Global Citizen 12

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Aston Martin Dubai, Emaar Boulevard Plaza, Tower One, Downtown Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 4521222,

Contents Business 14 FIRST WORD

CEO vision for 2013

16 INVESTMENT DESTINATION Is Switzerland the right safe haven?

18 development

CARE CEO Helene Gayle


Roger Federer exclusive

26 Motorsports

Saudi’s Prince AlFaisal

30 Global Citizenship

20 18

High taxes lead to second citizenships

36 Business

Entertainer CEO on expansion

38 Entrepreneurship

Turning ideas into viable business

40 profile

Emirati opera singer


44 Entrepreneurship

One business booms in Egypt

46 Business

Taking brands abroad


40 Enjoy the convenience of having Global Citizen delivered

Fresh perspectives on the news and people that matter in the Middle East

6 GC January / February 2013

right to your door. We deliver worldwide to subscribers so be the first to get your hands on the latest issue.

lifestyle 48 gizmos and gadgets


The latest on the market

50 Auto

Aston Martin celebrates 100 years

52 Yachts

Christian Grande’s Picchio Boat


Captivating Cape Town

58 Horology Romain Jerome

60 Hotels


Wellness Retreats

64 Valentine’s

Perfect gifts for the ladies


66 culture

The Archive opens in Safa Park

68 art

Central Asian gallery debuts

70 Little Black Book Annemarie Jacir’s Amman

72 Dining

Best of UAE’s Asian cuisine

76 Health & Fitness 14 day weight loss plan

78 fashion

Utilitarian Chic

80 Watches



Effortless timepieces

70 80

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GLOBAL CITIZEN editorial DIRECTOR Ritu Upadhyay - Senior editor Natasha Tourish - Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid - ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - CONTRIBUTORS Mona Alami, Sara Hamdan, Heba Hashem, Shane Philips, Nausheen Noor, Tahira Yaqoob, Matt Hamilton

The Epitome of a Global Citizen There have been many profoundly great athletes in our time and Roger Federer is, no doubt, among the top. In our exclusive interview we look at what makes him one of the most well rounded stars, going beyond his contribution to sports to discuss the other roles in his life: philanthropist, father and businessman. The globe trotting tennis champion shares his perspectives on living a balanced life, on and off the court. We also introduce you to an unexpected sportsman from the region, Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal. Senior Editor Natasha Tourish met up with the champion racecar driver during a practice session in Dubai to talk about everything from motorsports to women driving in Saudi. Read more on page 27. On page 30, we investigate the growing trend among the wealthy of taking second citizenships in order to avoid paying high taxes in countries such as France. In this issue we also bring you an expanded lifestyle section, which is focused on wellness. From the latest home gym equipment to a 14 day fitness plan and a round up of the world’s best health resorts, we share ways to help you stay on track with your personal wellness goals for 2013. Enjoy our first issue of the year and as always, we welcome your feedback.

Printed by Raidy printing group MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE NEOPROMO FZ LLC Dubai Media City, Building 6, Ground Floor, Office G08, PO Box 118368, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 391 4842 Fax: +971 4 391 8022 Email:

REACH MEDIA FZ LLC publisher Armand Peponnet Advertising SUBSCRIPTION Dubai Media City, Building 8, Ground Floor, Office 87, PO Box 502068, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 385 5485 Email: Copyright 2013 Reach Media. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of Reach Media. Where opinion is expressed it is that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the publisher or Global Citizen. All information in Global Citizen is checked and verified to the best of the publisher’s ability, however the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistake or omission enclosed in the publication.


RITU UPADHYAY Editorial Director

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Official portrait of Roger Federer for Moët & Chandon - Photographer Patrick Demarchelier c Moët & Chandon. Clothes by Dior.

Nausheen Noor

Shane Phillips

Heba Hashem

is a freelance journalist and the author of the food blog, Dubai Bites. She is a frequent contributor to various publications including BBC Good Food, Esquire and Ahlan! Gourmet. Prior to moving to Dubai she worked in the nonprofit management sector in New York.

is a leading Executive Search Consultant in the region and Managing Director of Shane Phillips Consultants, a local boutique search firm. Shane hosts his own show on Dubai Eye 103.8 every Thursday at 8pm called “Eye On Careers.”

is a freelance journalist based between Abu Dhabi and Cairo. She reports regularly on the solar and nuclear power sectors for CSP Today, and Nuclear Energy Insider. She has a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies from Middlesex University.

Matthew Hamilton

Sara Hamdan

Tahira Yaqoob

is an American writer based in LA. His writing has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The National, and Monocle, among other publications. He first came to the Middle East fresh out of college to teach Iraqi refugee children in Jordan before returning to the US to pursue a career in journalism.

is a Dubai-based stringer for the New York Times. She also regularly contributes to Rolling Stone and Variety magazine. Fluent in four languages including Arabic, Sara has lived and worked in the region for five years – two as a banker with Merrill Lynch and three in the media industry.

is a freelance journalist with 18 years’ experience in newspapers and magazines. She spent seven years at the Daily Mail as a news reporter and then deputy showbusiness editor before moving to the UAE in 2008, where she worked as a senior features writer at The National for four years before freelancing full time.

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It’s not just about succession planning and tax mitigation. The Sovereign Group are delighted to be a finalist in the “2012 Global Angel Awards” for outstanding corporate philanthropy work. Sovereign’s charitable art foundation has to date raised over US$3m for underprivileged children in Asia and Africa. Contact John Hanafin or Nicholas Cully for more information on setting up your own Foundation.

T: +971 4 448 6010 | E:


Sovereign Group Offices - Abu Dhabi, Bahamas, Bahrain, British Virgin Islands, China, Curacao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dubai, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Malta, Mauritius, The Netherlands, Portugal, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turks & Caicos Islands, United Kingdom and Uruguay.


O n e y e a r a f t e r t h e t r a g i c d i s a s t e r, the Costa Concordia still sits half submerged in the harbor in Giglio, Italy where it ran aground. Hundreds of people are working around the clock to secure it. Officials hope to have the ship u p r i g h t b y l a t e J u n e o r e a r l y J u l y.

the Big Picture


P e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m t h e to p



Top executives in the region share their global market predictions for the year ahead. By shane phillips

Peter Middlebrook

CEO of Geopolicity and CEO of The Arab Investor

"2013 will be another mixed bag year with continued turbulence in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon counterbalanced by strong growth in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi and Kuwait. Emerging markets will continue to outperform all other economies,"

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first word

Jaafar Aweidah

CEO, Bin Jabr Group

"Overall the volatility in the international markets will remain, in addition to the fluctuation of the oil prices due to political instability in the region. The financial and economic crises in Europe will have a great impact on the international markets. There will be slow growth in China, Brazil and India, and the impact of the US debts will reflect on the international financial markets."

Matein Khalid

Chief Investment Officer, Fortis Capital

"T he f i nanci al m ark e ts w i ll w i t n es s s eis m ic sh i f t s i n 2013. T he el ec t io n o f L D P P r i m e Minister Shi nz o Ab e has t r i g g er ed a g l o ba l r u n on the y e n. . . t he gl o b al cur r en c y w a r s h a v e n ow begun. J ap an's Ni kke i D o w s t oc k m a r k et in d ex co ul d w el l r i s e 3 0 % in 2 0 1 3 . "

Douglas McWilliams

CEO of Center for Economic and Business Research

“Under the surface I see two themes: First, the increasing importance of cheap energy in the US and second, the acceleration of the sector based on the applications of technology - Internet marketing etc.�

January / February 2013 GC 15

investment destination



Banking confidentiality, political stability, and a liberal economic system have made Switzerland a premier offshore haven for Middle Eastern money. But with increasing competition from fast-developing Asian nations, international pressure on the country’s asset protection laws, will Switzerland uphold its high profile status? By Heba Hashem

s a crackdown on tax evasion pushes American and European clients to pull funds from the world’s largest cross-border financial centre, Swiss banks are becoming more dependent on wealthy Middle East and North African customers. “Switzerland recently witnessed some political pressure from the EU and the US in respect to the existing bank secrecy law and will need to make some adaptations around this issue in order to refurbish the damaged reputation,” Zafar Khan, Chief Executive MENA Region of Falcon Private Bank, tells Global Citizen.

to 560bn francs in 2011, although the country’s share of this wealth is coming under pressure, as rivals try to capitalize on moves by the Swiss government to freeze assets of the toppled rulers of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, and the withdrawal of U.S. funds. “It is no secret that in the last couple of years, investment hubs like Singapore,

MENA assets expand The instability created by the Arab Spring is spurring Middle East investors to head to the Alpine country as they have been doing for the last 50 years. To catch this wave, Swiss private banking goliaths UBS, Credit Suisse Group and Bank Sarasin & Cie are seeking to maintain their advantage by establishing a direct presence in the Arabian Gulf. Falcon Private Bank, Pictet & Cie, Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild

Banking secrecy backfires In January, Wegelin & Co., Switzerland’s oldest bank, announced it was permanently closing and had to pay $57.8m in fines after pleading guilty to allowing 100 Americans to evade their taxes. The bank was accused of hiding $1.2bn from the Internal Revenue Service for almost 10 years. Nevertheless, Switzerland’s assets from the MENA region climbed 14 percent Swiss banking giant UBS are looking to expand into the Arabian Gulf.

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Hong Kong and Shanghai have gained in importance on a global scale. These hubs are mainly profiting from the growth perspectives in Asia and this trend is expected to continue,” explains Khan. “Still, Switzerland has many traditional strengths like political and economic stability, a historical strong positioning in private banking, a high education standard and an above average client service level. These factors and an increased focus on asset management capabilities will keep Switzerland middle term in a good position to remain competitive,” he stresses.

investment destination

and Mirabaud & Cie, have all opened offices in the UAE in the last five years. Operating for more than four decades, Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank was acquired in 2009 by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments, a global investment group that is 95% owned by Abu Dhabi government. Since this acquisition, the bank has grown to a total size of $12bn in assets under management, with nearly $1.2bn of that in the MENA region. From a customer’s perspective, dealing with a bank that combines the expertise of Swiss private banking with the security and backing of Abu Dhabi government is considered as an advantage. Falcon is currently seeking to invest between $500m and $4bn to grow its emerging market business and is evaluating several banks. Unlike the majority of Swiss legal entities, which are subject to a flat tax rate of 8.5 percent on profit, a Swiss holding company – whether local or a permanent foreign establishment – whose primary purpose is to hold and manage longterm equity investments, is exempt from all cantonal and communal income taxes – with the exception of income from Swiss real estate. Investment channels “The easiest way of investing in Switzerland is either through an actively managed fund, through Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) on the Swiss Market Index (SMI) or the SMIM, and besides that, through single investments in stocks or bonds,” Khan points out. ETFs enable investors to easily purchase a broad basket of assets in a single security, while the iShares MSCI Switzerland ETF, a collective of the country’s most influential companies,

"It is no secret that in the last couple of years, investment hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai have gained in importance on a global scale... Switzerland has many traditional strengths." and the CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust, both offer extensive exposure to Swiss stocks. Alternatively, investors could purchase individual company stocks trading on US exchanges through Switzerland’s American Depository Receipts. A third option would be to invest directly in Swiss stocks through the country’s two

main stock exchanges: the SIX Swiss Exchange – a collection of Switzerland’s largest stocks – and Berne eXchange – which caters to small and medium sized companies. Risks in Switzerland Despite Switzerland’s popularity, investors should be aware of a few risks. Since the country’s safe haven status is

no secret, this means that Swiss Francs and securities could rapidly become overvalued during times of crisis. Such situations may even lead to dramatic measures by the country’s central bank, as seen with its 2012 decision to tie the franc’s value to the euro to control its rise. Yet even after the move, many trust a devalued franc over a fragile euro or dollar. Rising real estate costs While Swiss consumer prices have slightly decreased in recent months, the housing market has shown many signs of overheating, as property demand, house prices, and mortgage volumes continue to rise. Rental rates are also rising, from 2001 to 2011, apartment prices rose by a staggering 62.1 percent. Low mortgage rates are among the reasons behind the soaring demand for real estate. But most of all, the Swiss Federal government, after restricting property sale to foreigners, has allowed non-resident foreigners to own, creating new demand. As Swiss banks continue to set up in the Middle East and with the lifting of restriction controls over foreign property ownership, Switzerland’s status as an offshore financial haven will remain a challenge that is hard to match for competitors.

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Changing the dialogue on Poverty Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE International, talks to Global Citizen about how technology and the private sector are impacting the development world. By Nausheen Noor

CARE says technology is key to improving people’s water rights.

ARE was established in 1945 to provide relief in the form of supplies to post WWII ravaged Europe. Thus the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe and the CARE Package was born. Over the years the organization has adapted to shifting global challenges, abandoned the acronym and emerged as one of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations dedicated to fighting the underlying causes of poverty. “Our task is really to put ourselves out of business,” explains CARE CEO, Helene Gayle. “There are a lot of organizations that focus on basic human needs-food, water and shelterbut it’s not enough to get people water if ultimately they don’t have access to potable water and water rights,” explains

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Gayle. “So our job doesn’t stop when we get commodities to people. It’s when we are able to change what prevented them from getting [the water] to begin with...” Middle East The Middle East has undergone huge changes in recent years and the fallout of the Arab Spring has resulted in some pressing development issues. Gayle cites youth unemployment and the needs of girls and women as the most urgent. “Youth unemployment is a huge issue in this region where such a large portion of the population is young. It is going to have a big impact economically… One also needs to ensure that girls and women are adequately engaged in society and allowed to meet their full potential. This has a huge impact on how societies

develop…we are looking at how to build a strong civil society that was really a process of the change that the Arab Spring represents.” There is also immediate concern for the needs of Syrian refugees who are fleeing to Jordan in increasing numbers to escape the conflict-riddled nation. With the cold winter months looming, there is an urgent need for basic shelter, blankets, and other amenities so that “people are not further compromised or made more vulnerable.” Self-sufficient communities In addition to relief efforts, the organization has a number of development projects in the region. Among its triumph is a partnership with Dannon, the yogurt company, in


Egypt. Dannon has furnished state of the art milk collection centers within rural communities where individuals own one or two cows. Whereas previously these people depended on unreliable middlemen to sell their milk, this collaboration has established a steady source of income for the community and taught people how to increase their production. In turn, the operation has been incorporated into Dannon’s supply chain, currently providing 25% of their source of milk in Egypt and they expect to bring that up to 40%. “They think this is one of the best projects they have,” says Gayle. “They do not need to ship or transport it, it’s right at the source…I also think it is a harbinger of the kinds of ways development will be done…It’s not about grants or aid, it’s about long term development systems and sustainable sources that incorporate the NGO or public sector and the private sector working hand-in-glove.” A new era of development With the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals only two years away, Gayle reflects on the overall progress they’ve made so far. “I think that we are moving to a different era-absolute poverty around the world has been reduced.” Despite concerns that have emerged in the last decade including growing income disparity and climate change, Gayle seems positive about the future and says the role of technology and the private sector are indispensible to the process. “Look at the number of people with cell phones just in the last 10 years. Now people who live miles away from a financial centre can get their meager savings into a bank because they use electronic money. A health worker is able to get information out to women in the most remote areas of the world. There’s a lot that’s happening and in the next 10 years we’ll see technology be such an enabler that I believe we’ll be able to leapfrog.”

"There’s a lot that’s happening and in the next 10 years we’ll see technology be such an enabler that I believe we’ll be able to leapfrog."

Women in remote areas in Jordan now have access to reliable food sources.

Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE International

Gayle also predicts that the private sector will have an even bigger part. “Global businesses are now understanding that there is a double bottom line, that they can do well in business by also doing good,” she adds. “We are seeing a whole new revolution in the way that private capital is engaging in a new arena – all of those things that make me feel like we have some real opportunities now that we didn’t have. We’ll still be talking 20 years from now about how there will be some people poorer than others, but I think it will be a different dialogue. We just have to be smart about the way we do it.”

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Federer's Reach His drive, grace and elegance on and off the tennis court have led many to call him one of the greatest athletes of all time. And the star’s influence goes far beyond sports. GC talks to Roger Federer. By ritu upadhyay

cover story

n an age where so many of the world’s top athletes have been marred by scandal, Roger Federer has emerged as one of the most well rounded stars. The 31 year old Swiss tennis champion has racked up more titles than any other tennis player. Federer sat down with Global Citizen’s Editorial Director, Ritu Upadhyay, to discuss the game, family life, his charitable foundation and plans after retirement.

What does it feel like to be called the “greatest tennis player of all time”? (Smiles) The expectations create a lot of pressure. Just being an athlete is a lot of pressure because you’re judged by so many people…the fans, the coaches, the team, yourself. But trying to live up to that can actually help you to play your very best and reach levels you never thought you could before. I like to be under the lights and under pressure. The fans support in a full stadium can create that kind of atmosphere. During practice I can never play so well; the thrill of the matches is amazing. I’ve always been more of a match player than a practice player. How do you manage to stay calm? It took some years before I was really relaxed on the court because I was somewhat of a hothead early on in my

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career, but I eventually learned that controlling my emotions and staying relaxed and focused during a match helped me to conserve energy and allow me to focus on each and every point. What would you say has been your most spectacular point? I’ve been a part of a lot of spectacular points, but I think the shot between my legs at the 2010 US Open against Novak Djokovic, which set up match point, was

my best. Do you have a favorite tournament? Wimbledon. You were recently named brand ambassador for Moët & Chandon. That seems an appropriate association for someone who has a lot of success to toast… (Laughs) I always believe there are many moments to celebrate in life…not only when you win. I recently lost the world

cover story

"In the beginning as a teenager I used TO be crazy on tennis courts. Today I’m more grounded, have a family..." Federer’s parents, wife and daughters watch him play.

tour finals, but it was after a great year and a great tournament. I’m not just going to go to bed sad and disappointed. I got together with friends and celebrated the year. For me it’s very important to celebrate friendship, success, great moments. You are the highest paid player in tennis, much of which comes from endorsements. How do you choose which brands to work with? In the beginning of your career you don’t know how much success you’re going to have. You just want enough to have a good life on tour, be able to afford a coach. As you become more successful, you know yourself more as a person. In the beginning as a teenager I used to be crazy on tennis courts. Today I’m more grounded, have a family, have been around the world so many times. I know who I am, so it is easier to feel if I fit with a brand. The first thing is I have to like the brand so that I can believe in it and help that brand. Do you enjoy that side of your work? It’s nice to jump in and out of tennis a bit. It’s stuff I never thought I would do...a bit of acting, taking pictures, doing more interviews. How long will you play tennis? You have to have a short term plan and then what happens in the next year. Next

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cover story

year I’ll play a little less than the past. I haven’t decided when I will stop. The less I think about it, the longer I can play. I’m eager and motivated to play for many more years to come. Do you get tired of the travel? I love traveling around the world and experiencing different cultures, surrounded by friends and family. What are your plans post retirement? When I am done with the ATP Tour, I hope to be able to stay involved with the sport, as I love it so much, but I also will become more hands on with the Roger Federer Foundation. Tell us about your foundation. I feel very fortunate to do what I love most…play tennis. I never thought I could make this my life. Now I see how fortunate I was that my parents educated me the right way, I had opportunities. Giving back is the only thing to do. It’s a big passion for me. Both my parents taught me at a young age that sharing my success and giving back to those less fortunate was not only an obligation, but an enjoyable ideology. Generosity means

Federer visiting a school in Ethiopia funded by his foundation.

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"Generosity means being kind and giving to others, both momentarily and with your time and your compassion." Federer won his 17th Grand Slam at Wimbledon last summer.

being kind and giving to others, both momentarily and with your time and your compassion. Does the foundation have an area of focus? I started the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003 with a focus on helping young children in the continent of Africa. My mum is from South Africa, I would travel a lot when I was younger. Any celebrity you’d like to work with one day? Nelson Mandela, as he has done so much and since I’m half South African, this would be a real wonderful occasion. You have a home here in Dubai. What led you this way? I came on vacation after my second Wimbledon victory. It was super hot, 45 degrees every day. But I didn’t mind the heat so much for leisure and then I realized maybe I could come here and practice in this heat. It worked wonders for me. I’ve never had a problem playing in the heat ever since I came here. I bought an apartment in Dubai a bit later. For me as a tennis player it’s really

cover story

nice to have two separate hubs. One in Switzerland and one here in Dubai. It facilitates traveling. I always have a place I can leave my stuff and come back to. It’s beautiful. It has the beach. It is great for my kids. For practice in particular-that’s why I’m here-it works extremely well. Has living in Dubai enhanced your game? Absolutely. Like all my coaches along the way, also all the places I’ve played in add a lot. As an athlete, it might sound funny, but we do need inspiration. When you can practice in a place where after you finish you feel like you’re on vacation it feels great. Sometimes in other places you don’t quite have that so you have to make it fun for you in order to be successful on tour.

"it’s really nice to have two separate homes. One in switzerland and one in Dubai. It’s beautiful here...Has the beach, It’s great for my kids..."

You are the father of three year old twin girls? How do you manage balancing family life with your career? I try hard to be there with them. I see them every night before they go to bed. When I don’t have practice or a match we spend a lot of time together. Now the girls are bigger, they are not babies anymore, so when they go to bed we have time to ourselves as well. My wife and I can go to dinner to get some time alone. Are the girls budding tennis players? No, not at all yet. They are swimmers. I think any sport is a good thing. It’s great school of life.

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Saudi's forward

thinking Prince Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal has become the poster boy for motorsports in the Middle East. GC talks to him ahead of his 24 hour endurance race in Dubai. By Natasha Tourish

or a region famous for its fast cars and motorsport, the Middle East has not produced that many drivers who have left their mark on the international stage. Until now that is. Saudi’s Prince Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal has become the face of racing in the region after winning GT3 titles in Bahrain, Portugal and Dubai and clinching a lucrative sponsorship deal with Red Bull in 2010. The charismatic 29-year-old is the son of Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, who was the Director General of the Saudi intelligence agency for 24 years, and former ambassador to the UK and US. Considered a late starter, the young prince only took his first steps towards racing eight years ago, when he attended the Formula BMW driving school in Bahrain with a friend – a place where most drivers from the region go to develop their skills. “It may have triggered something in me but I never thought I was going to have a career in it,” said AlFaisal. But just four years later, he was crowned champion of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East 2009/2010 with

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"There is a big movement, especially in Saudi about road safety because we do suffer a lot from accidents often caused by these illegal drifters."

nine wins and 12 podium finishes. He won the championship again in 2011/12 to cement his status in the region and he became the first Arab to win a race in the FIA GT3 European Championship when he topped the leader board on his debut race in Algarve, Portugal. With the wins, come endorsement deals and the Prince was recently named as a brand ambassador for the Swiss watchmaker IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN. AlFaisal is in Dubai preparing for the Dunlop 24-hour endurance race at Motorcity’s autodrome where he’s previously finished second in the overall standings and first in his class and in Bahrain where he came third in the overall standings and second in his class for 2010. He is also participating in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

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Middle East in Saudi in February, the leading one-make series in the region and gunning for his third championship

win in four years. The Saudi Prince known as ‘Aziz’ or ATF amongst his friends has been hailed as a ‘role model’ for the region’s youth because of his efforts to promote

the sport throughout the Middle East. Part of that has also been to focus on safety. He has been named as Shell’s ambassador for their road safety campaign 2013, which sees him regularly visiting schools and universities throughout Saudi Arabia. He explained, “There is a big movement, especially in Saudi about road safety because we do suffer a lot from accidents often caused by these illegal drifters. The government is trying to tackle it but it’s a huge social responsibility, it’s not just the roads that need to be fixed or controlled, it’s about educating people and that’s what we try to do.” Incidentally, the topic of safe driving and young Arabs has become the subject of a recent Channel 4 documentary called “Millionaire Boy Racers’ that aired in the UK in January. The documentary followed young Arabs


as they shipped their supercars from the Gulf to London for the summer season and highlighted the frustrations of local residents in London’s plush Knightsbridge area, where they go to race and show off their expensive cars. When asked about this documentary AlFaisal who lived and studied in London for almost four years when his father was ambassador to the UK from 2001, admitted to watching the programme and said he sympathized with the residents of Knightsbridge but felt the show unfairly portrayed Arab teenagers. “For me it’s a shame because people always see the negative side about Arab youngsters or ‘gulfies’ as the show called

bright young people that do amazing things but unfortunately that won’t sell in the media,” he added. When asked about the sensitive subject of women drivers in his own country, AlFaisal said that it was a government law to ban women drivers and he must respect those laws. However, the forward thinking prince said he believed the time would come sooner rather than later where women are allowed to drive by law. “It was the same with education, in the beginning everyone was against it and then a year later they asked the King to open more schools. It’s going to happen sooner or later.” “My sisters drive when they are abroad

"My sisters drive when they are abroad and I see no problem with that."

The young Saudi prince is also a brand ambassador for Swiss watchmaker IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN.

us, and they think that everyone is spoiled and everyone can afford these cars when the reality isn’t that way. “You find that everywhere in the world there are teenagers who like to show off and we are not any different, but I don’t think it sets out the true picture. When you go and see in Saudi Arabia for example, where 70% of the population are between 15 and 40 years old, there are a lot of creative and very

and I see no problem with that,” he said. In his professional life, AlFaisal is confident about his future. His ultimate goal remains unchanged: to conquer the prestigious 24 hour Le Mans race in France, where he has participated twice already, but is yet to finish. “Unfortunately my past experiences of Le Mans involved accidents so I still have yet to even finish the 24 hrs before I can actually win it. I can’t move on until

I do,” he explained. However, the 29-year old has yet to confirm whether or not he will be able to participate in this year’s race in June. In the meantime, the Saudi’s time is divided between racing and managing his businesses; he’s the chairman of Saudi Industrial Resins Company, Saudi Sports Group, and the owner of Radical Sports Cars dealership in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

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global citizenship

Tax hikes push wealthy to

second citizenships

France’s wealthiest flee the country in search of residence and citizenship elsewhere in the EU. By Natasha Tourish

n September last year, France’s socialist President Francois Hollande proposed a wealth tax of 75 percent on anyone with an income exceeding €1 million. Although it has yet to be passed into law and Hollande’s promises that the hike is only meant to be temporary, the proposal has caused enough stir to prompt some of France’s most high profile sons to flee the country for cheaper tax climates. Most recently French actor Gerard Depardieu renounced his French nationality and accepted Russian president Vladimir Putin’s offer of Citizenship. This follows the huge blow last summer when French Billionaire, Bernard Arnault, chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and the richest man in France (and Europe), announced that he was applying

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for Belgian citizenship, although he insisted it had nothing to do with paying lower taxes. Although Belgium has high taxes as well – 50 percent for those making over €35,000 ($44,541) – at least it’s capped off there and is still a relief from the French tax. And French expatriates can still remain close to their home country – even if they don’t want to live there. Depardieu also recently bought a property in Belgium and is reportedly seeking Belgium nationality. Putin bypassed official citizenship procedures for Depardieu. Russian legislation does not allow anyone to gain citizenship in less than three months. To be eligible for the fast track, one has to be a national of a former Soviet republic and already holding a Russian residence permit. However, the official explanation

for the gift of Russian citizenship to Depardieu was that he had rendered outstanding services to cinematography. High Profile Exits France’s tax problem is similar to the one in the U.S., highlighted by Warren Buffett, which inspired Obama to propose the “Buffett Rule”- a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on individuals making more than a million dollars a year. However, in France, citizens with moderate incomes tend to pay higher taxes than the extremely wealthy, who benefit from exemptions and loopholes. But the solution proposed by Hollandewho famously once declared, “I don’t like the rich,” was not to tighten the loopholes and remove the exemptions; it was to set an exorbitantly high tax rate. Needless to say, these high profile

global citizenship

"I have a Russian passport but I remain French, and of course I will keep dual Belgian nationality," Bernard Arnault, chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

exits have resulted in fierce criticism from French politicians. But Depardieu says he is not turning his back on France. “I have a Russian passport but I remain French, and of course I will keep dual Belgian nationality,” he told L’Equipe 21 television. Ironically, Depardieu, gained fame in the U.S. playing a cigarette smoking, wine-swilling French bon vivant who marries for American residency in “Green Card.” Tax Planning Spikes Demand Meanwhile, British PM, David Cameron controversially pledged to “roll out the red carpet” for any French residents trying to flee the massive tax hike. The UK currently offers wealthy foreigners the opportunity to gain residence and second citizenship to the UK through an Immigrant Investor Program (IIP). This citizenship for Investment program allows investors to gain residency and eventually citizenship in exchange for making an investment in government bonds or a business in the UK. Nicolas Salerno, Vice President of Arton Capital, a financial advisory firm that specializes in advisory services

Gerard Depardieu accepts his Russian citizenship from Putin.

relating to Immigrant Investor Programs to high net worth investors, governments and industry professionals, has facilitated second residences and citizenships for scores of wealthy businessmen in the region who crave a more desirable passport for visa free travel, as well as better education options for their families. Salerno himself has multiple passports and has also recently renounced his French nationality for tax reasons since he never actually lived in the country. “Second citizenships and residences

have increased in popularity amongst the wealthy over the past few years, especially in light of the instability in the middle east. Clients can benefit from having a second passport without losing their current citizenship or without having to relocate in many instances. The option is also there to then send your children to study abroad at a much lower cost if you have home residency status,” explained Salerno. He added; “The idea is for a second passport to be used as an insurance policy,

January / February 2013 GC 31

global citizenship

"Clients can benefit from having a second passport without losing their current citizenship or without having to relocate in many instances."

Nicolas Salerno, VP of Arton Capital.

just in case you ever need it. Most of our clients are proud of their origins but they cannot afford to jeopardize their business or the safety of their family in a global environment that is harder and harder to predict.” The irony is that traditionally, those who are wealthy enough to invest in a second citizenship have hailed from unstable countries such as Iran, Pakistan and more recently, countries embroiled in conflict due to the Arab Spring. However, a new trend is emerging for wealthy entrepreneurs and businessmen from Western countries usually considered as the most desirable and coveted passports in the world, to leave for tax reasons. “Over the past few years, the number of European and US citizens applying for St Kitts or Dominica Economic Citizenship programs for tax reasons has more than

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doubled,” added Salerno. Salerno also cites Bulgaria as one of the most popular Immigrant Investor Programs amongst his clients because it has a physical residency waiver, meaning that investors do not have to actually live in the country to gain citizenship, coupled with the lowest taxes in Europe (10% corporate and personal tax, 5% on dividends and 0% capital gains tax.) “Not many countries in the world offer this type of flexibility to businessmen and their families, while at the same time guaranteeing safe investments in bonds, permanent residence and future European citizenship with the lowest taxes possible,” explained Salerno. He added, “As long as the investor meets all the legal requirements and invests €511,292 in the country, they will be granted residency and after five years

get citizenship, without ever having to live there or without paying taxes on their wealth, inheritance or income outside of the country.” Meanwhile, Hungary has just passed new legislation to set up an Investor Program for Residence, in a bid to attract wealthy foreigners who invest €250,000 in government bonds. Salerno points out that the Arton Capital team are actively advising the Hungarian government on the program which will be rolled out in the coming months. Regardless of the reasons for acquiring a second citizenship or residency it has become ‘a safety net’ for securing assets for many wealthy businessmen across the world. Arton Capital are available to advise clients on individual solutions and programs, which best suit their needs.

Explore. Discover. Secure.

Invest in a Second Residence and Citizenship. Secure the benefits for generations to come.



Immigrant Investor Programs EMIRATES TOWERS, LEVEL 41 SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD, P.O.BOX 31303, DUBAI, UAE | T +9714 319 7665 | F +9714 330 3365 | INFO@ARTONCAPITAL.COM | WWW.ARTONCAPITAL.COM Arton Capital is a leading global financial advisory firm providing custom-tailored services for Immigrant Investor Programs to Government agencies and high net-worth individuals and families from around the world. The firm is supervised by the Quebec financial markets’ regulator, L’Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and is recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Finance as an International Financial Center (IFC).




Dubai based Donna Benton has an ambitious world wide expansion plan to take her discount voucher books global. By Natasha Tourish

n just over a decade, Dubai based Australian entrepreneur Donna Benton has gone from a lone ranger to the head of a global company that has become a household name in the UAE. Last year, private equity firm Abraaj Capital acquired a 50 per cent stake in her company, The Entertainer, which offers discount voucher books for restaurants, spas, hotels and more. The deal has set in motion Benton’s plan “to strengthen operations in existing markets, expand its footprint into new geographies and execute a strategy to enable customers to buy and use the vouchers over digital mediums and mobile networks.” She plans to end the year with 35 different books in 26 global destinations.

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The company has partnered with the likes of Mastercard, Etihad and HSBC to offer corporate loyalty programmes to their clients and have launched a new digital platform that is designed to boost online sales further. She talks to GC about her rapid expansion. Why did you choose to launch a discount voucher book in Dubai, a place known for its vast wealth? It was very random; I’d never really travelled overseas at all, except for being Australian I’d been to Bali. I got offered a marketing job in Dubai so my plan was to come to the UAE for a year and save up enough money so I could go back home and buy a house. The job didn’t work out and after 3 months I left so it was during

this time that I thought of the Entertainer concept. As the story goes I was driving down Sheikh Zayed Road and thought of the idea. At that time, there was literally a diners club with 10% off and that was it but yet there where so many hotels and restaurants. I thought if I could create a concept that had enough incentive for people to travel over the Garhoud Bridge, to the Marriot at the other side of town or to the al Bustan it would work and that was pretty much how it started. What was the biggest challenge? The first year was the hardest obviously. The first challenge was to talk to the right person- the decision maker whether that was in a large hotel or small café. I had to convince them of the idea and explain the


concept, as I had nothing physical to show them so it was as much about believing in myself than anything else. How has you business model evolved over the past 12 years? Our business model is quite simplistic; we’ve always stuck by the two-for-

with each other and that there was chemistry. At that stage I owned 100% of the company before they acquired 50% so it was a very big step for me to get a business partner. Over the years we’ve had numerous people looking to invest but it was never the right fit so the reason we went with Abraaj is that

doing and push. Now there’s unrest in Egypt but that’s not to say there will be in six months time. When our Egypt book was still in print for 2013 we had sold lots of copies online already without people even seeing the book because they trust the brand and they know it will have high quality international outlets in it.

"(The Reason) we went with Abraaj is that they are a global company and what we could generally do in eight years we can now do in three years."

Donna Benton is launching into new markets.

one discount voucher concept. We’ve obviously evolved into corporate loyalty programs and we have different revenue streams but we haven’t evolved too much. We’ve definitely evolved in the way of expansion into new countries, into new merchants and new products but we certainly didn’t want to go down the line of daily deals because that’s a completely different business model. We’ve gone wider and deeper, rather than a full evolution of the company. Why did you partner with Abraaj? Our deal was going on for a year before we agreed on anything. Both parties wanted to make sure we felt comfortable

they are a global company and what we could generally do in eight years we can now do in three years. They already have offices in all of the countries that we’re expanding into so we can draw on their local expertise if we need them. You’ll expand into Egypt this year; does the current instability there concern you? I have a belief that if you worry about everything that is going on in every single country you’d never move forward. When I first launched the Entertainer it was just after September 11th and we’ve been through a Gulf War and a recession so you just have to believe in what your

What are your growth projections for the company? We grow between 30 and 40% each year on our bottom line and throughout the company. We’re going to a lot of new countries this year with the Entertainer 2014, we’re really focusing on Asia so we’ll be launching Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand as well as Istanbul, Scotland, Ireland and three in England. By the end of next year, we’ll have 35 books in 26 destinations, which is a lot of work. We’re on a full recruitment drive. We’re employing 20 people in the UK and we’re hiring here in Dubai so we’ll increase our staffing levels by 60-80 people. You’ve got to speculate to accumulate!

January / February 2013 GC 37


Start It Up: turning ideas into viable businesses How do you create viable business in the Middle East? GC investigates... By sara hamdan

ust five years ago, an entrepreneur’s best bet to raise money for a startup in the Arab world was either a business plan competition or rich relatives. After Yahoo! acquired Arabic email service for $175 million in August 2009, regional investors began looking more seriously into tech startups in the region, particularly at the seed or early stage. As riots erupted in 2011 on social media and the streets, a wave of online entrepreneurial ventures followed. New funding structures are now springing up around this, with tech-savvy entrepreneurs inspired by the spirit of change and investors eager to uncover the next Maktoob. “The Maktoob deal was a sudden, huge transaction that took place in the midst

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of the worst global economic crisis,” said Marwan Juma, an entrepreneur on the board of Oasis500, a funding and advisory entity for startups in the Mideast, and former IT and Communications Minister of Jordan. “Before this, there was a big gap between good ideas and accessible funding. After this, the question was: what can we do to create more Maktoobs in a shorter period?” The right kind of funding The issue is not a lack of commercially viable ideas, but rather lack of a full-cycle funding structure and culture to support young, risky startups in the Arab world. Venture capital firms have existed in the Mideast in the past decade, but usually as extensions of private equity firms like Abraaj Capital. Even when Maktoob

started in 2000, co-founder Samih Toukan admits funding was difficult to secure. “Even today, we still don’t have that established VC ecosystem of investors willing to risk funding many companies in the hope that one or two will make it big,” said Toukan, who is currently chairman of Jabbar Internet Group, a spin-off of the Maktoob Group that runs online companies not acquired by Yahoo! In the past year and a half, at least 20 new seed and early stage funding programs have materialized in the region, usually offering advisory services in tandem. These include Oasis500 in Jordan, PlugandPlay and Tahrir2 in Egypt, Seeqnce 2.0 in Lebanon, and Seedstartup in Dubai.


Today, after the social media-fuelled riots that erupted in the Middle East, a nascent culture is developing to support new online ventures that help create new jobs for the massive population of Arab youth. Hurdles remain; on the one hand, the absolute lack of early seed stage capital is the main reason why entrepreneurs have not had proper support, according to Dr Usama Fayyad, executive chairman of Oasis500. Fayyad based his model on successful venture capitalists, like Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. Companies like Oasis500 are trying to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs with no track record and entities with relatively larger funds, such as Cedrus Ventures. Aside from new funding solutions, however, mentorship and advisory for Arab entrepreneurs is key, according to Fayyad. Mentors like Juma help entrepreneurs develop a clever idea, pitch it to investors, secure multiple rounds of funding, and ultimately create a sustainable business model. Oasis500 has ambitious plans. The organization started with an initial $6 million fund to invest in 200 companies and is looking to grow to $30 million to fund 500 companies by 2014. “Yes, 500 startups in five years is a

challenge, but it’s what we need to shock the system,” said Fayyad, an entrepreneur himself who has served as Yahoo!’s chief data officer in the past. In two years of operation, Oasis500 has supported 60 new companies, with the latest round of pitches to angel investors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Dubai in December. Investors, who are from the region, Europe, and the US, then provide post-seed round funding between $100,000 to $3 million. The regional entrepreneurial culture still needs time to grow. Governments need to improve liquidation laws and Usama Fayyad, chairman of Oasis500

"Yes, 500 startups in five years is a challenge, but it’s what we need to shock the systeM" public markets need to ease listing requirements for new companies. “There is no question that the industry is growing and there’s a lot of new attention to seed and early stage funding, but we are only two to three years into this,” said Fadi Ghandour of Aramex and a mentor at Oasis500. “We need more than just a few, sexy deals. It will take a generation for us to see serious movement in this space that is sustainable.” With the right funding structures in place and stress on training for entrepreneurs, Dr Fayyad believes that the region has the potential to produce many more success stories. “Maktoob took ten years to build to high value, while MarkaVIP took two years to reach the same value,” said Fayyad. “The new generation is growing fast.”

Budding entrepreneurs at Oasis500 in Jordan January / February 2013 GC 39


A Soprano's


Emirati opera singer, Sara al Qaiwani has become a seasoned performer after taking on several soprano roles and sharing the stage with some of the world’s most respected artists but as a teenager she had to fight to get on stage. She tells GC why she wants to build a music academy in Dubai to inspire a generation. By Tahira Yaqoob

40 GC January / February 2013


resh from the stage after performing in a Debussy tribute concert at the Paris Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, Sara al Qaiwani felt an impatient tug on her sleeve. The Emirati opera singer glanced down to be confronted by the expectant face of a seven-year-old girl, firing questions at her. Which language did she prefer singing in? What did it take to be an opera singer? And what training had she had? As the questions rattled forth in the impromptu interview, Al Qaiwani, 32, could not help but smile. It was once a battle to raise appreciation of opera in the UAE, however the packed audience and

“My heart’s dream is to give back to the community here by building an academy so I can impart some of what I’ve learned,” she says. Al Qaiwani was 14 and a pupil at Latifa School for Girls in Dubai when her music teacher Janet Hassouneh, a former opera singer, first suggested her voice was showing promise. At the time, the schoolgirl was listening to Boyzone and Madonna and had little idea what opera entailed: “I had all the stereotypes in my head of large ladies singing and had no concept of a story. “I started listening to CDs and my world opened to a different genre of music. The emotive components swallowed me

Sara performs with musicians from Carnegie Hall at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

the little girl’s curiosity told her things were changing. “I did not even know what opera was at the age of seven yet here was this little girl asking some quite advanced questions,” she says. It is that fledgling passion for opera which Al Qaiwani would like to see nurtured with a music academy built alongside a planned opera house, unveiled last year as part of a cultural quarter in downtown Dubai.

up. It took me by surprise.” Hassouneh began coaching in weekly sessions at school and she was soon managing complex arias, completing an advanced performance diploma at 18. Her traditional parents were resistant to the idea though and insisted she followed a more conventional path to academia. “My father felt it was not a respectable way to earn a living. He was worried what people would think. “People here might listen to Umm

Kulthum and be aware of her musical ability but she is a rare thing in the Arab musical psyche; most have no appreciation of opera at all.” Al Qaiwani put her dreams of singing to one side and instead dutifully studied for a degree in chemistry at Imperial College in London.“I hated it,” she recalls now. A job as a corporate relations manager with HSBC bank followed, which made her even more miserable. She quit to return to the UK to pursue a masters in the history of international relations before embarking on a doctorate in the history of women and politics in the Middle East. On her return to London she also took up private singing lessons once again in her spare time. She landed roles in college productions and with companies such as Unexpected Opera, a British singing comedy troupe which aims to introduce a new audience to opera. One of her proudest moments was being invited to sing Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro before a crowd of 4,000 gathered in front of the Burj Khalifa for the UAE’s 39th National Day in 2011. Corporate bookings and invitations from UAE royalty and dignitaries have been flooding in. Meanwhile, Al Qaiwani is back at her studies and hopes to finish her PhD thesis this year before competing for a role in a professional opera. She is working hard to achieve her dream, undergoing four coaching sessions a week. She plans to audition for a soughtafter place at the National Opera Studio in London. “The aim is to land a full operatic role,” she says. “I do not know where this is going in the next five years but I can see all the dedicated work starting to pay off. “Ideally I would like to sing professionally and help set up an academy here. I would like to see artists from the region filling the opera house they are talking about building. It is a generation away but it is possible.”

January / February 2013 GC 41


Traffic jams plague Cairo’s busy streets.

Enterprising in Egypt Egypt’s revolution led to gloomy perspectives for businesses, however one local start up, Mashaweer, has managed to flourish during the country’s economic depression. By Mona Alami

onstant protests at Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square have paralyzed the legendarily congested Egyptian streets. Since the 2011 popular uprising against the 30 year-old regime headed by Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian economy has been plagued by a significant slowdown that has left most companies battered. Mashaweer, however, seems to be an exception. Mashaweer is a small startup specializing in personalized assistance services that has registered incredible growth since the beginning of the uprising. Launched in Alexandria in early

44 GC January / February 2013

2010, Mashaweer has grown from a three-motorcycle operation with a few clients to a company serving 40,000 individual customers and 68 businesses in Alexandria, Cairo and the North Coast. “The company now processes about 800 orders every day,” says Ahmad Kerdany, managing partner and CFO. A business to tackle every task Clients that have little time to run around the blocked streets of Cairo can dial 19988 for a service provider to do their mashaweer, which means errands in Arabic. The call center is staffed by 21 employees and relies on an ERP system

that links drivers equipped with a PDA and GPS tracking system to allow for the quick processing of all orders. Drivers are notified of a job, and then in turn notify customers of accomplished tasks by updating the information on a request form with relevant details. Cost is set according to distance. “We base our service fees on the average taxi fares,” explains Kerdany. “We do everything from grocery shopping to renewing passport and identity cards. We even queue in front of nightclubs or wait in line for patients at a clinic. We can deliver a diamond ring or pick up the latest iPad as a gift.”


Mashaweer has also made deals with the likes of Radio Shack, Mobilis and e-commerce companies, including Dare’n’Deal, Offerna, and, providing customers of these companies with out of stock items from other branches. For regular clients with high credit levels, Mashaweer even pays for requested items on credit. The company also offers the advantage of flexibility, as it operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

– from the acquisition of new premises to the improved financing of our motorcycle fleet,” he says. When the revolution erupted, the rent of the five-story building that headquarters Mashaweer in the Mohandisseen area went down by 50%. Another perk of the uprising was that the company paid one fourth of the 8 million Egyptian pound marketing campaign that allowed it to go national. “However, creating this company was

60% of the budget was allocated. “Trust is at the heart of our operation, because some of the items we transport are quite delicate or expensive. In addition, some of our clients’ requests are sophisticated, so we had to train drivers how to provide specialty items, like ordering sushi at an upscale restaurant or purchasing high tech goods,” points out the CFO. Today, in Cairo, Mashaweer uses 200 motorcycles and five cars to cover the capital. The company has built a large

Mashaweer has over 200 drivers ready to run any errand.

"creating this company was certainly a challenge in such a gloomy business climate. It was difficult to spend money in the market when everyone was actually pulling out."

Opportunity in adversity The idea for the service came to founder Mohammad Waheed in 2009, during his wedding festivities. At the time, his bride was overwhelmed with errands, spending hours on end making various wedding preparations around town. With his friends Ahmad Kurdi and Ali Al-Shizli, he invested 30,000 Egyptian pounds ($5,000) in three scooters to create Mashaweer in Alexandria. The young company’s activity was fueled by the revolution in February 2011. “One of the first advantages was that we were able to negotiate down all of the deals we made at the start of our business

certainly a challenge in such a gloomy business climate. It was difficult to spend money in the market when everyone was actually pulling out. My father thought I was crazy to leave my job in Dubai to come back to Egypt,” adds Kerdany. After tackling Alexandria, Mashaweer then turned its focus to Cairo, with operations beginning in the capital in December 2011. The team grew to include 33 partners and had a capital injection of $2.5 million. With extra capital they added 150 motorcycles, 15 cars and a speedboat to the fleet. Another challenge faced by the company was training the staff, to which

customer network relying heavily on institutions, which account for up to 55% of the startup’s total business. Today, Mashaweer has grown into a 400-employee operation. Expansion plans are underway, including a new Beirut branch that has already been launched in the Lebanese capital and one in Dubai early next year, which will take the company regional. In the midst of unprecedented political turmoil, Mashaweer seems to have won its bet on Egypt. The startup sets a great example for other entrepreneurs to follow suit by investing in their home country, in spite of a challenging environment.

January / February 2013 GC 45


The business of luxury nightlife Nightclubs are a booming business in Dubai. GC talks to Marc Merran, owner of Movida to understand what it takes to transport one of Europe’s hottest brands to the UAE. By Natasha Tourish

hen London’s renowned club Movida opened at the Radisson Royal Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road last year, it joined an already crowded market of hotspots in the city. Other British newcomers to Dubai’s high-end nightclub scene included Embassy, Mahiki and Cirque du Soir- all vying for the super wealthy clientele that the emirate has become synonymous with. British entrepreneur Marc Merran first launched Movida in

46 GC January / February 2013

2005 in London. After being approached by Evgeny Kuzin, a Russian investor in his late twenties who was keen to transport the brand to Dubai at any cost, Merran agreed to export the club famed in London for its celeb clientele. Maintaining its exclusive reputation is clearly paramount to Merran. All of Movida’s waiters have been flown in from Saint Tropez, Cannes and London – and unless you’re known in these areas, you won’t get in, says Merran. He sits down with GC to talk about the business of nightlife.


How is the ‘ luxury nightlife’ market in the UAE? The nightlife market in the UAE is constantly growing and as we speak you are probably hearing rumours of new openings in 2013. Movida is coming upon its first anniversary. How has business been? We have succeeded in the goals that were set out this year, most importantly by successfully transporting the club’s ethos and feel to Dubai. Allowing the party people of Dubai to experience and feel all what we have to offer. And we were delighted to win Timeout’s Best Nightclub.

"The nightlife market in the UAE is constantly growing and as we speak you are probably hearing rumours of new openings in 2013."

How difficult was it to recreate Movida here? The reason we came to Dubai was because the name itself is very well known already by the people of Dubai, so it wasn’t a difficult move, just a similar campaign model slightly adapted to the Dubai market. A reported $10m was spent on fitting-out the club. Did you manage to recoup this investment yet? Yes a substantial amount of capital was spent on the fit out, but the business aim was never to recoup the money in exactly 12 months. Let’s just say we are well ahead of schedule from the original budgets. In London Movida is synonymous with celebrities. How do you create an air of exclusivity without a regular celebrity crowd in attendance? This isn’t necessarily true; although we booked great artists for example Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj and Tyga in 2012 we also have a huge amount of celebrity walk-ins in Dubai every week for example; David Haye, Madonna, Sid Owen, Usher, 50 cent, Gerard Butler, Anderson Silva, the list goes on. How does Movida differ from London clubs such as Mahiki and Cirque du Soir which are also in the UAE? It was obviously a big year for new openings of clubs in Dubai but what makes Movida different from our competitors is that it concentrates mainly on music, service and style which attracts celebrities and good crowd attendance. As an entrepreneur, what do you believe are the key ingredients for making a nightclub successful? Providing high quality service and entertainment, to be able to maintain it, which gives the club its longevity in the nightclub industry.

Movida owner Marc Merran (R) and his friend David Sharp.

When the club opened you said ‘To book a table, you have to be known’ Is this still the case a year in? Yes and since we have been open the list of ‘known’ has grown tenfold. Any plans to extend the brand into other countries outside of London and the UAE? We are looking at Miami and India as we speak. Unfortunately I can’t tell you all the details just yet but it’s very exciting!

January / February 2013 GC 47

GIZMOS & GADGETS Gym Chic Fighting the New Year bulge has never looked so good! The Kinesis Personal Heritage from Technogym combines design and biomechanics providing more than 200 exercises in only one square metre. The resistance is regulated by patented innovation and gradually increases, smoothly and safely. This touch screen ‘gym’ occupies very little space allowing it to fit almost anywhere. The Kinesis comes in three colour optionsgold, black and cream.

(Prices start from AED 50,800. Technogym Umm Harair and Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi)


January / February 2013


Special Edition TAG Heuer’s new Meridiist Sapphire SE 1860, is a special edition of their ground-breaking Meridiist mobile phone, launched in 2008. With only 1,860 pieces across six models— the top screen, front screen and keypad constructed in sapphire crystal— the phones have “Special Edition 1860” engraved on the stainless steel rear plate to commemorate the year TAG Heuer was established. A total of 93.9 carats of hardy sapphire crystal unify the overall aesthetic of the luxurious handset and each of the six models feature alligator skin on the back encasing. The collection also includes a model with 130 inlaid diamonds and rose gold. (TAG Heuer Boutique, Dubai Mall AED 20,900)

Laptop Luxury Each MB casing is carefully made to order and every instrument is tailored to match the wishes of the customer’s bespoke criteria. The hand-polished screen frame is mahogany with an oil finish and fitted with organically tanned, green calf leather. While the on/off button is 18 carat gold with a 0.1 carat diamond. The top plate and palm rest are both anodised aluminium. (Prices start from AED 22,766.

The Ultimate Tower Station Embodying contemporary style for iPod, iPad and iPhone, the AeroDream One by Jarre Technologies offers simplicity and optimal performance. Jean Michel Jarre is renowned for having broken new ground in music and concert performance. His imposing design is available in a choice of chrome, black and white, a total power of 10,000 W, height of 3.4 meters and base external diameter of 900 mm. ( P.O.A.)

2013 January / February 49


ASTON MARTIN takes to the skies

The Vanquish lands on the Burj Al Arab hotel to mark the company’s 100th anniversary.

special charter from Abu Dhabi Aviation airlifted the Dh1.1 million Aston Martin from Skydive Dubai to the helipad of the Burj Al Arab. It’s the first time a car has been placed onto the helipad, which sits 1,000ft above the ground at the top of the sailshaped building. The feat comes just a month after Aston Martin opened their first showroom in Dubai. “Aston Martin remains one of the most exclusive and sought-after brands in the world, so it is only right that a key element of our year-long centenary celebrations takes place in a similarly high profile destination,” said Ulrich Bez, CEO of the iconic British luxury sports car brand. “We have achieved


January / February 2013


another world first – one of many for Aston Martin over the years. This is a true feat for Aston Martin and a fantastic way to begin a new century of global success for our iconic brand,” he added. Aston Martin believes that the Middle East will eventually account for 20 percent of their global sales and expect the dealership to be selling more than 100 cars annually within the next 2 years. Amongst the VIP’s who waited on top of the iconic building was British Ambassador, Dominic Jermey, who got to sit inside the vehicle while it was parked on the roof.

“It’s every ambassador’s dream,” he said. “I tried hard to start it, but wiser heads than mine convinced me that was the wrong idea,” he quipped. Adding, “I cannot think of a more spectacular or fitting way for this great British tradition to mark its one hundredth anniversary, particularly in this city that is so passionate for luxury and bespoke brands.” The Aston martin Airlift came just days after the firm’s centenary was celebrated in London. The events in London and Dubai mark the start of a year-long celebration of

all things Aston Martin, with events taking place worldwide over the next 12 months. Aston Martin was founded by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. Their company Bamford & Martin later became Aston Martin. The name Aston was added to honor Bamford’s success at the Aston Clinton Hillclimb in Buckinghamshire, where he successfully raced their very first cars. The London centenary celebrations took place at 16 Henniker Mews the same location where Aston Martin Ltd was incorporated on 15 January 1913.

Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin.

2013 January / February 51


Christian Grande Introduces the

Picchio Boat ne of the youngest established designers of the yacht world, Christian Grande has designed more than 70 yachts in just 20 years. His newest design, the 71ft Picchio Boat, is a modern floating island which can cruise for extended periods while taking advantage of the natural beauty of the sea and intimacy of sea travel. It reflects a new birth of yacht, channeling style and technical solutions dedicated to a more relaxed, recreational and contemplative lifestyle. The main saloon/lounge area’s glass bottom floor or ‘submarine observatory’ incorporates innovative and impeccable design. The platform has been perfectly integrated and overlooks the sea between the hulls, brandishing views of the sea creatures below and showcases underwater spotlights at night. Boasting a lounging and dining area, as well as fully equipped bar, the spacious interiors are styled sumptuously with neutral tones to portray a homely feel, while still exuding a modern, clean look.


January / February 2013


The yacht is able to accommodate up to 8 guests in two large en suite VIP cabins, children’s cabin with two pullman berths which can fold away and transform into a playroom and owner’s cabin on the main deck featuring a glass floor under the bed, spacious bathroom and office area. The Picchio takes to the seas with a max speed of 19kts and cruising speed 12kts, 31ft beam, 50 tons displacement and a range of 2500nm.

2013 January / February 53



Discover the captivating natural beauty and vibrant multicultural atmosphere of Cape Town. By Nausheen Noor

nchored by mountains and situated at the meeting of two oceans, Cape Town is an achingly gorgeous city. The tree-lined cobblestone streets and charming colonial buildings are idyllic, but the poverty is never too far away. Still, the abundance of natural beauty is so dazzling, one can easily forget the country’s troubling past. Sometimes blamed for being the least ‘African’ city in Africa, Cape Town is the only city on the continent where Africans are a minority. And although the architecture can easily fool one into thinking they’re in Europe, it’s the mix of people that gives the city its character. In one evening it is possible to dine in Bo-Kaap, home to the Muslim community, then watch Zulu entertainers while strolling down the V&A Waterfront, and finally party European-style in one of the chic clubs near Greenpoint. And, while the city can feel immensely energetic with the explosion of fashion, tourism, music and sporting events, there are still reminders of its history. Apartheid was banned in 1994, but the barriers towards equality will take much longer to disintegrate as evidenced by the city’s many townships. A gourmands dream, Cape Town is the culinary capital of South Africa. Western culinary history dates back more than


January / February 2013

350 years. It was founded specifically to grow food, and that heritage is reflected in the city’s cuisine. The style of Cape Town’s cuisine is similar to that in other places rich in local produce, such as California and Australia. Served freshly and simply, the cuisine also draws inspiration from South Africa’s multi-ethnic background including the Cape Malay and Indian populations. The city’s surrounding areas are places of arresting natural beauty. The Twelve Apostles Mountain range stretches from the city’s anchor, Table Mountain, connecting the chic suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay. Along the way, the landscape is lined by tiny secluded beaches and hundreds of cliff-side mansions overlooking the freezing Atlantic Ocean. The lush valleys and quaint wine-making towns of Paarl, Stellenbosch, and Groot Constantia connect the two ocean fronts. The warmer coast on False Bay reveals all the wonders of the Indian Ocean, multi-colored fish and plant-life. A place so inviting that whales gather here yearly to calve. Two hours further south and you reach the Cape of Good Hope with its cliffs of dizzying heights, and tormented waters. Cape Town, a region so beautiful, it seems unfair that one tiny part of the globe should have such an abundance of splendors.


What to see

District 6 Museum

The museum pays tribute to a vibrant community of 66,000 ‘Coloured’ people that was raised to the ground by the Apartheid government and declared ‘White.’

Cape Point

A dramatic, long, craggy tip of rock, fabled to be where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. A fabulous spot for hiking, secluded beaches and spectacular ocean views.


The industrial area of Woodstock has been given a face-lift with art galleries, boutiques and trendy restaurants. The centerpiece of the district is the Old Biscuit Mill, a renovated Victorian mill complex, whose Saturday market is the place to be seen. Local vendors sell everything from clothing and crafts to fresh produce, wood-fired breads, organic wines and artisanal cheeses.

The Wine Route

A string of charming winelands (Stellenbosch, Franchoek and Paarl) each prettier than the next. Grand manors, landscaped gardens, gourmet dining and some of the best Pinotage in the world.

2013 January / February 55



12 Apostles Hotel As the only structure along this mountain range, the hotel monopolizes the spectacular views and an indigenous garden that snakes up the mountain. The dÊcor is a modern take on colonial. The hotel’s 16-seat cinema shows movies five times a day, and the spa has the only Rasul chamber in the country. Victoria Road, +27 21 437 9000

Mount Nelson Cape Town’s most iconic hotel has been welcoming celebrities and dignitaries since 1899, with its old world Colonial charm and lovely gardens. Their high tea is justifiably world famous. 76 Orange Street, +27 21 483 1000


Birkenhead House Whales visit the shallow waters of Hermanus during the Winter and Spring, and it is possible to watch them breaching yards from the shore of this eclectic seaside hotel. 7th Avenue, VoĂŤlklip, +27 28 314 8000

Pod This stylish 15-room boutique hotel in Camps Bay overlooks the main beach. The palette is clean and modernist, with soft LED lighting, natural and eco materials combining to create a luxurious sanctuary. 3 Argyle Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, +27 21 438 8550

2013 January / February 57


ENCAPSULATING time Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid talks innovative horology with RJ-Romain Jerome CEO, Manuel Emch.

58 January / February 2013


hether recovering steel from the Titanic or fragments of the Apollo 11 space shuttle, mingling silver with moon dust or sculpting volcano lava, Swiss watchmaker RJ-Romain Jerome uses unique elements as the poetic driving forces behind their commemorative timepieces. Their recently launched Octopus is the newest addition to the brand’s Titanic collection. “We incorporated physical elements of the boat together with watch making steel,” explained RJ CEO Manuel Emch about the watch, which is the first divers piece in the collection. “There is a legend that the Titanic was dragged down by a giant octopus— which gave birth to the name. Everything around the watch echoes the number eight. It is resistant to 888 feet, an octopus obviously has eight legs, it’s limited to 888 pieces and the creature reflects water and diver.” The rugged appearance of the style makes a striking contrast with the meticulous watchmaking care devoted to each detail. There are eight octagon head screws on the 46mm case as well as on the back of the watch, which is stamped by a handengraved octopus. For underwater sports devotees, the cross of St. Andrew’s flag (without colors) indicates the presence of divers practicing and the interior of the black rubber strap features suction cups. The Octopus is available in steel, black PVD-coated steel and black PVD-coated steel with red gold. When asked how the company authenticate their products, Emch candidly explained: “We knew some of the people on the Titanic’s first diving mission. They offered something to us, but it was a small piece. So we contacted Harland & Wolff in Belfast (the shipyard who built the Titanic). They had a bit of steel in their museum and were willing to share it (for a price of course). We have elements of the Apollo 11 aircraft and real moon dust in the watches. We bought these all from auctions. The Statue of Liberty--it was actually they who contacted us and provided the material.” How exactly are these pieces of history incorporated into the watch design? “We took all the pieces and melted them into watch making steel, as the steel from the boat is not the same quality as watch making steel. This does dilute the steel slightly which is why we call it DNA, but there’s always a physical element in the watches. Ultimately our aim is to evoke memories and encapsulate crucial moments in time.”

The Octopus is available at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons stores Dubai, retailing at around AED 50,500.

2013 January / February 59


Wellness Retreats Start this year as you mean to go on, with GC’s top resorts to rejuvenate.

Island Repair Parrot Cay by COMO, Turks and Caicos With all the effortlessly cool trimmings of a COMO property, this minimalist wellness retreat epitomises simplistic luxury. Surrounded by sumptuous loungers, lush vegetation and a celestial infinity pool-vast and glistening, overlooking the unspoiled, mile long stretch of white sandy beach.


January / February 2013


a Southeast Asian fusion eatery by night, while the octagonal, Italian/Mediterranean Terrace Restaurant is more formal. Rates include breakfast, non-motorised watersports, spa, gym, two tennis courts, table tennis and WiFi-equipped library. Rates from AED 2,746 Parrot Cay by COMO, Royal Turks and Caicos Island +1 649 946 7788

Parrot Cay boasts 70 rooms and private villas, an award-winning spa offering Ayurveda, aromatherapy, pilates and other approaches to physical wellbeing and spiritual balance. Facilities include a sweeping yoga room, a pilates studio, an outdoor Jacuzzi garden and his ‘n’ hers massage rooms-all in low-lying pavilions overlooking the North Caicos Channel and the surrounding wetlands. The poolside restaurant serves Caribbean-inspired light lunches by day and transforms into

2013 January / February 61


Vitality with a View Mystique, Santorini

Vibrant cave-like suites offer traditional Santorini architecture with panoramic sea facing terraces and natural cream linen. Mystique pays homage to mother nature and harnesses the elegance of simplicity and earth with youthful splashes of colour. The Spiritual Suites feature a private fitness and spa room (consisting of treadmill, bicycle, powerplate, weights and massage bed) along with jacuzzi and steam bath, king size bed, living room, alfresco dining area and sunbeds. With only 22 suites and two villas, Mystique’s laidback luxury approach enhances the feeling of calm and the mind-blowing vista of the Caldera cliffs totes an envious backdrop. Decked in driftwood and harmonious shapes, Mysique offers 24-hour room service, an ancient wine cave, petite pool bar (open till the last guest is standing) and a restaurant, offering a refined Mediterranean menu and uninterrupted views of the sea.

62 January / February 2013

Rates from AED 2,487 for two persons, Oia 847 02 Santorini, Greece +30 228 607 1114


Glamorous Deprivation Palace Merano, Italy A vast and opulent white and yellow belle époque building basks in the shadow of the Italian Dolomites on the outskirts of the charming town of Merano. Europe’s celebrity detox centre, Palace Merano, is a swath of marble, crystal and antiques. With 24 hour room service, a large terrace for alfresco dining, gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and sauna. The spa means business—the hub of Italian detox king Henri Chenot’s happening health empire. No alcohol is served, but expect ‘designer’ teas and inventive, mainly vegetarian fare with the panache of a Michelin-starred establishment. There is also a restaurant serving non-weight loss food, for those suffering from carb withdrawal. Mental and physical health assessments are conducted, while biological analysis determines elements such as cardiovascular, osteoporosis and food-intolerance profiles. There is also a hydrotherapy

department, treatment rooms for massage, mud wraps, Chinese cupping and herbal baths. Seven nights from AED 21,775 full board, including flights and treatments. Espace Henri Chenot at Palace Merano, Via Cavour 2, Merano, Italy +39 47 327 1399

2013 January / February 63

valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day Romantic experiences guaranteed to win her over

classic dubai romance Saunter down the promenade to one of the city’s most romantic culinary destinations and enjoy the finest views of the Burj Al Arab and Arabian Gulf. This enchanting seafood restaurant never fails to impress. Pierchic +971 4 366 6730

private beach escape A chauffeur will pick up your partner at the location of your choice and escort them to a romantic beach set-up in a private gazebo. A personal butler will serve a five-course European gourmet dinner with a bottle of Rosé Champagne inclusively. A bouquet of roses and a special gift hamper will be presented before your chauffeur whisks you home. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray +971 4 453 0000, AED 3,900 per couple


January / February 2013

valentine’s day

DIY Picnic Find a quiet spot in Safa Park, lay down a blanket and unveil a platter of fresh oysters, lobster and other delicious seafood options all prepared ready to eat, as well as sushi and a perfectly formed selection of cheeses. As if not enough, present strawberries and cream for dessert, or opt for a cheeky heart shaped Red Velvet cake. Optional pièce de résistance— an antique art deco Cartier bracelet. Market & Platters +971 4 450 4466 Magnolia Bakery +971 4 350 5440 Christie’s private sales +971 4 425 5647

Bask in the glow of the desert Enjoy awesome views of the UAE’s vast desert in your very own hot air balloon with a privately tailored experience. Balloon Adventures Emirates +971 4 285 4949

For Your One & Only Enjoy a bottle of champagne at the sultry Jetty Lounge and then hop onto the O&O’s private boat to 101. Dine alfresco on light tapas or Mediterranean style dishes, complemented by an open bar featuring a resident DJ. Or if you prefer fine dining, hop on a buggy to STAY by Yannick Alléno in the main hotel. One & Only Royal Mirage +971 4 399 9999 One & Only The Palm +971 4 440 1010

2013 January / February 65


Park Life

any have observed the lack of ‘cool’ creative hangouts in Dubai but the city seems to be finally embracing the need for creative outputs, with new start ups including MAKE Business Hub and Conceptual Arts both recently launching aiming to help burgeoning entrepreneurs and struggling artists alike. The latest project to broaden Dubai’s imaginative horizons is The Archive. Located in the heart of Al Safa Park (by the Gate five entrance), The Archive is a contemporary library focused on art, culture, design and literature all featuring works from the Middle East and North African region and is the first of its kind.


January / February 2013

Dubai’s latest cultural venture The Archive aims to spur the creative spirit of its residents. By Sylvia Byatt


“The Archive stands not only as a library resource but as a platform where people are able to come and learn new things in an interactive way”, explains Sarah Malki, the Librarian and Program manager who updates the material every month and is hoping to make it the largest collection of specialised literature in the region. “We offer a multitude of different things all in one venue, allowing people to really use this space as a place of learning, whether it’s simply gaining knowledge from a talk on self publishing, or an interactive workshop on how to bind a book from scratch.” With soft jazz playing over the hum of alfresco thinkers, the space, which was designed by Japanese architect Takeshi Muruyama in 1975, also includes power points for mobile laptop users as well as a

"The Archive stands not only as a library resource but as a platform where people are able to come and learn new things in an interactive way."

café and a busy program of regular cultural workshops, which include architecture, film screenings and art talks. “We have collected and displayed our books as well as created a program that really gets people to interact with the library and its literature,” Sarah continues. “We’re focusing solely on this region because we want to dispel the negative perceptions and instead try to look at the positive such as the rich culture and heritage that exists within the region.”

For more information visit

2013 January / February 67


central asian art A new gallery in Dubai brings the splendours of Central Asia to the Middle East.

IFC’s newest gallery, Alif, will be showcasing contemporary Central Asian art in the region for the first time. Alif is the brainchild of art collectors Gayane Umerova and Natalya Andakulova, both born and raised in Uzbekistan before moving to Dubai and London respectively. “The Central Asian art market is relatively young but already is a well-established market within the Central Asian region although the experts say that there is more interest from overseas in the local artists than there is from the actual region,” Umerova conceded. The two patrons of Central Asian art say they don’t want Alif to turn into “a pure commercial business” and would instead

Gayane Umerova and Natalya Andakulova


January / February 2013


rather be viewed as “ambassadors of the culture and art scene of Central Asia in the Middle East.” The starting period of Central Asian art dates back to the late 19th-early 20th centuries when Russian artists such as Pavel Benkov and Aleksandr Volkov travelled to the region in search of new meanings of expression, inspiration and environment. According to Umerova, these artists established art schools in central Asian countries where they had regional pupils who came to study traditional easel painting. The pupils subsequently passed on their knowledge and skills to other regional artists. There are several art hubs in central Asia, mainly in Uzbekistan,

"We would like to be ambassadors of the culture and art scene of Central Asia in the Middle East."

Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan. The most recognized is in Tashkent, where Andakulova studied at the Republic College of Art, paving the way for a career in art and Umeroba has since curated a number of exhibitions including the 6th Tashkent International Biennial of Contemporary Art. “Once the gallery has successful started up we are planning to set up a foundation which will support the collateral shows in the Middle East and Europe to help the art scene to expand and central Asian artists to get more international appreciation and recognition,” says Andakulova.

Timur D’Vatz Myths and Legends will run 31 January through March 2013.

The price range of the Central Asian established artists vary from $7,000 to $30,000.

2013 January / February 69



amman, jordan Jordan is the adopted home of Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir who was banned from re-entering Palestine while filming her first feature film, Salt of This Sea. The award winning director, actress and poet shares her favorite places in Amman. By matt hamilton

Wadi Rum

Fakhr El Din


Good Eats

“When I crave Arabic food I head to Fakhr El Din.” (A favoured haunt of the Ammani power set). “For Japanese I recommend Yoshi and for Mexican nothing beats Fatty Dabs,” the newly opened restaurant by Jordanian chef Fadi Dababneh.


January / February 2013

As a child every year we passed through Amman in order to get to Bethlehem to see my grandparents and family. The experience of crossing the bridge has marked me deeply and I learned early how insipid borders are.

“When friends visit, my must see destination is spending the night in Wadi Rum-a remote valley in the desert of southern Jordan, known for its red sand and dramatic mountain landscape.”


What can a savvy traveller find in Jordan’s capital city? With a lot of patience, lots of secrets. Nature Calls Ajloun Forest

Art Hub Darat al Funun

“When I want a dose of culture, I head to Darat al Funun. This place is magical – wonderful art, readings, lectures and location.” Darat al Funun’s hillside terrace, nestled amid gardens, sculptures and classical Arabic architecture, is also the perfect place to savour the cityscape with a cup of tea or lemonade.

Neighbourhood Jebel Weibdeh

I head “To escape the bustle of city life g takin de trysi coun n ania Jord the to ings a nice, long drive until the build for disappear.” Favoured destinations the de inclu alike locals and tourists d Ajloun Forest in the north, the Dea the to ngs Spri Hot n Ma’i the Sea and southwest of the capital.

Unwind Landmark Hotel

“I unwind at the rooftop terrace of the Landmark Hotel – which I feel is one of the most underrated of Amman’s many restaurants and lounges.” Guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the city while dining at the rooftop restaurant Turquoise, a Turkish eatery inspired by world-renowned chef Greg Malouf.

Amman is a series of hills and valleys, or jebels and wadis – giving the capital a dramatic, undulating skyline. Since major sections of the city sit atop hills, they are known as jebels. “My favourite neighbourhood is Jebel Weibdeh, a quaint quarter of the city that has a rich cultural history. It still feels like a neighbourhood. It’s cosy and reminds me of Palestine. Plus I love the literary element - you can find it in the street names.” Check out the art on display at the Jordan National Gallery in Jabal Weibdeh, which has the world’s largest collection of art from developing countries.

2013 January / February 71


Asian Persuasion

While Zuma continues to shine as the UAE’s poster child for Asian food, there are several other spots that are giving this mainstay some stiff competition. Here are the best of the rest... By Nausheen Noor

Hukama This dramatically decorated lounge, with soaring ceilings and moody tones of black, gold and chocolate serves classic Chinese fare. The outdoor deck, surrounded by gently swaying trees and overlooking the Burj Khalifa is a pleasant place to sit on a cool evening. The jumbo wasabi prawns are a suitably impressive dish, as is the wok-fried lobster in black bean sauce. However, the dim sum are the stars of the menu. Each is hand crafted with a perfectly seasoned filling and packaged in a whisper of a wrapper. The Address Downtown Dubai, +971 4 888 3444


January / February 2013


Sontaya Perched on floating pools of water, Sontaya looks out onto the grassy dunes and azure seas of Saadiyat Island. As the indolent breezes lull you into a state of calm, the menu will transport you to modern Southeast Asia. The soft shell crab with pomelo salad, braised short ribs and curried Omani lobster with mango superbly highlights the balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet that makes this cuisine so special. Its idyllic location ensures a romantic evening. The St Regis Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi +971 2 498 8008

Armani/Hashi As you walk down the sleek, Eramosa marble corridors of the Armani Hotel, a private elevator whisks you down to the chic Japanese restaurant that is Armani/Hashi. The outdoor area is spectacular, and even while settled at the base of the Burj Khalifa, one can still gaze at the very top of the tallest building in the world. If however, unparalleled views of the Dubai Fountains isn’t enough entertainment on its own, the food should provide the requisite drama. Each dish is artfully presented. The sushi is fresh, cut perfectly and includes rare items some as sea urchin. The restaurant also specializes in the robatayaki, where meats are slow grilled on hot charcoal. The Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa + 971 4 888 3888

2013 January / February 73


Tomo Chef Takahashi, formerly of Kisaku, has just opened a new rooftop restaurant in the Raffles Hotel. While the dimly lit interiors with panoramic views of the city are an upgrade, the menu offers the same traditional Japanese fare that made Chef Takahashi’s erstwhile abode so famous. This is the kind of restaurant where one needs to be adventurous. In the jako salad tiny dried anchovies stand in for croutons. The chawanmushi, a delicate savory egg custard, is comforting and silken with just a hint of fishy redolence. It is also the only restaurant in Dubai that serves halal Wagyu. Tomo in Japanese means “old friend” and it looks as though this worthy eatery is here to stay. Raffles Hotel, Wafi +971 4 324 8888


January / February 2013


Maximum Returns, Minimum Investment

Healthy weight loss in just 14 days James Heagney, exercise specialist and certified sports nutritionist, shares his simple two part approach with GC.

Think of improving your health as a financial investment. You can have good investments that yield strong returns from minimal capital and time, and you have bad investments that cause you to invest increasing amounts of time and effort whilst yielding no reward. By now your New Year’s health kick should be well under way and the results of your ‘investment’ should be clear to see. If you are still struggling to shift that

festive excess, don’t fret. It is possible to achieve in two weeks results that most people see in one year. This method, I must stress, is not a fad diet, nor the answer to everybody’s problems. This simple approach which I use with my private clients is a combination of diet and exercise that yields great results, especially with business executives. Expect 2-4 kg weight loss in 14 days and sometimes even more.

Part 1 diet and nutrition This is a very simple eating plan to follow. You are going to eat foods that a caveman would have access to. If it walks, crawls, runs, flies and swims you can eat it. If it grows on trees, plants and grassland you can eat it. For the next 14 days, eliminate all processed foods. If you are unsure about a specific food chances are its processed to some degree. Stick to 100% fresh food at every meal just as nature intended. For hydration, limit yourself to water, herbal teas, and black coffee. Avoid fruit juices and all forms of milk.

Foods to Avoid • • • • •

Bread Wheat Oats Pasta Rice


• • • • •

Potatoes Dairy Alcohol Sugar Fruit juices

January / February 2013

Waistline Warning Distended waistlines are examples of chronic inflammation. If this applies to you then you need to take this matter seriously and take action. Inflammation is a modern day silent killer.

Males with waists larger than their hips possess a 76% increased risk of all coronary heart diseases.


Part 2 The WORK OUT The exercise plan is designed to challenge anybody from novice to Olympic athlete. In fact I will go as far as saying this will transform your approach to fitness. No more cardio for fat loss. The secret lies in big weighted exercises, minimal rest intervals and maximum effort. This workout can be done in 20-30 minutes. Perform this 3 times per week.

1 hour = 4% of your day invest 2% of your time per week for life enhancing health benefits!



The circuit: Perform exercise 1, rest 20 seconds AND MOVE ON to 2. After completing 5 rest 2 minutes and repeat ALL.








Heel Raised Dumbbell Squat



4 sec

20 sec


1 Arm D.B Row



4 sec

20 sec


45 Degree Back Extension



4 sec

20 sec


Dumbbell Chest Press



4 sec

20 sec


Seated Rope Face Pulls



4 sec

20 sec

*Tempo Explained



The speed of the movement performed is termed tempo, which has a profound effect on your results. When measuring tempo, I focus on the lowering part of the exercise. For example, when lowering the body to the ground in a push up, count the time it takes to reach the floor. For more health and fitness advice go to 2013 January / February 77


Utilitarian Chic The spring/summer catwalks expressed a penchant for contrasting prints and casual and comfortable layering.




Missoni Spring/ Summer




1: Bag, Burberry Prorsum, (P.O.A.) 2: Wash bag, Paul Smith, AED 702 3: Boots brown, Alexander McQueen,, AED 2,765 78

January / February 2013


4: Hermès In the Pocket Watch, (P.O.A.) 5: V-neck jumper, Missoni, Boutique1, AED 1,600 6: Belt, Anderson’s,, AED 307


1 4


Dolce & Gabbana Spring/ Summer





1: Shorts beige, Alexander McQueen, AED 1,754 2: Belt beige, Margiela,, AED 1,211 3: Missoni for Converse Auckland Racer, (P.O.A.)

4: Shirt, Marc by Marc Jacobs, AED 720 5: Book,, AED 130 6: Glasses, Tom Ford, (P.O.A.) 2013 January / February 79


Effortless Time Keepers Dashing timepieces with understated elegance

1 The new Power Reserve Regulator watch by Louis Erard has a 40 mm case, glare-proof sapphire crystal and water resistance up to 50 meters. The power reserve indicator is found between 10 and 11o’clock. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons AED 6,300

4 Baume & Mercier’s Clifton Automatic features a 41mm x 11.5mm stainless steel case with AR-coated sapphire crystal, is water resistant to 50 meters, has power reserve of 38 hours, personalised rotor and alligator strap. Baume & Mercier and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons from AED 14,000

2 Hermès new Arceau Temps Suspendu automatic is available with a 43 mm case in stainless steel or 18-carat gold, high quality sapphire crystal, waterproof to 30 meters and a stop/start push-piece at 9 o’clock. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons from AED 10,110

classic, refined styles make a comeback


Thin timepieces are simple and discreet, adding an air of quiet confidence to any collection.


January / February 2013

Rado True Thinline Black Ceramic (the world’s thinnest high-tech ceramic watch) measures 39 mm in width and features a black PVD titanium case back, sapphire crystal, Swiss made quartz movement and is water resistant to 30 meters. Rado and Rivoli stores from AED 7,220

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