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december 2011

c ove r story

60. The Year Remembered

2011 has seen autocratic Arab regimes toppled to make way for democratic elections; the euro currency on the brink of being dissolved; and a frightening number of natural disasters that have left thousands dead and millions homeless. Qatar Today looks back on the most salient events of the year, both home and abroad.

48. WPC comes to town

The 20th World Petroleum Conference comes to the Middle East Region for the first time and the Qatar National Convention Centre has the privilege of hosting it. Qatar Today talks to the Chairman of the Organising Committee, Issa Bin Shahin Al-Ghanim, as well as some of the leading oil and gas companies in the country.

60 48


30. Barwa Bank seizing the initiative

Islamic banking recently got a shot of adrenaline when the QCB forced conventional banks to shut their Islamic windows. Barwa Bank, CEO, Steve Troop explains that it should now help them really compete with the larger banking institutions.

102. Arab Adventurer

An Omani explorer has just begun his journey to become the first Arab to reach the South Pole, but he has learned that his pioneering can also encourage Arab youth to empathise with those less fortunate than themselves.

published by oryx advertising co.wll, All rights reserved. qatar today is published monthly by oac, po box no. 3272, doha, qatar. subscription rate for qr. 240 per year. address for all subscription correspondence to qatar today, oryx advertising co.wll, po box 3272, al hilal area, doha, state of qatar. for single copies call us on + 974 44672139 or mail to material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. request for permission should be directed to reprint requests should be directed to the qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll

102 december 2011 volume 37 issue 12


december 2011





38. Young Arabs want to migrate permanently


According to Gallup surveys conducted for Silatech Index: Voices of Young Arabs report, more than 4 in 10 young nationals aged 15 to 29 in Morocco (41%), Algeria (41%) and Tunisia (47%) said they would like to move permanently to another country if they had the opportunity.

46. Human Trafficking: A worrying societal issue


Human trafficking devalues and degrades human beings by treating them as a tradable commodity, paralysing their ability to work or have any lifestyle choice. The Director-General of the QFCHT explains how Qatar is trying to overpower it.

78. Are employees engaged at work?

76. Going Dutch on travel

Look at the factors that influence the level of energy and engagement of employees – and why it should matter to businesses and their bottom line.

Nearly 70% of car-trips in the GCC are less than one kilometre. So for the "winter" months, why not leave the car in the garage and take out the push bike instead. The Dutch have been doing this for decades.

regulars News Bites.................................................14 O & G O v e r v i e w. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 0 Bank Notes................................................22 W o r l d V i e w. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 6 braking News..............................................92 M a r k e t W a tc h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 8 D o h a D i a r y. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 4





D E C E M B E R 2 011

Q ATA R ' S N O . 1 N E W S & B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E


QR.............15 AED..........20 OMR..........2

BHD............2 LBP.............10 KWD...........2 USD............4.5 SAR............20 EURO.........5.5

V o lu m e 3 7

issue 12

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Chief Executive Executive Vice President Vice President

december 2011

Yousuf Jassem Al Darwish Sandeep Sehgal Alpana Roy Ravi Raman

Managing Editor Vani Saraswathi Deputy Editor Sindhu Nair Editorial Coordinator cassey oliveira CORRESPONDENTS RORY COEN EZDHAR IBRAHIM FASHION &LIFESTYLE CORRESPONDENT ORNA Ballout Art Director Venkat Reddy Asst art Director – Production Sujith Heenatigala Assistant Art Director Hanan Abu Saiam Senior Graphic Designers Ayush Indrajith Sampath Gunathilaka Graphic Designers maheshwar reddy Photographer R obert F Altamirano Managers –Marketing Mohammed Sami Zulfikar Jiffry Senior Media Consultant Chaturka Karandana Media Consultant HASSAN REKKAB Accountant Pratap Chandran Sr. Distribution Executive Bikram Shrestha Distribution Support Arjun Timilsina Bhimal Rai

Published by Oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 Email: website: Printed at: Gulf Publishing and Printing Co WLL Copyright © 2010 Oryx Advertising Co WLL

Qatar Today invites readers’ feedback Share your views on the magazine or any issue connected to Qatar. One lucky reader will win an exquisite Mont Blanc writing instrument.

published by oryx advertising co.wll, All rights reserved. qatar today is published monthly by oac, po box no. 3272, doha, qatar. subscription rate for qr. 240 per year. address for all subscription correspondence to qatar today, oryx advertising co.wll, po box 3272, al hilal area, doha, state of qatar. for single copies call us on + 974 44672139 or mail to material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. request for permission should be directed to reprint requests should be directed to the qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll reprint requests should be directed to the qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll reprint requests should be directed to the qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll

Write to: The Editor, Qatar Today, PO Box 3272, Doha. Fax: (+974) 44550982, email: Qatar Today reserves the right to edit and publish the correspondence. Views and opinions expressed in the published letters may not necessarily be the publication’s views and opinions.

december 2011

from the desk


the Arab world this has been a year of significant change: the ushering in of new regimes with fresh aspirations. Despite these scattered springs of hope, this year is probably one most of us would want to be done with. When things get as chaotic as in the recent past, then a lot of muck is bound to surface. One way of looking at this is as an opportunity: an opportunity to cleanse. From politics and corporates, to sports and bureaucracy, the scum of the world have blatantly publicised their misdemeanours. What we can hope for is that it's not with impunity. The so-called superpowers – from the Americas to Europe to Asia – seem quite clueless in the face of the challenges facing them. Qatar has for a while now managed to stay on safe shores, despite the economic turmoil affecting the partners it trades and lunches with. Wealth is no guarantee against strife, investing it wisely is. Look around the region. Bahrain continues to grapple with its issues; Dubai has not yet recovered from the burst bubble; Oman hopes that changes in its labour law will help to engage with its citizens; Saudi's social challenges continue as women press ahead with demands for equality. Even as we wrap up this year, we know 2012 will be welcomed with great trepidation (and we are not talking about certain South American prophecies), and nations will rally against further chaos. Unfortunately, if there is one thing we have seen in the last year, it's that lessons are not really being learnt; not from history and most definitely not from current affairs. Big bonuses after bailouts, resisting reforms even as the country burns, disdain of ethics even when your reputation is at stake – and yet we are considered the most developed of species. Science and nature must be playing some cruel tricks. It's not all doomsday forecast though. The 20th World Petroleum Congress in Doha this month promises innovation and cooperation, and hope of cleaner fuels. Hosting this event is a first for the whole region. This underlines the critical role these oil and gas economies will be playing in the years to come. Qatar Today presents a special look at the WPC and the key players. And as always, this December, we round-up the important events of the year from Qatar and around the world.

Vani Saraswathi

16 Qatar Today

december 2011

l e tt e r s feedback

They sold me! I was delighted that Qatar Today focused so heavily on the effect of social media on business last month. They got varied comment from a host of different entrepreneurs and PR personnel who were able to speak candidly about their own first-hand experience of how it works for their business. If you’re feeling a little unsure and sceptical – like I was – about incorporating social media into your marketing campaign, then look no further. Rai Aledroos

Ambassador for our region

qt poll – december

I got an opportunity to live and work in New York during my undergraduate degree in university and it was an experience which I shall never forget. From the first day to the last, my employers and colleagues were very keen to extend their knowledge and support in my direction; I was determined to leverage this, but I also felt I was an ambassador for my own culture and region and I especially enjoyed this challenge. Nassim Makarem

Poll result is based on messages received till 20th of every month

Pearl GTL explained


Andy Brown and Sindhu Nair gave a wonderful overview of the complexities and scale of the Pearl GTL project. I’ve seen their immense site at Ras Laffan, so it was great to be able to read a well-informed article which explained what goes into constructing and operating such a project, from labour to the various technologies used to some very useful facts and figures to put everything into context. Manesh Gohain

Mobile penetration

It’s interesting to note that Vodafone claim to have 814,000 operational SIM cards, while Qtel have 2,100,000. That’s almost 3 million SIM cards in a country of only 1.7 million people, which includes many children and older people who wouldn’t use a mobile device. Which means there are almost two SIM cards per person in the country. No wonder there are calls for a third operator to enter the market. Teresa Daly

Will the 20th WPC bring other new fuel options into focus? SMS answers to +974 33072524 A lucky winner will win a NOKIa C5-03

Have social media been effective in promoting brands in the country?

56% 44% Yes


The winning number of the last QT poll is 30678746

Qatar Today invites readers’ feedback Share your views on the magazine or any issue connected to Qatar. One lucky reader will win an exquisite Mont Blanc writing instrument.

Check out all articles of Qatar Today on

Write to: The Editor, Qatar Today, PO Box 3272, Doha. Fax: (+974) 44550982, email:

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Qatar Today reserves the right to edit and publish the correspondence. Views and opinions expressed in the published letters may not necessarily be the publication’s views and opinions.

20th world petroleum congress 48


Qatar to hold elections in 2013


H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani announced in November that Qatar will hold Advisory Council (parliamentary) elections in the latter half of 2013. His announcement also included the ending of state monopolies and establishment of a free market economy. The Emir announced that the objective of the elections is to successfully implement the clauses of the Constitution. Under Qatar’s 2003 Constitution, 30 of the council’s 45 members are to be elected and the remaining 15 appointed. He said: “We all know that these steps are necessary to build the modern state of Qatar that is capable of dealing with the challenges of time and building the country.” The achievement of high economic growth is only because of well invested

resources resulting in diversified sources of income. A small country like Qatar has been able to conquer the position in the international market by continuously investing in education and health. “We cannot sustain growth without investing in education and heath to build the Qatari capability so that citizens can shoulder their responsibilities,” he said. Justifying the recent salary raise of Qatari state employees, the Emir said it was only logical because the country has been witnessing economic growth. However, he asked the people to work harder and with sincerity. “Do your best at the workplace and work in a perfect way to help the country achieve its development-related goals and targets,” the Emir said, adding that laziness should not be tolerated.

HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani “sustained growth needs investment in education and health”

democracy a complex process


ofi Annan spoke at a ‘Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security’ meeting in Doha recently, which he chairs. The Global Commission, jointly created by the International Institute for Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Kofi Annan Foundation, works to highlight the importance of the integrity of elections, toward achieving a more secure, prosperous and stable world. “Building democracy is a complex process,” said Annan, Chairman of the Commission. “Elections are only a starting point but if their integrity is compromised, so is the legitimacy of democracy. Most countries have agreed to principles that would, if respected, lead to credible electoral processes, but too often these principles are ignored because of a lack of political commitment, insufficient technical knowledge or inadequate international support. The

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Commission will therefore seek to renew political commitment to the integrity of the electoral process.” The Arab Awakening and the tumultuous political change in North Africa and the Middle East show that the popular demand for democracy is a global phenomenon and not bound by region, ethnicity, culture or religion. Citizens of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya now face the daunting challenge of building a democracy where authoritarianism has long roots. “We have learnt from experience elsewhere," remarked Vidar Helgesen, the Secretary General of IDEA, “that democracy is not what you find in the pot when you take the lid off heavy authoritarian government.

Building sustainable democracy therefore is not a technical exercise but one that requires political leadership and commitment at national and international levels.”

news bites

GCC retail industry poised for more growth

QF counters brain drain from Middle East


lpen Capital recently announced that the retail industry continues to sustain economic development in the region, in its GCC Retail Report as part of its Industry Research services. The report expects retail sales in the GCC to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3% between 2010 and 2015, reaching $240.3 billion by the end of the forecast period. Growing per capita GDP and disposable income, an expanding population base and a consistent inflow of tourists will boost the region’s retail sector going forward. Retail sales of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the GCC are estimated to expand at a CAGR of 10.7% between 2010 and 2015, thus outpacing the broader retail industry. Middle East duty free and travel retail sales are projected to expand at a CAGR of 9.9% between 2010 and 2015. The Middle East luxury goods market looks poised for strong performance going forward. The region’s luxury goods sector is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 8.5% within the same period. “The retail industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the Middle East for the past few years. It is the second largest sector in the oil-rich GCC region, and is considered to be the most preferred means of promoting diversification and sustained


n yet another move to reverse the brain drain affecting the Middle East, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) held the Arab Expatriate Scientists Symposium (AESS) at the Qatar National Convention Centre in November. Organized by QF’s Arab Expatriate Scientists Network, the event brought together scientists and researchers of Arab origin from home and abroad – connecting them to international and local colleagues, stakeholders and students. According to AES Network, fewer than 10% of Arab scientists move back to the region after studying and gaining experience abroad. One expected outcome of AESS is for these scientists to work on major collaborative research projects together, eventually reversing the brain drain of Arab scientific talent by drawing it back to the region. “AESS provides ample opportunities for Arab scientists to network and contribute to scientific enhancement in Qatar and the region,” said Dr. Abdelali Haoudi, QF’s Vice President for Research. “The aim is to determine how Qatar can help facilitate effective, active and sustainable participation of Arab scientists from across the world to benefit Qatar and the region as well as developing societies.”

Sameena Ahmad Managing Director at Alpen Capital

economic development in the region”, says Sameena Ahmad, Managing Director at Alpen Capital. “The industry is dominated by a number of privately-held companies whose relentless drive and innovation have transformed the retail landscape of the region. These companies have shown great resilience in the face of the economic crisis and now face a period of healthy growth ahead of them,” she adds.

QTA Shows Strong Growth


atar’s tourism industry is witnessing steady growth as a result of new hotel and resort development and more visitors from the GCC. The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) recently released new statistics showing results for the third quarter, showing a 4% increase in hotel occupancy over the same

period in 2010. Four- and five-star hotels also witnessed an increase in revenue during the summer period, pointing to strong local and regional interest in the sector. This increase coincided with a 24% increase in visitors from the nearby GCC counties, up from 178,245 in the third

quarter of 2010 to 221,793 in the same period of 2011. Announcing the latest statistics, Ahmed Al-Nuaimi, Chairman of the QTA, said the growth in hotel revenue and visitor figures shows the success of the country’s national tourism strategy, which in turn supports the growth of the country and its aim to diversify the economy.

Five Star Hotel Revenue (qatari riyals) 2010














22 Qatar Today

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news bites highlight Final touches before Arab Games

Vodafone present their World of Difference Award


odafone Qatar presented Frederique Kallen of the Netherlands with the “Grahame Maher World of Difference Award” together with a cheque for £100,000 for her work with Mama Alice, a foundation which offers street kids in Peru free day care, health care and education. Frederique will use the cash to set up a support line for abused children in Peru. The runners-up – Sue Van Schreven from New Zealand and Nick Eastcott from the UK – received £10,000 for their charities, Orphans Aid International and Afrikids. The Award was launched by Vodafone Foundation in honour of Vodafone Qatar's late CEO Grahame Maher.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Qatar also announced its financial results for the six months ended September 30, 2011, where they showed that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached QR65 million, compared with a loss of QR32 million for the same period last year. They boast 814,000 mobile customers, which is an increase of 35% yearon-year. “Vodafone Qatar has grown its mobile customer base significantly over the year to deliver strong financial results to our shareholders. The recent appointment of CEO Richard Daly will continue to lead us from strength to strength,” said HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman of Vodafone Qatar.

A worrying shortage of skilled labour


un & Bradstreet (D&B) revealed in its latest Business Optimism Index (BOI) for Q4 that Qatari businesses ranked a shortage of skilled labour as one of the factors which they expect to affect their operations in Q4 of 2011. Almost a quarter of respondents felt they needed to acquire employees with more acute skills to drive their business forward. They also cited inflationary factors and the availability of finance as chief concerns for concern.

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december 2011

The proportion of firms planning to expand their businesses fell by 10%, from 45% in Q3. However, 27% of the respondents claimed they were happy with the outlook and didn’t envisage any negative factors to adversely affect their business. General Manager at Dun & Bradstreet South Asia Middle East, Manjeet Chhabra, said: “Despite weak global macroeconomic indicators, Qatar’s business community is optimistic in its outlook for Q4 2011, helped by a strong economy and government investment and stimulus measures.

The director of the Arab Games 2011 explains that Qatar is very close to being ready to host the quadrennial event, which gets under way here in Doha on December 9. Khalid Al-Mohannadi was speaking at the Aspire4Sport conference in Doha: “We are 95% ready to host the Games. The five percent is just little touches here and there, bits of testing that we still have to do. Like the beach volleyball venue – it is a completely new venue that we have to test, but that will happen within the next ten days. The athletes’ village is ready, and we will open it on November 25. We have the transportation and catering in place.” He briefed journalists that 22 countries would compete in 31 sports and two Paralympic sports at 14 venues. More than 6,000 athletes and officials will descend on Doha for the Games. Meanwhile, Aspire4Sport 2011 – the leading business sport conference in the Middle East – welcomed a host of recognised speakers and athletes from around the world in November, including tennis star Venus Williams; football coaches Luis Aragones and Marcelo Lippi; football players Fabio Cannavaro and Michael Laudrup; Formula One personalities Sir Frank Williams, Damon Hill and Rubens Barrichello; and Olympic Medallist Nadia Comaneci. Ward Abdullah, Executive Director, Aspire4Sport, said: “Our event provides the international sports industry with a unique opportunity to network with business leaders, take advantage of business opportunities while in Qatar and the Middle East as well as meet global sporting heroes.”

In September the government announced substantial increases in salaries, pensions and benefits for public sector employees, which will support domestic demand. The non-hydrocarbon sector has registered an 18-point gain in its composite score from Q3. Whilst all sectors have shown an improvement in outlook for the last quarter of the year, the trade and hospitality sector is the most bullish.” Issued quarterly, D&Bs BOI is based on an extensive survey conducted amongst the Qatari business community.


O & G overview

Gas,the fastest growing energy source


he outlook for gas is very promising. Gas is the fastest growing source of energy,” said HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum ministerial meeting held last month. “The Middle East in particular has a bigger appetite for energy because it is enjoying high growth.” Al-Sada said the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which groups Qatar and other major exporters including Russia and Iran, does not have a plan to protect itself against a drop in demand that could be caused if the European crisis drags on.

“At the Forum we are closely watching the global financial and economic developments. We still need to know how the global GDP will perform. There are different scenarios, but in all these gas is appropriately positioned in the energy market,” he said. He said the decision to choose Qatar as the headquarters for the GECF shows the international community clearly recognising the country’s strength in the gas industry. “GECF is a very important forum to meet, exchange views and agree on projects together. The Forum member countries have invested hugely in production and other facilities to deliver gas to markets worldwide, responsibly and safely,” Al-Sada said.

Barzan gas project launched


n a clear boost to local industries and utilities, Qatar formally launched the QR37.49 billion ($10.3 billion) Barzan Project, a QPExxonMobil joint venture that will provide 1.4 billion cubic feet a day of lean gas. HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani laid the foundation stone for the world-scale project at the Sheraton on November 1, 2011. The project will be completed in two phases. Train 1 will produce the first gas in 2014 and Train 2 in 2015. Barzan gas from the North Field will supply clean natural gas to fuel the development of many new projects such as the New Doha International Airport, New Doha Seaport, sport facilities for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and numerous power and water desalination plants. The project will also incorporate proprietary technology to maximise sulphur recovery and minimise sulphur dioxide emissions. Sea-water cooling towers that provide a closed-loop cooling system will be used to cool process streams.

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This closed-loop system minimises the use of sea water required for process cooling. Sophisticated technologies are being applied in pipeline and offshore platform installation that will help minimise impact on marine life to a great extent. The Barzan Gas Project will supply natural gas to power generation and water desalination plants as well as small-and medium-sized industries in Qatar. The project will also produce ethane that will be used as feedstock in the local petrochemical industries in addition to propane and butane for export. The Laffan Refinery will use condensates to produce diesel, gasoline and other products. Al-Sada said the Barzan Gas Project will have the largest number of Qataris working on it and will offer unique development programmes for young Qataris and engineers to enhance their skills and knowledge in the energy industry. HE the Deputy Premier and Head of Emiri Diwan Abdullah bin Hamad AlAttiyah, ministers and other dignitaries attended the stone-laying ceremony.

HE the Minister of Energy and Industry

Dr MohamMed bin Saleh Al-Sada

Barzan in Numbers:

Project cost:




Production of lean gas:


billion cubic feet per day Other by-products:


barrels per day (bpd) of both field and plant condensates

1,900 tonnes per day (tpd) of ethane


tpd of propane and


tpd of butane.


bank notes Chedid Re wins Reinsurance Broker award

IBQ Launches

Festive Season Offers


farid chedid, chedid re chairman and ceo, receiving the 2011 'reinsurance broker of the year' award


hedid Re was recently named “Reinsurance Broker of the Year” for the second year in a row in the 8th Annual Insurex Awards ceremony. The “Reinsurance Broker of the Year” award recognises the broker that demonstrates how it goes the extra mile to meet the needs of its clients and has a proven track record of growth and success in the Middle East. It demonstrates an exemplary level of service to clients and boasts a formidable presence across the region.

Receiving the award, Chedid Re Chairman and CEO Farid Chedid said: “It is a great honour to be named “Reinsurance Broker of the Year” at the Insurex Awards 2011. Winning this leading award two years in a row is a tribute to the excellence of our team and an acknowledgement of the leading position Chedid Re holds within the reinsurance industry, recognising our achievements, success and leadership. It is a great recognition for the team that drives the business. This award would not have been possible without our commitment and passion to perform.”

Top Honour for QCB Chief


E, the Governor of Qatar Central Bank, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saud Al-Thani was recently honoured for his work in steering QCB through the global financial crisis as well as supporting the development of the banking sector in Qatar. He was bestowed the honour during the third Kuwait Financial Forum in Kuwait. This forum is organised by Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group in cooperation with the Central Bank of Kuwait and the Kuwait Banking Association. It discussed many important topics affecting economic development in general as well as the financial sector, and monetary issues in the GCC region. HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani was selected for the award in recognition of his role in supporting the development of Qatar’s financial markets, which have contributed to improving institutional profitability in addition to reinforcing financial controls for the overall benefit of the country’s banking sector. Earlier in the year, the QCB Governor was also named Arab Banking Personality of the Year 2011 on the sidelines of the Arab Banking Conference 2011, held in Doha.

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BQ has recently launched its largest merchant partner promotion to date, the “Festive Season Offers”, which is the 9th edition in the bank’s long-standing, yearlong Merchant Partner Programme for its credit card holders. Running from November 15, 2011 until February 29, 2012, the “Festive Season Offers” will feature a range of offers and savings across the most exclusive hotels and retailers in the country, with additional savings on travel, dining and entertainment. This promotion, the largest to date, joins up with 32 merchant partners across 110 outlets and services in Qatar, and provides a broader spectrum of offers in addition to cash back guaranteed for all IBQ credit-card holders. Some of the main offers include: up to 50% savings at top hotels for room and weekend packages, across selected restaurants, food outlets and spas; up to 25% savings at a range of home and furniture shops; exclusive deals and up to 30% savings at brand retail shops; up to 20% savings on health and beauty products and services; and up to 10% savings on travel and adventure packages. Philip King, Head of Retail Banking at IBQ, said: “IBQ is always committed to bringing high-value banking solutions and excellence in service to all customers. We want to remain at the forefront of our industry and therefore we continue to work hard to provide the best deals and offers for our customers whatever their tastes – be it travel, dining, entertainment or shopping in addition to cash back on every purchase. This particular edition is the largest and most wideranging merchant partner promotion so far and is a testament to the success of the programme with both our customers and merchant partners.”


measured OPTIMISM FOR equities in 2012 What a year 2011 has been! After a promising start for equities, the remainder of the year has taken investors on a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs in the markets, with some natural disasters and political uprisings thrown in for good measure.


recap, 2011 started as 2010 had ended, with signs of improving economic data continuing to buoy stock markets. Nonetheless, returns on equities were more muted, but still positive. This was largely the result of geopolitical events: unrest in the Middle East saw a sharp rise in oil prices as Libyan oil production capacity was reduced and investors feared that other oil-producing nations in the region could also see their output hit. This was followed by the devastating earthquake and tsunami, then problems at the Fukushima nuclear power station, in Japan. Meanwhile, signs of a slowdown in activity in developed nations began to emerge, with data releases become increasingly lacklustre. These developments would set the gloomier picture for the much of the year to come. From March to September, financial markets were afflicted by high levels of risk aversion and extreme volatility. Ongoing problems in the eurozone, particularly the situation regarding government debt levels in the peripheral economies, such as Greece, weighed on the already-fragile sentiment pervading global bourses. In this environment, investors shunned equities in a broad “flight to quality”; this bolstered the performance of core government bonds. All major developed equity markets were affected, notably in the US, where economic numbers continued to be weak, and in Europe, where signs of a deceleration in the

German economy added to the woes surrounding peripheral sovereign debt. The market panic of the summer launched a number of different responses from central banks and governments in the West. The US Federal Reserve launched “Operation Twist”, a policy designed to lower yields on long-term bonds. In Europe, after much political wrangling, an agreement was finally reached in October on the magnitude of the snappily-titled European Financial Stability Facility, a programme aimed at supporting the beleaguered eurozone. During this period, Asian equities were affected by developments in the West, as many markets in the region are heavily reliant on exports to the US and Europe. Events in the developed world were also transmitted to emerging markets, although economies in the EM bloc are continuing to show strong fundamentals. As such, the outlook for equities here is more positive. Indeed, at the time of writing, both emerging and developed market equities have staged a recovery, bouncing back significantly in October, with risk appetite among investors gradually returning amid signs of improving economic data. So, we approach the end of the year slightly battered and bruised but with some glimmers of light at the end of what has seemed like a long and dark tunnel. As such, at HSBC, we are cautiously optimistic but remain vigilant


By Javed Hassan Akhtar Senior Sales Manager Wealth Management, HSBC

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one looks at the recent performance of local equity markets it is far from obvious that global investors have been going through one of the most challenging periods in history, with talk of sovereign defaults in Europe an almost daily occurrence. Investors have also had to cope with fears that a slowdown in the United States and China meant that the global economy would no longer be supported by its two most important growth engines of the past decade. GCC equities, as represented by the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, have been broadly flat over the past few months. So too has the MSCI World Index, with a decline of just 1% for the three months to November 16 compared to a gain of 1% for the GCC Index. However, this fails to reflect the low volatility here. During the above period there were just 5 trading days in which the GCC index moved (up or down) by 1% or more, and the average move was just 0.4%. The average daily change for global equities over the same period was 1.5%, with 60% of all trading days experiencing a move of more than 1%. Correlations were also extremely low, with the GCC and global equities frequently moving in different directions. The dull market can be partly explained by a lack of trading volume. This is not so apparent in the headline figure, which shows a 40% increase in trading across the GCC in the August-October period. Before getting too excited, though, I should point out that this remains 60% below the same period in 2007. Further, the figure for this year is skewed by an 88% increase in Saudi Arabia, which was said to have been the result of retail investor churning rather than improving underlying demand. Excluding Saudi, volumes in the GCC were down 39%, with declines of 55%, 56% and 29% in the UAE, Kuwait and Oman respectively. Interestingly, Qatar also experienced higher volumes as domestic investors absorbed sales from foreigners. Salary hikes, an increase in proprietary trading at banks and rumours of support from government institutions were sufficient to ensure that Qatar has been one of the best performers in the GCC recently.

Although the GCC is relatively isolated from global issues, its fortunes are inevitably linked to some degree; the willingness of investors to take risk is one obvious example. Perversely, it could be because the fundamentals are so strong that volumes have been so low. Investors are reluctant to buy because of global risk aversion but, equally, they are reluctant to sell because of the region's strengths. This has resulted in a lack of investor interest, record low volumes and ultra-low volatility. However, it will not remain so forever; stability will eventually return to Europe and when it does fundamentals will drive markets again. For this reason, it is worth reminding ourselves of the region's strengths so that we may know how to react when global markets stabilise. One of the most important drivers of equity markets – corporate profitability – exceeded expectations again in the third quarter. For the whole GCC, earnings rose by a more than respectable 16%. Industrials and materials, especially in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were the biggest sector contributors while at the country level Qatar, where growth of 29% year-on-year was recorded, was particularly impressive. Within the DSM, the two heavyweight sectors – financials (earnings +46%) and industrials (+19%) – both performed well, with the financial sector in particular publishing better than expected profitability. Strong loan growth, particularly to corporates, showed the sector's leverage to the strong economy, while improving net interest margins and lower provisions for bad debts provided a further boost to earnings. With strong capital positions and high dividend yields the sector is well placed to benefit from Qatar's extraordinary economic performance. As we look forward to 2012 it is clear that the global economy will remain difficult. As a result, central bankers in the developed world will be forced to inject more liquidity into the system and this will support financial assets. Within equities, though, investors are likely to remain cautious, which is where the defensive qualities of the GCC, with strong earnings, cash flow and dividend growth, stand out

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BY Paul Cooper, Managing Director, Sarasin-Alpen & Partners

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Critically aware The importance of critical illness cover for international professionals, to protect them if they fall seriously ill and are unable to work, cannot be understated, says David Russell.


is a disturbing statistic that as an international professional you are three times more likely to suffer a heart attack, a stroke or be diagnosed with cancer than you are to die – and yet while many people have life insurance cover a proportionately smaller number of expats have critical illness cover. Generally, international workers are abroad for a limited number of years – typically five to 10 years – with a view to earning a larger salary than they could in their home domicile and saving for the future. They are often young and/or in good health and so, for many, critical illness cover is some way down the list of priorities for these very reasons. Yet it is precisely because you are an international professional with these advantages and aims that this is the time when you are most at risk in terms of your future wealth and ambitions. The cost to you of not working is possibly the highest in relation to any other period of your life because of the higher salary that can be earned and the tax benefits that can come from being an expatriate. Consequently, if you have not done so before, and no matter what age you are, it pays to give some thought to what you would do if you did fall seriously ill and were unable to work. While many employment contracts will provide some limited life insurance as part of the package, it is very rare that contract benefits will include critical illness cover, leaving you fully exposed should this eventuality occur. As financial advisers planning for someone’s future, we say critical illness is the worst investment we can advise anyone to make – because we hope it will never be used. But the fact is that people of all ages do fall ill, and where this inhibits their ability to work it can have a devastating effect on their lives and the lives of


their families. Having this kind of protection in place can provide a valuable lifeline at a time when there can be many emotional, physical and financial issues with which to contend. If a critical illness occurs and the policy criteria are met then cover is usually paid out in a lump sum. Most people use the payout to provide income and support for their new circumstances if they are unable to return to work. This can be a boon both for single people and for those with families, especially if the partner is non-working and, in particular, should it be necessary for the insured (and family) to return home, incurring unexpected repatriation costs. However, what is often not realised is that in many cases people do return to work even after suffering a critical illness, either in the same or in a similar role. Importantly, as long as the policy criteria have been met for the defined critical illness, then a payout is made regardless of future recovery and health. Critical illness can also include Permanent Total Disability, which provides additional cover if you were to become disabled due to illness or accident. It is a common misconception that setting up a critical illness policy is difficult, time consuming and expensive. This is not so. It is important to have access to the entire International Protection market in order to get the most competitively priced policy on the market. At Guardian the relationships that we have with all the providers ensure an efficient underwriting process, and the policy can be put in place speedily with the bulk of the administration being organised by us. In general we recommend you consider putting in place a policy that pays out four times annual salary, and importantly we ensure that we only recommend international policies that allow payouts to be made to any place in the world, within five days of doctor diagnosis, as a tax-free lump sum. This means wherever your international career takes you, you can take the policy with you and know you have the right cover in place

BY David Russell Senior Executive Officer, Guardian Wealth Management David Russell joined Guardian Wealth Management in Geneva, helping from inception to establish an office which is now regarded as one of the leading providers of independent financial advice to the employees of many international organisations. With the expansion of the company into the Middle East, David was elected to take over the reins as the Senior Executive Officer for Qatar. He brings a wealth of experience to the Qatar office as well as a sound legal background which stands him in very good stead in ensuring the team bring the best in financial advice to the many expatriate clients.

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Barwa Bank seizing the initiative The recent QCB directive to shut the Islamic windows in conventional banking institutions was met with derision from a number of the banks, but the Islamic banks, such as Barwa Bank, are hoping this opportunity will help them compete in a very uncompromising industry. by Rory C oe n


Troop isn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth. When quizzed about the recent directive by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to slam shut the Islamic windows in conventional banks by the end of this year, the CEO of Barwa Bank commented: “It’s a very welcome one indeed!” Barwa Bank is Qatar’s newest Islamic Bank, and this directive will effectively see their competition reduced from 17 banks to just three. No wonder he’s pleased. As a new entrant into a competitive market, this is arguably the best break they could have received. Ability is nothing without opportunity, so their objective now is to exercise this opportunity. Barwa Bank was only incorporated in 2008 with an authorised capital of QR1 billion and a paid up capital of QR500 million, though this has since been increased to QR3 billion and QR1.9 billion respectively. (A further increase is imminent following shareholder approval at an EGM held in October.) The QCB Islamic banking directive was published on January 31 of this year, and Troop and his team began to amend their initial roadmap in light of it. “Two things happened,” explained Troop. “One was strategic and environmental. All of a sudden we had reduced competition in a market growing faster than conventional banking, albeit from a much lower base. From our perspective, that was an overwhelmingly positive change in the landscape. The other was tactical, with the realisation that the conventional banks would have to close their Islamic windows: we have been involved in a number of conversations, one of which has resulted in a transaction.”

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Barwa Bank acquired IBQ’s Al Yusr Islamic retail banking operations in an agreement which was signed by Troop and the MD of IBQ, George Nasra. Under the terms of the agreement, the sale included the Al Yusr retail loans and deposit account portfolios, the two Al Yusr branches located at Al-Sadd and Al-Rayyan including ATMs, and the transfer of Al Yusr employees to Barwa Bank. The private and corporate banking portfolios, however, were not part of this deal. Lack of discussion The directive caused much angst among many conventional bankers, who have been vocal in their criticism of it. The QCB’s explanation of the directive didn’t sit well with them, but it was the Central Bank’s refusal to entertain any form of discussion which caused the most frustration. There’s an insistence among conventional bankers that it was almost a case of the tail wagging the dog, whereby the QCB’s hand was forced by concerted lobbying from Islamic banks. They accused the QCB of “handing them our customers” in a sector in which they specialise but don’t even dominate. “I find these comments rather graceless,” countered Troop. “It’s patronising to the customers concerned. We operate in an extraordinarily competitive marketplace and customers decide which is the most appropriate institution for them – and some of those decisions are based on personal beliefs and values. But customers do choose. There’s nothing to stop a customer from having a relationship with an Islamic bank and another with a conventional bank.” Moody’s figured the directive would lead to losses of between 8 and 16% of conventional banks’ total deposit base, assets and profits. Indeed Islamic operations contributed 10-15% of their



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BANK NOT ES “Another aspect is the participative dimension of Islamic annual earnings. In 2010, Islamic windows in conventional banks achieved net profits of $1.15 billion against $3.1 billion by Islamic banking. The nature of the assets in which we have an interest banks. Surely these figures show that conventional banks’ Islam- is a little different. Which means segregation from a supervisory perspective also makes sense.” ic windows were more efficient than dedicated Islamic banks? There was some sentiment within the Islamic banking space “It’s difficult to respond to that without sounding overly defensive,” said Troop. “However, the important thing to bear in mind that maybe conventional banks weren’t as focused on Islamic is that the windows of the conventional banks cannot make a ‘net principles as they should be, that there had been some ‘bendprofit’ – the reason I say this is because they’re not incorporated ing’ of Shariah compliance. However, Troop dismisses this entities – they are operating divisions. Some banks – through argument. “Some scholars have different views on certain financing structheir financial statements – add notes to the accounts where they project an ‘estimated profitability’ for their Islamic window. tures over others, and some place differing emphasis on different Because that Islamic window is not an incorporated entity, it aspects of Shariah compliance. There is also a regional dynamic doesn’t have a profit and loss account in a formal, structural ac- – the South East Asian Islamic finance industry has a slightly difcounting sense – the profits from these windows are management ferent ‘shape’ as a consequence. “All the windows had their own Shariah boards and scholars. accounting estimates. If you look at the financial statements for the banks that had windows, or still have windows, some of those Products, structures and transactions would all have required supplementary notes are expansive, others are very limited – so their explicit approval; indeed, it is not unusual for the more interested and engaged customers to ask to getting a genuine handle on the overall see the underlying fatwa. Whilst there may profitability of windows is difficult. well have been minor variations as to in“There’s also a narrow technical arguterpretation, I do not believe that, in Qatar, ment on the way in which costs are allointerpretations were profoundly different, cated to these windows. Most of them, if so I don’t think that’s a fair accusation.” not all, rely to a greater or lesser extent “We are a very young on their conventional parent for indiorganisation, a recent Non-Muslim clients rect assistance and support, such as inentrant to a congested market Barwa Bank have been restructuring their frastructure and IT. How much of those roadmap since January 31. They’ve accosts are allocated to the windows in the place; there is no appetite for quired new customers from IBQ and have management accounting process? I think another ‘me-too’ proposition. been enticing others to do business with what I would say is that one needs to take It is incumbent upon us to them. But can an Islamic institution, such a sceptical view of aggregate Islamic winas Barwa Bank, attract non-Muslim cusdow ‘profit’ numbers; my view is that they differentiate, and we have tomers. Why would a non-Muslim indiare over-stated because, by and large, chosen the service vidual, who doesn’t necessarily care about they understate the costs that should be proposition” Shariah compliance do business there? allocated to them.” “The key word is ‘bank’ – we are a bank that operates under Islamic principles and Why change the landscape? provides Shariah-compliant banking,” So why did the QCB feel there was a need said Troop. “However, for our customto change the rules regarding Islamic ers, Muslim and non-Muslim, we want banking in Qatar? Both forms of banking reported steady and encouraging profits in 2010 and this year to to provide excellent service, superior products and great value. date. They had overcome the recent global economic problems We do compete for customers, we are a commercial organisawith relative ease and weren’t directly involved in the European tion, and there are large numbers of attractive, non-Muslim retail banking prospects in Doha with whom we would like to have a banking mess. “In terms of environment and landscape,” said Troop, “there’s relationship. “As a general observation, we believe there’s a space in the a growing desire for many people across the region for Shariahcompliant banking. That desire is echoed in Qatar where Islamic market for an exceptional provider of service in the retail bankbanking aggregates are growing faster – albeit from a smaller base ing sector. We are a very young organisation, a recent entrant to a – than they are in the conventional banking space. This created congested market place; there is no appetite for another ‘me-too’ a lot of switching, where people preferred Shariah-compliant proposition. It is incumbent upon us to differentiate, and we have banking, so I feel the QCB felt the best way of promoting this ac- chosen the service proposition, the way in which we interact and tivity was to clearly segregate Islamic and conventional banking. try to wrap the bank around our customers. We’re never going to “There are also technical considerations about the way Islamic be a multi-branch, mass market network – those market segments banks need to be managed from a supervisory and regulatory per- are already well provided for – but we do feel there’s a place for a spective - things that relate to the management of liquidity, for focused bank that looks at service for a selective customer base.” example. Conventional banks have a far broader range of shortterm deployment opportunities. Islamic capital and debt markets are under-developed – though are developing – so liquidity follow management is more challenging in Islamic banking. Arguably, if you mix the two you don’t get a clear picture.

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realty check

Egypt Projects for Qatari Diar


atari Diar Real Estate Investment Company signed a contract with Consolidated Contractors Company worth QR1,979.43 million ($543.8 million) for its projects in Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh. The contract allots QR1,690 million ($464.3 million) to the company’s “Nile Corniche” project in Cairo and QR289.38 million ($79.5 million) to its coastal resort project in Sharm El Sheikh. Qatari Diar Egypt has also disclosed a

tripartite agreement between Qatari Diar, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and Silatech. The tripartite agreement was signed in conjunction with the contract for construction in order to provide employment opportunities to Egyptian workers and graduates. Qatari Diar has urged its partners to provide a total of more than 4,000 job opportunities through the agreement, which will comprise about 90% of the workers and engineers for Qatari Diar’s projects.

Safety foremost for Msheireb


sheireb Properties announced last month that it had reached a significant safety milestone by registering ten million hours worked on its flagship Msheireb Downtown site without a single Lost Time Incident or Injury on Phase 1A. This accomplishment is a result of the company’s adherence to strict local and international health and safety regulations and adoption of strict inspection, reporting and third party audit backed up by rigorous training programmes. Lost Time Incident/Injury (LTI) is an important measure of on-site safety, indi-

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cating the total man-hours worked on the project without any downtime as the result of an accident or injury. The accomplishment goes hand in hand with an initiative launched by Msheireb to reward workers and contractors for excellence in on-site safety. Under the Msheireb Properties Safety Awards Programme, workers receive a collective achievement award on passing pre-set milestones and individual achievement awards to recognise a single worker’s strict adherence to safety instructions. Prizes include pre-paid phone cards, shopping vouchers, cinema tickets and household goods.

GORD and QU join hands


atar University (QU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD), developer of the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS), an integrated green building assessment system that makes use of the Arab region’s environmental and cultural data, and offers an advanced system that adheres to the recent technological advancements through use of the Internet. As per the agreement, both institutes are to cooperate in the launch of joint initiatives and projects aimed at conserving energy, reducing carbon emissions and creating an integrated community based on economic and environmental equilibrium while preserving the architectural identity of the Arabian Gulf. The parties agreed to develop a general framework for coordination to teach and integrate QSAS into the university’s education curricula to raise awareness of sustainable building practices and encourage optimum consumption of energy, water and environmental resources. Under the agreement, QU will be granted the right to use all the tools available in the system through a free and unrestricted “Educational Licence”, which can serve all scientific teaching, research and academic purposes focused on green building, excluding consulting activity or research with financial returns.



arab snippets Oman

“Labour law meets demands”


man’s new Labour Law, which came into effect at the end of last month, meets many demands made by workers in private sector establishments, according to Omani officials. Labour Affairs Undersecretary at the Ministry of Manpower Hamad bin Khamis Al-Amri said one of the notable features of the revised law was the introduction of

two weekly days off for workers in all private firms. The holidays, he pointed out, need not necessarily be on Thursdays and Fridays, but on any days agreed by employers and workers. The maximum number of work hours a day has been fixed at nine, or 45 a week. An employee can be asked to work extra hours, provided the total does not exceed 12 hours a day. Every worker must be given 30 days of paid leave annually,

plus an emergency leave of six days, according to the new law, which also incorporates a number of amendments in clauses governing dismissal or termination of service of an employee. He said companies that did not comply with the prescribed Omanisation levels would be punished with a fine of between RO250 and RO500 (QR2,345–4,650) for each Omani they should have employed.

Abu Dhabi

Six-fold growth in oil sector

The rise in investments was accompanied by a surge in crude prices, which increased the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to $83.8 billion from $4.21 billion in 2005. It also said that during the period between 2005 and 2011, Abu Dhabi pumped more than $10 billion into crude capacity expansion projects, which targeted its on-

shore and offshore areas. It is worth noting that gross fixed capital formation (investment) in the oil and gas sector in 2005 reached $1.95 billion, where as it grew to around $2.12 billion in 2006 and $2.31 billion in 2007, however, it surged to $5 billion in 2008 and to $9.2 billion the following year, while it hiked to $11.89 billion in 2010. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI


bu Dhabi Department of Economic Development said that between 2005 and 2010 investments in the emirate’s oil sector grew by around SIX times, due to a rise in spending on oilfield development plans and an increase in investment in fixed assets in oil equipment.

HIGHLIgHt Gold demand dips by 28% Gold and gold jewellery demand in the Middle East region fell 28% to 38.5 tonnes in the third quarter of this year. The weakest performance was seen in Egypt, where demand dropped by 43% to 8.8 tonnes, as the market continued to feel the effects of the Arab Spring through a decline in tourism, foreign investment and disposable income, the World Gold Council (WGC) said in its Gold Demand Trends Third Quarter 2011 report released recently. demand declined between 20 and 24% in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf states. Demand of 11 tonnes in the UAE (-24% year-on-year) echoed the decline in India as expatriates from the Indian Subcontinent reduced their demand for 22-carat jewellery in response to the volatile price action. However, the WGC said third-quarter gold demand increased 6% to 1,053.9 tonnes, worth a record $57.7 billion. A strong rise in investment demand drove the growth in overall demand, as investors across the globe sought wealth preservation, portfolio diversification and strong returns.

Spring to Winter... No respite in Egypt Egyptian protesters face off against riot police during clashes at Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on November 20, 2011. Several hundred Egyptians occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square with sporadic clashes between protesters and the police following a night of deadly violence, an AFP correspondent said.

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world view


7 billion and counting PHILIPPINES, Manila : Danica Mae Camacho, the Philippines' symbolic 7 billionth baby is cuddled by her mother Camille during a welcoming ceremony after she was born at a government-run maternity hospital in Manila early October 31, 2011. The Philippines welcomed the symbolic seven billionth baby with a celebratory cheer at a packed government-run maternal hospital. Weighing 2.5 kilos, Danica May was delivered just shortly before midnight on October 30 amid an explosion of flash bulbs from a media contingent that had waited for hours at Manila’s Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital’s delivery room.


Eurozone dilemma GERMANY, Berlin : German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) is to shake hands with Britain’s Prime minister David Cameron at the end of a joint press conference after their meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin last month. Merkel met Cameron, whose country is a non-eurozone member, amid sharp differences over handing more central power to Brussels as the eurozone tackles its debt crisis.

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world view AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB

ASEAN pressure on Myanmar

AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand

INDONESIA, NUSA DUA : US President Barack Obama (C) wearing traditional Indonesian attire attends the gala dinner during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and East Asia Summit in Nusa Dua on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on November 18, 2011. Obama earlier said he will send Hillary Clinton to Myanmar next month in the first visit by a US secretary of state for 50 years, to propel “flickers” of democratic reform.

Occupy Unabated UNITED STATES, New York : Muslims perform Friday prayers on Foley Square in support of Occupy Wall Street against police brutality and surveillance in New York on November 18, 2011.


India’s F1 debut INDIA, GREATER NOIDA : Red Bull-Renault driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany kisses the trophy after winning the Formula One Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida on October 30, 2011. World champion Sebastian Vettel made history by winning India’s first ever Formula One with ease as McLaren’s Jenson Button tightened his grip on the championship’s second place.

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view point

Young Arabs want to Migrate Permanently Europe the preferred destination for most in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia


to the unrest that swept the Middle East and North Africa this year, many of the region’s young people expressed a desire to migrate permanently. According to Gallup surveys conducted for Silatech Index: Voices of Young Arabs report, more than 4 in 10 young nationals aged 15 to 29 in Morocco (41%), Algeria (41%) and Tunisia (47%) said they would like to move permanently to another country if they had the opportunity. Young nationals in each of these countries were considerably more likely than those aged 30 and older to say they would like to

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move permanently. About three-fourths of these potential migrants chose a European country as their preferred destination. Some of those young North Africans who in 2010 expressed a desire to migrate permanently may since have been spurred to leave by the turmoil accompanying this year’s pro-democracy movements. Following the revolution in Tunisia, the small Italian island of Lampedusa was overrun by Tunisians seeking better economic opportunities. That exodus heightened concerns among some European leaders about illegal immigration from North African countries. The result has been renewed debate about migration controls,

vie w point with France and Italy lobbying to make it easier for EU member states to re-establish internal border security. As an EU official recently cautioned, European countries must balance the push for tighter controls against the likelihood that they will become increasingly dependent on young migrant labour as their populations grow older. The EU has called for “mobility partnerships” between European and North African countries to manage migration in ways that benefit both regions. Preferred destinations Overall, about three-fourths of young potential migrants in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia named a country in the EU as their preferred destination. Fourteen percent chose the US or Canada, while 6% chose another Arab League country. Young women were somewhat more likely than young men to choose an Arab League country – 10% vs 3% respectively. France was, by far, the most commonly chosen country, named

Ideally, if you had the opportunity,would you like to move permamently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country? Results among country nationals aged 15-29 Morocco



Prefer to move




Prefer to stay




Results based on two surveys in each country, conducted in the spring and fall of 2010 (see Survey methods below) GALLUP

To which country would you like to move? Results among country nationals aged 15-29 who would prefer to move permanently to another country Total




EU member










Arab League country





Results based on two surveys in each country, conducted in the spring and fall of 2010 (see Survey methods below) GALLUP

by about one-third (34%) of those expressing a desire to migrate permanently. Italy (13%), Spain (9%), Canada (9%), the UK (7%), Germany (6%) and the US (5%) were each named by at least 5%. Forty-three percent of young Tunisian nationals who said they would like to move chose France, as did 30% of Algerians and 27% of Moroccans. Implications Gallup data reveal a widespread desire to permanently migrate among young adults in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia even prior to this year’s unrest. Analysts have argued that the migration of North African workers to Europe could ease potentially severe European labour shortages in the coming decades. It could also bring North African countries badly needed income in the form of increased remittances and ease the pressure created by burgeoning youth populations in a region where jobs are scarce. However, arrangements are needed to match supply with demand to ensure that migrants quickly become productive in their new homes. Given the strong focus of aspiring young Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian migrants on countries with which they have cultural ties or geographic proximity (predominantly France, Italy and Spain), efforts to open expanded channels of migration to other European countries with ageing populations will be important to maximise benefits to the EU as well as opportunities for migrants

Survey Methods Results from Morocco are based on face-to-face interviews with 870 country nationals, aged 15 to 29, conducted February through March and November 2010. Results from Algeria are based on face-to-face interviews with 903 country nationals, aged 15 to 29, conducted February through March and September through October 2010. Results from Tunisia are based on face-to-face interviews with 882 country nationals, aged 15 to 29, conducted February through April and September through October 2010. For results based on these samples of young nationals, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from +/- 3.5 to +/-3.9 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


By Steve Crabtree


These findings are based on the recently released fourth installment of Gallup’s report, The Silatech Index: Voices of Young Arabs. This Silatech Index analysis is conducted by Gallup scientists and researchers pursuant to the Silatech-Gallup partnership. In addition to systematically measuring the perceptions of young people across the region on the challenges related to employment and entrepreneurship, Gallup analysts lead the effort in disseminating the findings of the Silatech Index to regional and global leaders and institutions engaged in addressing the challenges surrounding young people and employment in the region.

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view point

MENA Middle Class: Hopes, Fears and the Way Forward Policymakers across the Middle East are more alert than ever before to the importance of a vibrant middle class. A thriving group of educated, hardworking people is the mainstay of economic development and political stability in any country. Their existence will be crucial during this period of the MENA region’s demographic transition, as a large youth population grows louder in its demands for economic and political inclusion.


for the MENA region’s leaders to cultivate a strong middle class, the first task is to understand who comprises this segment, how they feel about the state of their societies, and what they hope for their futures. To that end, Booz & Company and its thinktank, the Ideation Center, surveyed approximately 1,450 people in the GCC and North Africa about their attitudes, aspirations, and anxieties. Although “middle class” is a fairly amorphous term, the survey included people whose household income was between 75% and 150% of the national median and/or people who defined themselves as middle class. The survey showed that most middle-class households rely on a single breadwinner, with the median monthly salary ranging between $575 and $2,600. This salary meets basic needs, with about 20% left over for people to enjoy travel, mobile phones, Internet access and recreation, and approximately another 10% remaining for savings.

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People in the middle class are pessimistic about the recent past but optimistic about the future. Two-thirds of our survey respondents feel that their standard of living has not improved in the last five years, thanks to high inflation, few job opportunities, and stagnating salary levels. They are concerned about political instability (including terrorism), the possibility of another global economic crisis, and high inflation. At the same time, two-thirds of the respondents also expect their standard of living to improve in the next five years and they will hold their governments to high standards regarding economic development, political reforms, and better education and health systems. Most critical to members of the middle class and the leaders who hope to grow this socioeconomic segment is to ensure decent standards of living, reflected by quality education, employment opportunities, and adequate healthcare. Demands for better education Many MENA governments have made major investments in their

vie w point countries’ futures by spending a significant percentage of govern- middle class, followed by a good income. This is surprising, as ment budgets on education. As a result, MENA countries have fewer than 10% of respondents had been laid off in the past five increased gender parity, the number of years that children spend years, despite the global crisis. But these choices could be atin school, enrolment rates and literacy. But MENA students still tributed to the lack of social safety nets protecting them from score below their global peers on international tests; drop-out economic shocks. Governments must keep pushing the job creation agenda by rates are high; and curricula are outdated, based on rote learning diversifying the economy and driving growth. In parallel, they rather than innovative thinking. The members of the region’s middle class recognise the impor- should continue to formalise social safety measures, such as untance of a quality school system, with three-quarters of the sur- employment insurance, to protect against economic shocks, and vey respondents noting that an excellent education is important target poverty by offering programmes to integrate the poor into in achieving success. A majority of the respondents will spend the labour market. their savings on their children’s education, although only a third of the households send their children to private schools. Satisfac- Healthcare system needs a checkup Although healthcare systems in MENA tion with local education systems varies, countries have improved over the last 30 but even among those respondents that years, the region is facing a rapid increase are happy with local systems, at least half in health costs as its population ages want their children to study overseas. To and sedentary lifestyles lead to chronic meet their citizens’ needs, governments Most critical to members diseases. must both make education available to Most respondents have health insurmore people and improve its quality for of the middle class and the ance, including state coverage in the GCC. instance, by tracking and evaluating stuleaders who hope to grow But as the needs of the middle class indents’ performance, setting performcrease, they will demand quality care. To ance-based incentives for teachers, and this socioeconomic segment support this fundamental need of the midgiving families a voice in their children’s is to ensure decent standards dle class, governments must ensure that education. healthcare systems meet expectations, of living, reflected by qualwith emphasis on preventive care and Unemployment on the rise ity education, employment efficiency to curb future costs. Unemployment is on the rise in the MENA opportunities, and adequate region. There are few jobs available for The way forward women, who are entering the workforce healthcare. One of the top priorities for MENA govin greater numbers for the first time, and ernments in the coming years is to turn for young people, whose numbers are the region’s “youth bulge” into a sustainagrowing. Several MENA countries have ble and vibrant middle class. To do so, they launched programmes to address unemployment, including salary and training subsidies, employment will need to give focused attention to these three issues as part of services, and support to entrepreneurs and small business own- an explicit and holistic policy agenda. But in order to truly effect ers; in addition, GCC countries have put in place nationalisation change, the governments of the MENA region must also gain back programmes to boost employment and train their national labour the trust of the middle class by increasing transparency and haltforce. But these programmes are short-term solutions to address ing corruption. The majority of respondents believe that their the mismatch between the needs of the labour market and the government and public sector do not release adequate or trustworthy information, and that corruption is widespread . skills of the workforce. The MENA region is at a watershed moment in its developMembers of the middle class are concerned with the continuing challenges in the job market. When choosing an occupation, ment. Those governments that take action now will reap the job security ranks first in the list of considerations for the region’s benefits for generations to come Visit and

By Samer Bohsali, Partner and Karim Abdallah, Senior Associate at Booz & Company

About Booz & Company: Booz & Company is a leading global management consulting firm, helping the world’s top businesses, government ministries and organisations. Our founder, Edwin Booz, defined the profession when he established the first management consulting firm in 1914. Today, with more than 3,300 people in 60 offices around the world, we bring foresight and knowledge, deep functional expertise, and a practical approach to building capabilities and delivering real impact. We work closely with our clients to create and deliver essential advantage.

december 2011

Qatar Today 47

view point

Money Talks As Europe approaches a financial crossroads and the Arab world a political crossroads, Qatar’s investments are enabling the State to signal to the rest of the world that it can play a larger diplomatic role in both re gions.


of macroeconomics learn three uses for money: a medium of exchange (it can be used to buy stuff ), a store of value (it can be saved to buy stuff later) and a measure of value (it can say how much something is worth). Indeed, the way people spend their money can say a lot about the things they value. In England, football league matchday revenues were over $500 million in the 2009/2010 season, according to Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance. In the US, a typical family of four spends $326 at a Boston Red Sox baseball game – and $411 for a Yankees game – according to Forbes. What does this tell us? Britons like their football, and Americans their baseball. This same idea can apply to a whole country. Qatar has been capturing headlines for its dizzyingly high state revenues, largely the result of an extremely successful hydrocarbon industry and rapidly diversifying economy. The country has spent billions on upgrading infrastructure and investing in diversifying its own economy. But with its skyline dotted with nearly as many cranes as buildings, the world’s largest exporter of LNG has more cash than would be prudent – or perhaps even possible – to invest entirely at home. For this reason, the State has been pumping money into investments around the world, from Central London to Southern China. But what is this cash abroad really buying? While investments in Barclays, FC Barcelona and Chinese oil refineries are likely to generate good returns going forward, the State is simultaneously investing in something less tangible, but just as valuable: increasing its global presence. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the MENA region itself. Qatar has been offering financial aid to many of the countries experiencing political transitions after the Arab Spring. In Libya, the State not only sent military assistance under the auspices of NATO but also sent crucial economic aid. Qatar also worked with Turkey and other nations to provide roughly $1.6 billion worth of fuel to the newly-formed Libyan government, Libya’s interim oil and finance minister, Ali Tarhouni, told reporters in early October. Former interim PM Mustafa Abdel Jalil praised Qatar for its “leading and decisive role since the outbreak of the revolution”, according to

the Qatar News Agency. In post-revolution Egypt as well, Doha has been playing an active role in the economy. Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, which is owned by the State’s sovereign wealth fund, said it signed an agreement to build two mixeduse developments there last October. Qatari Diar estimates the projects could generate as many as 4,000 jobs. Qatar also offered the Egyptian government a $500 million grant to support its budget expenditures. “The grant from Qatar saved the national economy from a serious downturn,” Abdul Khaliq, an economics professor at the Ain Shams University, told a local Arabic daily. Europe is also seeing the benefits of Qatar’s growing role in international finance and diplomacy. The State has been increasingly investing in the debt-laden continent in areas like Greece, Benelux, Spain and the UK. Last October, Qatar-backed Precision Capital agreed to buy the private banking operation of KBC Groep, a Belgian firm based in Luxembourg. KBC, Belgium’s largest bank and insurer by market value, sold its private banking arm to Precision for €1.05 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Back in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, Qatar Holding injected billions of dollars into major European banks. In July 2008, the State’s sovereign wealth fund famously bought a 6.2% stake in the UK’s Barclays Bank for £1.4 billion. Qatar’s rising economic role in Europe is developing in tandem with a rising political role. Last summer, during meetings to coordinate aid for the Libyan Transitional Council, the Emir’s distinctive white thobe was easy to spot among the black suits of his counterparts. The State’s leadership has been steadily more involved in everything from NATO meetings to soccer leagues. These increased activities further send a message that Doha has been sending for some time: Qatar is willing and ready to shoulder more weight in global affairs. The State’s investments abroad seem prudent on a number of levels. With the current uncertainties in the eurozone, firms are looking for extra cash to stay afloat. In the MENA region as well, countries are looking to build new political systems and recoup economic losses from the Arab Spring. All of these factors mean capital is in high demand and short supply. Indeed, as Europe approaches a financial crossroads and the Arab world a political crossroads, Qatar’s investments are enabling the State to signal to the rest of the world that it can play a larger diplomatic role in both regions


By Oliver Cornock The author is the Regional Editor of Oxford Business Group

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Arrival Blues: The Consumer Experience Taxis and taxi drivers tell you a lot about a place. From the first encounter at airport arrivals to the dial-up driver, each gives a clue about the way things work – the political economy of a place. With its plethora of projects and rise to fame as a place on the map, Qatar is lining up to be the star of the Gulf. A quick survey of the taxi fleet and its drivers can be very revealing.


it or not, airports are the first indicators of the state of a nation. Take London’s Heathrow, for example. Depending on which of its five terminals you arrive at, the interface between jet set and get set for the battle into town is very revealing. Each terminal is the minimalist attempt of successive generations to maximise the number of punters moving through. More cattle market than five-star hotel, the consumer experience is clearly secondary to consumer exploitation. Despite the brilliance of the UK’s architects, not one of them has fashioned a terminal where most of us can get to a taxi and avoid London’s perennial rain. How daft is that? Dubai, on the other hand, is so replete with clean, shiny metered taxis that even the aroma of camping gas engines cannot dampen the sense that here at least the consumer is king. The sheer number of taxis queuing for a fare inspires adoration of the transport authority. The combination of polite queue managers and smiling drivers who actually do know most places in the city is almost unique. But when the journey gets going, the usual “how long you been here?” question reveals a telling reality. “15 years” “And do you like Dubai?” “OK Sar!” in that clipped English of the subcontinent that quickly hastens on to: “You got any jobs, Sar? Business very bad now, no one come, Sar!” Arriving in Doha, on the other hand, always causes a worry as 90% of fellow passengers have anything but the blue label. “That’s blue for arrivals at Doha International Airport” “Those with blue on their hand baggage and blue on their ticket wallet which you should not have left on the plane!” “Blue, yes, blue is for arrivals, please stay on the bus!” The colour blind end up at premium tran-

sit and are bundled back on to the next bus with half a dozen glum folk actually arriving in Doha. The choice of blue for the colour of arrivals becomes clear. The sun is shining and glistens upon the melee of shiny Land Cruisers all driven by folk who have incurable people blindness, unable to see pedestrians or their luggage even at short distances! The chaotic ranks of ancient Japanese-made saloons are each open-booted with what appear to be the boxed contents of several houses. “Taxi, Sir!?” and we purr away in an XJ8 to experience emerging Doha. Once at the hotel, the pattern of free enterprise and light regulation is refreshing but sometimes disturbing. Nevertheless it seems to sum up the city. Emptied off their boxed content the all-Nippon saloons become “hotel cars”. Rumbling along in first gear passengers may innocently pose the question: “How long have you been here?” “12 years, Sar,” he replies. But unlike Dubai, the drivers have no clue of the places in and around Doha. Perhaps the licensed taxis might be safer in their turquoise blue and green livery. After agreeing to use the meter, we attempt the speed record and defy gravity as we encounter the occasional speed camera. The merits of free enterprise are legion, and Qatar seems to thrive on the concept. But corporate taxis which don’t use the meter and hotel drivers who seem to have a newer car each week are symptoms not just of rapid growth but also of lack of enforcement, lack of insurance, poor or dangerous driving and a lot of uncomfortable, unsafe journeys. When those non-alcoholic fans arrive in 2022 these drivers will test the system to its limits. Arrival blues may turn to red. Still time to focus on the consumer experience through good urban management, and what’s good for visitors is probably a good legacy for Qatar too


By Ian Lyne Ian Lyne is Managing Director of Future-Dynamix - providing strategic change management for sustainable development. Ian can be reached at

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listening post

Human trafficking:

A worrying societal issue Human trafficking devalues and degrades human beings by treating them as a tradable commodity, paralysing their ability to work or have any lifestyle choice. The Director-General of the QFCHT explains how Qatar is trying to overpower it.


Maryam Al-Malki, Director-General of the Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking (QFCHT)

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By e z dhar ibra h i m a l i

he limited extent to which the nature of human trafficking is understood makes it difficult to identify violations, and hence resolve it. This explains why many labourers and maids are ignorant of their rights and are acutely unaware of where to turn for help. Human Trafficking not only takes various forms, it is constantly evolving and shifting, as the perpetrators are quick to conjure up ways and means of getting around the amended laws. Qatar Today talks to Maryam Al-Malki, Director-General of the Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking (QFCHT), to understand the steps taken by Qatar in this regard. Qatar has contributed to the drawing up of a multilateral global strategy to effectively combat human trafficking, and has formulated anti-trafficking policies and strategies including the passing of a law to aid the strategy. Al-Malki said the Qatari law was the best model of Arab legislation passed to date, since it deals with all aspects of human trafficking. It takes into account important legal clauses drawn from comparable Arab legislation and international legal instruments dealing with combating human trafficking. The provisions of the law have met the QFCHT's demands, she adds, "Any law has to be updated and amended as new circumstances arise with regard to the crime, especially as it's constantly evolving and changing, and the perpetrators aren't slow to come up with new methods and forms of the crime." Highlighting some of the important clauses in the law, she says,

listening post Number Woes A recent study by the National Human Rights Committee entitled "The Conditions of Unskilled Labourers in the Construction Sector in Qatar", based on a sample of 1,114 workers, revealed that 30% of workers in the construction sector are paid less than QR800 a month, while many more get less than QR1,100. The study suggested that these rates of pay may not be adequate for the workers to support their family dependants, as well as not meeting the aspirations of most workers. The study also talks about the existence of hidden problems, listing the main ones as follows:


of the individuals sampled did not receive wages commensurate with the work done;


of the sample said they did not receive their wages regularly;


of the workers shared a single toilet in their accommodation and


lived in a shared room


of the sample said there was no drinking water in their accommodation. The study concluded that pay levels need to be raised in line with the cost of living in Qatar and the nature of the work carried out; safety in the workplace needs to be improved; employers must be required to provide meals, drinking water and toilets for workers; companies should be inspected to ensure they are meeting the requirements regarding workers' housing and medical care; there needs to be greater awareness among workers of their rights and of the labour laws and the agencies they can turn to; the sponsorship system needs to be brought into line with the labour law by curtailing some of the powers given to sponsors; and workers should have training workshops to raise their awareness of what the law provides for them in terms of rights and ways of improving their standard of living.

"There are those to do with international judicial cooperation, based on ,what is contained in the international Trafficking Protocol (the Protocol to

Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in is often underpaid, overworked and poorly Persons, especially Women and Children) - treated, Al-Malki accepts that the situawhich is another thing that distinguishes tion is indeed worrying and precarious. "It's the Qatari law from other Arab laws - in view not just a matter of relentlessly calling for of the fact that this is a transnational crime improvements in safety conditions in the and requires international cooperation, as workplace; there's an even more important preventive aspect, which is making a local efforts to combat it are not enough." Furthermore, anyone committing the good choice of workers to bring in. This is crime of human trafficking shall be pun- fundamental to achieving overall quality in ished with imprisonment for up to 15 years work and performance, especially when selection is based on precise criteria to ensure and a fine of up to QR300,000. The QFCHT had prepared a compara- workers have the specific skills and abilities tive study of all regional and international required. "Conversely, random, demand-led relegislation in order to take a close look at the best laws in this field, and pulled them cruitment of labour will have negative retogether into a reference work providing sults. The way to be sure of controlling the information on best practice in this area. quality of work and of the product depends It also conducted a workshop entitled "Fu- entirely on the quality of the workforce ture Prospects for the Draft Qatari Law on that is chosen to carry out occupations in Combating Human Trafficking", that gave the various sectors of development. The danger of cheap rise to a number of labour lies in the recommendations to likelihood of a speed up promulganumber of worktion of the law and ers absconding, make available all with negative and the prerequisites to “There is nothing lacking in the dangerous conseassist the committee law at present but quences for sociprepare a draft legisany law has to be updated and ety. And while care lative instrument on should be taken to combating human amended as new circumstances make good choices trafficking. arise with regard to the crime, of domestic workThis committee especially as it’s constantly ers too, there's anwas chaired by the evolving and changing" other important Supreme Council for aspect we need to Family Affairs and focus on which is to included as memimprove the workbers the QFCHT, the ing environment Interior Ministry, and conditions the Labour Ministry, in health, social and the Foreign Ministry and the National Human Rights Commit- technical terms, as well as providing extee. It worked on preparing the draft law patriate workers with suitable housing." until it reached the final drafting stage and The Qatari Labour Law (No. 14 of 2004) was then presented to the Chair of the Su- sets out the rights of expatriate workers preme Council for Family Affairs, and from and safeguards their occupational and there submitted to the Cabinet for careful moral health and safety. The law also study and discussion, before the crowning emphasises the employer's duty to warn workers of the risks of the job and inform success of the law finally being passed. them of ways of preventing accidents. The QFCHT has also issued a series of guideInternational perspective The US State Department publishes reports lines which it distributes to expatriate on human rights situations across the world, workers on their arrival in the country including the Gulf and Qatar. But Maryam through airports and border posts, giving Al-Malki feels reports coming out of the US them information about their rights, duare based on criteria that represent its point ties and obligations and the laws applying of view. "Qatar, meanwhile, has its own view- in the country as well as about the characpoint and realistic national criteria that it teristics, customs and traditions of Qatari uses in combating human trafficking in addi- society. "We are also keen to maintain a tion to the criteria incorporated in interna- presence, through the QFCHT office, at the Workers' Health Centre in the Industional conventions and treaties." On the issue of the large labour force that trial Area, to raise awareness," she adds

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2 0 t h wpc

WPC looks

at innovation and cooperation

Held every three years, the World Petroleum Congress and Exhibition is the largest and most reputable oil and gas industry gathering in the world. The 20th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) is hosted by Qatar Petroleum and will take place at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, December 4-8.

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ince its establishment in 1933, this is the first time that the Congress will be hosted in the Middle East. Staging such a multi-faceted event for the first time will certainly be a challenge, so Qatar Today caught up with the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Congress, Issa bin Shahin Al-Ghanim, for a briefing on what to expect and the benefits it will bring to Qatar for the future. What are the advantages of hosting the WPC in Doha? Qatar is honoured to be hosting the WPC, particularly as the first Middle Eastern country to do so. Qatar shares this honour with the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as it is proof of the

great strides made in the region’s energy sector and the growing role of this part of the world in delivering value to the global energy mix. A successful WPC will significantly elevate Qatar’s profile as a business hub, in addition to reinforcing the state’s credentials as an efficient and reliable partner to its counterparts who are members of the World Petroleum Council. Qatar has worked for many years to develop strong ties with its counterparts and this conference will therefore be an opportunity to thank them for their support in giving the country the right to host the Congress this year. Qatar has a dynamic and fast-expanding energy landscape. In 2010, it celebrated a milestone of 77 million tonnes per annum of LNG production capacity, further boosting its status as the world’s largest producer of LNG. In addition, it is one of the world’s fastest-growing countries, with well-developed infrastructure in energy and associated industries. Hosting the 20th WPC puts Qatar in the international spotlight and is consequently a major platform to showcase Qatar’s significant achievements in the vertical industry. What are the highlights of the Congress? The WPC is the biggest petroleum-related event of its kind in the world and is hosted every three years by a member nation of the World Petroleum Council. It is significant because the World Petroleum Council

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2 0 t h wpc is the only international organisation representing all aspects of the petroleum sector and includes both consuming and producing countries, representing over 95% of the global energy market. It attracts the participation of the largest number of countries from all over the world because the congress covers all aspects of the industry – from technological advances in upstream and downstream operations, to the role of natural gas and renewables; management of the industry and its social, economic and environmental impact. In addition, outside stakeholders such as governments, other industry sectors, NGOs and international institutions also have the opportunity to join in the dialogue and participate in a number of social events and networking opportunities on the sidelines of the Congress and Exhibition. The role of the Congress is therefore systemic and essential to stimulate the dialogue necessary to inspire the world’s energy stakeholders to aim higher and share experiences that lead to improvements in operational efficiencies, best practice adoptions, technology transfer and HSE, among other factors critical for future sustainability.

The role of the congress is to inspire the world's energy stakeholders to aim higher and share experiences that lead to improvements in operational efficiencies and best practice that are critical for future sustainability.

What will be the focus of the WPC? A wide-ranging technical programme during the fiveday congress will recognise the scientific, technological and professional achievements of the sector. The topics will reflect the 20th WPC’s official theme: “Energy Solutions for All: Promoting Cooperation, Innovation and Investment”. Almost 2,000 high-quality papers have been submitted for the 24 technical forum sessions, which are distributed into five blocks: Natural Gas, New Exploration and Production Frontiers and Technologies, Innovations in the Downstream, Complementary Energy Sources, and Industry Commitment to Sustainability. This is an unprecedented level of submission, both in terms of quality and quantity, and about 300 of these papers will be selected. The technical programme also includes a broad variety of posters, round-table discussions, special sessions, best practice keynotes, and plenary sessions with the confirmed participation of high-ranking industry and government authorities. Who are the key speakers at the Congress? The congress will bring together some of the most prestigious and influential industry leaders from around the world. Following the opening plenary with six oil and gas ministers from the Middle East, ExxonMobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson and Shell’s CEO Peter Voser will be joining Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, HE Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, in a high-level presentation of Qatar’s role in the future energy landscape. Cooperation, Innovation and Investment are the key themes that will also be addressed by decisionmakers including Robert Dudley from BP, Russia’s Energy Minister Sergei Schmatko, Christophe de Margerie from Total, Jose Sergio Gabrielli from

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Brazil’s Petrobras, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient F W de Klerk from South Africa, among many others. What kind of arrangements have been made for the Congress in terms of venue and organisation? The 20th WPC in December is the result of around two years of planning and coordination, spanning programme development, venue coordination, delegate registration, sponsorship management and many other key operational areas that come together to make such a large-scale global gathering possible. During the build-up to the Congress and Exhibition, the Organising Committee has held high-level stakeholder briefings and participated in industry events to take the message of the congress to the world. We have confirmed the support of over 50 companies, including some of the world’s biggest brands, as partners and sponsors of the event. They include international oil companies and the national oil companies of several countries, as well as multinational leaders in analytics, law, marketing and communications. In parallel, the brand-new Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) was completed (see interview on page 55). The defacto home of the 20th WPC is an unparalleled facility that sets the standard in green building technology, cutting-edge design and venue technology. It is the first venue of its kind being built to the gold certification of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). Over five days during the 20th WPC, the QNCC will welcome around 5000 delegates, including 500 speakers, over 50 top chief executives and hundreds of global media representatives, in addition to staff and contractors, utilising the full capacity of the venue, one of the most spectacular convention centres in the region today. What are the programmes that will run alongside the Congress? The Social Responsibility (SR) Programme will explore the theme of “Promoting Human Development through Innovative Social Responsibility Programmes”. This theme was selected in recognition of the important role that the industry can, and does, play in promoting the economic and social progress of communities in which it operates. One of the main goals will be to disseminate best practices, improve dialogue between industry, governments and society, and help to communicate the huge progress that has been made by the industry in conducting responsible business. Key to achieving this goal will be the Social Responsibility ‘Global Village’ located on the exhibition floor. The Global Village will showcase world-class projects that highlight the partnership contributions of NGOs, communities and the petroleum industry in advancing human development at the local level.

2 0 t h wpc

We have confirmed the support of over 50 companies as sponsors of the event. They include international and national oil companies, as well as multinational leaders in analytics, law, marketing and communications. Issa bin Shahin Al-Ghanim, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Congress

In addition to being an interactive exhibit designed to increase awareness of socially responsible initiatives, each of the participants will expand on their particular topic in greater detail through daily presentations in the SR theatre. The SR Global Village will help companies to explore and understand the trends, tools, principles and practices relating to social responsibility while learning how better to identify and engage with communities and stakeholders to break through the minimalist threshold and build sustainable projects that promote development and a social licence for

on-going operations. In parallel, the Sustainable Stand Award will recognise companies for their efforts in reducing their environmental footprint during the event. The award will acknowledge exhibitors that the judges believe make the best use of the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and, in doing so, have made the best effort to have a sustainable presence at the exhibition. This could include, for example, innovative ways to build the stand, reduce general waste, an innovative delegate gift, or the innovative use of energy-efficient lighting. There will be one award for stands below

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2 0 t h wpc 200 sq m and another award for stands above 200 sq m. The judging panel will consist of members from Qatar’s Ministry of Environment and local non-government organisations. Every three years at the WPC, the World Petroleum Council also honours exceptional projects and initiatives within the oil and gas sector with the WPC Excellence Awards. The prizes are awarded in two categories: “Technological Development” and “Social Responsibility”. The objective of the WPC Excellence Awards is to distinguish companies, institutions or any public or private organisation engaged in the oil and gas industry for promoting or operating with high excellence. The winners will be announced at the WPC Excellence Awards Ceremony on December 5.

The project has the following features:

It is registered with and certified under the Voluntary Carbon Standard; It is externally audited as compliant with the above standards; It demonstrates a contribution to human development through the donations made by the project to the Lanco Institute of General Humanitarian Trust; It is taking place in a member country (India) of the World Petroleum Council; and It is not where permanence of emission reductions is at risk.

58 Qatar Today

development of Qatar as well as the global industry. These supporters include the many sponsors and partners of the 20th WPC. What will be the benefits for the country beyond the 20th WPC? The objectives of hosting the WPC go beyond the excellent organisation of a world-class event. The intention of organising the Congress every three years is to promote the progress of the global oil and gas industry while also leaving a positive imprint on the local community of the host country and ensuring a long-lasting legacy. The surplus funds of each WPC go towards funding a country legacy project proposed by the hosts and agreed with the Council. The 20th WPC’s theme of “Energy Solutions for All: Promoting Cooperation, Innovation and Investment” sets the platform for the legacy programme and a legacy project has been identified by the Qatar National Committee for the WPC, which will be implemented on completion of the 20th WPC. Based on residual funds from the organisation, a full programme will be outlined by the National Committee in the following months.

What is the WPC Youth Programme? The Youth Programme is an integral feature of the congress and is inspired by the World Petroleum Council’s ongoing youth programmes and forums. The core message the organising committee wants to convey is that the youth of today can contribute in shaping a sustainable future. Dialogue between young Will sustainability be a participants from around the Sustainability covers more focus of the exhibition? world has already commenced than just energy sources. It Sustainability is at the core on www.WPCyouthconnect. includes practices, policies of our agenda. Through specom which is a dedicated focialised firms, international rum to discuss topics of signifand beliefs that shape the oil companies, national oil icance to our industry. There future of the industry through companies and other leadwill also be a dedicated youth constructive and ers of the industry, many assession at the Congress. pects of sustainability will be The World Petroleum collaborative corporate highlighted. Council, recognising the imcitizenship. Sustainability covers more portance of young people to than just energy sources. It the energy industry, will also includes the practices, polibe rewarding the best young cies and beliefs that shape the authors at the congress. The objective of the WPC Youth Awards is to encourage future of the industry through constructive and colyoung professionals to participate in the most presti- laborative corporate citizenship. This conference will be a carbon-neutral event. Ingious triennial event in the oil and gas industry. The Organising Committee has pledged more than ternational law firm Baker & McKenzie has purchased $10,000 in prize money to be awarded to the best and retired 6,270 tons of estimated CO2 emissions in youth presenters. The winner will receive $5,000, the voluntary carbon market, on behalf of the Organwhile the second and third place winners will get ising Committee, to offset all the pre-event estimated $3,000 each. An independent jury will select the win- Scope 1 and 2 emissions associated with the Conners from the best abstracts received for papers and gress and further credits are available for retirement posters submitted by young people below 35 years of on behalf of the Congress should final post-event calculations exceed pre-event estimates. age during the WPC call for papers. The 20th WPC Organising Committee insisted What support do you expect from national upon strict criteria for any offsetting projects. Working with the specialist carbon consultancy, Perestakeholders for the Congress? The Organising Committee has been overwhelmed nia, a suitable carbon offset project was identified by the support received from national stakeholders, in an Indian power project that has switched from which will make the Congress one of the most memo- naphtha to cleaner natural gas (See sidebar). This rable in history. These include the support of many has reduced emissions and generated internationcompanies in the oil and gas sector in addition to or- ally verified, monitored and registered credits, while ganisations and institutions that have a vested inter- keeping with the strict requirements set by the est in the success of the Congress to fuel the ongoing Organising Committee

december 2011

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Natural Gas, the way forward ExxonMobil Qatar, in partnership with Qatar Petroleum, are developing the world’s largest natural gas field not associated with oil, helping to make Qatar the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas to markets across the globe.


hrough joint venture partnerships, ExxonMobil has helped develop 12 of the 14 LNG facilities which liquefy natural gas, 27 of the world’s largest LNG ships to carry it to distant markets, and three terminals where the liquefied gas is regasified and distributed for local use in power plants, factories, and homes. Additionally, they are the only foreign participant in two domestic gas development projects: Al Khaleej Gas and the Barzan Gas Project. “Around the world, new technologies are expanding production of natural gas and delivering this cleaner-burning fuel to utilities and other customers who need it,” says Acting President and General manager of Exxonmobil Qatar Inc, Bart Cahir, “For example, up until relatively recently, natural gas imports were mainly limited to gas that could be transported across borders by pipeline. But because of advances in the technologies used to liquefy natural gas, it can be safely and economically transported by tanker. Today there is a large and growing market for LNG, especially in Europe and Asia-Pacific. A significant amount of this growth has been generated here in Qatar, as it has become the world’s preeminent supplier of LNG” Al Khaleej Gas (AKG), with a total capacity of two billion standard cubic feet of gas per day, provides clean natural gas to the

domestic market in Qatar. The project was designed in phases to match domestic market growth. In addition to supplying natural gas, AKG also produces substantial quantities of condensate and natural gas liquids, such as ethane, propane and butane, for foreign and domestic customers, such as the Ras Laffan Olefins Complex and other domestic petro-chemical projects under development. The Barzan Gas Project, in Ras Laffan Industrial City, will help Qatar fuel its economic growth with domestic natural gas supplies. It will produce and process gas from Qatar’s North Field to supply gas to power stations and industries in Qatar, ethane to the petrochemicals industry, and associated liquid hydrocarbons for sale into local and international markets. The Barzan Gas Project is expected to supply 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas with first gas flow planned for late 2014.The project comprises 30 offshore wells, three wellhead platforms and two 32-inch pipelines transporting gas to Ras Laffan Industrial City for processing. The first train of this project is due to come on stream in 2014. ExxonMobil are very optimistic about the future of natural gas. Based on their Outlook for Energy – an annual analytical document that helps guide the company’s global investment decisions – they see demand for energy continue to rise. “In fact, we expect global energy demand in 2030 to be about 35% higher than it was in 2005, even with substantial gains in efficiency,” explains Cahir. "This rising demand reflects population growth, improved development and better living standards globally. We project that over the next 20 years approximately, oil, natural gas and coal will remain the dominant energy sources. By 2030, they will provide just under 80% of total energy, only slightly less than today. The fastestgrowing of these will be natural gas, driven

in part by rising demand for power generation and a shift away from coal in order to reduce CO2 emissions. By 2030, natural gas will have become the second-largest global fuel, ahead of coal.” 20th WPC “We are honoured to support Qatar as the WPC’s first regional host,” continues Cahir. “As the world’s energy needs continued to grow at a very rapid pace, Qatar had the vision to implement important innovations in LNG technology and market development which have led to Qatar’s unprecedented expansion and success. We believe our joint success is a testament to what is possible when national and international energy companies work together. We are committed to constructive dialogue with policy makers and others within governments and non-government organisations to find solutions to the challenge created by increases in energy demand that come with improved living standards, while ensuring that we protect the environment.”

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A Wonder of the Modern World The Pearl GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) facility at Ras Laffan Industrial City has been described as a wonder of the modern world and who can doubt that sentiment. It was officially inaugurated by the Emir in November, after nine years of designing, planning and constructing the mammoth facility. It now stands proudly as a beacon for Qatar’s economic future.


earl GTL'S inauguration marks not only the completion of one of the world’s largest projects, but the achievement of His Highness’ Vision to make Qatar the GTL capital of the World. GTL creates an additional route to monetise the country’s enormous resources of natural gas by turning it into high quality liquid fuels and products. It offers the full upside of accessing the oil markets and is also a very strategic diversification process for the country. Pearl GTL is a fully integrated upstream/ downstream, world-scale project, being developed in two phases. Major construction was completed at the end of 2010 and the first export of commercial gasoil happened in June 2011. Phase 1 is almost completely ramped up. Phase two is currently in progress and should be completed by the middle of next year. Shell have invested $18.5 billion in the project as a whole. When fully operational, Pearl GTL will

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have the capacity to produce 140,000 barrels a day of high quality GTL products (gasoil, naphtha, kerosene, normal-paraffin and lubricant base oils), thereby helping meet the increasing global demand for high-quality hydrocarbon. It will also produce 120,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids (liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and condensate) and ethane. Upstream, the project will produce and process around 1.6 billion cubic feet a day of wellhead gas from the world’s largest single non-associated gas field, the North Field, which stretches from Qatar’s coast out into the Gulf. The plant will process about three billion barrels-of-oil-equivalent over its lifetime. The offshore scope includes 22 development wells, two unmanned wellhead platforms in about 30 metres of water, and two 30-inch pipelines running about 60 km to shore. Onshore gas-processing facilities will treat the sour, rich wellhead gas to remove contaminants like metals and sulphur and further extract natural gas liquids: ethane for petrochemical processes, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic heating and cooking, and condensates as a feedstock for refineries. Elemental sulphur produced as a by-product is turned into pellets and shipped to the nearest market to make hydrosulphuric acid, fertiliser or other valuable products. The pure gas, or methane, that remains will then flow to the GTL section of the plant, where it will be com-

bined with oxygen and converted in a state of the art three-stage process in to a range of gas-to-liquids products using Shell proprietary technology. In terms of basic technology, Pearl GTL is based on proven, proprietary Shell GTL technology that has been developed over more than 35 years. The proprietary Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis (SMDS) process is at the heart of the two-train Pearl GTL plant. It is underpinned by more 3,500 patents and – above all – is proven on a commercial scale for than 10 years of operational experience at Shell’s first GTL plant in Bintulu, Malaysia with a capacity of 14,700 barrels a day. Building the facility took 500 million man-hours and at the peak of construction, it involved more than 52,000 workers from over 50 nations. Despite the massive number of workers involved and the complexity of Pearl’s construction, a strong safety culture helped Qatar and Shell to break industry records. In 2010 the project achieved 77 million hours worked without a single lost time injury (LTI) and an overall LTI frequency of 0.04 LTI/million man-hours corresponding to about one-tenth of the industry average. Pearl GTL’s performance was recognised when HE Mohammed AlSada, the Minister of Energy and Industry, awarded Pearl GTL the Gold Award for Safety in 2010 at the inaugural industry safety awards

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QNCC vitalises country’s MICE ambitions The 20th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) comes to the Middle East region for the first time and will be hosted by the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). Qatar Today speaks to Adam Mather-Brown, General Manager of the Centre, to understand what it takes to stage such a significant global event.

“ is not our plan to displace existing business in the city – we aim to attract regional and international events that will benefit not only the QNCC but also the hotels and other service providers in the city.”

Adam Mather-Brown, General Manager of QNCC

What was the main brief for QNCC? And how has it set about answering the requirements? QNCC was built to address the increasing demands and growth of the meetings and events industry in Qatar and in the region. QNCC was conceived from a vision: a vision to bring together the world’s best minds under one roof. If we take a step back – back to the old days, when poets and scholars were gathering under a sidra tree to exchange and share knowledge; QNCC is

the culmination of that vision and today QNCC is the new sidra tree. Secondly, QNCC is located within Education City to complement the eight international universities there, as well as the research and technology communities within this vicinity, such as the upcoming Sidra Medical and Research Centre and Qatar Science and Technology Park. The Centre aims to be the focal point for a new global hub of ideas and innovation.

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How it will benefit Qatar: Creates a positive economic impact on the destination. Based on reported data, each international conference delegate will spend an average of QR1,500 per day in Doha. Increases the number of business travelers to Qatar and the Middle East. Creates jobs and wealth in the local market. Enhances international media attention and recognition. Promotes Qatar as a world-class destination. Creates the opportunity for the improvement of facilities and infrastructure in Qatar. Contributes to the skills development needs of the country. Grows the tourism contribution to the country’s GDP and increases the cumulative contribution to the national economy.

Importance of Business Tourism: Average spend of a business tourist is three times more than a leisure tourist, therefore a higher economic impact generated for destination. 25% of business tourists return to the destination with friends or family for a leisure holiday within three years of a business visit. This offers a high Return on Investment.

To calculate estimated economic impact for an international conference:

The average spend per business tourist is multiplied by the number of nights spent at the destination as well as the total number of delegates of the event For example: QR1,500 per delegate x 4 nights x 1,000 delegates = QR6 million (average size of an international association event).

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Tell us more about the design features. Following the theme of the “new sidra tree”, the renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki took inspiration from Qatar’s beloved icon, the sidra tree, when he presented his design concept. The 250 metre (820 foot) long, curved steel tree structure forms the signature entrance to the building - it branches out to support the exterior canopy. The tree is a beacon of learning and comfort in the desert. It is treasured by Bedouins, who use it for shelter and meeting places. Not only do the tree’s branches provide shade; its fruit, flowers and leaves were and are still used for traditional medicines. This iconic building offers multi-functional spaces inside that can be used for meetings, conventions, exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances and lavish banquets for 10 to 10,000 guests or participants. QNCC was also designed with a focus on sustainability, with a design that operates efficiently, with innovations including water-saving fixtures, energy-conserving LED lighting, variable air-volume systems and over 3,500 square metres of solar panels which provide oneeighth of QNCC’s energy needs. The convention centre is just a venue for meetings. Or is there more to it? What does QNCC hope to achieve? The exciting thing about QNCC is that we have everything under one roof - this includes a conference hall, three auditoria, 52 meeting rooms and nine exhibition halls as well as an outdoor exhibition space; on top of that, we have a lyric theatre that is capable of hosting international productions. With the capacities and capabilities of the building, QNCC is set to become one of the iconic buildings of Qatar. Although we have literally just opened, we have already had a few soft opening events which took place in October and November, including Teachers of

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English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), the World Innovation Summit for Education 2011 (WISE), The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) and Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Forum leading up to the much anticipated 20th WPC. With the high calibre events that we hope to attract to Qatar, QNCC will be a catalyst for knowledge and business exchange, creating a direct economic impact for the country. The Centre will attract local, regional and international conferences and exhibitions and through hosting such events, the world’s leading specialists and delegates from across many fields will visit the country. How do you position yourself? What about hotels, which used to be the venue for large and small conferences? A little healthy competition is good for all parties. Having said that, it is not our plan to displace existing business in the city - we aim to attract regional and international events that will benefit not only QNCC but also the hotels and other service providers in the city. I am sure you are aware that there is a need in the market for a venue of our size in Qatar. Just to give you an idea, the Centre can accommodate up to 27,000 guests at one time. The world has its eyes on Qatar, due to its fast economic growth and the FIFA 2022 World Cup. Delegates and corporate companies are looking at alternative venues with large capacities and capabilities to stage their events, and QNCC and Qatar are just perfect for that. Your comments on Qatar’s ambitions to position itself as an important MICE venue (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions). As you may already be aware, Qatar’s goal is to achieve one of the most dynamic knowledge-based economies in the world, one that is dominated by information and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. It is

2 0 t h wpc How will 20th WPC help leverage QNCC’s potential? The Congress will bring together a total of 5,000 local and international delegates under one roof. There will be various programmes taking place simultaneously, including an exhibition involving all the major players in the oil and gas Sector, and discussions and forums with participation from industry leaders. All areas in the Centre will be in use for this prestigious event. The event will raise worldwide publicity for QNCC and the Qatar Foundation, and will generate future business opportunities for Qatar. Have there been any special preparations for this event in particular? QNCC has some of the most advanced technologies in place, including AV equipment, lighting, rigging and information technology, and all systems are being tested to ensure that the conference sessions run smoothly, exhibition booths have the correct services and kitchens are operating efficiently to cater for the demands of such a diverse and discerning audience. One element that everyone tends to overlook is that remarkable to note that Qatar has one of the highest it is people who pull everything together and ensure GDP per capita incomes in the world, with massive in- the success of an event. From the very beginning, vestments in institutional infrastructure that are un- QNCC has placed a very strong emphasis on building an experienced team with the passion and drive to precedented in the region. Qatar is one of the safest countries in the world and make QNCC successful. A team of 392 full-time and consistently ranks high in the Global Peace Index. 313 part-time staff (from 36 different countries) have been fully trained in their arMeeting planners and deleeas of responsibility and also gates are seeking safe and stable in orientation around this destinations. great facility, and they are Qatar is already a regional now preparing for the arrival hub for conferences and exof the VIPs, delegates, guests, hibitions, with 95% of visitors speakers and exhibitors. coming for business, whether This will be one of the as an individual traveller or to “Based on reported data, each largest and most prestigious attend a conference, a meeting events to take place in Qatar, or an exhibition, and with the international conference and while we know it is going addition of new infrastructure delegate will spend an average to be challenging to meet evlike QNCC the State is targetof QR 1,500 per day in Doha.” eryone’s expectations, we are ing a 20% increase in the numvery excited and are looking ber of visitors during the next forward to welcoming Qatar’s five years. guests to QNCC. As part of its five-year plan, Qatar is investing $17 billion What’s your goal as the (approximately QR62 million) GM? And what does the into tourism infrastructure, future hold for QNCC? including the construction of I will personally be very luxury hotels, resorts and meeting facilities. To meet forecast demand, hotel capacity happy if our delegates and guests go home from Doha will increase by 400% to over 29,000 luxury rooms and with a positive impression of Doha and QNCC. We want to offer the Qatari hospitality that goes “Beyond apartments by 2012. Such growth and well-thought-out development Convention”. To reach the full potential of what the Centre is provides a modern and sophisticated environment for business events. Unlike some cities in the region, Doha built for we aim to redefine what a traditional convenpreserves its heritage and culture to complement the tion centre is and set out to be an international benchmodernity of the developing city, resulting in a truly au- mark for excellence in terms of service delivery. The thentic Arabian experience. Modern facilities and inter- 20th WPC is a great platform on which we can launch national service standards blend well with cultural and QNCC and capitalise on the success of the event to attract many more international events to Doha traditional values.

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QNCC capacity at a glance: 40,000 sq m of exhibition space. Outdoor exhibition area of 3,100 sq m. 2,300-seat lyric style theatre. Conference hall for 4,000 delegates. Three tiered auditoria for 2,300 guests. A total of 52 meeting rooms. Three VVIP lounges, three VIP lounges and seven hospitality lounges.

QNCC features: Built to the highest green building standards of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Five-star international in-house catering. Wireless conference management system. Latest presentation technology and production capabilities. 35,000 sq m of modular mobile rigging grids. 100% fibre optic connections throughout. Full pit and trench services system throughout the exhibition halls. Wireless communication and digital voting systems throughout. Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) for tracking of delegates and building assets. Undercover parking for 3,200 vehicles, connected by an airconditioned people mover (travelator).

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2011 Remembered It's difficult to pinpoint a defining moment in any year. Some have iconic moments which will forever be their legacy, such as the Twin Towers massacre (2001), the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) or the end of World War II (1945). How will 2011 be defined? What will be its legacy? How will you remember it? The Arab World was given a new lease of life through a dynamic series of revolutions against established and oppressive regimes; the European financial crisis threatened to disband the euro currency for good; whilst natural disasters continued to pour grief on millions of people in various parts of the world. Shalinee Bhardwaj helps you relive some of the memorable moments of 2011, both home and abroad.


Carnage at Moscow Airport A bomb attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport kills 38 people and injures more than 100. Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee later identified the suicide bomber as a 20-year-old from the North Caucasus, and said that the attack was aimed “first and foremost” at foreign citizens. Militant groups fighting in the Caucasus understood how important the perception of a secure society is to the president. ry Janua

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14 Tunisia fights out freedom The beginning of 2011 marked the start of a new era of political turmoil and economic uncertainty in the Middle East. in what was termed the ‘Arab Spring’, civilians took to the streets protesting against the dismal state of affairs in their country and demanding a change in leadership. After more than two weeks of protests and violent clashes, Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali imposed a state of emergency and promised fresh legislative elections within six months in an attempt to quell mass dissent. However, after 23 years of authoritarian rule President Ben Ali had to flee Tunisia for Saudi Arabia amid protests. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced he would take over as interim president. It was the first time a president of an Arab country had been overthrown because of widespread protesting.

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A curtain raiser? The 2011 AFC Asian Cup finals concluded in the host nation Qatar with Japan walking away with the cup in its 1-0 win over Australia. With this, Japan earned the right to compete in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil as the representative from AFC. After staging the 2006 Asian Games, the 2011 Asian Cup was being closely watched as an indicator to see how Qatar coped with hosting a major international football tournament in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. december 2011

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2011Remembered february



Solar power NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation emanating from a sunspot. This was considered to be the strongest flare in four years. The British Geological Survey (BGS) issued a geomagnetic storm warning saying observers might be able to see aurorae from the northern UK. The eruptions hit the Earth’s magnetic field causing an increase in geomagnetic activity. The monster flare was recorded at 0156 GMT directed at the Earth. According to the US space agency, the source of this activity, Sunspot 1158, was growing rapidly. Solar flares are caused by the sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun’s atmosphere. Researchers say the Sun has been awakening after a period of several years of low activity.

11 Victory @ Tahrir Square Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced his resignation and handed power of the country to the military. Upon hearing Mubarak’s speech, Cairo erupted in joyous celebration with crowds chanting “Egypt is free!” His resignation followed nearly three weeks of unprecedented anti-government protests in Cairo and ended 30 years of autocratic rule. The day saw dissolution of the National Democratic Party (NDP), the former ruling party of Egypt, and transfer of its assets to the state. The military promised to hold free, open elections within six months or by the end of the year at the latest. Following the uprising in Tunisia, protests began in Egypt on January 25 with social media playing a major role in bringing together and organising the protestors.


Borders Files for Bankruptcy The 40-year-old retail chain that helped usher in the age of the book superstore filed for bankruptcy protection. Borders which began as a used bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich. and expanded wildly in the 1990s, eventually operated over 650 stores and employed 19,500 people. Due to over-expansion, executive turnover and a failure to capitalise on the digital revolution, Borders decided to close 200 stores and greatly reduce its staff.

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26 Sanctions slapped on Libya The UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose strong sanctions on Libya’s leader Col. Muammar al-Gaddaf i and his inner circle of advisers. The council also called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens. Unlike the Facebook-enabled youth rebellions in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, the insurrection in Libya was being led by people who had been actively opposing the regime for some time. In a series of determined stands, these rebel forces proved to be a well-armed revolutionary movement.

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Earthly rumble In another act of nature against man, Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, was shaken up with a 6.3 magnitude earthquake killing at least 75 people. The US Geological Survey reported the earthquake as part of an aftershock sequence from a 7.1 earthquake that hit the same area last September.

March march

19 No-Fly Zone Imposed in Libya French warplanes began an offensive campaign while US forces knocked out air defence systems as well as missile, radar and communication centres around Tripoli, Misrata, and Sirteo. NATO made plans to take over the operation and enforce the no-fly zone. American and European forces unleashed warplanes and missiles striking against the government of Col. Muammar alGaddafi in a mission to impose the UNsanctioned no-fly zone. The goals of the no-fly zone were to keep Col. Gaddafi from using air power against rebel forces and to prevent a massacre in Libya.

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2 Apple ahead in the tablet war Apple unveiled the future gadget for all, the iPad2, putting the computing giant ahead of other companies running the tablet race. iPad2 offered several improvements over its predecessor while not increasing the price. Like the original it started at $499. Apple had sold 15 million of the original since the iPad’s release in April 2010, generating $9.5 billion in revenue. At 241mm tall, 186mm wide, and 8.6mm thick, the iPad 2 was 80g lighter than the first iPad and thinner than the iPhone4!


Get your own cloud Now it would be possible to find some cool under your cloud! Dr Saud Abdul Ghani, Head of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Qatar University, unveiled the design and construction of an artificial cloud to shade and cool open playgrounds. The project, to be executed in collaboration with Qatar Science and Technology Park, will find application at the 2022 World Cup. The artificial cloud can be moved by remote control, is made of 100% light carbonic materials and fuelled by four solarpowered engines and it will fly high to protect against direct and indirect sun rays to control temperatures at open playgrounds. The initial model of the cloud cost $500,000, but the cost was expected to decrease after the launch of commercial models.

11 Japan mourns Japan was hit by an enormous 9.0 magnitude earthquake that triggered a deadly 7-metre tsunami in the country’s north. The earthquake, Japan’s largest ever, hit about 370 kms northeast of Tokyo. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued warnings for the neighbouring regions. Cooling systems in one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station failed shortly after the earthquake, causing a nuclear crisis. Partial meltdown was reported in two of the reactors. Residents were evacuated from the surrounding area while workers tried to cool down the reactors. The event has been equated with the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. With a huge death toll and powerless aftermath, it has been the worst disaster for Japan since World War II. december 2011

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A fairytale marriage A million people gathered around and in front of London’s Buckingham Palace while millions watched the most awaited marriage of the century. Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton (henceforth, since marriage, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) tied the nuptial knot at Westminster Abbey. Middleton received rave reviews for wearing a modern but restrained wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director for the late Alexander McQueen. Catherine’s maid of honour was her sister Pippa, who stole the show and whose photographs were splashed across the pages of many tabloids around the world. The couple eventually jetted away from London for a honeymoon in the beautiful Seychelles.

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3 HEALTH BECOMES A NATIONAL GOAL Under the patronage of HH the Heir Apparent and President of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Vice President of SCH, the Qatar National Health Strategy 20112016 was launched at the Doha Sheraton Hotel. Her Highness said that for the first time it would be possible to assess and verify the effectiveness of plans and medical programmes through scientific indicators that could be monitored and analysed against the goals formulated and set by the national strategy for health.

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11 End of Ivorian crisis? Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo was arrested at his home in Abidjan. It was a joint exercise involving the French, troops loyal to the elected President Alassane Ouattara and the United Nations (UN). Gbagbo refused to step down after Ouattara won last November’s election, according to the UN, reigniting a civil war that claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced more than one million people. The end of Gbagbo’s ten years in power had ended the 20102011 Ivorian crisis and civil war but analysts projected that violence could continue as the country faced the difficult task of restructuring.

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May may


A closed chapter The day marked the end of a terror trail with the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader and mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 massacre. US troops and CIA operatives shot and killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city of 500,000 people that houses a military base and a military academy. Following a firefight, the troops descended upon the compound and shot Bin Laden after he reportedly refused to surrender. Despite a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or killing, Bin Laden had been successfully evading the US forces for the past ten years. The news was received with celebrations and a sense of relief across the world. In the aftermath, Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman AlZawahiri, was promoted to lead Al-Qaeda.

Peace to go In a historic development, the rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, signed a Reconciliation Accord. The two factions cited common causes behind the Accord: opposition to the Israeli occupation and disillusionment with American peace efforts. The deal remade the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which had until then excluded Hamas. Hamas became part of the political leadership, starting with a committee to study necessary changes. However, Hamas’s new, larger role in the Palestinian government could have diplomatic consequences. may



4 QF OPEN HAMAD BIN KHALIFA UNIVERSITY Keeping up to its goal of achieving excellence in education, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Development opened a new multi-disciplinary university that is named in honour of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The inaugural President of Hamad bin Khalifa University is His Excellency, Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, who is also Vice President, Education, Qatar Foundation. The University will strive to combine learning, teaching and research being carried out at the branch campuses of the leading universities and other academic centres at Education City in Doha. A range of new research and undergraduate programs and further collaborations among academic, industry and public sector partners have been envisaged for the new University. This brings to completion Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser’s first announcement of forming a new University in May, 2010 emphasising the need to enhance the networks of specialised centres of learning through complementary activities and collaboration, and to draw the maximum benefit from its combined skills and experience.

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Nature’s Wrath 2011 seems to be a year that has faced the brunt of furious forces of nature. Whether it is a glimpse of global climatic change or nature’s way of taking revenge, a number of devastating floods were witnessed around the globe. of the year, the rains were particularly heavy and were expected to be twice the regular amount. As of January 23, 2011, the death toll from the floods had risen to 68 with 26 others still missing.

many of its tributaries to swell to record levels by the beginning of May. US President Barack Obama declared the western counties of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi federal disaster areas. For the first time in 37 years, the Morganza Spillway was opened on May 14, deliberately flooding 4,600 square miles (12,000 km2) of rural Louisiana to save most of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The region experienced heavy losses in terms of human and material.

Australia Floods: In an unprecedented incident of nature’s fury early in January, Brisbane, Australia suffered havoc as it saw weeks of torrential rain and flooding, killing at least 22 people and leaving several missing. The region had been suffering from drought for 10 years. The usually bustling centre of Australia’s third most populous city was gradually sinking from view as the Brisbane River burst its banks and an 80-km wide flood spewed out millions of litres of filthy brown water and huge amounts of debris. The biggest floods in a century crippled the coking coal industry in the mining state, destroying infrastructure, putting a brake on the economy and sending the local currency to four-week lows.

Southern African floods: A global weather pattern known as La Nia resulted in increased rainfall over Southern Africa starting at the end of December 2010. Above average rains led to widespread flooding. As of 24 January 2011, at least 141 people were known to have been killed.

Thailand floods: Beginning in late July and continuing for over three months, the floods had caused 602 reported deaths by early November, affected over 2.3 million people and caused damages estimated at up to 156.7 billion baht ($5.1 billion) as of 18 October. It has been described as the worst flooding ever in terms of the amount of water and people affected.

China floods:

Philippine floods: Widespread flooding had occurred in the eastern part of the Philippines since late December 2010. By January 12, 2011, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) pegged those affected at 235,867 families or 1,230,022 people in 1,267 villages in 137 towns and 10 cities in 23 provinces. The flooding was blamed on the tail-end of a “cold front” and wind convergence. While the eastern part of the country normally experiences rain at this time

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A series of floods from June to September 2011 occurred in central and southern parts of the People’s Republic of China affecting over 36 million people and killing at least 355, with direct economic losses of nearly US$6.5 billion.

The Mississippi River floods:

Sindh floods:

Considered among the largest and most damaging recorded along the US waterway in the past century. In April 2011, two major storm systems deposited record levels of rainfall on the Mississippi River watershed. The additional water combined with the springtime snowmelt caused the river and

Unprecedented torrential monsoon rains in September caused severe flooding in 16 districts of Sindh province in Pakistan with 434 dead, the United Nations launched a $357 million appeal for victims. International aid came in from various countries across the globe.


Ashed out Chile witnessed furious activity in the form of Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano erupting about 920 kms south of its capital, Santiago. Marked by increased seismic activity, explosions, ash and a gas plume that rose to 10 kilometres above sea level, the eruption forced the evacuation of nearly 3,100 people. An estimated one hundred million tons of ash, sand and pumice were ejected over a series of successive eruptions. The ash cloud spread to surrounding areas causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand and Australia. june

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10 June 10: Infected sprouts Concern grew when 852 patients with haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) – a type of kidney failure that is associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E.coli) – and 32 deaths related to HUS were detected in Germany. In the United States, six confirmed cases of infection were reported in people who had travelled to Germany before falling ill. The deadly outbreak was traced to domestic sprouts grown on a farm in Northern Germany, forcing it to shut down. The number of infected cases reduced greatly.


12 Bitter battle Syrian government forces retook control of Jisr al-Shoughour, a rebel town in northern Syria. Any projections of a possible peace or reform were laid to dust, and thousands of Syrians escaped merciless shelling by the armed forces, fleeing to neighbouring Turkey. The Syrian uprising had been influenced by concurrent protests in the region and was described as “unprecedented”. The demands of protesters included for President Bashar al-Assad to step down and bring in several political and economic reforms.

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9 Mixed reactions over separation South Sudan seceded from Sudan and became an independent state following the independence referendum held in January. US President Obama had rallied international pressure to rescue that accord as it risked unravelling. In Khartoum, viewpoints of the citizens regarding the separation of South Sudan varied, as some expressed sorrow over the division of their country while others expressed optimism over a better future after getting rid of the conflict which has exhausted their country.

Norway massacre In a macabre incident that took place on the island of Utoya in Norway, a 32 year old man dressed in a police uniform went on a shooting rampage, brutally killing 86 young campers of the ruling Labour Party’s Youth wing. Anders Behring Breivik cheered and laughed while shooting incessantly. In the subsequent testimony, Breivik said he believed he needed to carry out the acts to save Norway and Western Europe from cultural Marxism and Muslim domination. The incident soon followed a huge bomb blast in central Oslo killing seven people earlier that day. Breivik was charged under criminal law with ‘acts of terrorism’, including an attempt to disturb or destroy the functions of society, such as the government and to spread serious fear among the population.



Space shuttles shelved Discovery, Endeavour, and Atlantis will fly no more. On the final landing of space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Centre, Robert S. Bob Dickman, Executive Director of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), stated: “With the return of Atlantis, the space shuttle era has ended. Another flawless landing concluded a textbook flight that really began more than four decades ago, as a dream for the post-Apollo era. From the time STS-132 landed last year, thousands of people worked to prepare Atlantis and her crew for STS-135. No flight is really ‘textbook’, though. Things break, timelines shift, changes happen – and human beings in space and on the ground make it seem normal. The success of the shuttle programme is truly theirs.” This concluded NASA’s space shuttle programme.

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4 Debt crisis deepens European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned that the sovereign debt crisis was spreading beyond the periphery of the eurozone. He also said governments should rapidly re-assess the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to reduce the risk of contagion in the Eurozone. On August 7, the European Central Bank announced that it would buy Italian and Spanish government bonds to try to bring down their borrowing costs, as concern grew that the debt crisis might spread to the larger economies of Italy and Spain.


15 Google Acquires Motorola Mobility Google took another step towards head to head competition with its main rival Apple by acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The purchase allowed Google to pursue the cell phone and tablet markets. Google is known for being a search engine – and also has Android phone software – but this deal also gave the company access to 17,000 patents owned by Motorola Mobility.

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10 Zanzibar Ferry sinks The MV Spice Islander I, a passenger ferry carrying at least 800 people, sunk off the coast of Zanzibar. 240 people – including 50 children – were later confirmed dead. The ferry was travelling between Unguja and Pemba, two islands off the coast of mainland Tanzania, when it capsized. Many held onto the floating wreckage during the night as rescue efforts were ongoing. Heavy loads, including vehicles, building materials and cement, were also taken on board the vessel before it left Tanzania’s main city, which led investigators to believe the boat was over-crowded.

Qatar acquires W London London’s W Hotel in Leicester Square confirmed being sold to Al Faisal Holding which is owned by Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al-Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, for $313 million. Formerly known as the Swiss Centre, the 10-storey hotel has 192 rooms and a Michelinstarred restaurant as a key attraction. It also hosts the European flagship store of Mars Inc.’s M&Ms. More acquisitions were said to be on the way, with the group planning to buy 50 hotels worldwide by 2015. september



25 Saudi women get voting rights In a landmark development, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia granted women the right to vote and run for office in future elections. The new ruling will not go into effect until the next election cycle in 2015. This was claimed as a big victory for women in a country where they are not allowed to drive and must have a male chaperone with them in public at all times.

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October october


Great loss Within two months of his stepping down as CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs – cofounder of Apple – died at the age of 56. Considered a visionary for his influence on the way we listen to music, watch movies and use mobile communications in the digital age, Jobs had been fighting his battle with pancreatic cancer for eight years. He was seen as inseparable from the company’s success. Upon his resignation Jobs said: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”


13 october

20 End of a tyranY After a long-fought battle between Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi and the rebel factions, news of Gaddafi’s death in his hometown Sirte, put an end to the militarian regime. While the vanquishing of authoritarian leaders was relatively peaceful in Tunisia and Egypt, violence had ensued in Libya where NATO endeavoured to protect civilians from a brutal onslaught by Gaddaf i’s mercenaries. Libya began its journey towards the process of electing a new government once liberation was officially declared.


31 7 billion and growing The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) officially declared this day as the approximate day when the world’s population reached the seven billion mark. The actual date that the world population reached seven billion had an error margin of around 12 months owing to inaccuracies in demographic statistics, particularly in some developing countries. Assuming a 1% global error margin, the seven billion world population could be reached as early as March 20, 2011 or as late as April 12, 2012. While there was no way the UN could tell who the seven billionth human was celebrations marked the birth of babies born on the Day of Seven Billion in some countries.

Robonaut2 shows its move Robonaut 2 (R2), a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous anthropomorphic robot developed by NASA and automaker General Motors and launched to the International Space Station (ISS) in February, moved for the first time by reaching out in response to ground commands. Fulfilling NASA’s 15-year-old dream to put a humanoid robot into space, R2 is capable of handling a wide range of EVA tools and interfaces. The conditions aboard the space station provide a proving ground for robots to work shoulder to shoulder with people in microgravity. Once this has been demonstrated inside the station, software upgrades and lower bodies may be added, allowing R2 to move around the interior of the station and perform maintenance tasks, such as vacuuming or cleaning filters. Further upgrades could be added to allow R2 to work outside in the vacuum of space, where R2 could help space walkers perform repairs, make additions to the station or conduct scientific experiments. There are no plans to return the launched R2 back to earth. december 2011

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2011Remembered november

1 Towards democracy Qatar's Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, announced that the Advisory Council elections would be held in the second half of 2013. This was seen as a step towards allowing greater citizen participation in the political affairs of the country. Qatar has supported pro-democracy uprisings taking place in the Gulf region and has some 200,000 citizens out of a resident population of some 1.7 million people.


16 QA finalises deal Qatar Airways placed a $6.5 billion order for Airbus jets hours after walking away and telling the European giant to go back to basics in a day of high theatrics at the Dubai Air Show. A row over who would be first to receive the European plane maker’s latest jet, a revamped version of its best-selling A320, nearly scuppered the deal, which also included five more Airbus A380 superjumbos. The deal included 50 orders for A320neo narrow-body jets worth $4.6 billion, plus options for another 30 and the five-plane A380 order which doubles Qatar’s planned superjumbo fleet, together with options for a further three.


19 Qatar ships first LNG cargo to china PetroChina's newly-commissioned LNG receiving terminal at Rudong in Jiangsu province received the first Qatari liquefied natural gas Q-Max cargo onboard the Q-Max vessel Bu Samra. The supply was made under the long-term contract to supply LNG from Qatar to China, that was executed in April 2008 between Qatar Liquefied Gas Company and Shell Western LNG BV. The deliveries to PetroChina will total 3 million tonnes per year and are expected to continue for up to 25 years.

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A one-stop entrepreneur shop About 42% of Qatari female graduates are not in the workforce. Yet there are no two ways about their importance in national building, and being a vital engine that drives the economy. Given the extensive education most women pursue, coupled with their determination, they are poised to contribute greatly in a knowledge-based economy. What Qatar needs to do is to tap into their innate entrepreneurial spirit and help them realise their smart business ideas.


aking a page out of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and recognising the increase in numbers of women entrepreneurs, three women took to heart a piece of research that identified both the opportunities and the challenges for this segment. What was born was Roudha Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Shareefa Fadhel and Aysha Al-Mudehki worked with Renna AlYassini to develop the concept of the centre, which is designed to help bridge the gap between the Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship being taught and promoted today in Qatar and the current ground realities women experience while starting their

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own businesses. The team of three worked to design an ideal organisation that served the needs and desires of local women. Roudha Center is a one-stop shop for women entrepreneurs which provides innovative and effective programmes. The centre will deliver business, financial, legal and training/programming services, as well as incubational assistance to empower women towards entrepreneurship and economic self-sufficiency. Maryam Al-Subaiey meets Al-Mudehki and Fadhel to understand the premise on which Roudha was established and understand its goals.

How did the idea of Roudha center materialise? Roudha Centre is the culmination of a year-and-a-half-long research project conducted with the support of Carnegie Mellon University, the Tepper School of Business and the Donald H Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. We began with the question of how best to support the women of Qatar in the Donald H Jones Center’s activities in the country pertaining to entrepreneurship and innovation. What emerged was the need for a physical location, dedicated to assisting and supporting women to become business

tag this owners and innovators, that would support Qatar’s national vision and bring it a step closer with the involvement of women. What is the centre’s vision and where do you see it five years from now? The plan is to have one physical location for women to have a one-stop shop for women to showcase their business and have a space to work from, with all the facilities they need legally and financially. What kind of help does Roudha provide for women entrepreneurs? All sorts, like any entrepreneur, legal, financial, governmental, societal, we hope to bring all those factors into one space to make it easier for her as a working woman or a working mother, to do so within the cultural context. As an NGO, do you have enough support? So far we got our first support from Silatech, and have a great deal of support from local organisations like Al-Ansari Law Firm, Innovation Production and Uchange, but we are looking for many more partners to ensure the idea flourishes. This Centre empowers not just Qatari women, but all women entrepreneurs in Qatar, is that right? We focus on helping locals but we are also open to all. In general, the struggle to setup and grow a business is harder for women at this stage. Therefore Roudha Center saw the niche and potential in helping women in Qatar in fostering their passion to open a business. We do believe there is huge potential, since Qatari women are now highly educated and are already empowered on many different levels. Our role is to provide the right opportunity for them. How did Silatech associate with this? In May of 2009, at CMUQ, we presented the journey through the research and its findings: how it could benefit the economy and empower women. Silatech was present and we were able to pitch our idea; after continuous meetings we managed to get their support on this project. Do you think the challenges for women entrepreneurs are going to be vastly different from entrepreneurs in general? I think, in respect to our culture, there are some differences that Roudha is willing to accommodate and tailor for.

Aysha Al-Mudehki, Shareefa Fadhel of Roudha Center

A lot of women in our culture who are highly educated marry at an early age and have children, and have far more responsibilities at the beginning of their careers because of their other responsibilities. However, they are also the great resource of Qatar, so we need to make sure that we can tailor these great cultural values to the economy, by providing the right resources for them. Could you share statistics on women entrepreneurs in the country/region? About 42% of Qatari women with university degrees are neither in the labour force nor students, according to General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP). We have sent out a survey where 50% expressed high interest in establishing businesses; also 50% expressed the need of greater knowledge about establishing businesses. What according to you is the greatest challenge they face? I believe it is the lack of know-how and financial support. Do you see QBWA and Enterprise

Qatar taking an interest in the centre? We have approached both, and I would say that both are interested, but established organisations fear from taking the risk of such inittiatives especially in the start-up phase! The centre hopes to distinguish itself from the rest by looking at long-term consultancy/advisory services. At what point would you then step back? Once they are fully fledged and up on their feet. However, we don’t plan to cut cords; perhaps we can ask them to share their experiences with newcomers to Roudha. How would you define success for the centre? By being the location where women come and discover their abilities and fulfil their potential. By helping as many women as possible not only to establish their business but also by providing them with knowledge, support and services in every way possible.


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Pedalling Change Riding around on her bicycle, Laurene Leon Boym realises how desperately Qatar needs a different take on the transportation system


t’s the second day of Eid-Al-Adha. The skies above Doha are glorious fluffy white cotton balls in a sea of azure. The weather is crisp and clear. It’s what is called perfect bicycling weather in many countries around the world, and Doha is no exception. This perfect day is the ultimate excuse for me to ride over to nearby Katara to have my newest breakfast indulgence: Chapati and Karak (at the eponymous cafe). I live in West Bay and it’s a short ride. “The roads are mostly empty,” I’m think-

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ing one moment and the next, I’m getting sideswiped by a Tata Bus going uphill to the Rainbow Roundabout. As you might guess, dear readers, riding a bicycle in Doha is a pretty schizophrenic experience, alternating between comedy and horror. But once off Al-Wahda Street after bypassing some private villas, I am able to travel a slip road behind the Qatar Exhibition Centre, open to all but sparingly used by motor vehicles because of numerous speed bumps. The “bike” glides on the pavement and flies over multiple speed bumps. I expect the bicycle to take off like the flying bicycle in Spielberg’s ET any moment now. My head is light. Am I in endorphin heaven? No, reality bites. I am crossing a dust storm cloud in the middle of the road created by heavy machinery active in the lot between the Intercontinental Hotel and Katara. Oh, well. When I enter Katara’s main gates, I breathe an audible sigh of relief as I sail through the car passage, behind a navy Land Rover. I nod amicably and grin at the sleepy man at the security booth. I hope he

saw me, and it’s okay to ride my bike here, I tink. As I progress on the paths around the Cultural Village, I see lots of hired security guards to guard the beaches and buildings and none of them stop me, but some smile sweetly when they see the awkward sight of a middle-aged woman on a bike. Cool, I guess it’s totally okay to ride around Katara on a bike. It’s morning, there is literally no one out in the complex except me and a few workers. I have the area virtually to myself. I pull up at Chapati and Karak and am looking forward to breakfast. When I arrive at the cafe and dismount, a worker, carefully and charmingly, takes the bicycle to an improvisational shady parking spot. Wow, a bike valet, I think to myself. Finishing my food, I leave a generous tip for my "valet", and head towards the exit. I pass the boardwalk, and a guard on the beach ruins my enjoyment of the city by shouting at me, “No, ma’am, no permit.” I reply coolly that I am on my way out of the park, and head toward the security booth at the exit. There I am told as I exit the park “Ma’am, be careful, be safe,” touchingly, by

tag this grated into the culture. Personally, I envy the Dutch. Not so much for their world-class designers and design culture, but for their bike lanes and alternative transportation infrastructures. On any given day, you see happy natives biking through every city, town and village in Holland, in all types of weather conditions, rain included. The Netherlands has the highest number of cyclists – per capita – of any country in the world. Not surprisingly, it is the safest place to cycle then, because of it has the perfect cycling infrastructure. How did the Dutch get this? Bicycle anyone? Their streets and roads today are descendants of deliberate poNearly 70% of car trips in the GCC are less than a kilometre long. Wouldn’t biking in Doha (instead of driving) on these trips be a litical decisions in the 1970s to turn away from car-centric policies great way to get some exercise while cutting air pollution in the of the prosperous post-war era. Mass motorisation in the Netherlands after World War II killed people, cities and the environment, city? There are solutions, and it requires design thinking. and there was a public shift in awareness to these issues. Eventually, progressive ideas about air pollution, medical costs, mortalYes, design thinking, not engineering, you heard correctly. ity rates, car accidents and physical fitness Design thinking is a vital first step to unchanged strategies. derstanding what future opportunities are The Dutch, by prioritising mobility, possible (and what is impossible) in creatsafer and more liveable cities and the enviing an optimal human experience in a built ronment-model led to a new type of street environment. As I’ve previously mentioned throughout the Netherlands. There was a in this column, and I will state it again, the deliberate shift away from car-centric polidefinition of design I want to explore here Beautiful weather out. cies to alternative forms of transport. is the idea that all tools of life, not existing Total Miami Beach mode. Did a A shift away from our current car-cenbefore in nature, are designed. “Everything Sheikh’s friendly bodyguard tric roundabouts to bike paths would also is designed. From the spoon to the city,” as improve the health of our nation, greatly. a famous Italian design philosopher once just wave at me on my bike? Recently, American journal Environmental humbly remarked. Cool! Health Perspectives published findings from The solution can be simple for a governa study by scientists at a University. ment that wants its citizens to have the best @laureneleonboym The researchers observed in their findpossible quality of life: make Doha a bike Sat 05 Nov 12:02 via Tweetdeck ings that the personal economic and health friendly city – at least for the five months benefits of switching from a car to a bike out of the year that we are blessed with specwere staggering. The increasing costs astacular weather, the Arabian winter. Winsociated with air pollution, medical treattertime in Doha just happens to coincide ment, mortality rates and car accidents can with the time that our roads are unbearably congested. We know the reasons: school and work commutes for an be decreased significantly. Enhanced physical and mental well-beinflated winter city headcount, construction crews, road building, ing creates a significant net societal health benefit from an increase in air quality and savings from lower health-care costs associated traffic accidents and all other sorts of delays. Doha-ites frequently moan and groan about the increasing traffic with better fitness and fewer mortalities from the decreased rate of and motor accidents due to our expanding metropolis, and the out- car accidents. rageous number of cars it creates on the roads without alternative Holland’s problems were not unique and their solutions transportation systems. As anywhere in the world, altering traffic patterns and instigating weren’t either. We can do this here in Qatar. bike lanes in any major metropolis is a thorny subject. There will In the end, I’m still waiting to hear what IS the correct cycling polbe objections of course (the dust! the lane taken away from the mo- icy in Katara Cultural Village. Or, on the Doha Corniche, where I torists!) – but minor snafu are part of any beneficial major urban was yelled at to “get off the Corniche, on to the road” on an empty weekend morning by a couple out for a “health walk” last winter. renewal project. Maybe it’s time to start a new planned vision for Doha’s transportation infrastructure soon, and I’ll soon find out my answer. In the Think design, think Dutch, think right A good starting-point for such an initiative in Qatar would be to mean-time, if you see a strawberry blonde on a bike happily pedalthink about societies where cycling is fully and successfully inte- ling the streets of West Bay and the Diplomatic District, that’s me! a different group of smiling Filipino guards. So what is the real story here? I’m having one of "my best days ever" in idyllic Doha, and I’m not sure after living here for almost 18 months where cycling is permitted? Or if it is at all? I prefer it to driving an SUV, hands down, in terms of pleasure and experience. I also do it for my health, and the health, environmental and social payback is enormous.

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By Laurene Leon Boym Boym is a partner in the Doha/New York City based design studio, Boym Partners. Boym Partners brings a critical, experimental approach to a range of products that infuse humour and wit into the everyday. Frequently drawing from American iconography, the studio creates a variety of products and environments for an international roster of companies, including Alessi, Swatch, Flos and Vitra. The studio also creates their own Boym Editions, sought after by many art and design collectors around the world. Laurene has taught at Parsons,The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts. Boym Partners work is included the permanent collections of many museums, including The Museum of Modern Art.She will write a regular column on design for Qatar Today

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Engagement: When employees go the extra mile

Why do some employees come to work filled with enthusiasm while others merely come to work and seem only to wait for the day to end? Why do some want to make a meaningful contribution while others mainly care about the paycheck? Most of us are likely to say the difference is in the employees and this may be true, but not entirely. Look at the factors that influence the level of energy and engagement of employees– and why it matters to businesses and their bottom line.

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ecent research by Towers Watson found 54% of GCC employees not engaged or inspired by their managers (Global Workforce Study 2010). In another international study, by Kenexa (, Qatar came in behind Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain regarding employee engagement. More and more managers get concerned with these figures. Why? “Engagement is vital; a motivated, engaged employee brings disproportionate value to the company,” Mohamed Al-Jishi, Senior HR Advisor at Saudi Aramco, stated at this year’s International HR Conference in Abu Dhabi. Executives and HR managers have experienced firsthand that an engaged workforce is key to organisational health and economic success. This managerial intuition is also backed by hard facts: Gallup found that world-class organisations can count on a majority (67%) of the workforce being engaged, whereas in average organisations it is only onethird. “Engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, safer and more likely to withstand temptations to leave,” the study concluded. Gallup makes the distinction between engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged

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A division of Hunter Douglas Window Treatments focused on several workplace engagement initiatives that reduced employee turnover from 42% to 29% over a twoyear period. Engagement-related programmes led to improvements in productivity, product quality, and workplace safety that totalled more than $25 million in savings and waste reduction between 1996 and 2006.

workers. “Employees who are not engaged work the required hours, comply with company rules and might even be satisfied, but put in low or even no energy. They will neither greatly benefit nor harm the organisation’s success. Consequently, managers should watch out for the two other groups: the highly engaged and the actively disengaged, because they can make a big difference. Highly engaged employees put in passion, commitment and extra time, whereas the actively disengaged manifest their dissatisfaction and erode an organisation’s bottom line while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process.” Considering the impact of employee behaviour, engagement has become one of the leading factors of financial performance. High-engagement firms have almost four times the earnings-per-share growth rate of low-engagement firms. On the other hand, the costs of a high proportion of actively disengaged people can be considerable, if not critical to the bottom line. Qatar’s need for engaged employees Three main factors make the case for

questions to ask organisations Do your employees feel proud about their organisation? Are your employees committed to the organisation's success? Are your employees willing to give extra effort when required? What are you doing to foster employee engagement? Is employee engagement a strategic concern in your organisation?

employee engagement as a priority in Qatar’s organisations: a rapid growth rate, a diverse and growing workforce, and the Qatar National Vision 2030 goals. At 16.3%, Qatar had faster growth than any other country in the world in 2010, and the increase in Qatar’s GDP has averaged 11% over the last five years. Such growth represents unprecedented demand for organisations and institutions of all types, and growth in the workforce is equally unprecedented. This creates tremendous challenges, like keeping up with a rapidly changing environment, developing appropriate organisational structures, and meeting train-

ing and development needs. Opportunities to succeed are plentiful and competitive advantage will go to those who give attention to organisational health in times of growth – and employee engagement is at the heart of it all. Secondly, Qatar – like many GCC countries – is dealing with a very diverse workforce, composed of local and expatriate employees. Local companies offer very competitive packages in terms of salary and benefits, and this is clearly an attraction factor. Considering the cost of recruiting, sponsoring and onboarding non-Qataris into the local workforce, managers have to look beyond attracting to successfully retaining the workforce. Fostering career development, empowerment and engagement become an appealing and wise way to secure this investment and get a healthy bottom line. Finally, the country has set out to realise the ambitious development goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Corporations and organisations in every sector can play a critical role in achieving these goals, and they certainly cannot contribute their best with an indifferent or disengaged workforce. And if anyone argues that companies are successful nevertheless, have them imagine for a moment the leap they could make if everyone was truly engaged. What managers can do to engage employees Organisation leaders and managers may be

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b o tt o m l i n e Test your organisation with the provided report card. how do you score? Report Card Subject


Employees: Understand how their work fits in the big picture See opportunities for growth and development Learn and experience effective teamwork Feel appreciated for their effort and recognised for accomplishments Have the support, training and tools to be successful Managers and Leadership: Communicate purpose, strategy and goals Involve employees Build effective teams Provide learning and development opportunities Give performance feedback that is constructive, timely and part of dayto-day routines

surprised that there is much within their power to foster employee engagement to foster commitment to organisational values, goals and success. This is good for the employees, the organisation, and the bottom line (see Hunter Douglas sidebar). Employee engagement is about aligning employees’ goals and aspirations with the organisation’s needs. Some argue that focusing on engagement is just another way of talking about the long-established concept of employee satisfaction. This could be a mistake. I can be satisfied with my salary and benefits but not feel committed to my company’s values and goals. If I stay in a job because the pay is OK or I am not sure I could find another job, I may be satisfied to stay but I am far from engaged. Nitin Vazirani from the SIES College of Management Studies in Mumbai explains that employee engagement is the level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards their organisation and its values. The Chartered Institute of Personnel

and Development describes engagement as “a combination of commitment to the organisation and its values, and a willingness to help out colleagues. It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply motivation”. Engagement is something an employee gives; it cannot be commanded into being, though leaders and managers can take steps to foster it. Employee engagement translates into commitment to the organisation’s goals, not only compliance with company rules. “An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within their job for the benefit of the organisation,” Vazirani continues. High levels of engagement can be seen when employees willingly stay late when needed to meet a deadline for the good of the organisation, or when employees are consistently mindful of how their interactions with customers or clients affect the success of the company. It can also be seen in employee retention – engaged employees are less likely to leave when another


By Birgit Radl-Wanko and Kevin Lamb Birgit is an organisational consultant and trainer with a focus on leadership development and change management. She has worked with organisations in the public, private and nonprofit sector in the US, Europe and the Middle East and has been a Qatar resident since 2010. kevin is an organisational development consultant and managing partner at Keystone Global Consulting Group, based in Qatar. His focus is on organisational health practices and their link to organisational performance. Birgit and Kevin will be writing a regular column on employee engagement in Qatar.

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opportunity comes along. Why? Because most employees want to feel part of something valuable and important. Most want to be valued for their contribution. And most want to grow within the organisation. Tim Rutledge, author of Getting Engaged: the New Workplace Loyalty, offers a list of factors that engaged employees could positively say: I understand how my work fits into the big picture. I have opportunities for learning and development. I can work in effective teams. I get performance feedback that is constructive, timely and part of day-to-day practice. I have skilful and supportive managers. In their book, The Enthusiastic Employee, authors David Sirota, Louis Mischkind and Michael Irwin Meltzer make a strong case for investing in a culture of engagement. They conclude that employees will invariably be productive and add value when the culture has three fundamental ingredients: fair treatment (in terms of compensation and respect), achievement (in terms of challenges and performance) and camaraderie (in terms of teamwork). If your organisation offers such a culture, you put yourself in pole position for retaining the talent you have invested in. If not, that talent might be easily lost for your organisation – and, in the case of many expatriates, lost for the State of Qatar as well. There are many ways to improve engagement, starting with assessing the current situation, which can be followed by small or big scale initiatives addressing the engagement culture. The most important first step, however, is to explore your own understanding of engagement and then being open to the possibilities of organisational excellence

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SETTING MAJOR DEVELOPMENT GOALS: DOES IT WORK? For effective leaders, slight shifts are more likely to create a bigger impact


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hen it comes to their own development, there’s something irresistibly appealing to leaders about setting stretch goals. Just selecting one feels like an achievement, and the idea that with enough energy, focus and initiative meeting a single goal could dramatically improve a whole company and turn an executive into a better, more developed “super leader” – well, who could resist that? Slight shifts, born from your strengths as a leader, can create positive momentum in your organisation. Hard as it may be to refrain from setting major leadership development goals, it’s probably better if executives resist. Gallup has worked with many leaders and managers over the years and has seen that setting stretch goals – such as deciding to become a leader who can inspire others like Martin Luther King Jr. – rarely works, for several reasons. Leaders must be reasonable about who they can and cannot be. Setting reasonable developmental goals is important because, as human beings, we all have solid pathways established in our brains that make up our core personality or self-image. Because of this, thinking that achieving a big objective will transform us overnight is not very realistic. We must be more patient. Change takes time and persistence, and it’s best accomplished through slight shifts. One way to think about your development as a leader is to imagine yourself as a ball rolling in a groove. Leaders tend to stay in their groove. It fits them. It’s their identity. It’s easy. To make sense of how this groove develops, consider the difference between actions and practices. Actions are the behaviours that you do with little thought. They are part of

b o tt o m l i n e wasn’t based on who she was. After taking part in a leadership development session, she began to look at the problem differently. She thought about what changes would work best for her instead of trying to mimic her predecessor, and it prompted her to try something new. In the end, what worked best for her was to say “yes” more often. She made it a goal to say “yes” one time per week when she was asked to join the team for lunch, a birthday celebration, or a walk around the manufacturing floor. She realised she was more effective in a one-on-one situation or in small groups that evolved spontaneously rather than in larger, more formal settings. She also started asking questions to learn more about the people in her organisation. She found out, for example, that one person was running in a half-marathon, and that prompted a great conversation because she was an avid runner herself. She soon realised that she was more The actions a leader usually energised and productive after each “yes”, so she extended her leadership practice to takes are determined by the saying “yes” at least once a day. Interact“groove” he or she has develing with her employees daily is now part oped over time. But how can of her routine.

your repertoire and they yield consistent and predictable results. The actions a leader usually takes are determined by the “groove” he or she has developed over time. But how can you grow as a leader if you’re forever contained in this same groove? You can’t, and that is where practices come in. Practices are interventions that enable you to establish new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. They are essential to expand and develop your identity. To grow as a leader, you must slowly and steadily expand the groove. Adopting new practices enables you to access a different level of possible actions and create new opportunities. Development is not about “jumping the groove”. It’s about “expanding the groove”, or taking the best of who you naturally are and pushing the boundaries of those elements to grow as a leader.

Expanding the groove The best way to expand your groove is through a gradual process, by applying slight-shift practices. Stretching your boundaries a little at a time gives you a chance to test and reflect. It allows you to build on the best of who you are, replay your highlight reels, and analyse your sucyou grow as a leader if you’re Easy, but effective cesses and struggles. forever contained in this same Applying slight-shift practices seems easy As you build on what’s working and groove? You can’t, and that is – maybe too easy. But that’s the point: correct what’s not, you start feeling more when leaders are asked to do something positive about the changes you see. Then where practices come in. they have the confidence to do and they you want to do it again. see immediate success, they gain confiSlight shifts emphasise evolutionary, dence from the positive feedback. Confirather than revolutionary, change. You dence and success drive them to repeat it. accomplish them by establishing realisThat’s how sustainable development and tic practices that enable you to experience and understand new behaviours, which in turn allow you to wider grooves are created, and that’s how great results happen. Gallup has seen this approach work repeatedly. Over a change and grow for the better. A participant in a leadership development session offered a six-month period, one company saw a jump in employee perfect example of how to make a slight shift through effective engagement, as measured by Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement practice. This leader was a highly focused individual. Although metric, from the 70th to the 80th percentile and a 6% increase in she cared deeply about her employees and knew she should spend overall per-person productivity. Before this organisation started using the slight-shift apmore time with them, her strong work ethic pushed her to spend proach to leadership, performance hadn’t varied much over the most of her time “chained to her desk”, as she described it. So she set a major development goal to “become connected as previous three years. One leader told Gallup that this slightdeeply and meaningfully” as her predecessor, a beloved leader shift approach meant he took five minutes to deal with probwho left a legacy of meaningful relationships throughout the lems on the spot rather than putting them off and leaving them organisation. She tried to achieve her goal by completely reorgan- to fester. Slight shifts, born from your strengths as a leader, can ising her schedule and priorities in an attempt to institutionalise contact with her employees. She scheduled a flurry of weekly create positive momentum in others that will ignite the soul of an group meetings with different parts of the organisation. But she organisation. It doesn’t take much effort. It doesn’t feel just didn’t get the results or the sense of connection she was look- audacious. But slight shifts can be effective and permanent – ing for. Her activities felt “forced” because her major stretch goal and you can start practising them now


Brian J. Brim, Ed.D., is a Practice Consultant for Gallup. He is co-author of Strengths Based Selling. David Liebnau is an Advanced Learning and Development Consultant and Executive Coach for Gallup. Copyright The Gallup Organisation, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Visit the Gallup Management Journal at

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Getting The Right


A recent survey about employee motivation in the Middle East workplace showed that 91% of working professionals in the region consider work-life balance a vital factor which directly impacts their motivation levels at the workplace.

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Far from being a luxury, the notion of achieving an optimal work-life balance has become a key goal for working professionals worldwide. Furthermore, 37% of Middle Eastern professionals stated their employers provide them with “good” to “complete” support in order for them to achieve a work-life balance. Career experts from provide you with six tips to make the process of achieving a worklife balance more realistic.


Manage your time effectively no matter what:


A working professional cannot possibly hope to achieve work-life balance if he spends two–thirds of every day working in the office. Make it a point to commit to your working schedule (occasional overtimes are tolerable but working late on a daily basis is an absolute Don’t!). Put your best efforts into your job “during working hours” so that you can “leave work at work” and make your way out knowing you still have enough time (and energy) to invest in your daily routine responsibilities. Learn to work ‘’smart’’ as opposed to ‘’long’’ and focus on making your precious hours at work that much more condensed and productive so you can leave the office on time as many days as possible.


Maintain open communication channels with your boss: If anyone can make your life easier (or much harder) at work, it is mainly your direct manager. Make sure you maintain a very transparent yet professional relationship with your boss. Seek to be expert in all “reasonable” job responsibilities you are expected to undertake during working hours and do not feel bound to take on a heavier work burden than is really possible given your personal circumstances. Discuss the matter frankly with your boss; as long as you are doing your job to the fullest, a certain amount of flexibility with personal matters should not really be an issue.


Say NO when you have to: Do not let feelings of guilt or bogus responsibility find their way to your heart. You are a working professional, and therefore you should be focusing on primarily your “own” job responsibilities and your ‘’own’’ personal activities which make you happy. Do not be hoodwinked into taking on the responsibilities of a work colleague who has booked for a spa appointment at lunchtime and needs you to compile his sales figures report at the cost of your precious time.

Keep fit: Eat well, sleep well and grab every opportunity you get to exercise. Sleep deprivation not only results in you being easily exhausted, it also affects your personal and professional productivity levels. Maintain a healthy lifestyle which combines a fair chunk of fitnessboosting foods (vegetables, fruits and proteins), at least eight hours of sound sleep and 30 minutes to an hour of walking, jogging, or any form of physical activity on a daily basis.



Check your options: Telecommuting is now widely popular across Middle Eastern workplaces. In fact 47% of professionals surveyed by Bayt. com in a recent poll survey stated that working from home is an option that is allowed in their organisations for some roles. Telecommuting has proved to be useful and conducive to productivity and profitability all around the world. Can your job be done from home, at least partially? Does it necessitate your presence in the office at all times? Is job sharing an option in your job? Check your options! Job flexibility can undoubtedly be a key factor in achieving an optimal work-life balance.

Celebrate your weekend: The weekend is yours. Just as you set a daily planner at work, make sure you do the same for your weekend and time off work. Schedule activities with family and friends, take the kids on a weekend trip, go fishing, rafting, camping; just make sure you do allot a couple of hours solely for your personal well-being. Indulge in a spa session, a soulfeeding mini-retreat, super long walk or any other activity that makes you relax and unwind. You’ve worked hard all week to make ends meet and you absolutely deserve it! Remember you are working to live, not living to work!


About is the #1 job site in the Middle East with more than 40,000 employers and over 6.500.000 registered job seekers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the globe, representing all industries, nationalities and career levels. Post a job or find jobs on today and access the leading resource for job seekers and employers in the region.

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QGBC now an official entity The Council honours Founding Organisations and members


It has been a long process for the first Green Building Council, but its efforts have borne fruit with the announcement of Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) being incorporated as an official entity within Qatar Foundation. This was announced at a ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel Doha at which 40 founding organisations were awarded and recognised for their support and contributions towards QGBC and the country’s green and environmentally sustainable development. In his welcome address, QGBC Founder and Chairman of the Board Eng. Issa AlMohannadi spoke about how QGBC developed from an initiative to an organisation. This event also marked the announcement of the Interim Board of Directors, appointed by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. QGBC is supported by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and is primarily a membershipdriven non-governmental organisation. The founding organisations are playing a major role in fostering environmental consciousness and sustainability in Qatar and now they are also provided with an opportunity to gain a seat on the QGBC Board of Trustees. “The main reason why we are involved is that the building industry has to be part of a rapidly growing movement towards environment-friendly practices; to send a

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QGBC Interim Board of Directors Members appointed by QF Chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser The board members are QGBC chairman and Msheireb Properties Chief Executive Officer Eng. Issa Al-Mohannadi, QGBC Vice Chairman and QF Capital Projects project manager Eng. Rasha Khamis Al-Sulaiti, Arab Engineering Bureau Managing Director Arch. Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah, Tanween Chief Technical Officer Eng. Ahmed Abdulla Al-Abdulla, Qatar Society of Engineers Chairman Eng. Ahmad Jassim Al-Jolo; QP Health, Safety and Environment Regulations and Enforcement Director Eng. Saif Saeed al-Naemi, and QGBC Treasurer and QF Capital Project Senior Technical Manager Eng. Jassim Telefat.

strong message to decision-makers to take the necessary action to shift to greener solutions; and to maintain professional creditability and corporate responsibility in lessening environmental degradation,” Eng. Al-Mohannadi said. “As an official entity, QGBC now has its own office with full-time staff with committees working under it, and a generous contribution from founding members along with support from QF.” “Now it is time to work,” says Eng. Jassim Mohamed Telefat, QGBC Treasurer and QF Capital Projects Senior Technical Manager. “It is time to encourage and educate everyone, from school children to members of

the construction sector.” “Our education committee will start their education process; our technical committee will start work with developers help and guide any companies that want to go green. We do not charge as we are a non-profit organisation. We will help and guide all those who want to be sustainable. Our marketing committee will start its work in spreading the green message.” According to Telefat, more buildings in Qatar, including schools, mosques and private villas, are being encouraged to go green. “I believe that Qatar will lead the way in green development as QSAS, the rating system, is being adopted by all the government bodies.” Participation increases QGBC also plays an inclusive role by allowing organisations, individuals, and students to be a part of it through a membership programme. Standard members have a stake in advancing and adapting sustainable environmental practices. QGBC’s rapidly growing number of members is evidence that more and more companies as well as individuals subscribe to the value in aligning with QGBC’s mission to lead the market transformation into greener buildings and environmentally friendly construction. In addition to promoting green building in Qatar, QGBC is also behind the WGBC MENA Network. “QGBC initiated the WGBC MENA Network in collaboration with Emirates GBC and Jordan GBC to promote coordination between green building councils in the region and then provide a platform to achieve the highest level of sustainable built environments,” said Eng. Ahmed Abdulla Al-Abdullah, Chief Technical Officer, Tanween. “Our goals will truly be realised when Qatar and the surrounding region begin to benefit from QGBC’s work,” Al-Abdullah said follow



partners with GPS ORYX GTL has signed up as a partner with the Green Programme for Schools promoting its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme to enhance environmental awareness and culture in Qatar in line with the National Vision 2030.


he Green Programme for Schools (GPS) is the environmental initiative of Msheireb Properties in association with Qatar Today magazine. This unique programme aims to Reach, Inspire and Reward students and

Sami Al-ShammaRi, A/CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER, ORYX GTL with Ravi Raman, Vice President, Oryx Advertising Co.

schools in Qatar by meaningfully engaging and inculcating in them the importance of building a green culture. Since its launch on June 5, 2011, the GPS has been received phenomenal support from the community and corporations. ORYX GTL, by supporting GPS proves that its commitment to the Qatari community goes beyond economic participation. ORYX GTL truly believes in the power of youth, and that long-term and sustainable growth can be brought about through the education of students. ORYX GTL is confident that a path-breaking programme such as GPS will grow from strength to strength. "Welcoming ORYX GTL into the GPS programme is a significant move for the initiative. Who better than an energy

company to educate the youth of today the importance of respecting our natural resources and using them judiciously. We thank ORYX GTL for showing the foresight and commitment in supporting this unique school programme. We are entering the exciting phase of activating the nominated schools, putting up stickers and getting the students motivated about GPS. The next few months promise to be very challenging and exciting," said Ravi Raman of Oryx Advertising Company. In October, representatives from nearly 40 participating schools underwent orientation training. This month, execution enters the next stage, with schools being outfitted with awareness material and monitoring tools

To know more about the programme,

visit the GPS page at http://www. To know more about GPS,

contact 44550983

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Qatar Today 97

braking news



Nissan Juke to take youth population by storm


aleh Al Hamad Al Mana Co., exclusive distributors for Nissan, Infiniti and Renault, has unveiled Nissan’s new and aggressively-styled compact crossover Nissan Juke, baby brother to Qashqai and Murano. Aimed at a younger market bored with lookalike hatchbacks, Juke combines attitude, irreverence, modish style and energy with a mischievous sense of fun. Like its bigger brothers, Juke is a distinctive combination of SUV toughness and sporting style. Conceived to inject some masculinity and dynamism into the small car market, Juke combines a number of seeming contradictions beneath its highly individual lines. “The Nissan Juke is about to shake up the market with a boldness, style and sense of fun that it has never seen before. We believe Juke’s unique combination of motorsports-inspired exterior and interior design and unexpected levels of technology is going to force Juke into the heart of the fast-growing compact hatchback/ crossover market,” commented Abdulilah Wazni, Regional Marketing Manager at Nissan Middle East. From a design standpoint, the lower portion of Juke is pure SUV. It combines chunky wheels, wide tyres, extended ground clearance and a robust stance with a top portion that is unadulterated sports car, with a high waistline, slim visor-like side glass graphics and a coupé-style falling roofline. The coupé effect is further underlined by the rear doors, which have their handles hidden in the frame of the door. Inside, the sports car theme continues with a cockpit-oriented cabin dominated by a centre console design inspired by a motorcycle fuel tank.

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Suspensions are by MacPherson struts at the front with a torsion beam at the rear. Two engines are available for the Middle East region, the 1.6-litre gasoline engine unit and the 1.6-litre direct injection gasoline turbo engine. At the top of the range is a new turbocharged petrol engine (MR16DDT) with direct injection. The engine is one of the most powerful in its class, developing 140kW and 240 Nm with low fuel consumption. The combination of direct injection with a turbocharger provides the power and responses expected from a 2.5-litre engine with the economy of a smaller engine. The second petrol engine is a newly developed version. Designated HR16DE, the lightweight, low-friction 16-valve unit now has a unique dual-injection system, allowing finer metering of the fuel sprays for better combustion and develops 86kW. The 1.6-litre gasoline engine is available with an XTRONIC CVT transmission, while a six-speed manual transmission and the xtronic CVT transmission with a six-speed manual mode are offered on the range-topping turbocharged engine. Trim and equipment options will follow the established S and SL lines while a full range of accessories has been developed for owners who want to personalise their Juke. Standard equipment across all grades includes integrated control system that gives the driver the chance to optimise the car’s dynamic functions to suit their needs, two airbags, ESP, full auto air conditioning, Bluetooth and a CD/radio. The Juke comes in seven exciting colours and is priced starting at QR 75,000 . The Juke is currently available at Saleh Al-Hamad Al-Mana Co. showrooms for sale and also test drives.

braking news

Alfardan introduce BMW trio


lfardan Automobiles, the importer of BMW Group vehicles in Qatar, has introduced three new BMW Group models in Qatar: the all new BMW 6 Series Coupé, BMW 1 Series and the MINI Coupé. The 6 Series Coupe is available in two engine variants. The eight-cylinder, 4.4-litre engine in the new BMW 650i Coupé produces a maximum output of 407hp

while the new BMW 6 Series 640i Coupé is powered by a six-cylinder in-line engine in which the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology brings both direct injection and Valvetronic fully variable valve control to the table. The new generation BMW 1 Series stands out in the compact segment by its fully updated portfolio of engines covering an output range from 116 bhp to 184 bhp. Due to BMW Twin Power Turbo Tech-

nology and the BMW Efficient Dynamics measures used in all engines, this model’s driving pleasure is combined with significant reductions in fuel consumption and emission levels. The MINI Coupé is the brand’s first model to adopt a three-box body structure with a stepped rear end. Inside the car, the two-seater concept is emphasised by features such as oval recesses in the roof liner which emphasis the two-seat layout.

Ferrari Four dazzles Doha


errari unveiled the new Ferrari Four, the company’s most powerful, versatile four-seater ever and also its first ever four-wheel drive car, to clients and media during a special event in Doha. The event was held in the presence of the officials from Ferrari Middle East and Africa and Alfardan Sports Motors, the official importer of Ferrari in Qatar. Designed by Pininfarina, the shape and proportions perfectly interpret the FF’s harmonious blend of sporting DNA and extraordinary usability. This new V12 melds to an unprecedented level an extremely sporty, high-performance character with incredible versatility, superb comfort and sophisticated elegance, guaranteeing both driver and passengers an absolutely unique driving experience. Exceptional performance levels come courtesy of the new 6262cc direct injection engine which develops 660 CV at 8,000 rpm. In tandem with its transaxle dual-clutch F1 gearbox, stunning acceleration figures (0-100 km/h in 3.7 sec.) are guaranteed. The new model’s class-leading weight-to-power ratio of 2.7 kg/CV, along with its ideal weight distribution, ensures exceptionally responsive handling.

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GCC ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY Autodesk eyes Qatar construction sector


GCC projects market has witnessed unparalleled growth. The market grew from QR2,305 billion ($633 billion) in 2005 to QR7.64 trillion ($2.1 trillion) at the end of 2010. The pre-crisis level of the projects market was QR9.1 trillion ($2.5 trillion) at the end of 2008; however, after the economic crisis the projects market deteriorated. In terms of overall size, UAE stands at the top at QR2,966 billion ($815 billion). However QR1,470 billion ($404 billion) worth of projects are either on hold or cancelled making it the second biggest active projects market after Saudi Arabia. The overall market size in Saudi Arabia is QR2,475 billion ($680 billion) of which QR283.9 billion ($78 billion) are on hold or cancelled, still making it the top projects market in the GCC. Qatar remains the most promising with the third largest projects market in the GCC, and that is the reason why the sector features prominently in Autodesk’s portfolio of works. Qatar Today spoke to Manish Bhardwaj, the Business Development Director for Autodesk, Middle East and Africa, who explained the sector’s prospects.

Manish Bhardwaj Business Development Director for Autodesk, Middle East and Africa

MENA real estate markets have the potential to capture a much higher proportion of capital flows from both international and regional buyers. Comments? The real estate markets in the MENA region have seen a marked improvement in sentiment, according to findings from the third annual Real Estate Investor Sentiment Survey, an in-depth study of real estate professionals conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle in association with Cityscape Intelligence. The findings of the third semiannual survey reveal significant demand for the right product, with these “investible assets” currently in short supply as most owners

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plan to hold assets. Investors are much more positive than they were six months ago. What we can also see now is a clear rationale for investment strategy over the next year and a recognition that the right products located in the right places will attract investment. This is due to a sense that the worst of the downturn is behind us and a more realistic acknowledgement has resulted in a significant improvement in sentiment about the outlook for real estate markets. Dubai – becoming a competitive city, even with concerns of over-supply – is acknowledged as the regional leader in terms of

MARKE T W A T C H long term city competitiveness and infrastructure by investors. Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are also expected to recover. Strong fundamentals in the hydrocarbon powerhouses of the region will ensure more investor attention in these markets and hence they are expected to recover quickly. There are more buyers than sellers in the market for “investible assets”. Assets that are of high quality, are professionally managed and realistically priced remain in demand. What are the factors that hinder the real estate sector in the MENA region? Is it lack of availability of high-class projects or the lack of transparency in the sector? It is the lack of liquidity. Regional banks have suffered from scares relating to lack of liquidity. But it has been handled with government funding. What are the changes that you feel the construction and real estate sector would look forward to? An estimated $600 billion will be spent in the construction and infrastructure industries in the MENA region over the next three years. Regardless of the collapse in regional real estate markets, we believe that the long-term outlook for MENA contractors remains attractive. The region displays relatively unique characteristics, decent demographics, strong state budget surpluses fuelled by high oil prices, muscular sovereign wealth funds and a drive to diversify economies. Hence we believe the infrastructure and construction boom in the MENA region will translate well in terms of profitability for regional contractors. In our view, the Dubai construction market will remain fundamentally weak in the coming years as the Emirate is facing issues related to its debt maturities. However there are ample opportunities for contractors in other MENA geographies, namely Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These markets have undertaken massive infrastructure spending plans backed by government and government-related entities. With over QR3.64 trillion ($1 trillion) of planned infrastructure projects announced by the MENA region’s governments through to 2016, many contractors are well positioned to benefit from the MENA region’s robust bidding pipeline over the medium term. Why is Qatar an important market for Autodesk? Qatar is an important market for Autodesk for numerous reasons:

FIFA’s decision to name Qatar as the host nation for the World Cup 2022 has signalled the launch of an unprecedented wave of investment in Qatar’s social and industrial infrastructure. About 240 projects are currently planned or under way in Qatar with a total value of QR946.4 billion ($260 Billion). About 58% of the projects are already at the execution stage. The top 10 projects in Qatar have planned to invest about QR433.16 billion ($119 billion) and are expected to be completed between 2011 and 2015. The projects index for Qatar has risen by an impressive 27% over the past year, owing to the government’s steadfast plans to boost infrastructure. The projects include some world-class projects such as Doha’s International Airport, the Barzan Gas project, the Shell Pearl GTL project and the Education City development.

What are the innovations that are happening in your sector? What is the future of infrastructure design and construction?

Innovations include adapting buildings so they use the environment for power generation, such as using solar panels to generate electricity or using polyurethane insulation in the roofs of buildings to produce an energy balance. With construction techniques like these, the Middle East has seen a plethora of zero-emission, eco-friendly buildings. The Dubai landscape has transformed over the past five years with the emergence of such construction projects and, despite the recent recession hiccup, the region’s economy has been growing and the construction industry with it. With more money coming into the region with each passing year, the area has some major construction projects on the go such as the City of Arabia and futuristic buildings such as the Dynamic Tower being proposed. This project could almost define “innovative construction” – 420 metres tall and with 80 floors, the Dynamic Tower is innovative for several reasons. Each floor will be able to rotate independently, so if you want your apartment to face west instead of east, you can rotate your apartment at a maximum rate of 6 metres per minute, allowing full rotation in 90 minutes. It will also be the world’s first prefabricated skyscraper, with 40 individually-made modules being constructed for each floor. This means 90% of the building will be made in the factory as opposed to the building site, allowing full construction in only 22 months. It will also be powered by wind turbines and solar panels. What are the projects that you look out for in Qatar? Qatar has overtaken the UAE for the first time as the most popular stock market for fund managers investing in the Middle East and North Africa, according to data from EPFR Global, a US research firm that specialises in monitoring emerging markets. Doha is planning to spend QR14.56 billion ($4 billion) on building nine new stadiums and expanding its existing Al-Rayyan, AlGharafa and Khalifa stadiums. The capacities of the Al-Rayyan and Al-Gharafa stadiums will be increased to accommodate 45,000 sporting fans, while the capacity of the Khalifa stadium will be increased to 68,000 from the current 50,000. The new Lusail Iconic stadium is the largest arena planned. It will be able to hold more than 86,000 people and will be used for the opening and closing matches. To successfully host the Games, Ashghal has pledged to spend QR72.8 million ($20 billion) on road development over the next five years. Doha’s current road links are in need of urgent improvements and, with so many stadiums and hotels planned, the country will require several new connecting routes. The gas-rich state is also planning to spend $25bn on developing rail schemes to assist with moving people between matches. In addition to the four-line metro, the investment includes high-speed rail links between New Doha International airport, Doha city centre and across the proposed Qatar-Bahrain causeway into Bahrain. What are the benefits of Building Information Modelling and digital prototyping in the architectural scenario? Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent model-based process that provides insight for creating and managing building and infrastructure projects faster, more economically and with less environmental impact. Autodesk BIM software includes a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for design, visualisation, simulation and collaboration that uses the rich information in the intelligent model for better decisionmaking and hence better business

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Alfardan Properties secure financing


lfardan Properties and Ahli United Bank (AUB) announced that they have managed successful financial closure of a $200 million six-year term loan Facility (“the Facility�). This will be used to refinance existing loans, in addition to financing working capital and other capital projects in Qatar. In spite of oversubscription by 50%, the Facility was capped at $200 million, attracting a diverse regional banking group of six

banks from Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar. The banks joining the Facility are Ahli United Bank (Mandated Lead Arranger), The Commercial Bank of Qatar (Facility Agent and Lenders), Ahli Bank (Security Agent & Account Bank), Gulf International Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and BBK. At the signing ceremony, Mr Hussain Alfardan, Chairman of Alfardan Properties, thanked the Mandated Lead Arranger and Lending Banks for their support and commitment to Alfardan Properties, and added that the attractive terms of this agreement are testimony to the solid stature Alfardan Group and its subsidiaries enjoy in the financial market. Alfardan Properties was established in 1992 to develop luxury real estate portfolio of residential assets. It owns and manages various real estate properties in Qatar, including Alfardan Centre, Alfardan Gardens and Alfardan Towers as well as Kempinski

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Residences and Suites. Alfardan Properties has also been behind several iconic landmarks in Qatar, such as the Alfardan Towers, a fusion of residential and commercial amenities in a luxurious development; Kempinski Residences & Suites, which has been credited for establishing new national benchmarks for luxury residences; Alfardan Plaza, located at the heart of Doha City and home to several prominent companies and enterprises; and its flagship project Alfardan Centre, one of the first stateof-the-art buildings to rise in Doha's Bank Street. The Centre's granite-clad facade and majestic columns strongly reflect the rich traditions and cultural heritage of the area, while highlighting the prestige and exclusivity of the Alfardan brand. Alfardan Properties is involved in many of Qatar's prestigious residential and commercial destinations, including One Porto Arabia on The Pearl Qatar, an iconic man-made island; Laguna Beach, the exclusive villa compound in West Bay Lagoon; and the residential Alfardan Gardens. On behalf of the Mandated Lead Arranger and Lenders, Senior Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer, Bassel Gamal congratulated Alfardan Properties on the successful conclusion of the Facility, which will help its financing needs to achieve its ambitious growth plans. He said the Facility is proof of the confidence the industry has in the capability of AUB to lead arrange and finance large ticket transactions, and reflects the commitment of AUB Group in contributing to the development of the communities in which it operates. On behalf of the Facility Agent and Lenders, Group CEO Andrew Stevens thanked Alfardan Properties for providing them an opportunity as the Facility Agent, and attributed the success of the transaction to the distinctive brand image of Alfardan Group and the professionalism of their team.


Fifty One East Opens in lagoona mall

he abdullah bin hamad al-attiya, deputy prime minister and head of amiri diwan, officially opening the fifty one east outlet at lagoona mall.


he Middle East’s largest luxury multi-brand store, Fifty One East, opened its doors at Lagoona Mall West Bay recently. The grand opening of the country’s latest lifestyle extravaganza was held under the patronage of HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiya, Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Amiri Diwan, in the presence of a host of highprofile government, business, and media figures as well as the world’s top designers and show-biz personalities. The opening ceremony featured a catwalk show of dazzling creations from Hollywood star dressers the likes of Georges Chakra, George Hobeika, Tony Ward, Abed Mahfouz and Rabih Kayrouz.

Fifty One East has recently been named Best Retail Project of the Year by Arabian Business magazine. A retail brand built from a Qatari family heritage for close on 80 years, Fifty One East delivers their clientele an exceptional offering that defines true luxury. Bader Abdullah Al-Darwish, Chairman of Darwish Holding, said: “We are extremely proud to see the fruits of five years' hard work coming to life as one of the most significant milestones of the retail industry around the region. Fifty One East is a home-grown brand which has developed to become one of the most recognised brand names in the Middle East, and this particular launch will surely raise the bar in the market. Fifty One East is

undoubtedly an unparalleled lifestyle and retail experience which will appeal to the finest clientele of the Arab world.” Fifty One East at Lagoona will be the main anchor store of the Lagoona Mall and a world-class retail destination as the largest multi-brand superstore in the Middle East. Fifty One East presents its guests with a refined shopping ambience and approximately 13,500 square metres of retail concepts that are aligned with the lifestyle of Doha’s savviest shoppers. Fifty One East at Lagoona is the first retail superstore to feature exclusive Rolex and Boucheron boutiques and to offer signature spa treatments, valet parking, VIP entrance, evening and bridalwear and a host of exclusive and unparalleled services.

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Festival City almost ready for business


oha Festival City, a superregional shopping, dining, entertainment and leisure destination, will be up and running by the end of next year. It is also Al-Futtaim’s third megaproject in the MENA region and its largest retail shopping centre to date. The City is a QR6 billion 433,847 sq m complex owned and developed by Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Company (BASREC), which is comprised of a number of investors including Al-Futtaim, Qatar Islamic Bank and some other prominent Qataris. The first phase, IKEA, is due for completion in Q4 2012 with 32,000+ square metres of space, whilst the remaining elements of Doha Festival City will be delivered in Q4 2014. Doha Festival City will be one of the country’s largest multipurpose retail and entertainment destinations. Located on the northern highway linking Doha International Airport with the proposed Bah-

rain “Friendship Causeway”, the development includes a full retail shopping centre (260,000+ sq m GLA and over 400 retail units), an entertainment park, automotive showrooms and hotels. The project has been designed with the visitor in mind, separating each individual area into its own uniquely identified space, transporting consumers from the world of entertainment, into a retail area populated with diverse international and local brands with parking for over 8,500 cars. Ensuring a seamless integration of this one-of-a-kind development has been achieved through an integrated road and world class vehicle management system with adequate parking (8,500 spaces) that will ensure ease of traffic. With its strategic positioning, the mega-destination is ideally equipped to meet the retail and entertainment needs of not only Qatar, but also neighbouring GCC countries.

Volvo S60 “Middle East Car of the Year”


n one of the keenly contested and prestigious auto awards in the Middle East, Volvo S60 drove away with the coveted “Car of the Year” honour at the Middle East Motor Awards (MEMA) ceremony held at Expo Centre Sharjah in November. “I am proud to continue my support for the Middle East Motor Awards,” said Mohammad Ben Sulayem, Vice-President of FIA Middle East and President of the Automobile and Touring Club UAE, after the ceremony. “As in the inaugural edition, the second edition of the Awards has also been extremely well executed and a great testament to the importance of the motoring industry across the Middle East." "Automobiles are very important in Arab culture and something very dear to my own heart, and I am delighted that the Middle East Motor Awards provides an opportunity to give something back to the industry as a way of appreciation,” added Ben Sulayem, while congratulating the winners in different categories. A well-balanced and stylish luxury sedan, Volvo S60 has a strong turbocharged six-cylinder engine, smooth ride quality and leading-edge safety technology. The 2011 Volvo S60 was the first car to enter the market with an optional pedestrian detection system that spots real, live humans and automatically applies brakes to help avoid colliding with them.

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marwan shehadeh, group director – group director, alfuttaim, at the recent announcement

CGC gets impressive response at Civil Defence expo onsolidated Gulf Co. (CGC), the leading technology company, received an impressive response from prospective clients and partners during the third Civil Defence Exhibition and Conference at the Doha Exhibition Centre recently. CGC showcased a number of innovative technological products, solutions and services related to the CAMS centralised alarm monitoring system, life safety system, security and extra low voltage solutions, audio visual system, building management system, TETRA, vehicle tracking system, hardware and networking, IT solutions, GIS, CAD and 3D Modelling and engineering among others. Anil Mahajan, Chief Operating Officer, CGC, said: “This is the second time we have participated in the Civil Defence expo. As the authorised Centralised Alarm Monitoring System (CAMS) provider, we are fully committed to complement the Civil Defence authority’s efforts in ensuring safety and security for the people in Qatar.”



MEEZA wins Best Cloud Services Award 2011

Nokia’s Funky N9 Smartphone


EEZA has won the Best Cloud Services Award 2011 at the third Data Centres Middle East conference in Dubai. MEEZA was recognised by the Data Centre Strategies forum for its outstanding contribution to the development of cloud services across the region. MEEZA Chairman and CEO Rashid Al-Naimi said: “MEEZA is honoured to receive the Best Cloud Services Award 2011; delivering industry-leading managed services and cloud services are key parts of MEEZA’s core strategy.” This regional award offered companies engaged in the data centre industry wide recognition and outstanding marketing differentiation and, as such, attracted award nominations from across the region.

Nokia N9 smartphone is made for people who appreciate a stunning blend of design and the latest smartphone technology. Built with the latest in human innovative technology, the Nokia N9 promises to redefine the way smartphones are used. With its groundbreaking technology and en-vogue look and feel, Nokia’s latest smartphone promises to be a worthy and striking companion to the style-conscious consumer.

One swipe and you’re home Nando’s,

the South African restaurant chain, joined in the “Walk of Life”, which was held on the Corniche on October 28, 2011. The walk was organised by Think Pink, an association dedicated to supporting the fight against cancer and raised general awareness of breast cancer in Qatar. Nando’s is “peri-proud” to be part of this event and help support Think Pink. Nando’s staff completed the walk while wearing their “Chicken with a heart” pink t-shirts. Nando’s aims to be part of such initiatives and to contribute to creating awareness around breast cancer in the community.

LG aims to lead global 3D TV market in 2012


G Electronics (LG) is eyeing the Numero Uno position in the 3D TV brand by the end of 2012, on the basis of the strong public acceptance of its Cinema 3D Smart TV line-up. Since its launch, LG’s Cinema 3D Smart TV has already boosted LG’s share of the 3D TV market. By next year, LG will field a wider array of products from high-end to entry-level with 3D included in about 70% of all new home entertainment products. LG Electronics plans to raise the 3D bar by working in close partnership with LG Display and other LG companies that contributed to the development of Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology, the science behind Cinema 3D. LG is aiming to further develop its content sourcing capabilities to provide 3D Video on Demand (VOD) services with an emphasis on content specially tailored for different markets.

Nokia N9 introduces an innovative new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you’re in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home. The three home views of the user interface are designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching between activities.

Camera, maps and multimedia The 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss autofocus sensor, wide-angle lens, HD-quality video capture and large lens aperture enable great camera performance even in low lighting conditions. This makes the Nokia N9 one of the best camera-phones ever produced. The Nokia N9 features free turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps. With the new dedicated Drive app, you can get in your car and start navigating to your destination right away.

Near Field communication (NFC) Fitted with the latest in wireless technology, Near Field Communication (NFC), Nokia N9 allows the user to easily share images and videos between devices by touching them together.

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NABS: THE ARAB ADVENTURER An Omani explorer has just begun his journey to become the first Arab to reach the South Pole, but he learned that his pioneering can also encourage the Arab youth to empathise with those less fortunate.


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By Rory C oe n abil “Nabs” Al-Busaidi has been around the block once or twice. Not long after he fractured his legs in a fall as he tried to climb Mount Everest in early 2010, he received an e-mail regarding his interest in rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. He would have been forgiven for setting up a rule whereby any such e-mails went straight into his trash, but such is his nerve and mental strength, he embraced the opportunity and started preparing for the test there and then. Nabs is no ordinary man. The London-born Omani was a bit of a renegade from the get-go, a man with an itchy ambition. In his first year at school, he explained how he couldn’t understand the need to be baby-sat and chauffeured small distances by the grown-ups. So much so that he set off home on foot from school one day, crossing busy roads and junctions, meeting all-sorts along the way, before settling down at home with nobody the wiser. Little did he know of the hysteria he caused. His antics are causing a healthier kind of hysteria nowadays of course. In April 2009, he completed his first major adventure by becoming the first Arab to traverse the snow and ice of the Arctic Circle and reach the North Pole, pulling

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Doha Diary

a sledge for 650 km in temperatures as low as –80 degrees Celsius. He explained that on “warm, pleasant days” the temperature would climb to a sweaty –20 Celsius! Later that year, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest peak in Africa, and Mount Vinson, the top of the Antarctica, and in doing so defeated the highest peaks on two of the seven continents. In April 2010, he attempted to climb Everest, the world’s highest mountain, but a fall left him incapacitated and he had to be taken back to his base on a stretcher. Earlier this year, he traversed the Atlantic Ocean, some 4,600 kms of volatility. Raising awareness What is driving him to achieve these adventurous feats of excellence? Is he driven by his own ego, wanting to realise his limit, to establish his personal breaking point? Or is there a more deep-rooted ambition hidden in his blaze of glory? Is he leveraging his achievements to promote a worthy cause or raise awareness for charity? Is he trying to impress upon young Arab children that nothing is impossible? In August 2009, sandwiched between his North Pole and Kilimanjaro achievements, Nabs assisted his friend, Commander Richard Ryan USN, as Richard pushed his wheelchair 902 miles from Land’s End in England to John O’Groats in Scotland. The goal was to beat the world record, which stood at 17 days. Commander Ryan’s team raised almost $25,000 for charity and smashed the record, halving the time to 8.5 days. This no doubt gave him a sense for marrying his adventurist nature and fund-raising for charity. He’s since been working closely with schools in this region and impressing upon them that these children can raise the money and awareness themselves. “Before I left for the Himalayas last year, a school invited me to witness their fundraising activity,” said Nabs. “They put out rows of benches in the courtyard, which were a foot off the ground, and between the kids at the school – more than one hundred – they counted out 29,000 steps in half an hour (Mount Everest is approx 29,000 feet), stepping up and down off the benches. They raised $25,000 (QR91,000) for charity. So I was thinking this was phenomenal; if one school can raise $25,000 so easily, how difficult could it be to raise $1 million? “Schools are asked to come up with a fund-raising idea. For instance, one school did a 24-hour swim, relaying throughout the day and night. They must also choose a charity. I feel until they themselves choose


the charity they won’t feel that crucial sense of empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. They’ll feel a little bit closer to the charity that they’re raising money for and this is important. One school raised money for the blind, so their teacher would have explained to the children how their money would help. “So that’s what I’m doing here. I’m visiting these schools to see their activities. I also have a chat with the kids where they are able to ask me questions, I show them my documentaries of the expeditions I was on and the biggest thrill of all for them is climbing into a large fridge I bring with me which simulates the polar environment. They stand in –5C temperatures for five or six minutes.” Nabs doesn’t feel a responsibility to impart his cavalier approach to life to the younger generation, but to instill a sense of duty. He is keen to use his feats to tap into their curious minds, to engage their senses and let them dream of becoming the first person to do something original themselves. Being the first person or the first Arab to achieve something – even if the record is bettered – can never be taken away or dismissed. “If I don’t do this, engage with the children, they might miss an opportunity to learn about places outside the Middle East. Oman might be a skewed example – there were no schools there until 1970 – but not many of the kids there had ever even heard of the North Pole. Arab geography classes don’t seem to encompass these far-off places.” Endurance tests Nabs is currently en route to the South Pole. He started out on November 7 to be-

come the first Arab to walk there. Almost 100 years ago to the day – December 14, 1911 – Roald Amundsen from Norway became the first man ever to reach the South Pole, 33 days ahead of Englishman Robert Scott. 272 explorers have done the voyage since, but none of them Arabs. Nabs is hoping to arrive there sometime early in the New Year. He will be bringing with him, as part of his entourage, a cameraman and guide! In April 2010, Nabs had a nasty accident when trying to overcome Mount Everest. Xrays initially disclosed that he had no broken bones, but the pain never quite went away. A second opinion brought a different diagnosis, where three bones in his ankles were actually broken. Part of his recovery from the fall was intense physiotherapy, which included lots of swimming and rowing. It was this type of training and physiotherapy which gave him the required stamina and strength to become the first Arab to row across the Atlantic Ocean between January and March of this year. How does the training and preparation differ, from walking to the South Pole or climbing Mount Everest or rowing across the Atlantic Ocean? “The training doesn’t change much. Fitness is fitness,” explains Nabs. “What is crucial, though, is mental toughness. You won’t be able to do any extreme task unless you have extreme mental endurance. No matter how fit you are, at some stage you’re going to bottom out, you’re going to be drained, the tank will empty, and this is where your mental stamina must kick in and sustain you.”


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doha diary

A New Jewel Football Legend Ronaldo Scores with Katara Sparkles on

Doha’s Skyline




atar welcomed the Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, who marked his visit with a tour of Katara, the Cultural Village Foundation, hosted by Marcio Barbosa, General Manager of Katara. Ronaldo played for Brazil in 97 international matches, amassing 62 goals. He was a part of the Brazilian squad that won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he became the highest goal-scorer in the history of the

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World Cup. He is one of only two men to have won the FIFA Player of the Year award three times, along with French footballer Zinedine Zidane. “Katara was proud to host Ronaldo, as he has been an invaluable figure in the sports field,” said Barbosa. “He has been an inspiration to Qataris and football fans across the world. Sport plays an integral part in Qatari culture; it challenges and inspires young people and teaches them the importance of being a team player. Today we merge sports with culture.”

n exciting new landmark will be soon available in Qatar, with the Al Gassar Resort opening imminently, providing a range of offerings from five-star deluxe hotel services of the St. Regis Hotel to the very best in luxury waterfront living. With the upcoming launch of Al-Gassar Resort, a team of top-level executives, considered experts in the industry, have been recruited to ensure the overall success of the entire development. The team will focus on providing the highest standards of service to residents and guests alike. Wolfgang Pachler, the new COO at Resorts Development Company, the master developer behind Al-Gassar Resort, will be one of the development’s main driving forces, providing a wealth of global experience alongside a strong business heritage. “It is truly an honour to be part of history in the making,” commented Pachler. “AlGassar Resort is another mega-landmark in Doha. I am delighted to be joining such a fabulous team on what we believe will be one of the top destinations in the region. The resort presents the highest standards in hotel and residential services for both leisure guests and those seeking to make Doha their home on a more permanent basis. This majestic atmosphere of relaxation, refinement and high-end service will be unrivalled in the region as it is ideally suited for both families and for executives simply looking to experience an extraordinary lifestyle during their stay in Qatar.” The much-anticipated development will bring the very latest in lifestyle accommodation to Qatar. Inspired by the finest traditions of Arab architecture, the Al Gassar Resort sits on Doha’s pristine coastline in a prime location between bustling West Bay and Doha’s cultural hub, Katara Village.

Doha Diary

Msheireb enrichment centre hosts the British Council Qatar the British Council held an Education networking lunch at the Msheireb Enrichment Centre in november. The lunch was organised for representatives of the 32 UK Universities who are in Doha to attend the Supreme Educational Council (SEC) Qatar International College Fair (QICF). It provided a unique opportunity for these representatives to meet key individuals from Qatar’s education sector and for the guests from both countries to make connections and exchange ideas.

Architecture and media on tap at NU-Q


n the face of ever-expanding city limits, Doha’s greatest challenge is to build a real urban fabric and do away with the notion of buildings as isolated floating islands, said criticallyacclaimed author Paul Goldberger during a special talk at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) recently. Part of this challenge, said the New Yorker architectural critic and Pulitzer Prizewinning author, is the limited times of year and hours in the day suitable for walking in the city. “When there’s an actual incentive to walk, there’s the sense that everything is part of the larger whole,” he noted during a discussion led by the Dean of NU-Q, Everette E. Dennis. The talk was one in a series of events designed to bring Northwestern’s excellence in liberal arts education to Qatar. Art historian Jesus Escobar also spoke at the university and, like Goldberger, addressed issues involved in communicating about architecture, as part of knowing and understanding one’s environment. Dennis added: “Doha’s extraordinary

architecture provides a laboratory for our students to observe their surroundings as a visual statement and as a story tracking change in a dynamic and evolving city.” Continuing his discussion of Doha’s architecture, Goldberger said: “Those parts of the Gulf that have experienced rapid growth in the past 20 years tend to have a look similar to recent cities in other parts of the world - these places were so small [and grew so quickly] that they didn’t have a strong urban fabric to build upon – not to mention a master plan.” This is the hurdle facing many growing cities around the world, especially those that have taken shape in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Time, Goldberger concedes, plays its own role in shaping a city. “For all that we like to think that geography and culture play a huge role in architecture and urbanism, I’m not sure that time doesn’t play an even more powerful role... you know, the age in which a place grows up,” he continued. In advice to students on writing about architecture, Goldberger emphasized a critic’s responsibility to be as direct and conclusive as possible - admitting to having written a negative piece about I.M. Pei’s Louvre project in Paris when it was first announced. He has since recognised the error in his assessment. Goldberger was in Doha to deliver the opening keynote address at the 4th biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art held recently at the Museum of Islamic Art and sponsored by VCU and others.

Katara presents Traditional Dhow Exhibition


nder the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, The Emir of Qatar, Katara, the Cultural Village, held a Dhow Exhibition in November. The launch of this initiative marked the first traditional dhow exhibition to hit the region, showcasing over 60 different dhows from across the Gulf. The exhibition honoured the traditional form of transportation across the shores of the Arabian Gulf, recognising the importance of the dhow in Qatari culture. For 13 centuries, dhows were used as the main trading vessels sailing to India and Africa and were commonly used by fishermen and pearl divers. President of Katara Abdulrahman AlKhulaifi said: “We are proud to host this event which honours our cultural heritage. The Dhow Exhibition provides us with a fantastic opportunity to promote Qatari history to the world while also educating and sharing our legacy with the younger Qatari generation."

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Doha Diary

The Torch - Qatari landmark opens for business At 300-metre high and with 360 degree panoramic views across the whole of Doha, situated in the heart of Aspire Zone, The Torch-Doha enters the country’s luxury hotels market. Currently in the soft opening stage, the hotel is an ideal venue for those who are searching for state-of-the-art sporting, leisure and rehabilitation facilities. The tower is the result of comprehensive architectural, engineering and technical design. It was was shaped to represent a colossal torch, which for the duration of the 15th Asian Games in 2006 held the flame, the tallest and highest positioning of a games flame to date. The unique structure of the hotel includes 17 floors of five-star hotel accommodation featuring 167 rooms and suites; three signature restaurants, a business centre, a top-floor viewing deck, a breathtaking revolving restaurant at 240 metres above ground, four levels of health clubs with a cantilevered swimming pool 80 metres above ground. One of the few hotels in the world to take the lead in terms of latest in-room technology, The Torch-Doha have introduced Interactive LED TVs and a Media Hub Phone System - including a wireless phone, landline and an innovative Smart pad in-room service menu. Of its several attractions, the Three Sixty-Qatar’s only revolving restaurant-is the most remarkable. It offers a panoramic view of Doha and is located on the 47th floor of the hotel.

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Top 10

City Destinations for 2012 London – United Kingdom

The Olympics are coming to town and London’s east will be thrust into the spotlight. Seeing Tower Bridge lift its bascules to let a tall ship pass beneath is all stately grace, as opposed to your first rush-hour trip on the tube, getting up close and personal with strangers of every colour, creed and nationality.

1 Bengaluru (Bangalore) – India

This South Indian metropolis packs in the best brews, the tastiest cuisines, and the liveliest arts and music scene that India has to offer. Bangalore is nicknamed "the Garden City" because of its beautiful gardens. A demographically diverse city, Bangalore is a major economic and cultural hub and the second-fastest growing major metropolis in India.


Stockholm – Sweden

Stockhom is as seductive a capital city as can be imagined cosy yet cosmopolitan, wilfully alternative and effortlessly picturesque. With its trendy design shops and bohemian cafes, the island of Sdermalm is very cool, while the stately parks of DjurgArden make it a perfect place for an evening stroll.


Oman is firing on all fronts to attract international visitors, expanding everything from its museums to its resorts. Muscat is the focus for the revamp, with cultural events, luxury accommodation and aquatic activities taking centre stage. This year it’s all about Qurum’s trendy designer outlets, Old Town souks and wacky water sports enlivening its coastline alongside traditional dhows.

CAdiz – Spain


CAdiz has found itself named Ibero-American Capital of Culture for 2012 - the first time a European city has held the honour. It may not pull the same crowds as Seville or COrdoba, but few places embody the spirit of gutsy AndalucIan living like CAdiz. In February, it hosts a 10-day carnival of singing and dancing which embodies everything of what Spain is about.


GuimarAes – Portugal

This northern PortugUESE city is breathtakingly beautiful, as recognised by its place on the Unesco World Heritage List. The old city is a beguiling tangle of medieval red-roofed, colonnaded buildings. Now is the moment to visit, as the city has been anointed the European Capital of Culture in 2012; the city will be a hotspot of artistic endeavour throughout the year.


Santiago – Chile

Dining in the Chilean capital is top-notch, nightlife exhilarating, and this year also marks the inauguration of the tallest building on the continent, the 70-storey Torre Gran Costanera. Day-trippers can scale an Andean peak in summer, ski its powderclad slopes in July, or cycle through the idyllic vineyards of the Casablanca, Maipo and Colchagua valleys.


Orlando – USA

Most visitors will head for Orlando’s theme parks, but it’s worth poking around the city, too. Keep an eye out for the boho "Milk District", a neighbourhood on the rise with its motley crew of eateries, cafes, bars and bookshops, just a short drive east of downtown. Orlando, hip? Who knew?


Muscat – Oman

Hong Kong

This will be a particularly exciting year for Hong Kong, as it continues its march towards full democracy. Rallies are infused with theatrics and eruptions of song, dance and poetry, reflecting the city’s vibrant indie music and literary scenes. Go shopping, gallery-hopping, and check out some of the city’s 11,000 restaurants.


Darwin – Australia

With a pumping nocturnal scene, magical markets and restaurants, and world-class wilderness areas just down the road, today Darwin is the triumph of Australia’s Top End. Beat the crowds to the redeveloping Waterfront Precinct with its wave pool, bars and wharf eateries, or score some brilliant Indigenous art before East Coast galleries snap it up and charge double. (Courtesy Lonely Planet)


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Qatar Today December 2011  

The Year Remembered.2011 has seen autocratic Arab regimes toppled to make way for democratic elections; the euro currency on the brink of be...