up the fight on several fronts to ensure they provide a spectacle worthy of the tradition. Besides, in a time where men find it perfectly plausible to reach (and even inhabit) Mars, a sporting event held in the richest country on this planet should not be as improbable and fantastical as some in the media would have you believe. A little perspective goes a long way.
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Quick Q&A: THE edge speaks with Nasser Al Khater, executive director, communications and marketing, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and deputy ceo, QAtar 2022 loc. the best in Qatari talent and has already brought out many successful players.
What will ensure that Qatar residents will attend in great numbers?
Qatar is a country with a vibrant football fan base. When Qatar bid to host the World Cup in 2010, thousands of fans gathered in public areas to watch the bid presentation, and when Sepp Blatter pulled Qatar’s name from the envelope, the city erupted in celebration. When we held the 1995 U-20 World Cup, we enjoyed a record attendance Nasser Al Khater, executive director, communications and throughout the tournament. In marketing for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Deputy CEO of the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee says, 2011, we boasted an average “Qatar is a country with a vibrant football fan base.” attendance of 12,000 fans for the Asian Cup, relative to With the rescheduling, is the cooling technology still a population at the time of 1.7 million people. When Qatar won the 2014 Gulf necessary? We are still moving forward with one of Cup of Nations, fans took to the streets to the most exciting legacy aspects of the celebrate their country’s victory. This is the tournament – cooling technology. Through biggest tournament in the world and we the process of planning for the 2022 World believe people will be excited to experience Cup, we are investing a lot in research and the tournament we will offer. There are 400 development of cooling technology in million people in the Arab world alone – a the hope that an efficient cooling system region that is crazy about football. for stadiums and open public areas will help give Qatar and other countries with similar climates opportunities to host major sporting events year-round.
How will Qatar improve the national team?
Qatar is taking major steps towards ensuring a competitive home team. We are proud of the work the Qatar Football Association and our other football stakeholders in the country have invested in grassroots football, developing the best young talent Qatar has to offer. Our players are scattered all over Europe, gaining experience at a very high level and developing their talent. We enjoyed great success with our U-19 and U-20s recently and will continue to build on that. The Aspire Academy also features
The amount being spent on eight new stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
Will fewer Westerners attend, due to the event’s proximity to Christmas?
The FIFA taskforce worked hard to find a date that would be most convenient for the teams and the fans, and we are certain that this decision will not impact attendance. Qatar’s location is convenient for football fans across the globe – it is just a four-hour flight for more than two billion people. The 2022 World Cup Final will take place on Qatar’s National Day on December 18, leaving fans plenty of time to return home.
What is being done to improve conditions for migrant workers in the lead up?
The government has indicated very clearly that it intends to introduce reforms to improve the conditions of workers in Qatar. Some of the changes have already been put in place such as: the wage protection system; a 25 percent increase in labour inspectors; an increase in fines from USD2746 (QAR10,000) to USD13,730 (QAR50,000) per offence for employers who illegally hold employee passports; multilingual electronic complaint kiosks through which workers can lodge complaints; and the construction of new housing facilities for expatriate workers. Others will take a bit more time because they have to go through the legislative process, which includes the involvement of several stakeholders in the country to ensure sustainable change.
How does Qatar intend to utilise the stadiums once the world cup is completed?
While some of the stadiums – such as Khalifa International Stadium – will be used to host other major international sporting events, several of the stadiums will be used for domestic league matches, several proposed stadiums will be built with demountable top-tiers. Qatar’s proposal is to donate the demountable seats to countries in need of sporting infrastructure. Qatar believes this proposal will ensure that it is left with stadiums fit for purpose beyond 2022. The Edge | 49
â€œWhile we are a Qatari company, we are not state-owned and although we have a strong working relationship with Muntajat, business is business at the end of the day. But a deal such as Muntajat would not have been attainable were it not for our proven track record in providing the high quality services they require at a very competitive cost,â€? says HE Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Milaha.
In an exclusive interview with The Edgeâ€™s Aparajita Mukherjee, HE Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Milaha, a company that provides maritime and logistics solutions, talks about the companyâ€™s business focus, the evolution that it has been through since it was set up in 1957 and the prospects of the company in the next three years.
Milaha provides end-to-end supply chain solutions
“We have proven our ability to meet strict deadlines, quickly adapt to changes, expand our asset base, [and] train manpower to ensure our customers’ peace of mind when doing business with us.”
Milaha provides modern warehousing facilities with a full range of storage and distribution capabilities to customers in Qatar and in Dubai. (Image courtesy Milaha)
t the helm of Qatar’s oldest shareholding company that reported a net profit of QAR1.049 billion for financial year 2014, HE Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Milaha, has wide-ranging and diverse professional experience across a number of sectors and state entities. He started off his career at the Qatari Ministry of Finance as a financial analyst with the Investment Bureau and later went on to become the manager of the Bureau’s direct investments as it transitioned to what is known today as the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Speaking about his career span at Milaha, Sheikh Al Thani says, “Since my appointment in 2009, I have overseen the merger of Qatar’s top three maritime service providers – namely Qatar Navigation, Qatar Shipping and Halul Offshore – into Milaha, a diversified maritime transport and logistics company. I am also currently a director at QIA and also vice chairman of the board of directors of the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance and a board member at United Arab Shipping Company.” Milaha provides synchronised maritime
52 | The Edge
and logistics solutions – simplifying the complex links in the international chain of commerce. What does it exactly entail? Explaining the business focus, Sheikh Al Thani says that Milaha’s success is based on the unity of and synergies amongst its various strategic business units, all working together for the good of the company and its stakeholders, community, and, of course, the environment. He continues, “The diversity of our capabilities allows us to handle multiple and, in some cases, most aspects of our customers’ logistics requirements, thus allowing them to focus on their core business, to grow and to reach new markets.” Detailing the success factors of the company, Sheikh Ali adds, “With our solid regional presence and strong partnerships across the world, we are able to guarantee our customers a hassle-free offering that encompasses the entire complicated process of shipping and logistics for both oil and gas, as well as other sectors.” Milaha’s services runs the gamut of marine transport and services, from ports management to land transportation to warehousing. “We have proven our ability to meet strict deadlines, quickly adapt to changes in requirements, expand our asset base, and train our manpower to ensure our
“We have been evolving and adapting ever since we started off in 1957,” says Sheikh Al Thani.
logistics and supply chain | business intervew
customers’ peace of mind when doing business with us,” adds Sheikh Al Thani. Tied to ensuring business facilitation with customers, is Milaha’s avowed philosophy of adding new destinations, based on customer needs. “Milaha is a service provider and wherever our clients require us to go, we are willing to invest in our offshore marine services business, the maritime transport arm, or the logistics division to be able to cater to our customers. We follow opportunities and where our clients need our service,” says Sheikh Al Thani. Commenting on Milaha’s current destinations, Sheikh Al Thani says that Milaha vessels “are going to the United States, Europe, and Asia. But if any of our clients need us to go to Latin America, then that is where we are going”. Among its international business partners, Sheikh Al Thani mentions Shell and British Petroleum. Among its domestic clients, Sheikh Al Thani mentions Milaha’s “very close and special business relations with Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas, apart from Qatar Petrochemical Company
(QAPCO), Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO), Qatar Steel, Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat)”, to name some of the prominent local Qatari clients Milaha has. Muntajat signed a two-year agreement with Milaha to transport petrochemicals exports from Qatar, covering the containerised exports of polymers and melamine from Mesaieed to key hub ports in the region, from where major international shipping lines will carry these exports to their final destinations worldwide. Is Milaha a preferred service provider for all state-owned entities such as Muntajat? Sheikh Al Thani is categorical when he says, “While we are a Qatari company, we are not state-owned and although we have a strong working relationship with Muntajat and other government and semi-government entities, business is business at the end of the day. A deal such as this would not have been attainable were it not for our proven track record in
providing the high quality services they require at a very competitive cost.”
The journey from 1957 to 2015
Milaha was founded in 1957, as the Qatar National Navigation & Transport Company, as the first shipping agent in the country. From its inception in 1957 until today, Milaha has become one of the largest and most diversified maritime and logistics companies in the Middle East. Its operations now range from ocean transport and offshore marine support services, to third-party logistics and ancillary solutions. Commenting on its consolidation and strategic transformation, Sheikh Al Thani says, “We have been evolving and adapting ever since we started off in 1957. Not only did we change, but the dynamics in global trade also changed rapidly – deadlines became shorter, supply chains became more dispersed and complicated, and there was an increasing need for a solutionbased approach that would simplify logistics for our customers.” He adds, “I can safely say that not only did we evolve with the market, but
Umlma: One of Milaha’s crude tankers, built in South Korea in 2006. (Image courtesy Milaha)
The gas and petrochem segment had an extremely strong year relative to 2013, as VLGC market rates hit record highs significantly boosting the bottom line, and product tankers posted much higher profit due to higher freight rates. Milaha Gas and Petrochem owns and operates a modern fleet of product tankers, gas, and crude carriers.
Milaha’s net profit for the 2014 financial year. The Edge | 53
business interview | logistics and supply chain
also anticipated customer interest and requirements and strove to achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the process.” Describing the years of consolidation, Sheikh Al Thani says that the years had their ups and downs but Milaha weathered the downs and learned from them to become one of the region’s leading players in the maritime and logistics services sector adding, “All this would not have been possible without the support of Qatar’s government and its key industrial players as well as the contribution of our colleagues at Milaha who demonstrated and continue to demonstrate a great degree of professionalism, dynamism and flexibility during the various stages the company went through.” Talking about Milaha’s business model, what factors have shaped the company into what it is as a brand and what are the key strengths? In light of its diverse portfolio, Milaha is, more than others, subject to multiple external challenges, says Sheikh Al Thani, adding, “The recent years have been plagued with economic uncertainty, which we have fortunately overcome and, in the process, become even stronger.
Diversifying our exposure across a number of areas has certainly contributed to this strength. We also believe that one of our key strengths is our location in Qatar, one of the world’s leading economies, coupled with our vast knowledge of the region with its economic trends, markets, and people.” However, says Sheikh Al Thani, the ability to live and exercise its core values on a daily basis and not just on paper is what drives Milaha. Singling out the factors that have contributed to making what Milaha is today, Sheikh Al Thani says, “Over the years, the company has shown its stakeholders, customers and community the highest level of integrity by always delivering on its promises. It has cultivated the responsibility as part of one global society and achieved excellence by seeking to be the best in the business.” In the opinion of Sheikh Al Thani, Milaha also has an ingrained belief that the customer’s success is its success and that its employees are the company’s most valuable asset.
Milaha’s success is based on the unity and synergies amongst its various strategic business units, working together for the company, stakeholders, community and environment.
Business portfolio and performance
Milaha’s business interest spans diverse sectors: from maritime and logistics to
Milaha Gas and Petrochem owns and operates a modern fleet of product tankers, gas, and crude carriers. (Image courtesy Milaha)
54 | The Edge
logistics and supply chain | business intervew
Milaha: Key financials Earnings per share QAR9.2
2013 Halul Offshore, a wholly-owned Milaha subsidiary, is currently one of the largest offshore marine services companies in the region. (Image courtesy Milaha)
capital to gas, to petrochem to trading to offshore. What is the unifying vision that keeps all of these businesses under one umbrella? According to Sheikh Al Thani, it is customer satisfaction that binds these units along with a shared set of values and beliefs that each business unit is working for the good of the whole which includes, in addition to Milaha’s customers, its stakeholders and society. He continues, “The success of one unit contributes to the success of Milaha and the failure of one unit is a failure of Milaha. With that in mind, all our units are deeply committed to doing our very best with each and every client.” With this business philosophy, Milaha’s operating revenues increased by 14 percent in 2014 to QAR 2.6 billion from QAR 2.3 billion in 2013 . The operating profit for 2014 is QAR648 million compared to QAR644 million in 2013 and earnings per share of QAR9.23 (this was QAR8.36 in 2013). Commenting on their performance, Sheikh Al Thani says, “We have continued to build on 2013’s record results, and this is due to the solid foundation we have in place.”
In the opinion of Sheikh Al Thani, 2015 promises to be an interesting year. He adds that though global trends in energy prices and demand growth are leading to
volatility in many of the sectors in which Milaha participates, and there is a great deal of uncertainty as a result, “we are still optimistic about 2015, and we will, of course, seek to sustain our growth trajectory”. Sheikh Al Thani is confident that Qatar will continue to grow and invest in its long-term vision, which directly benefits the local business activities. “We also have an incredibly strong balance sheet, and our financial strength gives us the ability to take advantage of market conditions and explore new opportunities, whether through organic growth, new partnerships or acquisitions.” Given the growth that Qatar has seen and will likely see in the coming three years, in terms of gross domestic product growth and sustenance (if not improvement in the rates of growth), what new business prospects does Milaha foresee in the next three years? “Qatar’s economic future is bright and that will definitely have a positive impact on us. We have built strong foundations that will help us move forward, not just in Qatar, but on a regional and global level. Capitalising on our strong local and regional presence and our solid financial status, we will continue to seek new opportunities to achieve our mission of becoming a globally recognised player in the shipping and maritime services sector while, at the same time, strengthening our other already wellpositioned core businesses.”
10% QAR950 million
Operating profit QAR648 million
0.6% QAR644 million
14% QAR2.3 billion
The Edge | 55
English Arabic Focusing on the use of language in the Qatari workplace
feature story | workplace language
In Qatar, a state with 2.2 million inhabitants (according to the latest available statistics from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics) and, more importantly, one in which 85 percent of the population are expatriates, a single, unifying language is a crucial issue on multiple levels. For one, language shapes a large part of cultural identities, more so in a cosmopolitan setting. In the Qatar workplace, in which the use of English, the lingua franca, how does the 2012 Qatari Supreme Education Council decree that changed the medium of instruction in four of the colleges of Qatar University and the independent schools, from English to Arabic, stand up? And, asks Aparajita Mukherjee, how will it affect the linguistic preparedness of the labour market entrants?
here are voices both for and against the change from English to Arabic as the medium of instruction. Those who argue for the decree say that it is aimed at helping young Arab students preserve their identity and culture, especially given the country’s large expatriate population. But those who argue against the move have pointed out that one main concern is that students who study in Arabic would have trouble getting accepted into the cadre of prestigious international universities that have been set up in Qatar, because most of them teach in English. If that is the immediate impact, what about the longerterm consequences on the job market? Are students who graduate from these institutions adequately prepared for the professional world? The Edge spoke with experts to get their take on this change, and to gauge the impact it has had and will have on the overall linguistic preparedness of a student who merges into a workforce that presupposes English-language capabilities. Director of British Council Qatar, Martin Hope, says that this is clearly a challenge. In their experience, continues Hope, “we find that many students lack both the confidence and linguistic skills to operate successfully in English in the work environment. In particular, written skills (from basic e-mails to more formal reports) are inadequate and this has significant impact on their efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace.” Hope adds that with regard to speaking skills there is a broad
“Proficiency in English is not only critical within Qatar’s own economy, but for its potential to increasingly integrate with the global economy.” – David Jones, managing director of The Talent Enterprise.
Dr. Amal Al Malki, executive director, Translation and Interpreting Institute “wouldn’t narrow down job opportunities to language requirements, but it is a known fact that mastering at least two languages will be an added advantage to the candidate”.
Population of Qatar as of January 2015. 58 | The Edge
workplace language | feature story
spectrum. Some are able to participate in only the most basic interactions, while others can manage as long as the topic is familiar and the environment not too formal. Dr Amal Al Malki, executive director, Translation and Interpreting Institute, “wouldn’t narrow down job opportunities to language requirements, but it is a known fact that mastering at least two languages will be an added advantage to the candidate”. She is of the view that both English and Arabic languages in constant conversation would add value to building a global citizen, which is what any education system would want. David Jones, managing director of The Talent Enterprise, is of the opinion that while Arabic is clearly the national language in state education and in all aspects of the operation and employment within the State of Qatar, this is simply not the case within the private sector. In terms of Qatar’s total workforce, adds Jones, approximately 94 percent are non-Qataris, with English being the most common language of exchange. Jones adds: “While we fully believe that preserving the heritage and culture of the Arabic language is critical, proficiency in English is not only critical within Qatar’s own economy, but for its potential to increasingly integrate with the global economy more broadly.” Presenting the hirer’s perspective, Fahad Ismail HM Zainal, chief administration officer of Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA), says that a majority of graduate students in Qatar are bilingual, as Qatar University operates a highly accredited English Foundation Programme, which develops students’ English language proficiency levels. According to Professor Robert Bianchi, assistant professor, English, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU-Q), there is a disconnect between the national language and the language of globalisation and commerce here in Qatar. The implications are that either more emphasis needs to be placed on bilingual education so that Arabic and English can both be mastered, or else, laws will have to be put in place to prioritise Arabic over English in the market place, in shops and in society in general. “This second choice is likely to be the least popular because of Qatar’s ambitions to become a serious global player politically, economically and socially,” Bianchi adds. Speaking to The Edge on the sidelines
of the Sixth Annual Translation Conference held in Doha recently (and bringing in a wider Gulf Cooperation Council relevance to the debate on linguistic proficiency), Dr Hisham Jawad, translation programme coordinator – English Department at the College of Arts & Social Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, in Oman, says: “A diverse economy with a globalised dimension will, by default, demand graduates who are equipped with a fair bit of English language proficiency, the global language of science, technology and almost every aspect of life. Therefore, it becomes imperative that students develop some satisfactory level of proficiency in English so as to deliver efficiently in the marketplace.”
English language teaching
In the backdrop of the Supreme Education Council 2012 decree, the role of institutions that teach English language has become more crucial, especially as they cater for students who are entering the labour market. What would these institutions recommend to improve the linguistic skills of students in Qatar so that workplace transition becomes seamless? In the opinion of the director English language services, British Council Qatar, Amanda Ingram, “Learning a language takes time, dedication, and a motivating and skilled teacher. Qatari students need exposure to graded but authentic input in English from an early age, and language must always be presented within context.” Ingram adds that Qatari students need to be actively encouraged to participate fully in a communicative English classroom and their
Fahad Ismail H M Zainal, chief administration officer of Qatar Financial Centre Authority, says, “I don’t believe that linguistic skills are the major barrier to a harmonious workplace environment. In fact, it is my firm belief that a seamless transition in the workplace is only guaranteed by developing graduating students’ confidence and soft skills through internship graduate development programmes.”
The Edge | 59
Kawader (a five-month long development programme designed for Qatari students who have just graduated from university/college), which play a tremendous role in developing crucial business knowledge and building employees’ soft skills and confidence in a professional environment. (Image courtesy QFCA)
British Council Qatar, Amanda Ingram: “Learning a language takes time, dedication, and a motivating and skilled teacher. Qatari students need exposure to graded but authentic input in English from an early age, and language must always be presented within context.”
60 | The Edge
curriculum should balance productive skills (writing and speaking) and receptive skills (listening and reading). According to Ryan Peden, educator – corporate programmes, at Sidra Medical and Research Center, students need to show initiative and embrace opportunities to learn English before entering the workplace. This, to him, is especially important if their English learning opportunities are limited in school. Peden believes that students need to look for opportunities to use English in practical environments. He adds, ”Socially, this might mean joining a sports team or a club, where they know they can interact with other expatriates to practise their everyday use of English language. Students can also look for work placements or internships, like those organised by the Bedaya Center, to not only get work experience but also to gain experience in English-speaking working environments.” Zainal of QFCA has a different take. “I don’t believe that linguistic skills are the major barrier to a harmonious workplace environment,” he says. “In fact, it is my firm belief that a seamless transition in the workplace is only guaranteed by developing graduating students’ confidence and
soft skills through internship graduate development programmes.” He mentions development programmes such as Kawader (a five-month long development programme designed for Qatari students whom have just graduated from university/college), which play a tremendous role in developing crucial business knowledge and building employees’ soft skills and confidence in a professional environment. “Attending such programmes enables a seamless transition from the student life to the professional life,” adds Zainal.
Does the broad policy for Qatarisation in government departments and companies make local students better suited to public sector jobs? For Radhika Punshi, director of innovation at The Talent Enterprise, Qatarisation is a central tenet of the achievement of Qatar Vision 2030 “if we are to effectively achieve the transition towards a knowledge-based economy from the current energy-based economy”. The Talent Enterprise, she adds, advocates a broader-based approach to Qatarisation – Qatarisation 2.0 – which is a re-boot of
“A diverse economy with a globalised dimension will demand graduates who are equipped with English, the global language of science and technology.” – Dr. Hisham Jawad, Sultan Qaboos University. traditional approaches. Explaining the concept of Qatarisation 2.0, Punshi says: “We use a multi-dimension Qatarisation Index called ‘Ta’theer’, which focuses on sustainable advances in the productivity, progress, presence, positivity and positive role-modelling as a better measure of success than percentage of Qatari hires alone.” Punshi stresses that, along with focusing on technical and job-related skills, its critical to foster soft skills such as teamwork, communication,
Director of British Council Qatar, Martin Hope, says that this is clearly a challenge. In their experience, continues Hope, “we find that many students lack both the confidence and linguistic skills to operate successfully in English in the work environment. In particular, written skills (from basic emails to more formal reports) are inadequate and this has significant impact on their efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace.”
critical thinking, problem solving etcetera, as early as possible (including within K-12 education). According to Peden of Sidra Medical and Research Center, the larger Qatari workforce in public sector organisations is generally better equipped to adapt to these working environments with their native Arabic language. Having said that, Peden adds, “students who start their careers in government departments and companies should still look to develop their English language abilities, which can increase their career development prospects in the future, particularly if they wish to move to the private sector.”
Private sector opportunities
For the private sector career opportunities, English language is more of a nonAccording to Ryan Peden, educator – corporate programmes, at Sidra Medical and Research Center, students need to show initiative and embrace opportunities to learn English before entering the workplace.
negotiable, compared to the public sector. That being the case, does it exclude locals? Hope of British Council Qatar believes that there is no reason for locals to be excluded. The ability to communicate confidently and accurately in English is a key skill that can impact significantly on the opportunities a young person has throughout their life. He says that he is confident that parents, educators and policymakers will consistently prioritise English as part of the curriculum to ensure that young Qataris can compete successfully in the private sector and to secure the path to the achievement of Qatar Vision 2030. According to Jones of The Talent Enterprise, sustainable progress in the private sector cannot be achieved without the adequate representation of its local workforce in Qatar. He adds that all stakeholders, be it employers, educational institutions, policymakers or individuals themselves, need to do more in this regard. “There is no choice but to increase representation of Qatari nationals in the private sector, since employment within the public sector is already saturated within Qatar, and the biggest growth in future employment will come from the private sector. It is also important to recognise that the nature of private sector employment is also changing dramatically.” Assessing the current scenario of linguistic skills in the private sector both Zainal of QFCA and Dr Malki of the Translation and Interpreting Institute stress that locals are better suited in the private sector because of their bilingual skills. According to Dr Malki, “The workplace in Qatar is looking for just that.” The Edge | 61
Marcus Bailey, chief operating officer for the corporate affairs function and regional head of corporate affairs for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Standard Chartered, says: â€œReputation risk is becoming more and more important globally, not just in the financial sector but for any company. People are looking in, and making tougher decisions, based on what they want from a company. It also links very closely to ethics.â€?
62 | The Edge
corporate branding | business interview
“Reputation risk comes about from another risk failing in an organisation” Marcus Bailey, the chief operating officer for the corporate affairs function and regional head of corporate affairs for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Standard Chartered Bank, speaks exclusively with The Edge on how reputation risk is a key factor for any financial institution, especially post the financial crisis. by Aparajita Mukherjee
arcus Bailey is a communications practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience, ranging from The Walt Disney Company to the Lloyds Banking Group. For the past five years at Standard Chartered Bank, he has tried to balance the commercial aspect of banking with doing the right thing for the customer. Explaining the focus of his current assignment, Bailey says: “I think when you deal with people in a sales and service environment, you’ve historically had people who are very good at making money, but at the other end of the spectrum you have people like me who are used to trying to deliver amazing customer service experience, which came from my days at Disney. So now, I try to balance the two needs in the decision making that I do on a day-to-day basis.” The other thing that is quite important to Bailey is that in a business environment, one needs to rely on one’s understanding and appreciation of cultural diversities. “I’ve managed to travel to about 130 different countries around the world and what it has done at a personal level is to open my horizons and made me think about how different people have different needs and how you need to be flexible and think differently in your workplace to achieve the best result. So I try to bring that cultural learning from my personal experiences into the workplace because business, at the end of the day, is done culturally as well, especially in the region.”
In a survey on reputation risk released in late 2014, Deloitte has categorised reputation risk as a top strategic business risk. “Reputation risk is becoming more and more important globally,” says Bailey, “not just in the financial sector but for any company. People are looking in, and making tougher decisions, based on what they want from a company. It also links very closely to ethics. So people will say to you, ‘What are the ethics of that company? What is the conduct of that company and therefore how will you interact and behave with us?’” Bailey thinks that if one analyses the banking sector over the last five years, one will have seen share prices of organisations fluctuate. In some instances, investors have chosen which organisations they want to invest in, customers have picked who they want to bank with. All of these choices are based on how they perceive the organisations’ reputation as a result of the financial crisis and post financial crisis. “So it’s massively important,” adds Bailey. How does reputation risk make or break an institution? According to Bailey, “Reputation risk comes about from probably another risk failing in an organisation. So whether it’s your credit risk or managing your people inappropriately, not having the right conduct, not having the right processes, not servicing your clients in the right way or not interacting with your The Edge | 63
business interview | corporate branding
regulators and your external stakeholders in the right way, not managing your staff in the right way in terms of communication – it all builds up to if you don’t do those things correctly, you’re going to create massive reputation risk for yourself.” Bailey adds that when one refers to reputation risk, “it’s to do with anticipating and thinking about what’s going to happen in the future because if you’re dealing with something here and now, that’s either a crisis or it’s an immediate issue. Whereas you can do things, which can help you to manage your reputation risk by looking at it with a long-term view”. How does Standard Chartered Bank view reputation risk? “It links to the point that I just made there about trying to be anticipatory, thinking about what’s going to happen for the future and putting yourselves in the shoes of the stakeholder,” says Bailey, adding that, to him, the ultimate benchmark of delivering a great customer
Bailey tells The Edge, “The legal and compliance team are one of our day-to-day partners that we would work with to identify and address potential risks and it’s only going to get more important.”
64 | The Edge
experience, to him, is The Walt Disney Company. “To me,” he says, “The Walt Disney Company always puts itself in the shoes of the end-user and the consumer to be able to work out exactly what they really need. This thought chain would help us to think – ‘if this scenario comes up in the future, how will it affect relationships with regulators? The media? The clients? The investors? With staff?’ So whenever we consider reputational risks, you have to think of them with those different lenses on.”
Brand value and reputation
To Bailey, the relationship between safeguarding corporate reputation and keeping the institutional brand value intact is deep and the impact can be felt instantly. Explaining the depth of the equation, Bailey says, “It takes a very long time to build the profile of a brand and just one simple mistake can really damage what that brand stands for and people’s views of you, and especially in today’s world, in the day and age of social media, so much can happen so much more quickly and you just can’t control things in the way you might have been able to in the past.” And the interface between reputation risk and corporate governance? Standard Chartered Bank, for example, Bailey says, has a number of position statements about “the things we will and won’t do. So we have very clear positions on gambling, weapons, defence, environmental standards, human rights for example. By having those position statements, it helps us manage our risk as an organisation because if we were to participate in some of those activities that I’ve just talked about.” These activities, according to Bailey, can massively damage the reputation of an organisation. So by putting certain policies and principles in place, it helps manage reputation risks to a level that you feel is acceptable as an organisation, and actually you do get recognised by your clients for it. Reputation risk has a high degree of overlap with the legal and compliance functions in today’s financial institutions. Explaining the overlap, Bailey says, “The legal and compliance team are one of our day-to-day partners that we would work with to identify and address potential risks and it’s only going to get more important.” Bailey predicts that there is going to be
more focus on the legal and compliance functions in the near future too because there is “so much emerging regulation in the banking sector that we have to be prepared to have a much more robust relationship with our legal and compliance colleagues, to help them address all the points and the regulation that’s coming our way and understanding that if you can’t meet those requirements, then actually again, it’s going to become a huge risk”. At the functional level as well, Bailey thinks that as the corporate affairs function, they are responsible for internal communications, “where we have a massive role to understand and interpret what our legal and compliance team are telling us and helping our staff understand what’s going to happen and how they need to prepare”.
Five cardinal rules
On what a business entity needs to abide by irrespective of the sector, Bailey says that the first and foremost necessity is to anticipate. “You have to stop and think about what could happen. You may say certain things are never going to happen to our organisation, but you just don’t know. So anticipate.” Second, in Bailey’s view, is the crucial task of taking external stakeholders’ views on board. “Make sure you understand what’s coming up on their minds, share your expertise and your experience if you have some, but also look to see if you can reflect what they’re thinking about and help them secure answers from other places as well if you don’t have it yourself.“ Third, says Bailey, is practising inclusiveness, in the sense that managing organisational reputation is everybody’s responsibility. “Every member of staff is a first line of defence. So if your staff understand what risk is all about, if your staff understand what the differences between right
corporate branding | business interview
and wrong are, you’re going to be in a much better position compared to some of your competitors. So it’s really important that you train staff, educate them and make sure they understand what we call our code of conduct in our organisation.” Fourth would be to have clear objectives defined and codified. “An organisation has to be clear about what it is trying to achieve and, more importantly, what it is trying to prevent.? What are you trying to make everybody understand? And that’s again where our code of conduct would link in.” Finally, Bailey says, is staff empowerment to the extent that “we want and expect our staff to speak up. So we have built a culture where if people don’t think something is right, anybody, irrespective of the hierarchy, can challenge it and we have created a culture where everyone feels comfortable speaking up”.
What must corporates do to mitigate risks? • Anticipate: Stop and think about what could happen; • Take external stakeholders on board: Share viewpoints with them to match experience and expertise; • Practise inclusiveness: Every employee has a responsibility to safeguard the company; • Have clear objectives: Easiest is to have them codified; and • Empower employees: They should feel comfortable to speak up if they feel the need to.
“It takes a very long time to build the profile of a brand, and just one simple mistake can really damage what that brand stands for and people’s view of the brand.”
“We want and expect our staff to speak up. So we have built a culture where if people don’t think something is right, anybody, irrespective of the hierarchy, can challenge it and we have created a culture where everyone feels comfortable speaking up.” Bailey tells The Edge.
The Edge | 65
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Inside the minds of leading business figures
business insight Confidence in the future of the MENA insurance markets remains strong 70 On the sidelines of the ninth edition of Multaqa Qatar, in an exclusive conversation with The Edge, Akshay Randeva, director of strategy and business intelligence, Qatar Financial Centre Authority, talks about a range of issues. He discusses the Middle East and North Africa insurance markets, the evolution of insurance regulation and why takaful insurance has not picked up volumes, compared to conventional insurance in Qatar.
Contactless payments have been revolutionising the way people transact 68 In an exclusive interview with The Edge, Rahul Joshi, Visaâ€™s country manager for Qatar, talks about the trends in the card payments industry; what sets Visa, as a company apart from its peers; and what plans they have in the region and Qatar in 2015 and 2016.
Qatar Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani, who opened the ninth edition of Multaqa Qatar on March 9, 2015, emphasised the essential role of insurance in protecting businesses and society alike from the potential harm of sudden losses while also contributing to broadening and deepening capital markets, a role particularly relevant to the Middle East and North Africa region.
The Edge | 67
business insight | payment solutions
Contactless payments have been revolutionising the way people transact In an exclusive interview with The Edge, Rahul Joshi, Visa’s country manager for Qatar, talks about the trends in the card payments industry, what sets Visa, apart as a company from its peers, and what plans they have in the region and in Qatar in 2015 and 2016. Tell us about yourself – your educational background, your professional stints prior to Visa and what brought you to Visa. I joined Visa in 2012, as part of the Business Development team for Qatar and Oman. In 2014, I was made the country manager for Visa’s Qatar operations, and I am currently spearheading Visa’s growth in share and products in partnership with various banks in Qatar. My experience predominantly lies in the cards payment industry, having worked for over a decade in this field, with banks such as Barclays, Standard Chartered, ABN AMRO and ICICI Bank. I have an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Management Development Institute, one of the premier management institutes in India. What are the factors that, according to you, set Visa apart from other such companies? Visa is a global leader in electronic payments with a widereaching presence and impact in the industry. Our foremost differentiator is Visa’s strong identity and global brand, which our stakeholders – consumers, governments, merchants and financial institution clients – associate with trust, convenience, reliability and empowerment. As a brand, we strive to give consumers peace of mind, a sense of control over their transactions and the freedom to enjoy their lives by empowering them to have more meaningful experiences and achievements. We have secured this global acceptance and trust through Visa’s unique global payments processing platform – VisaNet – that has been the basis for our growth and innovation for over 50 years. VisaNet facilitates the secure transfer of value and information between each of our stakeholders. In addition, we offer our stakeholders access to advanced electronic payment solutions through a range of Visa-branded prepaid, debit and credit products and innovations that deliver greater choice, convenience and security. For financial institution clients, Visa offers superior products and value-added 68 | The Edge
propositions. While on the other hand, we ensure consumers enjoy the convenience of using our products at tens of millions of merchants worldwide, as part of our vision to be the best way to pay and be paid for everyone, everywhere. Tell us three top payment sector trends that have shaped the sector in the recent past. The electronic payments sector is seeing general improvement the world over in recent years. According to a study of over 50 countries (2008-2012) by Moody’s Analytics, commissioned by Visa and published in February 2013, consumer retail card payments alone grew by an average of 7.7 percent since 2003. In 2012, over 32 percent of consumer retail spending was found to be card based. This confirms the gradual consumer migration from traditional cash payments to electronic alternatives. Some of the drivers of this trend include government initiatives, in both developed and emerging markets, to go cashless, and effectively drive gross domestic product growth. The Moody’s Analytics report shows that government adoption of electronic payments – debit and credit card usage – contributed USD983 billion (QAR3.6 trillion) to the global economy between 2008 and 2012, while bringing more citizens into the financial mainstream. The new wave of technological innovation in electronic payments from mobile wallets to contactless payments is also driving a rise in consumer acceptance. Secure and convenient technology-driven solutions that allow for easier circulation of money are proving to be beneficial for all segments of society around the world. Where do you see scope for improvements in the sector in the region? Electronic payments in the Middle East have taken a turn for the better in recent years. Even so, there is scope for
payment solutions | business insight
“The growing affluence of Qatar’s residents points at the possibility of the market emerging as one of the highest card spenders in the region.”
Rahul Joshi, Visa country manager for Qatar, told The Edge, “Secure and convenient technologydriven solutions that allows for easier circulation of money are proving to be beneficial for all segments of society around the world.”
improvement, especially in terms of changing mindsets and helping consumers see the benefits of card purchases. This translates into raising card acceptance in new sectors with high potential for card payments, such as small merchants and public transport networks. In addition, there needs to be greater intervention to bring about conversion of cash payments to card purchases at the point of sale in merchant locations.
helping to improve customer experiences through innovative, seamless payment methods. For example, one of the latest innovations, Visa payWave, enables greater speed and convenience at checkout, which helps in increasing customer loyalty and sales. In addition, we have launched the Visa Explore mobile app in this region, which connects cardholders to all merchants that offer Visa deals and privileges, which adds to consumer engagement.
Where does Qatar figure in your corporate plans? What is the market size of Qatar as far as Visa goes? Qatar is certainly high in priority in terms of Visa’s engagement in the region, especially given the fact that Visa card spending is on a definite growth path in the market. The scope for rolling out innovative payment technologies is also great in Qatar, as it enjoys high penetration of online consumers and smartphone users who are open to adapting new, progressive forms of payment. The growing affluence of Qatar’s residents additionally points at the possibility of the market emerging as one of the highest card spenders in the region.
If you were to talk of Visa’s regional plans for 2015 and 2016, what would you say? Over the next two years, Visa will primarily focus on driving new technologies and innovation in the region. Making a Visa payment is no longer limited to a plastic card at a physical retailer, but possible everywhere – with mobile devices, at kiosks, in subways and buses, and even for home deliveries. At our core, Visa aims to support our clients to offer consumers a safe, simple and consistent purchasing experience, regardless of where they are and what device they are using. Contactless payments have been revolutionising the way people transact across the world and Visa will be looking to bring this to the Middle East region through Visa payWave. Visa payWave is becoming the norm at many merchant locations worldwide, especially at fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and public transport, but this trend is still to fully take off in the Middle East. We are positive that greater confidence in Near-Field Communication technology will change this perception in the near future.
What do you tell merchants and financial institutions when you are entering into a tie up with them? Why should they opt for Visa and not any other? Visa offers the promise of safe, secure and convenient payments across the globe. We have charted out our successes by raising the bar in terms of innovation in payment solutions. For merchants, we guarantee immediate payments, besides
The Edge | 69
business insight | insurance
Confidence in the future of MENA insurance markets remains strong
Akshay Randeva, director of strategy and business intelligence, Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA), speaks with The Edge in an exclusive conversation on the sidelines of the ninth edition of Multaqa Qatar. He discusses the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) insurance markets, the evolution of insurance regulation, and why Takaful Insurance has not picked up volumes, compared to conventional insurance in Qatar.
Tell us about the event Multaqa and how it has evolved in the past nine editions. Multaqa Qatar has become the MENA region’s flagship conference for the risk and insurance industry. Held on March 9 and 10, 2015 in Doha, Qatar, the ninth Multaqa Qatar was attended by a record of almost 800 delegates, about half of them C-Suite executives. Delegates came from roughly 40 different countries. Delegates met to debate the current trends and developments in the marketplace but also took business decisions which in one way or another may impact the future course of the industry in our region and possibly even beyond. The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) governor HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani opened the two-day conference, co-hosted by the QFCA and the QCB. In addition, it featured keynote addresses from Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s, Karel van Hulle, associate professor at the faculty of economics and business at the University of KU Leuven and Giles Ward, regional president, ACE Eurasia and Africa, and many distinguished panellists from the industry. What is the general insurance outlook in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Qatar, as per the MENA Insurance Barometer? The GCC and Qatar are not surveyed separate from the overall MENA region. Confidence in the future of the MENA insurance markets remains strong, despite ultra-competitive global and regional insurance markets and economic headwinds from falling oil prices. Seventy percent of executives polled expect regional premiums to outgrow gross domestic product (GDP), only slightly down from 76 percent a year ago. Survey participants are particularly bullish about the personal lines business, which, in addition to compulsory insurance requirements, benefits from regulatory action. Over the next 12 months, sliding oil prices are not expected to have any material adverse impact on infrastructure 70 | The Edge
“Over the next 12 months, sliding oil prices are not expected to have any material adverse impact on infrastructure and construction projects in the Gulf,” said Akshay Randeva, director of strategy and business intelligence, QFCA.
insurance | business insight
and construction projects in the Gulf. Insurance prospects for North Africa have improved on the back of a political stabilisation in Egypt and Tunisia. Participants continue to consider the region’s strong economic and direct insurance market growth as its most important current strength, followed by a massive pipeline of major infrastructure and construction projects and the region’s relatively moderate natural catastrophe exposure. Personal lines are viewed as the key future opportunity of MENA insurance markets, due to population growth, legislation and partially improving rates. The prospect of additional major infrastructure and construction projects in the Gulf region ranks second. Low penetration levels are the third most frequently mentioned opportunity. For the wider MENA region, the average share of premiums (non-life and life) in regional GDP is about 1.3 percent, compared with 6.5 percent for the world as a whole.
“Only 21 percent of participants in the MENA Insurance Barometer 2015 expect Takaful insurance to outgrow total insurance premiums in the next 12 months.”
What is the reason that life insurance has not taken off in the GCC? Why cannot there be life insurance for expatriates? There are a multitude of different reasons. In countries where life insurance penetration is high, the products are usually incentivised through tax benefits as policy holders enjoy a tax benefit on the savings of a life policy. In the GCC, expatriates do not enjoy this tax incentive.With most life policies are based on long durations, extending mostly beyond the [initially intended] stay of the expatriates in the GCC. Many policy holders will thus rather underwrite a life policy in their home country, to enjoy the tax benefits during their work-life back in their home country. Finally, the life industry, which is serving the region, has to develop and provide products, which take into account the life policy and tax regulation of the expatriates in their home country to determine how the savings are treated and taxed upon the policy holder’s return. That might vary considerably from home country to home country and thus create a considerable complexity, which does not encourage the development of life policies in the GCC for expatriates.
What role does the Barometer envisage for brokers? As in 2014, intermediaries are expected to be the fastestgrowing distribution channel over the next 12 months. Brokers are believed to benefit from the growing complexity of cover and increasing need for expert advice, going beyond a purely transactional role. However, emerging regulations, including minimum capital requirements, could herald some consolidation in the brokerage sector.
Compared with conventional insurance, how well does Takaful do in the region? Only 21 percent of participants in the MENA Insurance Barometer 2015 expect Takaful insurance to outgrow total insurance premiums in the next 12 months, similar to the findings of the 2014 Barometer. However, the share of those predicting an underperformance of the segment has decreased from 32 percent to 22 percent. This slightly more favourable overall assessment of the prospects of Takaful reflects the more upbeat outlook for personal lines where Takaful companies can most effectively compete. Are there lessons that Takaful insurance in the region has learnt from Malaysia? Many executives interviewed continue to feel that Takaful as provided in many MENA markets offers no genuine differentiation and does not even live up to the concept of mutuality given conflicting interests of policy holders and shareholders. However, most survey participants seem to agree that the principle of Takaful, if applied properly, is valid and promising, as demonstrated, for example, by some Asian markets such as Malaysia.
How well developed is the regional reinsurance market? In the MENA Reinsurance Barometer 2014, interviewees were asked about the estimated split between Western, Eastern and regional sources of reinsurance capacity. On average, Western reinsurers are believed to boast a market share of about 50 percent. Based on the executives’ estimates, Asian and regional reinsurers accounted for approximately 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of the market. These estimates matched the prior year’s findings. In the MENA region, about 30 percent of non-life insurance premiums are ceded to reinsurance companies. Cession rates in the GCC countries still tend to be highest, at an average of 37 percent. Even though cession rates in the GCC have been declining, they remain high compared with other countries of similar wealth and the global average of about 10 percent. Where do you peg the evolution of the insurance regulation here? What are the next stages of regulatory changes? The MENA Insurance Barometer found that 49 percent of respondents believe the overall state of insurance regulation in the region to be inadequate, slightly down from the previous survey. The most frequently mentioned shortcomings continue to include a lack of solvency margins, not to mention risk-based solvency rules, insufficient minimum capital requirements, as well as a general lack of cohesion, transparency, consultation and implementation. However, most executives acknowledge that significant progress is being made. In addition to and following the example of Saudi Arabia and other countries, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are committed to bringing their respective regulatory environments in line with the requirements of a modern insurance market. Furthermore, broker regulations are about to be introduced, in the UAE for example, which is viewed positively by most interviewees given the increasing role of intermediaries and their perceived contribution to price competition. The Edge | 71
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product & reviews
he new Porsche Cayenne GTS boasts a 3.6-litre V6 bi-turbo engine, a performance-oriented enhancement of the new power unit presented in the Cayenne S with lower consumption. Compared to the previous model with a V8 naturally aspirated engine, power output rises by 20 horse power (hp) to 440 hp and torque by 85 Newton metres (Nm) to 600 Nm, while fuel consumption goes down by up to 0.9 l/100 kilometres (km). The Cayenne GTS accelerates from zero to 100 kilometres per hour (km/h) in 5.2 seconds, or just 5.1 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package. Top speed is 262 km/h. As standard it has a sports exhaust system, which provides the familiarly meaty GTS sound. The Cayenne GTS also features the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) damping system, standard steel-spring suspension
and the brakes from the Cayenne Turbo with 390-millimetre discs on the front axle (358 millimetres at the back), inclusive of distinctive red brake callipers. As standard the Cayenne GTS it has the turbo nose section with large air intakes and the Sport Design package, including more contoured side sills and wheel arch extensions. The latter, like the roof spoiler and lower rear of the vehicle, are painted in the car body colour. In addition there is the new eightspeed Tiptronic S with Auto Stop/ Start and coasting functions, which also include, for instance, the bi-xenon main headlights with four-point LED daytime driving lights, the multifunction sports steering wheel with paddle switches and the automatic boot lid. Inside there are eight-way electrically adjustable GTS sports seats in leather/Alcantara upholstery fitted as standard. The interior GTS package
is optionally available in carmine red or rhodium silver with rev counter face, decorative stitching, headrest lettering and safety belts in contrasting colour. The engine used in the new Cayenne, the new base model for the GTS, is the familiar 3.6-litre V6 naturally aspirated engine, delivering 300 hp. It accelerates the Cayenne from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds â€“ 7.6 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package, 0.2 seconds faster than before. At 230 km/h, top speed matches the level of the previous model. Like all new Cayenne models it benefits from the general efficiency measures, such as coasting, auto stop/start function and thermal management, as a result of which fuel consumption drops in comparison to the previous model by 0.7 l/100 km to 9.2 l/100 km. That equates to CO2 emissions of 215 gasoline per kilometre (g/km), thus 21 g/km lower than before.
The Edge | 73
products & reviews
Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less ‘Distinguishing vital few from trivial many’ is the crux of Essentialist: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Written by Greg McKeown, the book provides an essentialist guide to life – whether personal or professional. Focusing our energies on the most important things, the author writes, can help individuals have a better quality of life. What makes any element of life a priority, he adds, is based on a person’s strengths and aspirations. Opposed to the philosophy of having more in life, the book supports the concept of ‘less is more’; making things better by subtracting, and seeing boundaries as liberating. While essentialism is about identifying and focusing on the vital, it is equally about identifying and eliminating the trivial, which requires saying no.
Applying the essentialist philosophy on a business or corporate environment, as an employee, one should prioritise purposefully to avoid their seniors, colleagues and clients prioritising things for them. Similarly, an essentialist approach would require an individual exploring more options before committing to a request or opportunity. Contrarily, a non-essentialist would treat most opportunities as equal. Spread across 237 pages, the book presents an interesting read coupled with models summarising the ideas discussed from chapter to chapter. While it starts with a basic model of essentialism where essentialists and non-essentialists can be differentiated on the basis of what they think, do and get, the book ends with a comprehensive model. A concluding table gives a snapshot on two ends of the essentialism spectrum, based on mindset, talent, strategy, empowerment, communication, accountability, and result, etcetera. With an essentialist approach to life, the author says, “Everything changes when we give ourselves permission to be more selective in what we choose to do.” On the contrary, “When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless.”
Available at Virgin Megastores in Doha.
The Dark Net - Inside the digital underworld Have you heard of Tor? Or The Onion Router? No, then you almost certainly will know nothing about The Dark Net, even though you might have heard the term. What is it exactly? Basically, through the magic of encryption and re-routing server data it is a deeper layer of the Internet where one can set up, visit, communicate and transact with dodgy websites and other web presences that are too controversial or downright illegal for the comparatively innocuous world wide web and Gmail that most of us are familiar with. The Dark Net is the virtual rabbit hole, a dangerous and exciting place that author Jamie Bartlett crawled into in order to bring what goes on their into the light. Early in the book he warns the reader that they might not like what he found, as the dark net is home to all manner of depravity akin to a Dantesque Inferno. Pornography, legions of cyber trolls and bullies, religious and political activists, and illegal traffickers of people, and animals, drugs or whatever contraband takes your fancy, populate this sick and depraved world. Though one might think it is not all that easy to enter this place, which nobody, least of all Bartlett himself, leaves quite the same, it is, he writes, surprisingly easy to do so. All you need is a free downloadable browser. Interestingly, the author began researching The Dark Net when he was looking into the covert activities of Islamic terror groups such 74 | The Edge
as Al Qaeda. What he found out about this dark corner of cyber space intrigued him so much he kept digging, eventually resulting in this book published last year, which he says is to the best of his knowledge the most comprehensive volume of its kind documenting the disgusting devilment to be found here, including the infamous Silk Road drug trafficking network. Bartlett begins with a historical insight into how the subversive side of the Internet came to be and then goes into often disturbing detail regarding the online sex shows, dieting sites, transhumanism and other insane aspects of humanity, buried from plain sight, but as real as can be. Engaging and fascinating, but, like the real and virtual thing, The Dark Net is not for the fainthearted or deeply conservative.
Available at Virgin Megastores in Doha.
products & reviews
MICROSOFT LUMIA 532 Microsoft’s quad core Lumia 532 smartphone is now available in Qatar, bringing with it the latest Windows Phone 8.1 capabilities, packaged with special limited-time offers (like free movies and TV series in the Box TV and icflix apps). The big drawcards, however, are the virtual assistant, Cortana, and – for users who want to get some work done – the full Microsoft Office suite, which comes pre-installed.
SAMSUNG SE790C While it was designed with designers and architects in mind, Samsung’s new SE790C curved monitor should catch the eye of anybody who spends their days staring at a computer screen. With a curved build that’s designed to naturally align with the curvature of the human eye, the SE790C offers vibrant picture quality with a 21:9 aspect ratio and ULTRA-WQHD resolution of 3440 by 1440 pixels.
BANG & OLUFSEN BEOPLAY H8 Wireless headphones tend to be big, unwieldy and short on battery power. B&O Play’s new BeoPlay H8 headphones aim to change that, with a lightweight build (they weigh just 255g), and up to 14 hours of battery lifetime. Added to that is an easy-to-use aluminium touch interface, along with Active Noise Cancellation to ensure Bang & Olufsen’s signature sound quality.
BREMONT MARTINBAKER MBIII This wristwatch combines the elegant watchmaking tradition of Bremont with the hard-as-nails aviation heritage of MartinBaker (who supply 70 percent of the world’s air forces with fighter ejection seat technology). Rigorously tested for altitude, shock, vibration and temperature extremes, the MBIII is proven to survive temperatures as low as -40° C and as high as +40°C, and can simultaneously keep the time in two difference time zones.
App Reviews Expedia
By M. Iqbal
This app promises to make your business trip planning easy and hassle free by letting you search for flights and hotel rooms in advance and book them from the convenience of your phone. The app boosts a substantial database of hotels and airlines, letting you search from more than 435,000 hotels and 400 airlines worldwide. The polished interface is neatly laid out and is designed to help you get done with your planning with the least hassle possible – you can be done in as little as 30 seconds.
Android users already had access to Google’s minimalist but powerful Calendar app. But the search giant has brought its calendar app to Apple’s mobile platform, complete with support for Exchange and iCloud. You get all the features you would expect from a Calendar app, wrapped in Google’s new Material design, with its focus on fluidity and simplicity. The one place where Google Calendar really shines is its ability to share schedules with others, allowing them to see when you are free and work around it. This works especially well for organisations.
The focus in Feedly is on getting you news from your chosen sources. For each item, you get a picture on the left accompanied by a headline and the opening sentence. Tapping will either open the news item in its entirety or show you a preview, depending on the source. The app allows you to save articles to read later, which is a handy feature. You can also share Feedly items on all major social platforms.
The Edge | 75
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