Issuu on Google+


february 2011

contents

10

c ove r story

40

16

30

40 Food Fright

Rising food prices, high dependency on imports and very little water for farming makes Qatar a highly vulnerable country. But all this will change soon, says Sindhu Nair in this in-depth analysis of food security.

22

36 Ladies and Gentlemen‌

Herve Humler of Ritz-Carlton talks to Vani Saraswathi and explains what makes the difference between a good hotel, and a great one.

50 Bid Business

Now the dust has settled on the 2022 hosting success, we take a look at how the banking, hospitality and advertising & marketing sectors are gearing up for the big kick-off.

30 cities & Sports

How sporting events will change the face of the of the city.

20

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 qtoday@omsqatar.com. material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. request for permission should be directed to qtoday@omsqatar.com. reprint requests should be directed to the info@msqatar.com. qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll

FEBRUARY 2011 volume 4 issue 2 www.omsqatar.com


contents

FEBRUARY 2 0 1 1

94

78

86 50

80

36 65 The Sound of Silence

30 VISION 2026

62 Say that again?

32 A challenge for THE telecom sector

“Day 489. Still stranded in Al Hilal. Emails unanswered, phone calls unreturned. Please help.” John Hunt laments Qatar’s ‘PR gap’, but spies a passing ship…

Ahmed Lotfy on the burgeoning business of translation. A service needed now more than ever before.

78 Bag it up

Cassey Oliveira reports on the efforts of a well-known local retailer to up the ante in the search for greener business practise.

While it’s impossible to predict just how the country will look in 2026, here is how the country will look with the changes that Qatar’s new railway will likely bring.

66

Mobile operators face a landscape where subscriber growth has become an elusive target.

91 The ‘special’ Champion

Abdullah Nasser Al-Mani is a champion in his own right, bagging accoldes for the country at the Special Olympic games.

regulars News Bites.................................................10 Realty Check............................................. 16 O & G O v e r v i e w. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 8 Bank Notes................................................20 W o r l d V i e w. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2 Braking News.............................................80 Market Watch............................................86 D o h a D i a r y. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 8


FEBRUARY 2 0 1 1

Volume 37

issue 2

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

contributors

F E B RUARY 2 0 1 1 Yousuf Jassem Al Darwish Sandeep Sehgal Alpana Roy Ravi Raman

Managing Editor Vani Saraswathi Deputy Editor Sindhu Nair Assistant Editors Ahmed Lotfy Ali john hunt Editorial Coordinator cassey oliveira FASHION &LIFESTYLE CORRESPONDENT ORNA Ballout CORRESPONDENT Pragati Shukla Contributor shalinee bharadwaj Art Director Venkat Reddy Asst art Director – Production Sujith Heenatigala Assistant Art Director Hanan Abu Saiam Senior Graphic Designers Ayush Indrajith Sampath Gunathilaka Managers –Marketing Mohammed Sami Zulfikar Jiffry Senior Media Consultant Chaturka Karandana Media Consultants Victoria Ferraris hassan Rekkab Marketing Research & Amjeth Ali Support Executive Accountant Sr. Distribution Executive Distribution Support

Published by Oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 Email: qtoday@omsqatar.com website: www.omsqatar.com 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.

Pratap Chandran Bikram Shrestha Arjun Timilsina Bhimal Rai 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 qtoday@omsqatar.com. material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. request for permission should be directed to qtoday@omsqatar.com. reprint requests should be directed to the info@msqatar.com. qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll reprint requests should be directed to the info@msqatar.com. qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll reprint requests should be directed to the info@msqatar.com. qatar today is registered trademark of oryx advertising co.wll

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


FEBRUARY 2 0 1 1

from the desk

E

very time we write paeans on Qatar’s achievements – economic milestones, wealth generation or diplomatic successes – a not so small part of our reasoning keeps nudging us about the nonachievements. Human rights, freedom of expression (Al Jazeera is the exception, not the norm), immigration policies, to name just a few. Yes, we have seen countries go from absolute restraint into absolute chaos, because change happened too soon, and without a plan. To that extent, we understand the caution exercised in implementing new policies; especially the ones that require a change in public mindset more than in governance itself. What is required is distinction between caution and paranoia. The biggest bone of contention at present is the immigration policy – Oman, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain have been working on meeting ILO mandate on immigrant workforce and their treatment. The concept of sponsorship and restriction on mobility within the labour market is akin to trading in cattle. Do we hire talent or do we ‘own’ people? Aren’t policies based on insecurity – perceived threat posed to the small local population – counterproductive to the progress of the country? If solutions ONLY address worst case worries, then we are missing out on the far greater potential of best case scenarios. What Qatar does realise is that wealth doesn’t provide immunity against global concerns. Be it youth engagement, women’s empowerment or the food crisis. This month Qatar Today speaks to officials at the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) to understand the steps taken to ensure the country’s food security – not an easy task this, we must add. And then there is the peek into the usual sports frenzy which every first quarter sees; a glimpse of how impeccable HR policies lead to a brand’s success, as in the case of RitzCarlton; and the challenges facing translators in the region. That’s quite a lot of food for thought this month. Masalamah.

Vani Saraswathi


letters feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com

Hoping for the best in 2011 The New Year opened new horizons for the country in every field and Qatar Today’s cover story ‘QT Tops’, brilliantly brought in all these horizons in a comprehensive and precise way. The story which included a quick list of the top things to check out in 2011 gave an idea of what we may expect out of the year. Not only limited to business and infrastructure, the article also provided the readers with the list of hangout places and malls to splurge in. With this information, I am hoping to have a great year ahead. Thelma Thomas

A thank you note

Through this letter, I want to congratulate Qatar Today for the commendable work they have done over the years. I would also like to thank John Hunt for the amazing piece he had written about the Asian Cup, where he not only talked about the expectations of people, but also provided readers with details like the prices of the tickets and their availability at various stores. And the event turned out to be one of the most memorable events of my life as I enjoyed thoroughly with my two kids.

George Issac

International Quality

qt poll - January

I have been a regular reader of Qatar Today, and last month’s design made me a die-hard fan of the magazine. I have always thought that Qatar Today was a well-designed, decently printed magazine but now with the new look I think that it has places itself on an international platform. With edit content that has always maintained its quality; the magazine is unrivalled in all aspects. Poll result is based on messages received till 20th of every month

Yousef Hassan

Q

Spelling Responsibility

Corporates are turning responsible? This amazing revelation by Qatar Today took me aback. For long, corporates were seen as giant money-doling machines, but of late they have given the term ‘responsibility’ a new definition by the very luring Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. It was heartening to see that Qatar too has progressively ventured into this new age phenomenon, with several companies spearheading the CSR movement, as witnessed at the Qatar Today Round Table held by your magazine. I convey my heartfelt appreciation for those who dare to make a difference. Salim Javed

Qatar in the spotlight

Will the sponsorship rules in Qatar be changed to the benefit of the workers? SMS answers to +974 33072524 A lucky winner will win a NOKIa E63

It is heartening to know that many countries are looking at Qatar and want a substantial piece of the business pie as the interview with David Hamod, President and CEO of the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce suggested. The article was very well-crafted and revealed the intelligence and journalistic skills of Ahmed Lotfy as well. Raheem Zafer

sponsored by:

Do you think the country will meet its infrastructure needs by 2022?

99%

1%

Yes

no

The winning number of the last QT poll is 55014879

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

Check out all articles of Qatar Today on www.issuu.com/oryxmags follow us on www.facebook.com/qatartoday www.twitter.com/qatartoday


IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU...

36

NEWS BITES

Cabinet reshuffle

A new role

Energy portfolio

HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah takes on the role of the Chief of the Emiri Diwan

HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada is the Minister of Energy and Industry

T

he Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani appointed HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada as the Minister of Energy and Industry. The former Energy Minister HE

Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah takes on an additional role as the Chief of the Emiri Diwan in addition to his post as Deputy Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al-

Thani and the Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of the Emiri Diwan HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah attended the swearingin ceremony. The new Energy Minister had earlier served as the Minister of State for Energy and Industry Affairs.

Fuel prices hiked

P winning season Nasser AlAttiyah of Qatar, won the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011

12 Qatar Today

february 2011

etrol and diesel was hiked in the country from January 23, 2011. ‘Super 97 octane’ is now available for QR1 per litre while ‘premium’ petrol’s prices have been raised to 85 dirhams a litre. Diesel, on the other hand, will cost QR1 per litre whereas kerosene’s rates have been jacked up to 80 dirhams a litre. The price rise on an average works out to more than 25% as diesel was available for 70 dirhams a litre while ‘super’ petrol used to cost 80 dirhams per litre and ‘premium’ was even cheaper. The last hike in fuel prices was in 2005.


news bites

SMEs continue to rule

S

mall and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East continue to top HSBC’s Small Business Confidence Monitor, with Qatar second in the MENA region, and the Middle East region scoring higher than the aggregate scores for emerging markets, developing markets and the overall global figure. The data shows that 54% of Middle East SMEs see a positive economic outlook over

business confidence among smes

the next six months and 59% are looking to increase capital expenditure (capex) during 2011. MENA SMEs looking to expand internationally by 2013 is also up to 52% from 27% in 2010. Business confidence among Qatar’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increased to 146 from 137 in 2Q10. The Middle East region scored 151 (up by 19) with developed markets reducing by 10 to 105 and the global figure also went down, by 4 to 114.

137-146 132-159 115-105 118-114 qatar in 2Q10

middle east region in 2Q10

developed market in 2Q10

global in 2Q10

Investment rules changed

F

oreign investors are allowed to invest in fields like entertainment sector after the legislation that regulates non-Qatari investment in the country was amended. Consultancy and technical services, sports and distribution services — aside from entertainment — were included among the avenues in which foreigners could invest, after the law was amended. The legislation earlier allowed nonQatari investment only in fields such as agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism, exploration of natural resources and infrastructure development. This was disclosed at a symposium held on legal problems that could be faced by foreign investors. The symposium was organised by the Legal Studies Centre at the Ministry of Justice recently. Among those who made presentations were Dr Mubarak Nasser Al-Hajri, Head of the Legal Studies Centre, and Dr Khairi Al-Basili, from the Ministry of Business and Trade. Al-Hajri said that foreign investors needing land for their projects would be given plots of 50-year lease and the latter would be renewable for further periods.

A record for Vodafone The bi-annual HSBC Small Business Confidence Monitor

Ashghal awards projects worth QR1.479 bn 

A

shghal has awarded projects ranging from laying of new roads to sewage treatment to expansion of existing infrastructure. The bids were won by a mix of local and international bidders. “Ashghal’s current projects are expected to be finished in five to seven years. We will be ready for any upcoming challenge in the run up to the FIFA World Cup

14 Qatar Today

february 2011

2022,” said Nasser Al-Mawlawi, President, Ashghal, adding, “There needs to be co-ordination with other entities responsible for 2022.” The biggest contract signed was for building roads for the under-construction Barwa City. Bin Omran Trading and Contracting won the QR555.47 million work which involves construction of dual-lane roads totaling 22km for Barwa City.

V

odafone achieved a record of 711,000 customers which is 43% of the population on 31 December 2010. This represents growth of 18% over the quarter, or over 1,200 customers per day. At the end of September 2010, Vodafone Qatar had announced that it reached 601,000 customers, so in just three months Vodafone has attracted an impressive figure of 110,000 additional customers. “We’re proud that in less than two years of commercial operations over 700,000 customers have chosen to use Vodafone every day! This is a great achievement for our shareholders, staff and partners. We are committed to make a world of difference to all the people in Qatar and will continue to bring innovative and exciting services to the market,” said John Tombleson, Acting CEO, Vodafone Qatar.


news bites

Hospitality sector on a high

Q

atar’s hospitality sector witnessed a significant year-on-year surge in 2010, according to Ahmed Abdullah Al-Nuaimi, Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). “Even though world tourism indicators have suffered severely in 2009, the first half of 2010 witnessed a surge in Qatar’s own tourism indicators, as Qatar became a favourite destination for sports and culture tourism. QTA is also implementing a strategy aimed at people visiting Qatar on business visas to tour its top destinations,” he said. There are currently 66 hotels operating in the country including 17 five-star hotels, 11 four-star hotels, 21 three-star hotels, 14 two-star hotels and 3 one-star hotels. He put the number of hotel rooms in Qatar, excluding hotel apartments, in 2010 at 9,574

2008

hotel category

total

Five Star HHHHH four Star HHHH three star HHH two star HH one star H

2009

51

58

66

12 11 15 11 2

15 13 17 11 2

17 11 21 14 3

classified as follows: 4,829 five-star hotel rooms, 2,604 four-star hotel rooms, 1,579

Qatar Holding eyes more of Porsche

three-star hotel rooms, 505 two-star hotel rooms and 57 one-star hotel rooms.

UDC net profit increased by 20%

U

Q

atar will take part in a capital increase by Porsche, a step towards the luxury sportscar maker’s takeover by Volkswagen. The head of Qatar Holdings has said he will take part in the operation, but has not specified the amount he is willing to invest, the spokesman said, referring to the sovereign wealth fund. He added that the Emirate backed the merger of Volkswagen and Porsche, a position it had already expressed, the

16 Qatar Today

february 2011

2010

spokesman said. VW, Europe’s biggest carmaker, plans to take over Porsche this year but has warned the timetable might be extended. Porsche must reduce a debt pile of around €6 billion ($8 billion) it accumulated during its own unsuccessful bid to take over VW. Porsche plans to do so with a capital increase worth €5 billion that was initially to be finalised by the end of May 2010. Qatar already owns 17% of the voting rights in VW and 10% in the Porsche holding company.

nited Development Company (UDC) has reported an increase of net profit to QR617 million compared to QR515 million in 2009, representing an increase of 20%. Total assets increased by 21% to QR10.9 billion from QR8.9 billion in 2009. Earnings per share increased by 18% to QR4.45 compared to QR3.77 in 2009. UDC Chairman, Hussein Al-Fardan attributed the Company’s continued success to Qatar’s solid economic position in the Region and the continued opportunities afforded by the stability and growth of the Country. “We are fortunate to be operating in a highly visionary and rapidly developing Country, as witnessed by the recent award of the FIFA 2022 World Cup. This backdrop presents multiple opportunities for continuing diversified business for UDC,” he said.


MESSAGE IS a BATTLE 65

realty check

Architecture makes social impact

A

rchitectural experts who convened at the Knowledge Enrichment Centre for a Dohaland Chairs lecture on January 12, 2011, praised the importance of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in maintaining values of architecture and bringing about improvements to the quality of life in Muslim communities around the world. The ‘Aga Khan Award for Architecture – Voices from Doha’ seminar included five lecture presentations and discussions representing expert opinions from Doha on the Award, its achievements, contributions to the discourse on architecture and urbanism, and the potential of projects within Qatar to receive future awards. The seminar addressed several topics related to the Award, including its global and local importance, rigorous review and

Barwa’s investment arm targets Russia

jury processes, a local example of a project short-listed for the award in Souk Waqif as well as a case study of Dohaland’s Musheireb project in the context of embodying some values of the Aga Khan Award requirement. Four prominent experts in the field of Architecture presented during the seminar, Prof Ashraf M. Salama, Head of Department of Architecture and Urban Planning and Dohaland co-Chair in Architecture at Qatar University (QU); Proffesor Tim Makower, Dohaland co-chair at QU and Partner Allies and Morrison Architects, London, Dr Yasser Mahgoub, Associate Professor of Architecture, QU, and Dr Djamel Boussaa, Assistant Professor of Architecture at QU. The 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were announced at a ceremony held at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, last November.

The five projects that won the 2010 Aga Khan Award

B

arwa Real Estate (BRE) and Gazprombank announced the formation of the Barwa Gazprombank Russia Real Estate Fund (BGREE) with contributions of $75 million (QR273 million) each. Gazprombank Executive Vice President Anatoly Milyukov said the fund would invest in housing and commercial real estate development projects in Moscow and other regions. Preliminary agreements have already been reached on several projects, Milyukov said. He declined to give details about those agreements. Barwa stated in a financial statement that it has a 16,000 sq mt shopping centre construction project in Astrakhan. The partners also intend to attract credit. They had previously stated that they plan to raise about $500 (QR1,820) million. Milyukov said those plans have not changed and they want to locate an additional $350 (QR1,274) million in the immediate future.

In Numbers

BGRREF Wadi Hanifa Wetlands Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Revitalisation of the Hypercentre of Tunis

Madinat Al-Zahra Museum Cordoba, Spain

Tunisia

aga khan award for architecture

Ipekyol Textile Factory Edirne, Turkey

18 Qatar Today

Bridge School, Xiashi Fujian, China

february 2011

The Award, established in 1977, seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.

$75

million (each from bre and gazprombank)

amount to be raised

$500 million


CITIES AND SPORTS

30

O & G overview

QP and ExxonMobil sanctions QR31.31 bn Barzan Gas Project

Opec ups oil output

B

ased on a survey by Dow Jones Newswire, all 12 members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), Qatar being one of them, have reported a rise by about 85,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December as compared to November, due to the increased production from Nigeria and Iraq.

In Numbers

E

xxon Mobil Corp. and staterun Qatar Petroleum (QP) signed an agreement to develop an $8.6 (QR31.31) billion project, titled Barzan gas project, to supply gas to users in the Persian Gulf emirate. This is reportedly Qatar›s most expensive energy project since Royal Dutch Shell Plc announced the Pearl gas-to-liquids plant, now budgeted at $19 (QR69.16) billion, in 2006. QP owns 93% of Barzan, with Exxon Mobil holding the remainder. Barzan will produce 1.4 billion cubic feet (bcf ) of gas a day once its two production plants are completed in 2015. While Ras Laffan Liquefied

Barzan Project in numbers...

Cost $8.6

(QR31.31)

billion

Natural Gas Co. will be lead developer of the gas complex, JGC Corp. of Japan and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. won contracts to engineer and build the facility. Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister HE Abdullah Al-Attiyah said, “This project will play a critical and strategic role in sustaining the high growth rate of the Qatari economy. Qatar plans to boost domestic production of gas to four bcf by 2015, up from 2.8 bcf a day.” Al-Attiyah also added that though the Barzan project was agreed upon in 2007, Qatar decided two years later to postpone it to take advantage of falling costs for materials and labour, thus saving $2.4 (QR8.74) billion in expenses.

gas production

1.4 bcf a day

Increase in Qatar’s gas production bY 2015 - approx

1.2 BCF A DAY

RasGas and GAIL Sign Contract to import LNG from Qatar

G

AIL India Ltd. signed a contract with RasGas to import one shipload of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. The cargo would be delivered at Petronet LNG Ltd.’s receipt terminal at Dahej in Gujarat. Petronet imports 7.5 mta of LNG from RasGas under a long-term contract. The state-owned firm would get the first cargo in February, under a three-year deal with Japanese trading house Marubeni to buy 0.5 mt of LNG beginning in 2011.

20 Qatar Today

february 2011

85 , 000

bpd rise in Opec’s oil output

28 , 000

bpd rise in oil production of 11 members

0.6%

approx dip in compliance rate of 11 members The survey also shows a rise of about 28,000 bpd in oil production in December, from Opec›s 11 quota-bound members, excluding Iraq, supported again by a boost in Nigeria›s crude production. Amid rising levels, a dip was observed in the rate of compliance for these 11 members, from 52% in November to 51.4% in December. This compliance is measured against the 4.2 million bpd production target announced by Opec at its Oran meeting in 2008. The new production targets have yet not been disclosed, but Iraq still remains the only country not bound by the quota system.


BID BUSINESS

50

bank notes QNB posts buoyant results

Swiss bullish on Qatar banks

E

quities in Qatar and Saudi remain as the region’s favourite markets, investment bank Credit Suisse Group AG said in a report from late

January. The bank recommended investors buy shares of Qatari banks, citing the impact infrastructure spending (ahead of World Cup 2022, Qatar 2030 and the like) will have on earnings. Last month, Qatar’s index climbed to its highest level since September 2008. “The GCC markets look set for a strong performance in 2011, possibly outperforming MSCI Emerging Markets,” Londonbased analysts Mohamad Hawa and Anton

Quick bites

60%

top three banks in Qatar share of the market

22 Qatar Today

february 2011

T

Rozanov said. The region may benefit from improved global economic growth, attractive valuations, higher oil prices and stronger earnings momentum, they said. “We continue to prefer Qatar and Saudi despite their outperformance in 2010. In KSA, we still like domestic consumer plays and chemicals. “Qatar continues its economic momentum on LNG capacity expansion and we believe infrastructure spending (in the region of $100 billion (QR364 billion) to be spent in various works) should boost the earnings and growth potential of domestic banks, especially the top three, given their high dominant position (combined lending market share of 60%) and reasonable valuations,” they concluded.

Qatar stocks at highest since September 2008

$100

billion enhancements to LNG industry plan

he country’s biggest lender, Qatar National Bank (QNB) showed a profits rise of 36% for 2010. The Bank reported net income rose to QR5.7 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Qatar reporter. Qatari banks benefited from a surge in economic activity in 2010 following the slump brought on by the global economic crisis. The government expects GDP to expand 21% this year after increasing 16% in 2010. Moody’s Investors Service estimates the country will spend $57 billion(QR200 billion) over the next decade on infrastructure projects although Credit Suisse Group report elsewhere on this page that the figure will be nearly double that. Loans, advances and financing activities rose 21% to QR131.7 billion during the year, customer deposits and unrestricted investment accounts rose 32% to QR165.5 billion and total assets increased 25% to QR223.4 billion. The QNB board has recommended a 25% increase in the Bank’s capital through a rights issue in Q2 2011, according to the statement, priced at QR100 a share. QNB shares rose 61% in 2010.

Q

atar has sold QR50 billion ($13.7 billion) of bonds to local banks as the country seeks to absorb excess cash with lenders. The bonds, both Islamic and conventional, mature in three years, Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani said. The conventional bond pays 5% interest.


world view

Beirut blues Lebanese army troops patrol central Beirut on January 18, 2011 amid rising tensions in the Lebanese capital after dozens of young men appeared on the streets prompting fears of violence related to the east Mediterranean country’s political crisis, following the announcement that the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon filed his indictment on January 17 for the 2005 murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri.

Tunisian turmoil AFP PHOTO / BECHIR BETTAIEB

A petrol station in Monastir, 160 kms (100 miles) south of Tunis, belonging to a nephew of ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Kais Ben Ali, is looted on January 16, 2011. Kais Ben Ali was allegedly arrested early on January 16 by the army in the central town of Msaken. The Tunisian Army launched an assault on January 16 against supporters of Ben Ali holed up inside the presidential palace in Carthage on the outskirts of Tunis.

24 Qatar Today

february 2011


world view

Sudan by two

AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID

AFP PHOTO / UNAMID / ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

A handout picture released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNAMID) shows Sudanese polling staff sorting votes for counting at the Armed Forces Club voting centre in the northern Darfur capital of El-Fasher on January 15, 2011 at the end of a week-long south Sudan independence referendum. More than 400 votes have been processed in the area after seven days of voting which started on January 9, 2011.

Good luck again? Acting chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party 66Haliru Bello (L) raises the hands of President Goodluck Jonathan standing beside wife, Patience, after being elected as the flag bearer of the party in Abuja on January 14, 2011. President Jonathan early this morning defeated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the party’s presidential primaries to win the party’s ticket for the forthcoming April election. AFP PHOTO

february 2011

Qatar Today 25


world view

Name and shame

AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (L) is given two CDs by former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer during a press conference at the Frontline club in London, on January 17, 2011. An offshore banking whistleblower personally handed Assange two CDs reportedly containing the names of 2,000 bank clients who may have been evading taxes. Swiss banker Elmer, who worked for eight years in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, said he wanted the world to know the truth about money concealed in offshore accounts.

AFP PHOTO/VANDERLEI ALMEIDA

Nature’s nasties

Brazil Volunteers distribue cartons of milk to victims of the mudslides in Nova Friburgo, some 150 km from downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 14, 2011. Days of flooding and mudslides have left thousands of people without homes and over 520 dead in southeast Brazil.

26 Qatar Today

february 2011


world view

AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS

Bailout ballot New Hungarian Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy (2nd L) speaks with British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (R), French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (2nd R), Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado (C), Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg (3rd L) and Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Kataine (L) on January 18, 2011 before the start of an Economy and Finance Council meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels. Europe closed ranks around the euro as its richest nations strived to reach a deal on January 18 to boost the capacity of its bailout fund for fragile eurozone states.

Australia Volunteers and residents work together to clean up the mud from homes and streets in Brisbane on January 14, 2011 after floodwaters inundated many parts of the city. As the waters receded on January 14, 2011 Brisbane residents began shovelling mud from homes, footpaths and roads as the city – Australia’s third largest – struggled to come back to life after it was turned into a briny lake.

AFP PHOTO / Eddie Safarik

february 2011

Qatar Today 27


v i e w p oi n t

vision 2026 Even in a region known for ambitious, expensive undertakings, the rail projects currently underway in the GCC stand out.

anchoring

the developments is the GCC decisions on where to live based on where they can find work, as rail project, which will stretch long as they can get to a train station easily. To that end, the plannearly 2,000km from the ners need to introduce shuttle services and/or ample parking at northern tip of Kuwait to the stations to facilitate the short trip there from home. southern tip of Oman at an estimated cost of $26 billion(QR95 billion). It will link to domestic networks throughout the region, PRIME REAL ESTATE which according to MEED Projects account for $94.5 billion Proximity to the train is likely to be one of the largest drivers of (QR343.98 billion) in earmarked spending throughout the GCC property value in the coming years. A 1998 study in Japan found member countries through 2020. Qatar, for its part, has already that the value of commercial land near the Tokaido metro insigned a $25 billion(QR 91 billion) contract with Deutsche Bahn creased as much as 57% in the years following the opening of the to develop a rail and metro network within the country. line. Property consultancy CB Richard Ellis estimates that propRail networks, if well designed, facilierty values near Dubai metro stations tate the movement of goods and people have already gone up by 10%. As rail netmore efficiently than any other form of works expand and become a more integral transport. By reducing congestion and part of the day-to-day life of the residents IN FIGURES thus travel times between towns, cities, of Qatar, a similar increase in value can be ports, and airports, the rail network has expected here. Estimated cost of GCC Rail project: the potential to fundamentally change the economic and social fabric of Qatar. GCC INTEGRATION While it’s impossible to predict just how The countries of the GCC have been in nethe country will look in 2026, when the so gotiations to establish a Customs Union BILLION far announced projects are scheduled to for nearly eight years, but ongoing disbe complete, here is an idea of some of the agreements over border controls and disDomestic rail network spending for GCC through 2020 big changes that Qatar’s new railway will tribution of Customs revenue have stalled likely bring. progress. An integrated GCC rail network will make comprehensive regional agreebillion COMMUTER CULTURE ments unavoidable. After all, it will not be Until recently, the country was relatively simply goods that will travel over national Qatar’s rail network amounts to scarcely populated, and a largely inhosborders, but people. The planned causepitable desert ‘countryside’ encouraged way between Bahrain and Qatar, which settling along the coast. A rapid rise in will have a rail component, should cut the BILLION population has seen the density of people travel time between Manama and Doha in the capital city skyrocket, but little has to under an hour. This will allow people developed outside the city: as of the 2009 to commute between the two countries, census, Doha’s central Al Asmakh district housed 29,617 people and also facilitate Qatari businesses’ access to Bahrain’s strong per square kilometre; the most densely populated part of the sec- logistics offerings. ond most populous city, Al Rayyan, has 2,090 people per square Without a well-established tax system and legal framework, the kilometre. cross-border movements the GCC rail project heralds, cannot ocBecause of traffic, commuting is time-consuming enough to not cur. Then again, this works both ways. If the rail network is commake sense for most residents of Qatar. However, with the advent ing, then so is GCC-wide integration. This ‘if you build it, they will of a comprehensive rail and metro system, this should change. As- come’ mentality has defined many of. For Qatar and its neighbours, suming trains are fast enough to link all corners of Qatar in under rail developments offer both an excuse and an opportunity to furan hour, this means that residents will eventually not have to make ther deepen ties and increase the entire region’s economic might

95

QR

QR343.98

91

QR

feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com

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

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v i e w p oi n t

mortgage musings Q Dear Graham. Having recently discovered I can get a of them? Actually, if children are involved, who is going to take mortgage on a property back home while I am overseas, I care of them if anything happens to you? Your husband is going now discover that I can borrow the money in a number of to need to pay someone to look after them or give up work. Could currencies. I recall a friend a few years ago doing this to buy he afford to do so? Life insurance simply gives you choices, where an Australian investment property and he was pleased with there would be none if the surviving spouse does not have enough money. With regard to your husband, having a death in service the results. Is this a sensible option? A It is if you get it right. It has been compared with picking up benefit provided by his employer, this insurance does not belong coins from in front of a moving bulldozer. It is great until it goes to him, it belongs to his employer. It is up to them who they pay wrong and if it does, the results are catastrophic. A few years ago the money to and if they wish, they could keep it. Normally, the it was popular to borrow Japanese Yen as the loans were cheap, employer would ask who the money should be paid to but we change this into the currency you require and then buy your prop- have seen a case where they decided to keep the money and use it to recruit someone as a replacement. It erty. The lender would want to see that if is not only life insurance that needs to be you defaulted on the loan they could sell considered. What happens if he becomes the property and recover their money so seriously ill and unable to work? We have the exchange rate was important. In exyet to meet a widow who thought her hustreme cases, the variation in exchange band had too much life insurance. rate could mean that you owed more than “we dealt with a victim that you had borrowed and it was possible that Q I recently received an email from you owed more than the property was approached us to organise his worth. Lessons have been learned in rea London-based jeweller asking me early retirement with money cent years and the lenders want to see that to represent him in the Middle East. he expected to make through the money you borrow does not represent The explanation of what he is trying too much of the value of the property. It to achieve makes sense and it appears an online investment scam. He is also now common practise to limit the that no previous knowledge of the is still working” number of currencies that are available; industry is required. I do have some typically keeping it to the currency of the spare time on my hands and am conjurisdiction of the property or the currensidering accepting his offer. Is there cy of your salary and cash assets. As a rule any way to check if this is genuine? A Normally, we would ask that you send of thumb, it is not wise to borrow money in a currency that is weak compared to the us the offer for us to look at but we have alcurrency of the property. ready seen it. Somewhere in the process, you will be asked to part with some money Q Over the recent holidays, we’ve been looking at our fito ‘cement the relationship’. Once parted with, you will be asked nancial affairs and the subject of life insurance was raised. for more and you will not get it back nor will you get a job. UnsoWe have life insurance that will repay our joint mortgage licited emails offering chances of profit are generally not worth should either of us die and my husband tells me that he has reading. Offers to buy discounted shares are normally an elabolife insurance provided through his work that represents rate scam. You will receive regular statements showing great profits and offers to part with more of your money. All is fine until three years of his salary. Is this going to be enough? A There are far too many variables to be able to answer this you want your money back and that’s when the obstacles appear. from the information you have given. Life insurance is there to We dealt with a victim that approached us to organise his early retry to replace a salary should an income provider die. In your tirement with the money he expected to make through an online case, you will have a home but will you have enough money to live investment scam. He is still working. in it? If you are confident that you will get employment then this Any online offerings can be checked out quickly and we will have could be fine but if you have children, who is going to take care a look for you if you want

feedback

graham@yourmoney-matters.com

By Graham Wolverson Wolverson is an Independent Financial Advisor with Pinnacle Asset and Wealth Management with over 20 years’ experience. He welomes enquiries for financial advice. Peruse the website at: www.yourmoney-matters.com

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cities and sports This article is the first in a regular column examining issues and events in and around the dynamic cities of the Gulf. We start with a look at the effects of Qatar’s FIFA 2022 win and what it could mean for the region.

Superlative design Lusail Stadium designed by Foster Partners

MOST

Gulf cities were little more than small fishing and trading towns just three or four decades ago. Stimulated by wealth from hydrocarbons, Gulf cities have grown very rapidly. This bonanza of geological bounty relies on the unsustainable consumption of energy – mainly in the West. And, it is to the West that most Gulf and Arab states have looked for their city building inspiration. Many new cities mirror the 20th century models of the oil rich US south – the ‘brass and glass’ exteriors, affluent symbolism of ever-bigger towers, pointy pinnacles, increasing pollution

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and superlative events. City building came to an abrupt pause with the recent global financial crisis and the realisation that pyramids are not just found in Egypt. Even with the massive inward flow of migrants seeking to build a new life in the economic powerhouse of the oil-rich states, too much building went on – often in speculative schemes or in master-planned communities that turned their back on the old city. The results have been an oversupply of top end property-residential, commercial and retail – and an undersupply of affordable housing and other facilities healthcare, education and community services that are the hallmark of stable and sophisticated cities. Things are changing. Abu Dhabi has been pursuing a plan to make its cities more sustainable since 2007 and now Qatar has developed its national master plan based upon a future that envisages living ‘Beyond Carbon’*. These far sighted proposals aim to maximise the region’s wealth and long-term prosperity by


venues in London. The problem in the Gulf is that population is still small and it is difficult to fill these major venues after the event. The Aspire Zone for example, despite its impact as a landChallenges galore The announcement of Qatar’s FIFA 2022 Football win stunned mark, is empty much of the year. Other Gulf States have toyed with the idea of combining sport the world. Against the odds, this tiny city state has once again proved it punches well above its weight. The decision changed the and residential uses to build themed sporting destinations for example, Dubai Sports City, Abu Dhabi’s face of the Gulf. There is a mammoth task Football Village or Zayed Sports City. ahead. As if building the stadia were not a These facilities are the envy of many big enough challenge, the infrastructure sports men and women but the venues required to get people to the region, acstruggle to attract the attendance that is commodate, feed and move them around available elsewhere. adds up to a huge planning task. Qatar is investing heavily in the arts, No doubt Qatar will rise to the occasion “The 2022 facilities and culture and now sports. The challenge? as it did in hosting the highly successful infrastructure could be the To make sure that the very high capital Asian Games in 2006. But this is way bigcatalyst for creating a great expenditure invested in these events ger in its impact and demands. 2022 will achieves payback with a healthier, educatbring the eyes of the world upon Qatar and Arabic city, one that is the envy ed population and a sustainable income upon the Gulf. Spectators and commentaof the world and continuing that justifies the use of fossil funds. The tors will visit nearby cities and maybe even the great Islamic design tradi2022 facilities and infrastructure could watch some games in televised stadium be the catalyst for creating a great Arabic displays across the region. tions that created remarkable city, one that is the envy of the world and places like the Alhambra in continuing the great Islamic design tradiBuilding a Legacy modern day Spain.” tions that created remarkable places like Recent international sporting investthe Alhambra in modern day Spain. ments have focused attention on the need Qatar has pulled off a surprise win for what planners call ‘legacy’ – the idea against high quality opponents. Its footthat after the event there is some on-going tangible benefit from the often huge expenditure. Post Olympics, ball team may even beat the odds in 2022 too. The real win will be the ‘Bird’s Nest Stadium’ in Beijing has become a feature on the if, when the TV cameras roll out, Qatar and Doha are internationtourist trail, while the highly successful new Wembley stadium ally envied for the quality of life, design and planning seen on TV by Foster Partners (the architect for the planned Lusail stadium) screens and in magazines around the world. That really would be incorporates a top hotel and provides one of the largest five star win-win! creating cities that become global role models.

*GSDP National Strategy Scenario

A happening place? Khalifa stadium all decked up for the AFC 2011

fOLLOW US ON TWITTER @QATARTODAY

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

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The Rise of MVNOs in MENA With mobile phone penetration sky-high and market saturation a de-facto reality across the MENA region, incumbent mobile operators face a landscape where subscriber growth has become an elusive target.

when

Virgin Mobile launched commercial services in Qatar last May, it sparked intense interest in Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) coming to the MENA region. An MVNO is a company that provides mobile phone services without having its own radio spectrum or physical network; in essence, it resells other operator’s wireless services under its own brand name. Virgin’s venture of reselling Qtel services was by no means the region’s first exposure to this business; a few MVNOs have preceded it, mainly in Oman, where Renna and Friendi have been providing prepaid mobile services since mid-2009. The emergence of Virgin Mobile Qatar, however, marked a significant industry development for two main reasons. First, Virgin is no ordinary reseller. This is a popular global brand and a proven MVNO player, having been the world’s first MVNO in the UK and expanding into America, Asia, and Africa ever since. Second, and perhaps more important to the MENA region, Virgin’s arrival underscores a strategic move by Qtel to boost its number of subscribers, especially among the youth group. With mobile phone penetration sky-high and market saturation a de-facto reality across the MENA region, incumbent mobile operators face a landscape where subscriber growth has become an elusive target. In Qatar, the situation is especially pronounced; mobile penetration rate is ap-

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proaching 300% and the country ranks as the most penetrated in the region. That leaves incumbent operators wondering what they can do to attract new customers. In what is called multi-branding or outsourced growth strategies, mobile operators increasingly are experimenting with secondary brands to target specific niche segments, such as the youth or ethnic minorities, leaving their main brand to focus on the mass market in which they are already established. These niche segments typically crave customised value-propositions and have strong brand affinities. However, they are usually poorly-served by the standard offerings that prevail in the mass market. One option for such multi-branding is to create a green-field, home-grown brand to pursue subscribers in target segments. But market evidence shows that creating and building new brands for niche segments is risky and the pay-off uncertain. A second option is to follow Qtel’s example and form hosting deals with selected MVNOs to leverage their established brand equities in order to find pockets of incremental subscriber growth in saturated markets.

control over the MVNOs, through wholesale and hosting agreements, and can intervene if there are signs that the relationship is evolving unfavourably for them. MVNOs also offer significant potential benefits to the markets they serve. They typically arrive at the scene of a new market with a targeted value proposition that builds on significant research and deep understanding of the customer behavior of the segments they are pursuing. By doing so, they are able to promise and deliver services that strongly match the needs of their target Complementing services segments, whether these needs are about Indeed, MVNOs represent a viable and greater service accessibility, inexpensive strategically significant way for mobile pricing plans, international calling deals, network operators (MNOs) to grow their or innovative content and applications. subscriber base. They can create value Furthermore, MVNOs typically have to hosting MNOs on four major fronts. “Mobile penetration proved to be very customer friendly and First, MVNOs promise to bring a new rate in Qatar is laser focused on improving the end-user revenue stream to MNOs, thanks to the experience. network capacity they lease on a wholeapproaching 300% and This focus has the side benefit of raissale basis. This positions MNOs to use the country ranks as ing the bar of customer service and has more efficiently their excess network the most penetrated pushed incumbents to invest in improving capacity and ultimately to garner a bettheir own customer service capabilities. ter return on their network investment. in the region.” This competition, which emphasises Second, MVNOs enable host operators to service innovation and customer service penetrate niche segments that they are excellence, is generally preferred by all otherwise struggling to tap into, due to lack stakeholders, as it is unlike price-based of established brand equity or highly tarcompetition or infrastructure-based geted offerings. competition, which could lead to overThird, depending on the nature of their business agreement with the host operator, MVNOs can remove capacity. On a worldwide basis, we have seen several brand-based all or part of the market risk from MNOs, including subscriber ac- MVNO models succeed. One model centers on mass distribution and relies on reachquisition costs and bad debt, which could make accessing niche segments through MVNOs more profitable than from targeting ing new subscribers through discount mass retailers such as Aldi, them directly, especially if they leverage existing capabilities and Carrefour, Migros, Tesco, and most recently Wal-Mart in the US. assets, such as customer base, sales channels, customer service Another successful model targets smaller niche segments with stronger brand and lifestyle affinities, the champion of this model facilities and synergetic content. Fourth, MVNOs do not usually compete with MNOs offerings being Virgin Mobile. The recently launched Red Bull Mobile also but complement them, provided the right regulatory framework falls under this model. Closer to home, the MVNO wave in the MENA region has only is put in place. This has not always been the case. In Europe, for example, Telmore took significant market share from TDC, its just begun. With mobile saturation an established reality in many host operator, before the former was ultimately absorbed by the MENA markets, we expect more MVNO-related strategic allilatter. But, lessons learned from both sides throughout the last de- ances in the future as operators seek to sign on new subscribers. cade will ensure this does not happen again and the relationship This is a positive evolution that bodes well for the entire regional between MVNOs and host MNOs is complementary and value- telecom scene, as both operators and consumers alike stand to creating for both sides. In addition, MNOs also have significant reap numerous benefits fOLLOW US ON TWITTER @QATARTODAY

By Hilal Halaoui, Partner and Adel Belcaid, Senior Associate Booz & Company is a leading global management consulting firm, helping the world’s top businesses, government ministries and organisations.

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listening post

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listening post

Ladies and gentlemen... It is about you Herve Humler, President & Chief Operations Officer of The Ritz-Carlton, offers his expertise on people managemenT

I

t’s difficult to not be sceptical when people start talking about employee engagement and of putting employees above bottom-

by vani sara s wat h i lines. But you tend to hide the cynic in you when you are about to walk through a RitzCarlton door, to meet the man at the helm. Anytime of the year, be it during full-occupancy or a lean summer month, the welcome and service you receive at the hotel doesn’t waiver. So, when Herve Humler, President & Chief Operations Officer of The Ritz-Carlton, offers his expertise on people management, you take it rather seriously. The 35-year veteran of the hotel industry was in Doha en route to Dubai, where the newest property of Marriott International Inc.’s luxury brand opened at DIFC. In a quick chat with Qatar Today he speaks of the talent (the ladies and

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listening post

WALKING THE TALK Humler with THE LADIES & GENTLEMEN OF ritz-Carlton

gentlemen) that makes Ritz-Carlton what it is today, and the buoyancy of the hotel industry as a whole. A Dubai opening at this time, when the city hasn’t received the best of PR – is it time for a revival? It is interesting. We did face a lot of delay in the construction of the hotel – about 10 months, due to finishing touches. But I feel much better opening the hotel now. We also intentionally delayed it a bit. The last couple of years the market fell and all the sectors were affected. But if you look at Dubai today, it’s a different story. It has recovered quite nicely. Of course some sectors have not recovered, like real estate. And if I were in the business of real estate, we would reconsider. But the hotel business is such that we can dive, but we can recover just as fast. We are opening at the right time, last year would have been tougher. Globally how has the industry been affected? Every segment of hotel industry, be it luxury or otherwise, has been affected. But the extent of it depends on the country or region. The Americas were affected the most. Asia was a short slowdown. The Middle East was the latest, but it’s coming out of it. Hotels in Europe have not suffered that much. There are many reasons for that. Europeans enjoy their vacation – they have five weeks leave in a year – but instead of travelling far and wide, they stay in Europe. In fact, in some hotels in Europe we did better in the last two years than we did before. Where do you see Ritz focussing its efforts, in the coming years? What are the emerging markets? South America. It has a good economy and

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growth. It’s a continent people want to explore. And you can see its appeal by the number of airlines that are establishing routes to South American cities. A country is going to be successful by distribution and reach first. Airlines from across the world are headed there. It’s growing in the luxury business. And there are a lot of secondary cities that are growing quickly. How many new properties are you exploring there? You know what, there are a plenty of opportunities, and I am going to try grabbing every one of them – Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Paraguay. And we are in construction in Panama City right now. You do stay in non-Ritz hotels? Usually the destinations I visit are where we have property or where it’s under construction. And yes, if we don’t have a hotel, I do stay elsewhere. And what strikes you most about the ethos of the other brands? Overall I have to say, wherever I go, I respect the competition. In the hotel business people work hard, you never close the doors of a hotel. I respect them. I am not going to criticise others. But I will learn from it. People are doing a good job, but we do things differently from the way they do. Hallmark of Ritz-Carlton has always been service. Worldwide, service at RitzCarlton is three-step. I am looking at you, I give you a warm welcome; I give you what you need, when you need; and when you leave, it’s a warm good-bye, ‘thank you, nice serving you’. What do companies get wrong while

weathering a tough period, especially in terms of HR management? We do not comment on other companies’ management strategies. Let me rephrase. Yours is a HR intensive industry, and there is a lesson to be learnt by corporations who are struggling with employee engagement in a constricted economic environment. What are the key lessons you would like to share? You don’t hire, you select people. And based on their talent – we always do a talent assessment – you put them where they can do the best. People maybe interviewing for a job, and they speak very clearly, very elegant in their speech. But they maybe applying for a job in the heart of the house. We say, ‘based on your talent, you are better off in the front of the house.’ You select people and put them where they fit best. Next, you walk your talk. Before I go outside in search of talent, I should look at promoting the talent within. You know what this gentleman (pointing to Hoss Vetry, Area General Manager, RitzCarlton Doha) was before? He was in room service in San Francisco. We identified his talent, and helped him grow. Similarly the gentleman who worked banquets in Spain, is now GM, Ritz- Carlton, Doha (Pep Lozano). The industry is global, but you have to motivate people. And you do that by walking the talk, and respecting people. Whatever you are, what your value, whatever your religion, we will respect you, and this is the place for you. This business is global. There are no boundaries. You have to embrace the diversity. We have an open door policy, we conduct employee survey – my chairman always says, ‘Happy Employee, Happy Guest.’ Focus on you employee, train them and they will take care of your customers.


listening post

You don’t hire, you select people. And based on their talent – we always do a talent assessment – you put them where they can do the best.

What’s the greatest challenge in managing such a diverse workforce? The backbone of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is the Gold Standards philosophy that is lived and breathed by all its ladies and gentlemen (as the staff are addressed) around the world. Yes, there are beautiful, massive and luxurious hotels in the market; however, if you look at our hotels in terms of their designs and service, and if you look at our core values systems, you will see that we are evolving towards our guests’ needs, trying to be relevant in the market. Our motto is “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” and this perfectly illustrates that, even though Ritz-Carlton will continue to deliver quality products and design features, it always comes back to the legendary service we provide on a daily basis. For Ritz-Carlton worldwide, how is the local workforce developed? What is the strategy in Qatar? We have a strong focus in growing, educating and training our staff to ensure that they are ready for career growth. We are seeing many capable individuals throughout the region who have started as line staff and have grown through the ranks and now they are holding important positions. This is one area in which we are eternally grateful for the legacy of the brand and Gold Standards that have been unchanged in 25 years. Our ladies and gentlemen may not have the level of wealth, or be from the same educational background as our guests, but they have the same values. Therefore, treating our employees as ladies and gentlemen resonates in the long-term and allows you to retain your people. It is also imperative to employ great leaders who can stimulate and nurture their people. I believe that working for

an organization such as The Ritz-Carlton remains an attractive proposition globally. In the 80s when you set out create the brand and built the company, what kind of goals had you set? How far ahead did you envision the company’s identity? Simply put, we want to be the finest brand and leader in the global luxury hospitality. The essence of Ritz-Carlton brand and what distinguishes us from other luxury brands is not about sameness of service, ostentation or wealth – it’s about consistency of service. Indeed, service is the DNA of our brand, the core of who we are, and our continued reason for prosperity. It is a deceptively simple concept which requires relentless adherence to high standards and ongoing efforts: bottom line, our guests want service that exceeds their expectations, and they want it to be consistent and reliable. Our standards lay out the path for our ladies and gentlemen to make this “impossibility” a reality for our guests. At this point, looking at expansions, how far ahead are you planning? In the Middle East, we are planning to triple our regional portfolio within the next three years due to the strong demand for the brand. We had the Dubai opening, and this year Ritz-Carlton hotels in Riyadh and Cairo will welcome their first guests. Future sites under consideration are in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Globally, we are expecting to open The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto – our only hotel in Canada – in February, and Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong (the world’s tallest hotel) in March. On a broader scale, within the next 36 months, Ritz-Carlton will open dozens of hotels, Ritz-Carlton Residences,

and Ritz-Carlton Clubs, at various locations around the world, with much activity planned in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. And Qatar? Everybody asks about this. No immediate plan, we have two hotels, two different products in Qatar. No immediate plan to go with another hotel in Qatar. If we do then it would be with a different product. There are boutique hotels, Reserve, Bulgari. Building a company requires futuristic thinking... you’ve been visiting Qatar, and you’ve seen the changes. What do you expect or hope to see by 2022? I believe that Qatar’s tourism industry has been progressing at a measured rate, neither too fast nor too slow. It’s great that the leaders of Qatar plan, assess and constantly evaluate the progress of the nation’s development, so that all elements – such as the building of roads, expansion of airports, arts and culture institutions, financial sectors, construction of hotels and so on – are growing at the same pace and are all sustainable in the long run. Doha is gaining tremendous ground as an education, sports and banking hub, and not just by winning the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid. With the growth in those sectors, we expect to see a lot more corporate travellers and expatriates into Doha as they play a huge part in setting the city – and themselves – up for success. As a peninsula, Qatar is also blessed with the Arabian Gulf surrounding almost all of the country’s boundary, which could bode well for future tourism projects and waterfront residential living in the near future feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com

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Qatar Today 41


FOOD The Big Fright by sindhu nair

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the big fright food cover story

When the whole country is basking in the euphoria of the 2022 Bid win and the fine show of Qatari footballers at the Asian Football Cup 2011, Food Security seems like an implausible topic to ponder over. But not if you look at recent reports from around the world on escalating food prices and the mounting tension and disrupting occurrences in some parts of the world. Though we have not seen the wave of food riots that rocked countries such as Haiti and Bangladesh three years ago, when prices of agricultural commodities jumped, it is still a possibility, caution experts from UN.

he increase in food costs will also hit developed economies, with companies from McDonald’s to Kraft raising retail prices. Financial Times in a recent report emphasised that higher food prices boosts overall inflation, which is above the preferred targets of central banks in Europe. UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has given the global food market ‘critical’ status and says that immediate measures have to be put in place to stave off a repeat of the 2007/2008 crisis, when food prices doubled in just a week. Earlier, addressing the UN Summit on Food Security at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome in 2009, HH the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani pledged Qatar’s commitment to contribute in eradicating hunger and malnutrition. The urgency of the situation was reflected in HH the Emir’s words and subsequent actions. The Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) was established in 2008. “Qatar believes that national food security is part of the regional and international food security,” said HH the Emir. But what does Qatar have to do with riots and hunger in other parts of the world? A country which has never had a food crisis so far?

“Here is a country, one of the wealthiest in the world that could buy food at any price, no matter what the price, from the world market. There has been concern in Qatar as there has been concern in the rest of the world. From 2007, we entered a new era in world food. Until then price of food commodities was going down. The era of low-food price is over, worldwide” says Dr Mahendra Shah, Director of Programme International Affairs, QNFSP. And this is so, “because of increasing world demand,” says Dr Shah. “Only 5% of the world’s food is traded. And international food trade will increase rapidly due to a number of factors including population growth, urbanisation and rise in incomes.At the same time biofuel requirement mandated in a number of countries will also affect land availability for food cultivation resulting in high food prices. The food demand cannot be met in some countries and hence there is higher dependence on exports.” But the export market is very sensitive. Countries can stop the export of food based on local reasoning. India banned the export of rice and Russia banned the export of wheat in recent times. “On the one hand, the world needs free trade and on the other countries can refuse to export food commodities due to many reasons – a drought in the country being just one. All this

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cover story

puts pressure on commodities, a fact that countries are painfully aware as food is a essential need.” Understanding this need, Qatar has set up a comprehensive national programme that takes into account the challenges that are the country’s alone. And thus under the direction of HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the QNFSP was established with the objective of creating a sustainable Food Security road map, by introducing structural reforms to address the problems that affect the sustainability of energy, water, agriculture and food supplies. Heading the QNFSP taskforce is Fahad Al-Attiya, Chairman of QNSFP, who says that this nationwide initiative will make Qatar food secure in 10 years (interview on page 43). “The global risk is high and food is a critical component for the existence of any civilisation, which then makes QNFSP one of the highest of national priorities,” says Al-Attiya. The Arab challenges While food security is a worldwide issue, the challenges that the Gulf countries face are much higher. “GCC with a total population of approximately 40 million, of whom 40% are foreign workers, are endowed with oil and gas reserves estimated at some QR130 trillion ($35 trillion). This puts the region’s nationals among the world’s richest peoples in terms of per capita wealth. However, although the region’s economic and energy security are assured, the GCC countries are

food the big fright

the world’s most water insecure and food deficient, importing 60–95% of their food requirements,” says Dr Shah. The limited land and water resources in the GCC pose a substantial technological challenge to increasing domestic food production. “Of the region’s total land area of approximately 259 million hectares, only 1.7% is currently under cultivation, mainly with groundwater irrigation. Although about one-fifth of the total land area is potentially cultivable, the region’s arid climate and constraints caused by heat, salinity, limit the levels of food sufficiency that can be achieved.” Some of the GCC states have established fossil fuel-driven water-desalinisation plants, contributing approximately 15% of the total available water resources in the region. “However, current concerns about climate change, and the fact that the GCC has one of the highest carbon footprints in per capita terms, limit this option. Investment in research into the use of renewable energy, particularly solar power, in future desalination plants offers a means to increase domestic food production,” he reveals. And this is one of the options that is being explored by QNFSP and once that comes into process will provide the much needed impetus for the whole region to follow this prototype of success. “From my point of view, every country in the world should produce the maximum amount of food it can, in a manner that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.” GCC should give the highest priority to establishing a regional (contd pg 45)

Skewed metrics in the Region

4o approximately

million population in the region, of whom

40%

259 million hectares,

only 1.7% is currently under cultivation,

44 Qatar Today

february 2011

to

trillion

of food requirements

are foreign workers

region’s total land area of approximately

importing

60 QR130 95% oil and gas reserves estimated at some

about

1/5 of the total land area is potentially cultivable

fuel-driven water-desalinisation plants, contribute approximately

15% of the total available water resources in the region


the big fright food cover story

interview

“Creating a sustainable food economy” Sustainability and research are the two key words of the food security master plan (MP) that is being put in place by the QNFSP. Research & Design facilities are also part of the MP to create the wholevalue-chain that QNFSP Chairman, Fahad Al-Attiya and his taskforce are putting in place.

T

his will be through QSTP and other institutes that complement QSTP and support the creation of a high-tech renewable energy industry. In an interview to Qatar Today, Al-Attiya is confident that the

success of this revolutionary programme will mean a solution that can be shared with countries that have similar challenges. “Third generation technologies, policies, legislations, efficient methods will all be put in use to make sure that all the farms existing here today will change to 21st century farms,” he says. Qatar currently imports 90 % of its food, with over 75 % supplied by just seven countries. This leaves it extremely vulnerable to external world food market influences, which is beyond its control. What solutions do we have to ensure our food security? QNFSP is a taskforce comprising 17 government and non-government agencies collaborating to ensure that the plan is solid, secure, well-designed and robust. We have reached the concept design of the MP and we are in the final stages of preparing a detail design which will be revealed in 2013. The MP goes through four different stages, of which the first three stages are complete.

february 2011

Qatar Today 45


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food the big fright

A WAKE-UP CALL Cambodian farmers carrying rice in a field in Kampong Speu province, some 60 kms south of Phnom Penh. Soaring global food prices are a wake-up call to action to avoid a new food crisis that would pitch millions more of the world’s poor into hunger, US researchers said on November 18, 2010. Warning that prices were edging toward crisis levels seen in 2007-2008, the International Food Policy Research Institute urged policymakers to learn lessons from that crisis to prevent another one.

Food Kind

“We will have a strategic list of products that will be produced in Qatar. It will be an exhaustive list; it will cover most of the crop types consumed by the population.”

Two birds with one stone “We intend to use a solar plant to power the desalination process to get water for the irrigation. We want to hit two birds with one stone. We want to protect our ground water resources and we should stop our farmers from tapping into them. In order to do so we should provide alternative resources and for that we will use the other natural resource we have in abundance, the solar power. The power for the desalination plant will be 100% renewable.”

education

Research institutions covering renewable energy, water, food and agriculture sectors will be provided. Educational institutions in these areas especially in agriculture and other related areas will be looked into to support the system and to fill the knowledge gap.

farms in qatar Until 2011 : 1,400 farms From 2013: Double that

46 Qatar Today

february 2011

The discovery stage is complete which tracks the issues related to food supply and production, after which the MP went through an analysis stage, which involved analysis of the issues that were discovered in the earlier stage. The third stage is the conceptualisation and selection of the solution while the detailed design, which is in process now, involves the designing and formation of a prototype of the model farm. We are in the process of putting in place a model farm, a 21st century farm, which puts to use all modern technologies and also puts some of our own in place. The food security is a catalyst to put in place four distinct economies, renewable economy, water economy, agriculture and food economy. We want to sustain both the system and the resource. When we look at system sustainability, we look at what makes an economy thrive and what are the interdependencies that are required for each and every economy to self sustain and grow. We are mapping these interdependencies and identifying the critical and non-critical ones while facilitating these within our plan. If we want to develop a unique solar power system developed and applie in our project, we would want that process to be manufactured here and form a renewable energy hub here. This, in turn, will contribute to the renewable economy. And to support this we would want the creation of an industrial sector, which will then create a need for material and so on... Some highlights of the Master Plan? By 2023, we should be able to export four ‘know-hows’ or solutions in these four economies. Though research will be the focus after the MP is in place, export of food will NOT be something Qatar will focus on. We have very scarce water resource and hence we will not be exporting food that is produced here. But that does not mean we cannot create a ‘re-export’ market. We can make a regional hub of food that is imported to Qatar and export it to other markets within the region, which will increase our food security resilience. And this is where Hassad Food comes in, the $1 billion foreign investment arm that functions under Qatar Investment Authority. Recently, they have entered into final stages of negotiations with major agricultural companies around the world to ensure food security for all. Is there any case study that QNFSP has looked into that and that could be replicated here? No, we don’t have any. We have also seen countries who have looked at foreign investments to make their food secure. We have seen other dry countries trying to produce food in their


the big fright food cover story

own country and suffering a blow as they started to export and then discovered that they do not have water for their produce. We have learnt from their mistakes and hope to create one that keeps in mind all the challenges of the region. Other countries also put up a programme that allowed the farmer to cultivate according to his choice thus disturbing the supply/demand equation through single-crop farming. We want to match supply with demand in order to make sure that nothing we produce can go waste. This can be achieved through Intelligent Contract Farming Support. What kind of farming systems will be in place here? We would be looking at Hydroponics, which is soil-less cultivation. But this is limited to the produce of vegetables and fruits. It also precision watering and hence it saves on water (90% of the water is saved) while the yield is increased by 10 times. Water efficiency will become fundamental and we will put in place a legislation that makes sure that farmers use only this system if they are cultivating the produce it can be used for. Oil rich countries are investing in land in developing countries. Will Qatar follow the footsteps of these countries? There has been some unrest which has risen due to some land deal made by other countries? What is being done on this front? Qatar is already investing in land through Hassad, which is a member of our programme. In our investment approach we are trying to build synergies between our domestic activities and investments abroad to maximise our leverage on benefits. Countries have to be mindful to social issues that could arise when land is being acquired in other countries. Because land is such a sensitive issue. Hassad is putting in conscious policies and investments that will not only benefit the investor but will also benefit those who live there. Hassad will also look at transferring technologies, providing local employment, education and health-care for those involved in the farming activities. This will also be throwing open an export market for the country that was earlier extinct or present in a small scale. Land in countries like Australia, Sudan, Turkey etc will be identified by Hassad. What’s the status of farming in Qatar? There are 1, 400 farms as of now in Qatar. We have looked at their problems and have analysed their stress factors. We have assured them that new farming methods will solve most of their issues. Due to the large scale finance involved in making the land arable, do you think the products from these developments are in danger of being sold at high prices? Food is already expensive in Qatar. Unrest in Tunisia, Haiti all indicate that food prices have gone up. And it will continue to go up. Developing food in the country is the cheapest way. How do you think that you will be able to lure customers away from their favourite brands to a new one? By giving customers a better brand, of course.

centre of excellence for solar-energy research for water desalination, greenhouse solar cooling and greenhouse hydroponic-technology development, says Dr Shah. Furthermore, a dedicated GCC agricultural research centre for dry-land crops, livestock and aquaculture development, and adaptation to future climate change should also be established. Regionally relevant research into protected agriculture, solar energy for desalinisation and greenhouse hydroponics has the potential to enhance domestic food self-sufficiency in the GCC countries. All these are steps taken into due consideration by the QNFSP. “However, some crops, such as wheat, require as much as 1,400 kg of water to produce 1 kg of yield. This calls for strategic decisions about which crops to produce locally and which to secure through international GCC investments,” says Dr Shah. A proposed partnership model Over the past few years, GCC states have begun to consider investing in farmland overseas. However, there is growing worldwide concern that such international agricultural investments must be environmentally, economically and socially responsible and sustainable. “They must also be well-structured and legally executed. Otherwise, there is a risk that the burden of food insecurity in the investing GCC countries might end up being transferred to the host countries,” says Dr Shah. Dr Shah has identified a solution that would give the oil-rich Arab countries an edge while improving the living conditions and economies of those countries that they lease contract land to use for food produce. “A shared-benefits model that would best meet the needs of the investor and the local community in currently cultivated land areas where the yield gaps are large could provide the basis for responsible and sustainable agricultural development partnerships,” he says. Dr Shah illustrates his point. “Consider a situation in which 100 units of land area farmed with poor management and low agricultural technology produces 100 tonnes of a food commodity. With foreign investment bringing in sophisticated technologies and management, the production on this piece of land is boosted to 500 tonnes. The local community receives 200 tonnes, while the investor receives a similar share. The remaining 100 tonnes is then sold by the investor into the local market. The market sale would be important in terms of host-country food security, and the sales income would be reinvested for the benefit of the local community through infrastructure and social-services development. The investor’s share would need to be acceptable in terms of return on investment. “Such an innovative partnership arrangement could be further structured as an official development aid (ODA),” says Dr Shah. (contd in pg 49)

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Qatar Today 47


cover story

food the big fright

interview

A generous heart The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) looks at the humanitarian side of the food security programme in the Middle East.

that recently a rich country like Kuwait, has granted an emergency food aid package to each of its 1.1 million population worth around $4 billion in total.

he role of WFP role is to reach and feed the most food insecure people in the Middle East region, especially the children because they are the most vulnerable. We have running programmes in Sudan, Yemen, oPt (occupied Palestinian Territories), Iraq, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Jordan, and Egypt,” says Ashraf Hamouda, Senior Partnership & Business Development Manager, WFP. Food Security and the region. How fundamental is the issue? Food Security has really become the most current hot issue because it touches on the basic needs of individuals. Most of the instability and riots in the streets lately has been because of rising food prices. Governments are finding it more difficult to control costs, thus relying more on organisations such as WFP to support and aid its people. The situation has become so volatile and politically sensitive

48 Qatar Today

february 2011

How does this compare to global numbers? Let me give you a wider perspective because the Middle East is part of the global Islamic community. Out of the current 50 Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) worldwide, 22 are Muslim countries.  WFP plays a major role in reducing poverty and hunger in 34 out of OIC’s 57 member states.  in 2010, WFP planned beneficiaries in the Muslim world was more than 54 million representing more than half the total number WFP is assisting worldwide. The highest risk countries in our region are oPt, Sudan and Yemen.   As of the first quarter of 2011 WFP will suffer a severe shortfall of $29.2 million for emergency operations and $48.9 million for safety-net operations.   Unless further funding is received, WFP will be forced to reduce or suspend emergency operations and life-saving seasonal safety net activities, negatively impacting 300,000 IDPs, 98,000 refugees and 1.8 million severely food-insecure persons. WFP supports the efforts of the humanitarian community to respond to the crisis in Sa’ada by facilitating the access of humanitarian personnel and light cargo to the affected areas through a Special Operation (SO). The SO is dramatically under-funded by $400,000 for the next six months. And that is the real picture.


the big fright food cover story

CRISIS CALL Sudanese displaced people queue up for food during a distribution by the World Food ProgramME at the Kasab camp, near Kutum, in northern Darfur. The European Union called for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution threatening sanctions on Sudan if it fails to immediately meet pledges to defuse the crisis in Darfur. EU foreign ministers, while welcoming a partial improvement in aid access to the western region, expressed its “dissatisfaction that the government of Sudan has not implemented the other most urgent obligations” it faces.

How does this compare to global numbers?

50 Out of the current

Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) worldwide,

22

are Muslim countries.

As of the first quarter of 2011 WFP will suffer a severe shortfall of

$29.2 $48.9 million for emergency operations and

million for safety-net operations.

WFP will be forced to reduce or suspend emergency operations and life-saving seasonal safety net activities, negatively impacting

300,000 98,000 IDPs,

1.8 refugees and

million severely food-insecure persons.

What is Qatar’s role in this and sensitivity to the issue? Qatar imports approximately 90% of its food. HH the Emir realising how pressing this issue is for his country on the long-term, as well as being faced with the realities of the harsh agriculture environment of the mostly barren Qatar, has set in motion a strategy that is both, viable as well as unifying. The initiative of engaging both the private & public sector in creating joint ventures in more agriculturally friendly countries such as Sudan, benefits all stakeholders because it shies away from the stigma of being considered as Neo Colonialist land grabbers.   The Global Dry Land Alliance (see Box) is a commendable initiative focussed on bringing to light the food security issues we are facing in our part of the world.  I believe it is still a long way to go before anything concrete can be felt, but it was long overdue.  And of course they will have WFP’s support in all stages of its creation and development. What is the way forward?  I believe the way forward is more cooperation between the private sector and governments in eradicating poverty and hunger.  The rich countries must participate more actively in poorer

countries, and there are ample examples of commercially viable food security projects benefitting all stakeholders:  Poor land owners (higher incomes), Investors (profits), Governments (infrastructure), populations (available food at affordable prices)... this cycle must be globally unifying for all beneficiaries can truly feels its effect. Oil-rich countries are acquiring land in poor and underdeveloped countries? Is this a sustainable way to go in food security? Isn’t this depleting the land resources of that country? The issue is not about land grab it is about the fair sharing of the capital and the resources. We understand the need for rich countries with limited agricultural capabilities to seek out help from outside, and we also understand the poor countries’ limited funding to cultivate its land to develop their country and their people. But it should be done in such a way that the local communities are part of the decision making process since they are the main beneficiaries. However, most of the time, the local communities are not included in the loop.

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Qatar Today 49


cover story

food the big fright

Global Dry Land Alliance At the Millennium Development Goals summit at the UN headquarters in New York in September 2010, an important alliance was formed. The Global Dry Alliance – Partnering for Food Security was formed for discussions and for forging development partnerships to meet the food security in the dry regions of the world. “The Global Dry Land Alliance- Partnering for Food Security” which launched a global alliance aimed at strengthening cooperation among dry land nations. The event provided a much-needed forum to discuss challenges specific to dry lands which account for 45% of the world’s land area. “In regions where extreme weather threatens food supply, the answer is not short-term aid, but a global commitment to strengthening long-term food security,” says Dr Shah who is working within the QNFSP for this Alliance. According to Fahad Al-Attiya, QNFSP Chairman, the newly formed Global Dry Land Alliance will constitute 45 to 60 nations with arid or semi-arid environments, including countries in the Middle East, Africa, the United States and India.

In Figures

60%

of the world’s food insecure population lives in dry lands

80%

of the rural population in these areas is dependent on crop agriculture and livestock for both food and income

5% Middle East, with

of the world’s population, accounts for

40%

of the world’s cereal imports and experiences the highest level of water scarcity in the world

Land Grab? Over two-and-half million hectares in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; half a million hectares in Tanzania; and a quarter of a million hectares in Libya, 40,000 hectares in Kenya: these figures represent just some of the recent international land deals where wealthy countries buy land in poorer nations for food, and sometimes biofuel production.

These deals are advantageous if

flipside?

THERE IS A creation of significant number of farm and off-farm jobs

Several deals have fallen through due to local unease

there is Development of rural infrastructure Poverty-reducing improvements such as construction of schools and health post are made

Both the Philippines and the Mozambique have dropped Chinese land-deals, while a deal in Madagascar to provide South Korea with 1.3 million hectares has been linked to the coup which overthrew former president, Marc Ravalomanana. Another deal with Kenya and a Gulf country resulted in unease as KENYA was faced with famine and had to resort to international aid to feed its own people...

On the largeness of the international stage, local landowners in poor countries have little power to negotiate fair terms for being displaced from their land to make room for foreign farmers. Introducing intensive agricultural production can threaten biodiversity, carbon stocks, and land and water resources. While irrigation, fertilisation, and pesticides may help increase yields, they could also lead to long-term problems with salinity, erosion, and pollution.

Many deals are bad for local farmers unless the agreements include specific provisions to protect them. ( International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) report)

50 Qatar Today

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the big fright food cover story

HIGHER AND HIGHER Prices of essential food items are seen at a wholesale market in the old quarter of New Delhi. India’s food inflation climbed again to hit nearly 18 percent, official figures showed, days after THE PM Manmohan Singh declared the worst of the problem was over.

us

$10

$25 to

billion in subsidies for farmers in a year during the last decade

The Saudi predicament Saudi Arabia decided to grow wheat and in the process depleted their ground water resources. They have now decided not to grow a high water-content requirement crop.

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with its fertile land, ample water resources and the world’s lowest agricultural productivity, is the biggest hot spot for agricultural land acquisition by public and private investors from the GCC, China, India and Europe. The agricultural sector in SSA countries is in urgent need of investment capital. However, decades of poor government commitments to agriculture and low investments have resulted in stagnating productivity and food-production levels. In his research papers, Dr Shah has shown how the GCC countries have a real opportunity to invest in Sudan as a development aid partner, not only to assure their own food security but also to contribute to sustainable agricultural development. “The potential through a shared partnership model, as described above, is substantial. For example, current maize yields of approx 1.2 tonnes/hectare can be increased to more than 7 tonnes/hectare with high agricultural technology and management.” Responsible agricultural investments can contribute to sustainable agriculture development towards achieving food security and an end to the hunger that today affects one-third of the population in SSA. The GCC’s challenge is to adopt a scientific, knowledge-based and policy-relevant integrated agro-ecological and socio-economic approach to enhancing its domestic food production. This can be done only by forming sustainable and responsible development partnerships that can put the SSA countries on a

Hunger Statistics

75

million hungry in the Middle East

path of progressive and sustainable development. The Water Challenge Dr Patrick Linke, Chief Engineer at QNFSP and the Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University Qatar is of the opinion that water issues in the region are critical. Ground water resources cannot be touched as it cannot be replenished given the climatic conditions of the region and hence alternative resources have to be worked out for the food security programme. “Basically the idea is to desalinate the sea water. The other alternative is to recycle waste water and reuse. But there are health and hygiene issues to deal with while using recycled water for irrigation, not to mention the large quantity needed for this.” QNFSP is considering using non-fossil energy for producing renewable resources, and as a concept, wind and solar energy is to be put to use. Reusing energy is another option and all this is being explored too. “All the issues will be explored, the energy infrastructure, the location of the station, how to transmit the energy from it, to final feasibility of the desalination project, the economies of subsidies, all this will have to be looked into and by 2013, and the picture will be in place.” “For this whole value chain to be economical, at some point of the chain subsidies will have to be put in place. It could be energy, water, or both or just the crop,” says Dr Linke feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com

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bottom line

Bid Business: from hyperbole to reality... Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup has put in motion a number of activities. It started off on a light note, with football-crazy local parents naming their new daughter Fifa, because she was born on December 2, 2010, the day the hosting rights were announced, to some announcements that hinted on intent by the State and its rulers of keeping the promise of meeting all FIFA demands.

E

arly January, Ashghal announced its plans with 11 projects, including those of roads, buildings and sewage. “The projects are part of Ashghal’s plans to lay basic and modern infrastructure in line with the ambitious development plans of the country.” If these are plans the country made much before the Bid, what new business prospects does the Bid win bring with it? Qatar Today finds out.

52 Qatar Today

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Banking on Investments Giving his views from the banking sector, al khaliji Bank, CEO, Rob McCall says, “A new wave of investments is highly likely to take place as a result of the bid win as Qatar needs to allocate extensive financial resources to complete the large-scale projects needed for the event, such as the construction of stadiums (estimated to cost some QR14.56 billion) and railway network (estimated at QR91.75 billion), in addition to a large number of new accommodation facilities that will need to be created over the coming years. The 2022 World Cup bid also offers the chance to develop sectors like manufacturing, and food and drink. Bank Sarasin-Alpen Group and Alpen

Capital Group Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Rohit Walia reflects similar sentiments as he says, “Over the next five years, Qatar plans to spend QR370 billion on infrastructure projects, including the rail network and a QR40 billion airport. An additional QR75 billion will also be spent on building new roads. Qatar has already embraced sport in its drive to become a major tourist destination and the World Cup will take this to a new level. Businesses that are able to take advantage of opportunities in developing infrastructure, procurement, branding, event management, ticketing and security will prosper.” Walia adds, “Clarity and visibility throughout the bidding and procurement process will be crucial if the opportunities


“Businesses that are able to take advantage of opportunities in developing infrastructure, procurement, branding, event management, ticketing and security will prosper”

“The 2022 World Cup bid also offers the chance to develop sectors like manufacturing and food and drink” Rob McCall

Rohit Walia Vice Chairman & CEO Bank Sarasin-Alpen Group and Executive, Alpen Capital Group

are to be fully exploited. A healthy financial system is also necessary and the recent decision to increase government exposure to the banking sector was welcome in this respect.” And all banks will have a piece of the business pie, he says. “All Qatari banks will benefit from the stronger economic activity and higher credit demand over the next 12 years as a result of the 2022 World Cup preparations. Banks will enhance their franchise development in the local market and contribute to revenue generation through higher loans. The corporate lending activity will also benefit from peripheral activities related to large projects, such as funding of smaller projects, contracting, and subcontracting.” And one challenge that the banks will have, according to McCall, “is to secure longer-term funding to finance the upcoming large projects. This may lead to higher market issuance in international markets to attract longer-term funding and help address maturity mismatches in banks’ balance sheets. “Expect growth in all areas going forward. If I had to pick a country to work in for the next 12 years, it would be Qatar,” says McCall. Walia says, “The World Cup will raise Qatar’s profile on the international stage. Hundreds of thousands of people will visit Qatar for the first time and, assuming they have a positive experience, many are likely to return. Qatar’s enviable financial posi-

CEO, al khaliji Bank

tion allows it to prepare for the World Cup as part of its National Vision 2030 programme, which aims to create a diversified economy, targeting in particular, excellence in education and infrastructure. National Vision 2030 and the World Cup will ensure strong economic growth in Qatar up to the World Cup and beyond.” He sounds a note of caution too, “The difficulty lies in creating an infrastructure that is able to handle a substantial increase in visitors during the World Cup and yet be appropriate for the population that remains following the competition. For example, while it will be necessary to build additional hotel accommodation for the visitors, authorities must be careful to ensure that the sector does not suffer from excess capacity and low profitability when the event is over. Marketing moves, making money... Advertising will be one sector that will definitely benefit from the whole deal. Simon Sassine, Operations Manager of advertising giants Y&R Wunderman, on the likely effects in his industry. “The first half of 2011 and the announcement of the 2011 budget should give us a good indication on how the country is moving forward. We foresee that the acquisition of Qatar 2022 will hype the Qatari market in different sectors.” “Many projects that are in the pipeline will be pushed further to be completed as soon as possible, such projects will acquire

new manpower and the population will increase as a result. With the increase in population, the marketing and advertising challenges will start to ramp up since advertisers will be competing for market share. I imagine it will be a similar market to that of 2005-2008, the boom prior to the economic crash,” he says. On whether the country will attract more players in this business, he says, “Definitely, whoever is in the business wants to come to Qatar now and try to capture as much business as he can. As an existing operation, we will have the chance to expand faster than anticipated and that is very reliant on the market behaviour, reaction and demand. We will have a better chance of success than new comers because of our existing presence and thorough understanding of the market’s trends and behaviour.” Advertising spend in this country has been on the upward curve, says Sassine, despite the economic recession. “Such increases will definitely continue in the coming year. It will be driven by the increase in population and further competition on brands across all categories and sectors,” he says. “Year after year, Qatar is becoming a more mature market towards advertising. If we analyse big brand campaigns (i.e. Qtel, Vodafone, Qatar Airways, Lusail, QNB, etc.), we can notice the difference. The game is becoming more serious for local brands and whoever is the best in pricing and clarity of message communication will win

february 2011

Qatar Today 53


bottom line “Qatar is quickly adapting to become a global destination in thinking, approach and creativity with no compromise on cultural values. This is a great and unique combination.” Simon Sassine Operations Manager, Y&R Wunderman

“Pricing will be matched with the quality of the service that is provided to guests. Therefore, we do expect some shifts in the pricing trends of the hospitality industry but I highly doubt that prices will go overboard.” Safak Guvenc General Manager, W Hotel Doha

consumers’ hearts and minds.” But challenges still remain, he feels. “Qatar will remain a small market compared to other GCC countries. The competition will be tough. Clients’ knowledge about our business will be more mature and thorough. “So, with such market size, those that have good experience, great capabilities and track records will be able to cope, capture the biggest pieces of business, and maintain strong presence. The market will be more open,” he says. “Qatar is quickly adapting to become a global destination in thinking, approach and creativity with no compromise on cultural values. This is a great and unique combination. “Many cases have proven to the world the capabilities of Qatar and the spirit and character of such destination. I believe winning the bid will uplift the overall standards across all industries and sectors including advertising. As HE the Emir said in Geneva, “today we are celebrating, tomorrow the work starts.”

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More and more... W Hotel Doha, General Manager, Safak Guvenc feels that the Bid will revitalise the hospitality industry not only in the country but across the entire Middle East region. “It’ll also give a decade-long boost to the projects industry, which is already peaking,” he says. “We expect a meteoric economic growth on the back of an astounding total of QR210 billion worth of planned projects which form the pre-requisites for Qatar to stage such a massive event. These projects will spur gigantic expansion in infrastructure from roads to railways to causeways, aviation, construction of stadiums and other developments and tourism and this will naturally lead to increasing trends in demand for hospitality services.” Answering FIFA demands, Qatar will obviously add more hotel rooms. “Hundreds of thousands will flock to Qatar to watch the games in 2022 and therefore Qatar will be building over 80,000 to 90,000 new hotel rooms by 2022, 10,000 to 15,000 of which will be ready in the next year or so. This

comes as the country’s answer to FIFA’s requirement that the host country should have a 60,000-room capacity.” Will hotels be under pressure from the government not to profiteer in terms of pricing? “Pricing is really a question of value of the service and product with respect to the period during which any business is operating. Additionally, pricing will be matched with the quality of the service that is provided to guests. Therefore, we do expect some shifts in the pricing trends of the hospitality industry but I highly doubt that prices will go overboard. “Obviously, the accommodations and services of 5-star hotels would come on a higher level in comparison to other hotel categories. For instance, those who opt for exceptional facilities can come to W Doha to avail themselves of real value for money. It is also important to note that the government’s hospitality expansion plans does include a fair balance between 5-, 4- and 3-star hotels so there will be ample choice for visitors.” The celebration is indeed over and work feedback has begun... qtoday@omsqatar.com


bottom line

Evaluate yourself There’s no one ‘right way’ to excel at this critical part of the sales process. Start by assessing your own talents and strengths.

In

conducting scores of focus groups feel like he was emotionally invested to the extent that would be with great salespeople over the required for the deal,” one rep told us. “This was a huge decision of past four decades, Gallup re- mine that people might have been fired for. But I just didn’t feel he searchers have heard many illumi- was sufficiently motivated by the deal.” nating observations about sales. Evaluating opportunity We heard Salespeople must be able to evaluate prossuch a pects and decide which ones to pursue. gem while conducting research with a That sounds like a basic research project, group of top account executives at one of and it is, but don’t assume that there is only the world’s leading software companies. one way to do prospect analysis. All talents The company hires sales professionals with and strengths can be useful, and you will do apparent promise, yet some of them don’t While some salespeople better at gauging opportunities if you apply pan out. Why? We asked a group of account may be calculating the your unique talents to the job. While some executives why good people fail. “It’s besalespeople may be calculating the proscause some reps chase bad opportunities,” prospect’s financial pect’s financial and stock market evaluaone sales rep said. The others nodded. “You and stock market tions, others might take a completely differhave only so much time. You have to know evaluations, others might ent approach. when a pursuit just isn’t worth it. Some For example, if your top five themes from people don’t know when it’s time to quit.” take a completely the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment The researchers probed further, askdifferent approach. include Self-Assurance, Command, or Actiing the executives how they know when vator, you can push people to take action. If it’s time to walk away. The group members you lead with these talents in your sales acdescribed an innate ability to look dispastivities, you’re likely the kind of person who sionately at opportunities and to compute gets things done, and that’s great. But the the odds for success. They said that many need to get started or to take action might unsuccessful salespeople not only fail to do blind you to the pitfalls of a prospect. So that, but they also chase the wrong chances, incur substantial opportunity costs, and waste time and resources don’t let these talents shortchange the evaluation process. Instead, use them in the process to find real opportunities and to keep yourthat could be better directed elsewhere. They were right about every point. In many sales arenas, focus- self and your team motivated. If you have strong Relater talents, you may look for ways to foster ing on matching your product to your prospect instead of assessing your overall sales opportunities wastes valuable time. “I pulled and sustain relationships over time. You might ask prospects about the plug on a prospect recently. It was a huge risk, but I just didn’t their team, their customers, and even their family. You might also

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bottom line

up, walk down there, and ask, ‘What’s the notice how much an executive assistant cost of drywall per linear foot today?’ Let’s shares about her personal life or whether or ask property management, let’s ask the not members of a team eat lunch together guys in sales. Let’s ask corporate finance, consistently. These important emotional If you lead with let’s find out.” That’s exactly what you’d insights allow you to use your Relater talexpect to hear from someone with Learner ents to cultivate relationships that matter. Empathy or Individualisation, and Input, and Robison is using both to reEmotions play a key role in how people you might be very good search her opportunities. She demonstrates make decisions. Salespeople who have a talat perceiving a how curiosity leads to asking the right ent for sensing the underlying emotional questions. aspects of a potential sale can be adept at prospect’s Gauging opportunities through informaassessing prospects and knowing how to emotional needs – tion gathering can help you see situations move them toward a decision. essentially, sensing for what they are. “When I meet people for If you lead with Empathy or Individualithe first time, I try to interact with them. I sation, you might be very good at perceiving the buying style of try to let them do more talking; I do infora prospect’s emotional needs – essentially, the customer. mation gathering,” said Ron Barczak, a sales sensing the buying style of the customer. representative. Knowing that ‘buying style’ might give you “I am not the one to go in and try to wow an edge. You can pick up clues that others you with my amazing personality. I want to miss. figure out what are you doing. I’ll take that “You need to know what you’re setting out to do, what the steps are, and who’s going to do them,” said Rita Ro- information and formulate it into a game plan and try to give you bison, SVP at Jones Lang LaSalle, an international commercial real some solutions that can help you. Maybe I can help you save some estate company, whose top five themes include Input and Learner. money or do something more efficiently or easier. It’s about devel“I’m constantly using the resources around me, and that’s some- oping a game plan of how we’re going to try to work together – or if thing that I have to teach a lot of the youngest representatives – get we even want to work together,” he says check out www.omsqatar.com

by Tony Rutigliano and Brian Brim Tony Rutigliano, a Principal of Gallup, is co-author of Discover Your Sales Strengths. His latest book is Strengths Based Selling (Gallup Press, February 2011). Copyright The Gallup Organisation, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Visit the Gallup Management Journal at gmj.gallup.com

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something should discribe the headlin e

THE FOCUS

WELLNESS IS

VOLUME 1

2010

HEALTHCARE

healthcare suppliment


bottom line

Time to move on? A certain amount of turmoil, trepidation and week-day morning blues is part of the territory in any job. Usually this is tempered by moments of euphoria, excitement, satisfaction and a general sense of purpose and accomplishment. So how do you know that it is really time to leave a dead-end job and not a momentary slump or burn-out you are eriencing?

Bayt.com outlines 9 key factors that indicate it may well be time to move on.

01

Your health is suffering

Whether it’s your mental or physical health that is being significantly impaired by the stresses of the job, heed the early warning signs and don’t wait until the symptoms are long-term and severe. Common symptoms include being chronically fatigued, insomnia, poor concentration, inability to focus and chronic headaches, backaches and/or stomach pains.

02

The demands of your job are unrealistic

If you find yourself doing a job that is best suited for two people or more and you have been unable to marshal the resources or support to lighten the workload to a more realistic level, it may well be time to leave before you completely burn-out. This state of affairs may be due to a recent merger or acquisition, cost-cutting activity or simply oversight by your boss; whatever it is, don’t allow yourself to be taken for granted and make sure your boss is made aware of the nature of the burden you are carrying before you call it quits and seek more realistic job responsibilities elsewhere.

03

Your relationship with your boss is damaged beyond repair

It may be that you have allowed your relationship with your old manager to turn irreversibly sour over the years through poor com-

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munication skills, laziness, unprofessional conduct, poor judgment or simply inertia to invest in the relationship. Perhaps a new boss has replaced your old boss and you simply cannot get along with him despite your best efforts or he has made it clear that you do not feature in any of his plans for the department. Needless to say, your future prospects with the firm are largely impaired if your relationship with your manager cannot be salvaged and it is better to leave before you find yourself increasingly marginalised or forced to the door.

04

Your relationship with co-workers is damaged beyond repair

Have you lost all interest in your colleagues lately and begun to find yourself left out of team projects, group discussions or even the office grapevine? Do you find it increasingly difficult to get along with your peers and have trouble completing projects or meeting deadlines because of this? Have you lost the respect of your work colleagues through misconduct, poor performance or poor teamplaying skills? You may be better off learning from this experience, starting afresh elsewhere and committing to never let the situation repeat itself.

05

Your relationship with your key clients is damaged beyond repair

Burning bridges with key clients, as with anyone you work with, is highly unadvisable and may be a very valid reason to leave graciously. If you have acted unprofessionally, unethically or persistently underperformed for a key client or any number of important cli-


bottom line

07

The job is unchallenging

When boredom sets in and the job becomes a routine monotonous ordeal with no learning curve left to speak of, it may be time to move to greener pastures. The means and opportunity to explore new challenges and acquire new skills and knowledge is an important aspect of any job, especially if you value your career progression and don’t wish to be pigeon-holed or unfairly pushed to a premature learning glass ceiling. Make sure you have tried to broaden the role, acquire new training and add more challenging tasks and responsibilities before you commit to seeking growth and learning elsewhere.

08 ents, you may want to spare your firm further embarrassment and leave before the clients do.

06

You have consistently been overlooked for a raise or promotion

The need to be recognised and appreciated by your employer is a key motivational factor and nothing is more demeaning and unsettling than being consistently overlooked for a raise or promotion particularly if your peers and subordinates are rising through the ranks and perhaps even overtaking you in the salary and titles race while your position remains largely static. Make sure you talk the situation through with your boss before making any rash decisions as he may have big plans for you down the line that you are unaware of. If your boss is unresponsive and you see no future growth prospects either in your present job or in other roles within the company, it may well be time to call it a day and seek momentum for your career elsewhere.

The dread factor is very high

Has going to work become a matter of grave consternation for you? Do you hyperventilate at the mere thought of reporting to the office and spend the weekend dreading the first day of the week? While every job has its ups and downs, when the job loses all joy and excitement for you and you are confident that this is a chronic not a temporary phenomenon, there is very little reason to stay on and suffer.

09

The company or your boss is unethical

Corporate scandals abound lately and should be a serious lesson to us all. If you find yourself working for an unethical organisation or asked to do something remotely unethical or that does not fully agree with your own values, standards and beliefs, leave immediately. Whatever your reasons for leaving, don’t under-estimate the impact of this decision on your life and rush into it before thinking through the consequences

bookmark www.issuu.com/oryxmags

About Bayt.com: Bayt.com is the #1 job site in the Middle East with more than 30,000 employers and over 4.75 million 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 www.bayt.com today and access the leading resource for job seekers and employers in the region.

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Tongues of the world The dwellers of Planet Earth speak

3000 languages of which

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on A translation spree The arab world took a QUESTIONABLE report for granted, and initiated a massive translation movement...

o

by a hmed lotfy

have written literature.

ne day in 2003, much to the dismay of Arab intellectuals, it was made official. “The Arab world lags far behind the world in the awareness of the intellectual capital accumulated elsewhere. Arabs translated a meagre 10,000 books from other languages since Al-Khalifa Al-Ma’mon era (813-830 AD) – what Spain translates in a year and the US in a month,” said the ‘trustworthy’ UNDP humanitarian development report. The reactions to this report were hysteric region-

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wide, and equally disappointing. But a rational scrutiny proves the service to be inaccurate. The Arab region suffers a real dearth of numbers in all walks of life. Estimates are all we have, be it for population figures, age group segmentation, literacy, car ownership ratios, ICT penetration... So it seems a surprise that concrete figures materialise for a millennium of translations into Arabic since caliph Al-Maamoun (the 7th ruler of the Muslim Abbasid period, whose translation legacy remains to this day). In the 1960s, Cairo launched the 1000-Book Translation Project. This smart initiative was replicated elsewhere across the intellectual capitals of Beirut, Damascus and Tunis. Thousands of translations were born subsequently. The Arab library has a rich heritage of localised


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“The mobility of translation initiatives from the GCC to North Africa reflects a renewed will to build a fresh two-way interaction with the world.” Dr Marzouq Basheer head of the cultural research and studies centre, Ministry of Culture - Qatar

Timeline

2004 Kuwait instituted Al-Bubtein translation project with robust momentum

2006

The “Khadim AlHaramin Awards” was launched to recognise key efforts by translators into Arabic

“Our focus on the British and US culture is sometimes beyond reason. We need more focus on the Greek and Italian civilisations, on which the modern Western thought stands.” Abdulwadood Al-Omrani a Qatar-based translation expert and co-founder of the Proz online portal

high-tech books and materials on which every budding engineer or professional rely. And an ordinary Arab can buy an Arabic version of any international award-winning novel for a pittance. That said, the report looks like a part of the age-old intellectual war on the Arab region – a defining trait of Western media, cinema and ‘independent’ think tankers. But, seven years after its release, credit must be given to it for revitalising the translation movement, and inspiring five major initiatives from Cairo to Abu Dhabi. Qatar Today talked to industry experts on where the march is heading... “The mobility of translation initiatives from the GCC to North Africa reflects a renewed will to build a fresh two-way interaction with the world. Over a

decade of practice, we can say the entire thing is going very well. Of course, it needs more regulation and more attention must be paid quality, but this is history being made,” says Dr Marzouq Basheer, Head of the Cultural Research and Studies, Ministry of Culture – Qatar. Abdulwadood Al-Omrani, a Qatar-based translation expert and co-founder of the Proz translation portal, says: “Globalisation has created a fresh need for communication with many civilisations, previously considered unlikely. Arabs, at all levels, have grown more aware of the role of translation in synchronising their lives with the pace of the world. It is an indispensible chip in nation building. “Since the turn of the 21st century, we have come a long way. But the effort, is not flawless. “We have arguably not treasured all human thought

february 2011

2007

Kalima was launched by HE Heir Apparent of Abu Dhabi, announcing a target of 100 books per year

Qatar Today 65


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Timeline

2008 The Mohamed bin Rashid Foundation established Tarjim initiative and pledged a translation of 3000 books in the first three years

2010 Cairo came back to the scene with a pledge of 600 books every year

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“Kalima has its agenda to decentralise source cultures and focus on less likely languages as Korean, Polish, Japanese, Kurdish, as we noted that most of the classics in these languages are unknown to Arabs.” Dr Ali bin Tamim head of Kalima Translation Project

equally, notwithstanding the prestige of source languages and cultures. There’s a focus on the British and US cultures. Being an American or British gives the book a visa to our culture.” Abu Dhabi translation icon, and Head of Kalima Translation Project, Dr Ali Bin Tamim, who has a multi-hued experience working different languages into Arabic, says it is not intentional. “In Kalima, for example, we don’t favour a particular language. But English has the dominance on the ground. It is the code of the internet, 90% of the science and technology literature is encrypted in English. All prestigious writers plan translations of their work into English. “We translate more than 13 languages, including English, French, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Hindi, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. But diversification is not easy, particularly when we note that the majority of Arab translators are majored in English. “But Kalima has its agenda to decentralise source cultures and focus on less likely languages such as

february 2011

Korean, Polish, Japanese, Kurdish, as we noted that most of the classics in these languages are unknown to Arabs.” Reversing the drain The Arab translation centres are always at a disadvantage when it comes to material that requires expert handling, says Al-Omrani. That problem, having hampered high-volumes of transfer over decades, has its solution in reversing the current brain drain. “The dearth of topnotch Arab translators is a big issue for us. I am not saying we don’t have world-class professionals. But the high pay of international organisations draws them out. Here, the monthly pay for a translator is between $5002000, while in the West $5,000-10,000. The US army pays $10,000. The UNESCO gives a freelancer $50-65 per page of 320 words. That is in stark contrast to local rates – $10-20.” That is a sustainability challenge for the Arab translation movement and has to be tackled, says Al-Omrani feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com


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battle the conundrum: how can a forward-thinking country like qatar, giddy with its new-found global recognition, have such a third-rate communications industry? we find out why and, more importantly, how that must change by J o h n H u nt

february 2011

Qatar Today 67

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The media manager

i can name some very good reporters in qatar who do their homework on stories but many media don’t. It’s a combination of laziness and a lack of experience but also being bound by the power of the advertiser not to write anything remotely negative lana khachan Media relations manager, vodafone qatar

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L

ate last year, The Peninsula carried a lengthy and, by local standards, hostile piece railing against what it saw as the deficiencies of Public Relations (PR) operatives in Qatar which it believed to be subverting the flow of information from newsworthy organisations or individuals, to those that want to read about them. Did the paper go too far when it described some PR operatives as “pathetic”? I’ll admit I was slightly taken aback to read such a pejorative remark in a local paper, and at the time thought it a little harsh, but in retrospect the paper didn’t go too far, although in hindsight the author might have chosen something a little more nuanced than “pathetic” as a descriptor. That is to say, Qatar clearly does have a major problem with the dissemination of accurate and current information at the local level. Identifying and exemplifying the problem is straightforward enough. The ramifications of the information deficit also require exposure and these,

february 2011

too, are fairly easily shown. What is more valuable, it is to be argued here, is how the current situation can be altered for the benefit of all. There are a (small) number of competent media relations and PR professionals in Qatar and we spoke to a couple of them in search of some answers. You know who you are... Two examples (from a cast of hundreds) demonstrate the issue as described. In August of last year, Qatar Today published a cover story, ten pages in length, about luxury retail in this country. Despite the editorial possibilities presented, getting feedback from local retailers proved impossible. Dozens of emails and phone calls went out to PR/media relations staff at all the big local names, yet not one Qatari company was quoted in the final piece because not one Qatari company could be bothered to provide any feedback. What was on offer was prime space in Qatar’s bestread magazine, yet the lack of interest to engage with us was total. Had a clarion call gone out from a similar magazine in, say, Tokyo, then the response from retailers would have been, without any doubt whatsoever, alarming in its enthusiasm. The following month, in another ten-page cover story, this time about smartphones, we were significantly more successful in getting feedback from the major handset manufacturers who clearly recognised the opportunity presented. Quotes came in from the big-hitters, with images, names and designations of the respondents also provided. One manufacturer did not provide a name or a photo with the quotes it provided and when multiple further requests for the same were ignored, we used the quote (mainly out of courtesy) on its own, saying: “a spokesman commented,”. A few days after the magazine came out,


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the manufacturer in question sent us an email berat- the media should simply take the information that ing Qatar Today for not using a name and picture with is given to them and not question it and also that the role of the PR liaison is to control the media leading their quote... There are many more similar instances but you get to a poor flow of information that is not transparent.” So... lack of training, lack of experience, lack of underthe picture. Gulf Times, Managing Editor, Neil Cook had an- standing of the role. That’s a fairly rigorous analysis other media perspective to offer when he said, “The of the reasons behind the PR ‘gap’. PR sector has definitely improved since I arrived four years ago but that is not saying much. Back then I was No comparison shocked at the levels of expectations from mostly ju- Morse is understandably keen to point out that it’s nior staff who would not be afraid to use the ‘adver- unwise to compare outfits like Hill & Knowlton – a tising card’ by mentioning how much money a client full-service, multinational operation – with ‘inwas spending with us, which of course was no more house’ domestic PR/media relations concerns, and he has a point, as some of Qatar Today’s most unedifying than a veiled threat. “That still happens, but most will now know that I experiences have come from dealings with the latter. What ‘damage’ is poor quality PR causing though? will not hesitate to contact a senior director of a com“Poor standards in-house pany to discuss any editorial limit the growth of communiissues rather than deal with cations, marketing sophisticaunprofessional ‘bag carriers’. tion and quality,” says Morse. Most justify their existence “You have a vicious circle of by writing meaningless press poor information going to a releases with no newswormedia which needs the right thiness and they then have a “late last year we had the film information. With no alternatantrum if they are not pubfestival, last month the tennis tive, media are printing inaclished. There is one electronand the asian cup football. curate, poor quality informaics company here that must tion. What this does is serve send out about four releases these are a-list attractions in to keep the communications every day – have they not a country with, at best, a d-list market at a level which is not heard of the law of diminishcommunications market. it’s as rising as rapidly as other parts ing returns? There are excepof the economy.” Khachan tions, of course, and I enjoy clear a case of ‘may to concurs, saying, “Poor stakeclose working relations with december’ as you will see” holder management is leading many. The most important to poor professional standards things are trust and the abilon both ends: from the PR liaiity to communicate on and off son people and the media. But the record. It has to be a twothe more dangerous result of way street.” Playing the ‘blame game’ is simplicity itself. It poor professional standards is shocking ‘journalism’ won’t achieve much though. Input from the ‘other’ where the public is the loser in all this.” The public is side of the fence is required both for balance and to losing out. That’s all of us then. Morse’s last point is worthy of review. Qatar’s gasat least identify ways in which the current deficiencies can be addressed. We spoke with PR operative powered economy is booming, huge improvements to Jamie Morse, Account Director at Hill & Knowlton Doha and its infrastructure are happening right now Qatar and Lana Khachan, Media Relations Manager and the plans for Lusail represent a multi-billion dollar investment to change the face of Qatar. Late last for Vodafone Qatar. Why is there such a ‘variable range’ in the quality of year we had the Doha International Film Festival, last PR/media liaison in Qatar? “Communications units month saw the Open Tennis and Asian Cup tournalocally have sometimes been a destination for people ments and, of course, in 2022 the World Cup will arwho do not have prior training in PR and communica- rive. These are A-list attractions in a country with, at tions,” says Morse, succinctly. For Khachan, “Lack of best, a D-list communications market. This is as clear real industry experience is the main reason, but also a case of ‘May to December’ as you will see, and it’s as in Qatar there’s a varied understanding of what PR typically incompatible. It’s hard to imagine that this communication entails. To some PR equals sales, to others its meeting and greeting visitors, organising luncheons, etc. But breakdown is a one-way street though. Another climost worrying of all is many PR liaisons thinking that ché springs to mind here, that of being part of the

february 2011

the newspaper editor

most ‘bag carrying’ Pr s justify their existence by writing meaningless press releases with no newsworthiness and they then have a tantrum if they are not published. there are exceptions, of course... neil cook managing editor, gulf times

Qatar Today 69


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the pr executive

media are printing inaccurate, poor quality information which serves to keep the market at a level which is not rising as rapidly as other parts of the economy. standards will change because they have to. there is no choice jamie morse account director, hill & knowlton

70 Qatar Today

problem if you’re not part of the solution. What is the media itself not doing to raise standards? Says Khachan, “I can name some very good reporters in Qatar that do their homework on stories and aren’t afraid to really question something, but many media don’t. It’s a combination of laziness – just copy and paste a press release, lack of true journalism experience but also being bound by a company’s advertising and political power that prevent them from writing anything that’s remotely negative.” Says Morse, “As an agency, we have encountered journalists not turning up for appointments. Professionalism is a twoway street. The media also needs to make it known when communications’ quality is lacking.”

and Communication, has this message for PRs that are not up to scratch, “Get serious about your profession. PR people, especially those that work in serviceproviding companies, have a duty to communicate in a clear and transparent manner and not to put a spin on things. Once PR people set professional standards the media will have to follow suit.” We see the problem from the media’s point of view, through The Peninsula’s analysis and the problems Qatar Today has had in this area. We have industry recognition of the problem and a host of suggestions to best resolve the situation. Both Morse and Khachan are saying that many PRs need to ‘shape up’ – and go on to explain how this can be done. Neither goes so far as to say ‘ship out’ to those that can’t hack it, but it is implicit in what they articulate.

It’s time to get serious We see the problem and know that we’re jointly culpable. How are standards going to improve? “When A change is gonna come... The good news is that change companies realise that true is inevitable. Says Morse, “I professional PR is a vital funccan’t speak for other agention of an organisation, when cies but I am very optimisreporters and PR people get tic in general for our clients. serious about their profesHowever, I am also optimistic sion and when the media that in-house operations will “the immediate hope is that don’t allow buying or political achieve more. Internationpower to get in the way of true people within pr and alism is inevitable here and journalism,” says Khachan. communications who have no with increased interest from Morse says, “Professionalism abroad then increased talent is not something you learn – business being in the industry will enter the communications it’s an ethic. Solutions-orientmake way for those that market. Simply put, standards ed people can communicate want to reach and surpass will change because they have through difficulties. If people to. There’s no choice, even if it can adopt that approach then expectations” takes until 2020. the quality will always be OK. “Obviously we hope that Things can improve rapidly if companies will take the agenjournalists are willing to comcy option. Even if they only municate with PRs. do so on a temporary basis, to “The more dynamic the work on a particular campaign organisation, the more likely they are to come to an international PR organisation perhaps, then they will be exposed to international like ours. International campaigns are taken more se- standards, and learn from us. We see some very strong riously. Qatar is becoming more international.” Read- opportunities in a number of sectors in 2011 and more ing between the lines (i.e., if you’re ‘dynamic’, then businesses are going to come to us to learn.” For Khachan, “Forming a media/communications you’ll want to be with an international outfit), this latter statement could be sounding the death-knell regulatory authority that would ensure industry for local, in-house PR operations, at least unless they codes of conduct are upheld,” would be a big step in the right direction. That’s undeniably true, but for ‘raise the bar’, which sounds like an equitable trade. What can be done, then, to raise the bar on the in- this writer the immediate hope is that people within dividual level? “If people want to improve their skills PR and communications who have no business being and knowledge bases then go to school, skill up. We in the industry make way for those who want to reach also need to involve people in this industry with an and surpass expectations. The latter are out there, and attitude to learn – then they can succeed in PR,” says the days of the former are undeniably numbered Morse, who has an MA in Professional Communicafeedback tions. Khachan, who also holds an MA, hers in Media qtoday@omsqatar.com

february 2011


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Give and take

a matter of concern...

There is a disconnection between Qatari youth and the business world. According to prominent businesswoman Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al-Thani, this harms Qatari society and needs to be addressed. Money helps, but not as much as a little time...

I

by J o h n H u nt

NJAZ is a private sector organisation which, according to its blurb, ‘provides hands-on experiential learning in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness ... working on a common mission to prepare and inspire young Arabs to succeed in a glob-

al economy’. Noble aims, but shouldn’t Arab youth be learning this sort of thing at school? In an uncompromising talk with Sheikha Hanadi, Founder and Chairperson of INJAZ Qatar, it seems that this kind of instruction is absent from the school curriculum, the Sheikha pulling no punches when she says, “We have education systems that ... miss completely the skills you need to succeed in life.” Sheikha Hanadi, the World Economic Forum ‘Young Global Leader’ of 2005, founded INJAZ in September 2007 to address the gap between employers and local youth. INJAZ Qatar is part of INJAZ Al-Arab, a grouping of 14 countries working on a common mission. Volunteers from private sector companies (INJAZ’ roster of volunteers coming from organisations such as Ras Gas, HSBC, PwC, Qtel, etc.) take groups of students through the course, with transference of the ‘soft’ skills mentioned above as the goal. Later in this piece we meet one of these volunteers, and also a graduate of the course, one of 3,500 that have passed through the INJAZ scheme since 2007.

february 2011

“Entrepreneurship – which is something every Arab has in his blood – has been lost completely” sheikha hanadi founder, INJAZ

Qatar Today 71


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THE VOLUNTEER – MOHAMAD LADKI

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ho, then, is doing the instruction, imparting the knowledge, leading the youth? We meet Mohamad Ladki in W Hotel to find out more about the role of an INJAZ volunteer. Ladki, a native Lebanese, has been in Qatar for nearly 20 years. For the last four years, he has been working for Ras Gas as a planning analyst. On a professional level, Ladki’s participation in the INJAZ scheme helps “Ras Gas fulfil its CSR responsibilities as a company,” he says. The personal aspect, we learn, is where we find the meat. Mohamad continues, “On a personal level, INJAZ looks promising for Qatari youth. Having lived here for some time I have noticed that the local youth always seem to go for public sector employment. The private sector needs some input in terms of new blood and entrepreneurship, and this is where INJAZ fits in.” And in the execution of your task, what benefit do you take from the process? “When you do something useful for your society and community you feel self-content. When you feel that what you give is being appreciated, that’s a good feeling,” he says. “When you go to a school, students interact with you more willingly than they do with regular teachers. We grab their attention because INJAZ is something that deals with their economy, their personality, their society – something that’s useful to them. Here, we speak to the Sheikha about the nature of voluntary work in Qatar and the Arab World, the need for INJAZ, what it does and where it aims to go. “Volunteering is a way of life for Qataris,” says Sheikha Hanadi, “Coming out of a harsh environment, before the oil and gas boom. Volunteering is embodied within our social structure. It’s the same across the Arab World, there is an understanding that you need to share resources – financial, skills, labour. Now we are taking that a step further – sharing the resource of time. “Helping others, bringing about a society evolution is the goal and the new aspect of volunteering is giving your time to transfer your skills and knowledge. This is what we’re trying to do with INJAZ. This is a private sector concern, not a public one. No-one has asked us to do this, we want to do this for the benefit of our youth.” So what is the concept behind INJAZ, and why is it needed? “It’s a proven model and a concept based upon working with private sector companies who are here and need to have some kind of input with youth development. Money is often the first ‘gift’ but what comes next is people’s time, and the ability to transfer skills and experience. “We want to broaden the outlook of the Arab youth. To me this is what INJAZ is. We want to encourage

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february 2011

mo’s Method The volunteer at work

“The lectures take on a life of their own. In workshops we have set up dummy companies and before long we have the students planning, taking initiative – recently some groups that had set up dummy companies began negotiating with each other, just as would happen in the real business world...” Ladki is quietly spoken but when INJAZ is the subject, the tone in his voice betrays the affection he has for his voluntary work. The time commitment is not huge; he tells us that he spends a total of four to six hours a week on INJAZ-related work. “It’s an opportunity I am grateful for,” Ladki concludes. “The socio-economic advantages that INJAZ can bring should not be underestimated. The youth of Qatar has more to contribute to the future of the country than just relying on the fields of oil and gas for income and public sector for employment.” entrepreneurial skills, enhance understanding of the outside world, and open up minds. “INJAZ is needed because we have education systems that ‘box’ our minds in just one aspect. It gives an education that teaches reading and writing and so on and misses completely the skills you need to succeed in life. Injaz comes into this vacuum. Understanding the concept of financial literacy is virtually non-existent within the education system. We have to fill that void. “Entrepreneurship – which is something every Arab has in his blood – has been lost completely. How do we re-ignite this fire within Arab youth saying, ‘you can do it, you have the skills, the mindset and you can achieve by yourself.’ “Something like 40% of Arab school pupils want to open their own business but we are only seeing tiny numbers of people who actually go on to form these small businesses. There is a fault in the system. A problem of nourishing our talent into the mainstream.” It’s not about CSR... The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now more fashionable than it has ever been, and part of the makeup of nearly every decent-sized company out there. One can see how companies might wish to get involved in something like INJAZ because


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THE PARTICIPANT – YOUSSEF FAKHROO

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hat sort of impact is INJAZ having at grass-roots level? We spoke to a student who had completed the programme, to learn what he had gained. Youssef Fakhroo is a 16-year-old pupil at Tareq Bin Ziyad Secondary School and recently completed his participation in the INJAZ programme. “I passed through a great experience with INJAZ,” Fakhroo told us. “It helped me enormously, gave me all sorts of information and practical learning about how to operate a company on my own,” he said. How has INJAZ impacted Fakhroo? “I want to be an engineer,” he says, when asked about his career, “But I can still make my own business. INJAZ has helped me get the experience to make this possible.” A perfect outcome then – Fakhroo displays a mix of entrepreneurial ambition and a desire to enter a respected vocation. “INJAZ has something for everyone. Business experience is needed by everybody,” he asserted. Fakhroo was a great showcase for the benefits of INAJZ, and a great example of Qatari youth. He was immaculately presented, im-

it might look good in the annual report. Sheikha Hanadi, however, dislikes the term ‘CSR’ as a company’s motivation for getting involved in concerns like INJAZ. She sees other reasons – one of which is fairly stark. Firstly, Sheikha Hanadi asserts, companies should get involved in INJAZ because, “CEOs of companies around the region have the problem that local graduates are coming to them without the ‘soft skills’ – entrepreneurship, financial understanding, and these are lacking in the labour market. INJAZ starts this process at a young age and takes it through education and, hopefully, graduates people with better skills and better communication. “But there is a second point. When you are doing business in our country you are obliged to help with social benefit of its people. INJAZ offers companies the chance to contribute just in terms of a little time. Believe me, you will get back more satisfaction and knowledge of the youth and emerging consumers as equivalent to the time you spend,” Sheikha says. The ‘obligation’ is an interesting point. From an objective point of view, it could be argued that time and a little money is an equitable trade for not having to pay corporation tax... As mentioned, Sheikha is not a fan of the ‘CSR’ tag but concedes that involvement in INJAZ is something that could look cosmetically good for a company in-

FUTURE BOY? looking good for youssef

peccably polite, intelligent, enthusiastic and articulate. Some of Fakhroo’s fellow pupils might want to take a leaf out of his book as to how they interact with strangers. While I and the (female, Egyptian) PR who waited outside the school for permission to enter, a group of pupils on the second floor found our presence disagreeable. In the space of a few minutes three bottles of masafi, two plastic watering cans, various sweets and a volley of abuse (some of it sexual in nature) were hurled in our direction from the windows of one classroom. Not nice.

volved. But there’s more to it than that. She says, “You touching the lives of others, and benefiting the lives of others. I have seen INJAZ in the classroom and it’s like a spark – and this spark will hopefully grow.” We see the numbers of pupils who have graduated from INJAZ courses. How do you define success, and when will your goal have been reached? “We’re yet to see hard numbers relating to how lives have been touched, but there are a lot of untouchables – you are benefiting the skills of the student so that even if they do decide to take up employment in the public sector, you know that you have bettered their understanding of business and the world as a whole. “We’re currently working on a study that will measure the output of INJAZ but you can hear it from the students themselves. This has changed their way of looking of things. I used to be discouraged to hear so many school pupils say they wanted to study business, now I don’t hear that – I hear: “I want to study engineering but going to apply business knowledge to that” or “I want to study architecture, but apply business knowledge to that”, so we now have productive people with better understanding of the financial world. We’ve merely opened their eyes – it is now up to them to reach up and take their path.” feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com

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TAKREEM:

Making a Dream Happen Qatar Today spEAkS to Ricardo Karam, Chairman and CEO of Takreem Arab Achievements Awards, about the future of the Accolades.

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by p ra gati s huk la

he mission of Takreem Arab Achievement Award which is to be held in Qatar this year is simple, to create role models for the Arab community. The success of the function last year came as an inspiration to further strengthen the fervour and show the world the endeavours and accomplishments of Arabs around the world. Qatar Today spoke to Ricardo Karam, Chairman and CEO of Takreem Arab Achievements Awards, about the future of the Awards. He says, “As an Arab and an active member of the media community, I felt compelled to convey a positive image of Arabs worldwide, and in doing so, reveal their true nature and identity. Our dream was to transcend our limitations and create a full-time

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initiative that showcases Arab success stories and highlight sour achievements. Takreem’s major objective stems from the belief that the bigger the dream is, the greater the results will be, as long as this dream is supported by strong determination, perseverance and conviction.” Action plan from an idea The idea for such a recognition stemmed from the need for role models for the Arab community. “I want my kids to look up to someone who has achieved on a global level. This is why we are trying to bring to light our initiative by celebrating the achievements of Arabs in 10 different categories, ranging from philanthropy, scientific research to environment and


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Takreem’s laureates will be interviewed all year long by leading local, regional and international TVs, newspapers, radios and magazines. They will also take part in a number of different forums, conferences and workshops,” he says.

CELEBRATING ARAB ACHEIVEMENT richardo karam, chairman and ceo of takreem arab achievements awards

corporate leadership, to name a few. “Slowly but surely, this evolved into a mission in 2004 when we started, along with a small group of people. The culmination of six years of preparation saw its inauguration in the 2010 Award ceremony held in Lebanon where outstanding Arab achievers were paid honoured,” says Karam. But the dream has a strong purpose says Karam. “We shared a strong conviction that by rewarding outstanding Arab excellence and leadership worldwide we would contribute towards restoring Arab pride, and inspiring the present and future generations of young Arabs. By highlighting Arab endeavours across the globe and raising awareness of Arab accomplishments, Takreem becomes a platform for the many hitherto unseen Arab men and women who deserve recognition for their lifetime achievements,” he says. “Our mission is to

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recognise key Arab achievers by celebrating their milestones and portraying how well established, strongly rooted, and united the Arab world is.” The Qatar touch Qatar plays a big role in the initiative where established and distinguished figures are Board Members in the 2011 Takreem Arab Achievement Awards, says Karam. “For Takreem 2010, we have received a number of candidates from Qatar and this number is witnessing a continuous increase in 2011.” But the ceremony is only the culmination of a year’s work where the winners of each category are announced and rewarded. “In the run up to the Award ceremony, we will be organising a series of seminars and conferences on topics related to the award categories which are held in different countries.

Experiences talk For Karam, the feedback from the first experience has been encouraging enough to make the team strive for greater heights. “Last year’s feedback was more than positive. I will always remember an academic who wrote on the Livre d’Or “You have made a dream happen... not only for you but for proud Arabs all over the world who are unrecognised.” This made us believe in our mission.” On the future plans, Karam says, “This year we are aiming to widen the awareness across European and American continents by targeting international media partners and by extending the Takreem community and the countries they represent with outreach programmes. Our calendar features a number of activities that will take place in Paris, London, and Boston. Our action plan consists on leveraging the initiative on an international level through a thorough selection process, an international jury, selection committee, honorary board and advisory board members.” Karam shares one more message from the last experience. “I remember receiving a phone call from a referred candidate thanking me for coming up with such a great initiative, mentioning that people like him receive recognition from the foreign countries they live in but not from their Arab country of origin. But like any new project, Takreem also faced minor shortcomings and bottlenecks at the beginning of the journey. “As a team and with the will to succeed, we were able to overcome these setbacks, and learn how to deal with them so that they can be avoided while preparing for the next ceremony. We now have a better idea of how to improve matters with regards to logistics, candidates and ceremony organisation.” “The learning curve was a bit steep but we have come a long way and the future seems extremely bright,” he says


TECHTALK

by John Hunt

Bringing the newest gadgets and global tech stories to you each month…

3D or not 3D? That is the question...

3D

TV has featured here a couple of times over the last few months. The consumer still seems to be deciding whether it’s the next big thing or not. The manufacturers are convinced it is, as the plethora of new, shiny models that are flooding onto the market from all have one thing in common: a fairly hefty price tag. But there is a significant problem with current 3D offerings that people seem reluctant to talk about – those damned glasses. Fair enough if you’re sitting in the cinema looking like the slightly retarded son/daughter of parents who didn’t have the money to buy you a decent pair of frames, as no-one can see you in the darkened room. But the idea of a group of you and your mates in your living room watching the football in 3D while ‘goggled up’ is bordering on the surreal in terms of how it would look. Aesthetics aside, the dimming of the image through the lenses that is an inevitable consequence of wearing the glasses is something that no-one has yet figured out how to fully conquer. In short, having to wear 3D glasses is a pain in the behind. So the argument then becomes ‘3D with glasses, or no 3D’. For the time being, ‘3D with glasses’ seems to be slowly winning the day. But a school of thought exists that the manufacturers are trying to get the domestic consumer used to

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the idea of 3D in the home over the next few years until the arrival of an economically-viable set that will deliver true 3D without the glasses. The technology exists, and all the big guns (Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, etc.) are working to make it an affordable domestic product within five years. The idea seems to be to ‘catch’ the consumer with the concept of domestic 3D and then in a few years’ time say, ‘OK, take off those glasses and have a look at this...’ This, in effect, is a similar arrangement to that which went on when Black & White TV ruled the roost. Colour TV was not far behind, the boffins knew what it could do and how it would change the world, but the idea was to get B&W sets into homes first and establish a market before debuting Colour (obviously to great success). Unless the majority of your programming choices are made up of nature documentaries and 3D films then you will not have failed to notice the paucity of 3D content currently available. Even in Western markets we’re only talking a few hours a week broadcast. The 3D films out there, which are appearing in increasing frequency first in cinemas have, in many cases, failed to live up to the hype. It might then, unless money is no object and you like looking like a spangle in your own front room, be wise to hang on to your cash for that bit longer, and the advent of ‘no glasses’ 3D. Shouldn’t be too long...


Non, monsieur...

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ubai has developed a worldwide reputation as being somewhere top to shop. The latest goods, the latest gadgets and the world’s biggest names all gather in the emirate which, when combined with regular promotions like the Dubai Shopping Festival and a weak dollar made for some superb savings. Doha’s retail reputation? Better not to talk of it. Carrefour in City Centre is home to the odd bargain, however, and three of their keenly-priced items made it onto this page last month. The brickbats come out this month though, as some of their mobile telephones are hugely overpriced. Take the LG KP500 ‘Cookie’ phone pictured right. It’s a competent and popular feature phone which has sold millions. As of late January, Carrefour has this handset on ‘special offer’ for QR449. At the same time, the exact same handset is available in the United Kingdom from a range of retailers for the equivalent of QR290. That’s the same United Kingdom which charges 20% tax on purchases, unlike Qatar. The price of the UK phone without the tax is about half that of the Carrefour price (and a ‘special offer’ price, at that). Is it not a bit embarrassing to have electronic goods at twice the price of the UK? Well, it should be.

overdose on tablets

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pple and its marketleading iPad has been credited with driving the massive growth seen in the tablet PC sector in recent months. Research firm IDC reports that media tablet sales rose 45% during Q3 2010. Close to 90% of all tablets shipped worldwide wore an Apple badge in Q3 of last year but the dynamics of the fast-growing sector are expected to change dramatically over the course of 2011. “The tablet market’s rapid evolution will continue to new product and service introductions, channel expansion, price competition and experimentation with new use cases among consumers and enterprises,” said an IDC spokesman. Around 17 million tablet devices are estimated to have been sold over the course of 2010 but this figure looks likely to be totally eclipsed in 2011, with IDC’s predicting 44.5 million units this year. There are, apparently, 40 new models due to be released in 2011.

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GREEN SCENE

bag that

degradable bag ‘In a few months, only the bag will be extinct’ read the colourful eye-catching bags from THE One stores. The store has now introduced its new degradable plastic bags to paint its services ‘green’.

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by C a sse y O li v e i r a

or many, a shopping bag is just another use and discard plastic accessory that holds your purchases together, every time you go shopping. But for THE One, the same can prove to be a great tool in carving a ‘green niche’. At par with its mission to become more

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environmentally responsible, the store has now introduced 100% degradable plastic bags to its customers. Thomas Lundgren, CEO (Creative Emotional Originator) of THE One speaks more about the initiative to Qatar Today. How can bags make a difference? “After months of research we believed that 100% degradable plastic bags are the best answer to help keep the planet green. If customers invest in our eco-chic FEED bags (made of jute and organic cotton) they will not only help save the planet, but also help in ending child hunger. That’s the difference ‘shopping bags’ can make!” says Lundgren. After an initial trial at THE One’s Jumeirah Theatre, these bags were officially

launched in all UAE stores in March 2010. Soon the concept crossed over other markets – Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar (in both its Landmark and Villaggio Mall Theatres). The mechanism behind this trendy degradable bag lies in an additive known as d2w, which is included at the time of manufacture, and causes the bags to start disintegrating six months after production, eventually vanishing into thin air – ultimately leaving H2O (water), CO2 (carbon-di-oxide) and biomass in negligible quantities. Customers’ reactions When the home fashion brand decided to discontinue their regular plastic bags as well as their distinctive red paper bags, to


GREEN SCENE

bag it! A shopper using a degradable bag

More about the ‘degradable’ concept

turning green with shopping... The new 100% degradable bag by the one

switch over to degradable bags, they faced some resistance from the customers. Lundgren feels people still consider paper bags more eco-friendly than other bags. Dismissing this misconception, he explains, “Not only does paper cost the world trees, but making a paper bag uses four times more energy and causes five times more water pollution vs. a plastic bag. It also takes seven times the number of trucks to deliver the same number of paper bags vs. plastic bags, causing seven times more air pollution and road congestion.” Lundgren also believes that putting a price on the bags is necessary to give them a value. “Anything you get for free has no value. We hope that charging QR1 for a medium bag and QR2 for a large bag will encourage our customers to buy as few as possible and reuse them until they disintegrate. After all,

During the manufacturing process, the d2w additive is included in the basic polymer resin. d2w breaks the molecular chains so that at the end of its predetermined service life the plastic starts degrading in the presence of oxygen by a process of oxidation, which is accelerated by light, heat and stress, but not dependant on it. Finally, the degradation process is biologically concluded by micro-organisms. d2w plastic does not need a biologically active environment to start degrading – this will happen even if the plastic is left in the open air! For this reason among many, d2w controlled-life plastic is superior to ‘compost-able’ which requires the plastic to be in a biologically active environment before the degradation process can proceed.

what is the price of a plastic-free planet?” Green alternatives THE One offers its shoppers two other alternatives – you can either reuse their boxes by taking home your purchases in them, free of charge, or invest in one of their eco-chic fabric bags. “Funds raised from the sale of FEED Bags go towards helping end child hunger through the United Nations’ School Feeding Programme. Our latest arrival is the FEED 2 Kenya Bag, which has been handcrafted by women and hearing impaired Kenyans. Every purchase will not only support these artisans but will also feed two Kenyan children for one year, thanks to a $100(QR364) donation to the United Nations World Food Programme’s School Feeding operations in Kenya,” says Lundgren.

“While we still have a long way to go in limiting our company’s environmental impact, we encourage green initiatives and therefore provide our customers with various eco-friendly alternatives, from bedding, towelling, cookware and wood products to recycled glass, iron and tyre ranges in addition to soy wax candles.” The brand has also started its Good Wood furniture range. Made from Verification of Legal Origin certified wood, this collection features a host of dining and coffee tables, entertainment units, sideboards, mirrors and chests of drawers that have all been created using wood from managed forests or plantations and not from illegal logging. THE One has continued with its commitments towards green initiatives, and with the introduction of degradable bags, it has added another feather to its green cap


MARKET WATCH

braking news

THE ‘SPECIAL’ CHAMPION

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Qatar Ag launched

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atar Automotive Gateway (Ag) was launched recently with an objective of taking Qatar to a higher position on the world’s automotive industry map. The company in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030 strives at building an ‘industrial automotive cluster” in the country by 2020, with its slogan that reads ‘A new driving force in the automotive industry’. Qatar Ag will invest or co-invest in multiple ways, both within Qatar and outside. It will also consider joint ventures, technology licensing, R & D partnerships and equity investments. Initially, the company will target investments in lithium-ion battery and aluminium component manufacturing. Investments in these areas will leverage Qatar’s ‘inherent advantages’, including low-cost materials and energy, financial strength and central location. The company

would partner with leading technology firms to ensure its presence and develop a global footprint for lithium-ion battery upstream and downstream manufacturing. Over time, these businesses, along with Qatar Ag’s partners, are expected to achieve

APMC recognised for service excellence

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SO 1900:2008 certificate was recently awarded to Alfardan Premier Motors Company (APMC), the exclusive importer of Land Rover and distributor of Jaguar in Qatar. The certificate recognises the group’s commitment to achieving excellence in service and product quality year after year. At the commemorative gathering organised by the company to celebrate the new accolade, President and CEO of Alfardan Group, Omar Alfardan stated, “The honour has encouraged us to continually seek innovative business solutions that help us tread firmly on the same pass, introduce strong benchmarks and raise the bar in the industry. The ISO 9001:2008 is a direct testament to that.”

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a share of up to 10% of the global market. “Our initial analyses indicate that, given the energy and other advantages in Qatar, the country can achieve a 5-10% net cost advantage over many developed countries,” Qatar Ag said.

Ford, Lincoln boast strong lineup at QMS 2011

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ord and Lincoln brands will be featuring one of their most refreshed lineup ever in this year’s Qatar Motor Show (QMS) headlined by the exciting new 2011 Ford Edge-the new Mustang with its two new power train offerings, the 3.7L V6 and legendary 5.0L V8 GT; the award-winning and innovative new Ford Taurus as well as the new 2011 Lincoln MKX. Show visitors had a glimpse of the latest Ford and Lincoln products at the Almana Motors Ford stand (C-26). Managing Director of Almana Motors, Bader Almana said, “We are thrilled to feature the new generation of Ford and


B RAKING NEWS

Porsche 918 RSR - A racing laboratory

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r Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is continuing to extend its performance and high efficiency competence via intensive development work in the field of hybrid technology. The two-seater mid-engine coupe 918 RSR clearly reveals what happens when the technology fitted in the 911 GT3 R hybrid and the design of the 918 Spyder are transferred to a modern, innovative super sports car. The 911 GT3 R obtains its additional power from its own vehicle dynamics when braking. Porsche is now transplanting this

technology into the 918 RSR, the motor sports version of the 918 Spyder concept car. In the 918 RSR, the lines’ elegant flow is dominated by muscular wheel arches, dynamic air intakes and a pulpit-like cockpit. A visible fan wheel between the ram air intake tubes and a rear spoiler with RS Spyder dimensions additionally emphasise the racing laboratory function. The new ‘liquid metal chrome blue’ colour which has been created underscores the sculptured curves of the forms, whilst the typical Porsche hybrid orange colour on brake callipers and the body’s longitudinal stripes lends remarkable touches.

Toyota organises Dream Car Art Contest

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oyota Dream Car Art Contest, a worldwide competition for children, was organised in Qatar recently, by Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros. Co. W.L.L., the sole agents for Toyota & Lexus vehicles in Qatar. The event which was held in the Toyota Showroom at Al Abdulghani Tower saw the attendance of around 100 children from different schools in the country. The

prizes were distributed to 15 winners by Managing Director, AAB, Dr Nasser Abdulghani. The three winners of the national level competition in Qatar will participate in the worldwide competition. In the global competition, there will be three winners under categories viz. Gold, Silver and Bronze. The winners of the global competition will go to Japan to receive their prizes.

Rolls-Royce presents Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection

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Lincoln models which are the result of the company’s drive towards delivering classleading and winning products.”

olls-Royce Motor Cars is celebrating the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy in 2011 with an exclusive collection of bespoke Phantom models. Called the Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection, 100 cars will be delivered to customers bearing a suite of features inspired by the legendary flying lady, complemented by a range of exclusive exterior colours, wood veneers and leather options. Cast in silver, each Spirit of Ecstasy will feature a base complete with black-gold plated bezel bearing the commemorative inscription Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary-2011, a legend repeated on the cover plate when the mascot is lowered. The design is finished with a set of five hallmarks, two of which have been designed specifically for Rolls-Royce.

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spotlight

Forging Strong Partnerships

If you need a loan you need to deal with a lender you can trust, one that understands its responsiblities to its customers. International Bank of Qatar has forged its reputation for solidarity, innovation and customer service by bringing sensibly priced loans to the Qatar market.

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nternational Bank of Qatar (ibq) has been operating in Qatar since 1956. The bank offers a full range of products and services in retail, private and corporate banking. ibq is 30% owned and managed by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). ibq operates a growing network of 14 branches and service centres strategically located throughout Qatar, and has an extensive international reach in association with NBK through 155 branches across major cities and financial centres. The bank’s commitment to develop strong partnerships with businesses has been one of the hallmarks of its success. This commitment to customer relationships and best practice is reflected in the numerous awards won by the Bank, including ‘Best Customer Service’ award in 2008 2009, and 2010 from Banker Middle East Magazine. With a keen focus on innovation, high levels of personalised customer service and cutting edge banking technology, ibq is the ‘Bank of Choice’ in Qatar.

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Personal Banking: Innovative Products

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BQ offers a range of superior, flexible and competitive products across accounts, loans and cards. ibq also offers an elite banking service with a host of premium benefits for affluent customers. This service is complemented by exclusive lounges across branches and dedicated support through Personal Banking Officers. ibq offers a range of tailor-made finance solutions through an attractive loans product suite that includes personal loans, vehicle loans and mortgage loans at very competitive rates. An experienced team is at the ready to guide customers through the loan application process. Unique features of ibq loans include fast approvals, flexible repayment options, easy and simple documentation procedures. ibq vehicle loans are available with no down payment or salary transfer requirement. ibq has also been spearheading innovation in Qatar with exclusive and unique products such as the premium range of credit cards that offer 5% Cash Back on all purchases. The bank is the first Qatar-based issuer of the prestigious Infinite Visa card, which offers ultimate purchasing power and lifestyle privileges for private banking customers with a first-class, exclusive 24-hour concierge service. The bank also offers a wide range of market leading products such as the Super Saving accounts that offer high interest rates, as well as free life insurance worth QR 1,000,000. (For more information on ibq products and services please contact 4447 8000 or visit www.ibq.com.qa) (An advertisement feature)


spotlight

Rewarding choice

Which bank rewards you with its loan scheme? Check out Ahli Bank’S NEW CAMPAIGN THAT rewarDS customers WHO transfer their salaries to THE Bank

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hli Bank strives to be the preferred choice of both its customers and corporates for banking services in the Qatari market. With carefully tailored products and services, Ahli Bank aims to meet its clients’ expectations in an increasingly competitive environment. Being part of the Ahli United Bank group, which is present in seven countries, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Oman, Iraq and United Kingdom (UK), adds another unique advantage as it is able to serve its customers in those markets. The flow of cross border business activities in Qatar is increasing, and Ahli Bank along with its strategic partner Ahli United Bank can extend its banking services beyond its home markets. In its retail operation, Ahli Bank has recently launched a new campaign. New campaign Ahli Bank launched a new campaign rewarding customers transferring their salaries to Ahli Bank to get a Blackberry with new personal or vehicle loan. The campaign started from 23 May 2010 and will continue to 31 March 2011.

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Both new and existing customers transferring their salaries to Ahli Bank will get a new Personal or Vehicle loan during the month and will be eligible to enter the monthly draws. Ahli Bank offers personal and vehicle loan products tailored to the requirements of each customer and all loans offered are subject to the terms and conditions of the Bank. “ Ahli Bank is always striving for superior service standards and these are reflected in the success of the Salary Transfer Campaign and the positive feedback we have received from the customers. We are committed to our pursuit as we work strenuously on making Ahli Bank the clients’ number one choice in Qatar,” said Yehia El Batrawi, Deputy CEO, Retail & Private Banking and Wealth Management, Ahli Bank. Ahli Bank is one of the fastest growing banks in Qatar offering full range of financial services like Private, Personal, Corporate and Islamic banking solutions and treasury services. Customers wishing to open new salaried accounts can visit any Ahli Bank branch or call Ahli Contact Center on 8002222.

BENEFITS

• Low interest rate on loans • Zero down payment on car loans • Longer tenors • Easy and quick procedures

INSTANT BLACKBERRY

For customers taking a loan worth QR225,000 and above.

BLACKBERRY DRAW

Every six customers, taking a loan of QR75,000 to QR2,25,000 each will enter a draw for one BlackBerry. The higher the loan amount, the greater the chances of winning.

(An advertisement feature)


MARKET WATCH

FEDERER GRABS OPEN HONOURS

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Richard Mille enthrals with declutchable rotor

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n the world of automatic wristwatch design, the Richard Mille RM 030 model sets a mark with its novel calibre RMAR1 that declutches automatically, thus delivering better chronometric results as compared to traditional systems. Typical of Richard Mille, the declutchable rotor with its conception and miniaturisation represents an

extraordinary technical challenge. With this system, the winding barrel is linked to the power reserve indicator to provide an optimal winding control, thus providing the best chronometric performance. The watch’s tonneau water-resistant case is available in titanium, 18k white gold or red gold with the name ‘Richard Mille’ engraved on the back. With four years of conceptualisation, it’s innovation at its best!

New logo reflects CGC’s vision

the only way is up Anil Mahajan, COO, CGC

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onsolidated Gulf Co. has unveiled its new corporate identity and logo – pixels coming together to form the core of the identity, while the spectrum of colours used, reflects the core values of the corporate brand. CGC, COO, Anil Mahajan said, “Our new corporate identity is inspired by Qatar, by

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its vision, dedication and determination to lead from the front and scale newer heights. “It conveys and re-affirms CGC’s commitment to contribute further to Qatar Vision 2030 which aims to have a sustainable knowledge-based, environment-conscious economy built on the foundations of social, economic and human empowerment.” CGC, Tawfeeq Salem, CFO, added, “Our

new tagline ‘Inspiring the Future’ captures the spirit that drives us as a company. One that enables us to take a high ground for the corporate brand of being a global company that is progressive and is future-focused. In line with extraordinary changes taking place in Qatar, our new identity fully demonstrates our readiness to transform ourselves to effectively serve the industry.”


MARKET WATCH

Watching the time with Hermès

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nspired by the equestrian world, Hermès plays with asymmetry in its new timepiece – the Arceau Skeleton watch. The Arceau Skeleton’s two sapphire crystals reveal an exquisite mechanical backdrop of blued hands and large seconds hand, open-worked bridges and mainplate, polished gear wheels and a skeletonised oscillating weight reproducing the Hermès signature. Tiny arabesque numerals line the rime of the brown or slate-grey dial. Wrap this piece of elegance with its sensual Havana or black alligator leather strap!

Piaget’s ‘possession’ of lovE

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he new ‘Possession’ collection from Piaget offers a range of jewellery and watches that beam with love. The word ‘possession’ is delicately engraved on a 18-carat white or pink gold circle that can be fitted as a pendant, in rings or even as a bracelet. The watches, also available in its pink or white gold versions, display the time in Roman Numerals while the 37 brilliant cut diamonds dazzle at the rim of the dial. One irresistible collection, possessed with love!

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MARKET WATCH

Changing the world with ‘THE OnE’

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HE One plans to make the New Year echo with its CSR strategy by offering its customers a feel-good retail therapy. Firstly, the brand has launched a range of ethically-sourced furniture made from Verification of Legal Origin certified wood called the ‘Good Wood’ collection. It also works with the Rugmark Foundation – an organisation that ensures no use of childlabour. Furthermore, the beautifully handembroidered Palestinian wrist wraps and cushion covers sold in its stores support the Qalandia Camp Women’s Handicraft Cooperative, which aims to raise the living stan-

LG introduces new Optimus Black smartphone

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G Electronics (LG) is offering its users a unique experience by introducing a dramatically brighter four-inch NOVA display in its new Android smartphone, LG Optimus Black. Users can now enjoy an easier and more natural experience when browsing the web, reading emails, or writing documents with higher levels of brightness and visibility, and lower power consumption. Apart from its sleek and stylish appearance, the phone also offers a set of smarter features such as the world’s first Wi-Fi Direct for quick and high-quality data transfer between mobile devices, the world’s first 2MP front-facing camera and an Android 2.3 Gingerbread upgrade capability. The LG Optimus Black will be available by the first half of 2011.

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dards of women and children in Palestine. The company too launched its very own limited edition wrist wraps made out of its staff’s recycled jeans. Meanwhile, the proceeds for their newly introduced FEED 2 Kenya Bag go to the Kenyan women and children, while the proceeds for the coffee table book The Power of the Invisible Sun, go towards the Hope is a Game-Changer Project, which delivers indestructible soccer balls to disadvantaged children. Even in terms of eco-friendliness, the store has introduced degradable plastic bags and offers eco-chic product ranges made from recycled railroad ties, glass, iron and tyres.


MARKET WATCH

LG offers ‘large’ washing experience

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G Electronics (LG) has launched its new washing machine ‘BIGIN’ having the largest capacity of 11 kilograms in standard size. Despite increasing the inner capacity, the exterior size is maintained to 24-inch by LG’s new damping system and fixed outer tub in addition to its Inverter Direct Drive technology. Its latest offering also features the six motion movements–tumbling, scrub, filtration, rolling, stepping and swing–thereby improving the quality of the wash. Also, the

machine reduces vibration so that the noise level decreases to only 54dB during the Silent Wash Course. Apart from greater durability, the washing machine also boasts of excellent energy efficiency. With the Inverter Direct Drive Technology eliminating wasted energy, consumers can save up to 30% in electricity usage. In terms of hygiene, the cutting-edge steam technology helps eliminate allergens, mites and even detergent residue from clothing and linens for people with allergies or sensitive skin.

Classic time: Grande Reverso Ultra Thin

Get stylish this Crocodile skins spring with Vincci by John Lobb

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implicity is what the classic new Grande Reverso Ultra Thin watch exudes. The steel or pink gold watch, with a calibre width of 2.94 mm, features a black or white dial with dagger-shaped hands and baton-type hour-markers directly inspired by the original Reverso watch. A perfect blend of tradition and nobility that shows you the time!

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incci stores have a treat for you this spring–the latest spring collection of shoes and bags are ready to fit snugly into your wardrobe. The affordable range offers a wide selection of tempting designs and dynamic styles available at the 13 locations across the UAE, Bahrain, Muscat and Qatar.

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f crocodile is the epitome of luxury, then John Lobb offers one of the most luxurious ranges of new and iconic shoes, belts and accessories fashioned from the most exquisite crocodile skins. With simple and subtle masculine lines and keen detailing, every item in the collection features state-of-the-art quality with finesse.

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MARKET WATCH

Chronofighter Fortress From Graham London nspired by the watches donning the hands of the aircrews in the 1940’s, comes a new edition of watches by Graham London. Fixed on a bomber jacket leather strap, the 43 mm case features a black dial with beige Super-LumiNova numerals, indexes and hands. The chrono seconds and minutes counter hands are red, bringing the chronograph functions to life. The chronograph is actually controlled

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by an elegant mechanism of the roue à colonnes device, thus showing you the precise time. The distinctive and prominent lever on the left side of the case represents the essence of the Chronofighter collection. With its vintage look, this time instrument embodies a part of British aviation history, with the case presenting a subtle mix of brushed and polished steel, playing with the light, combined with a completely transparent case back. An impressive take on the 40s!

Godolphin – A Royal Fragrance

Mindshare procures Aujan Industries’s media buying account

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aking inspiration from the rich history of equestrian royalty, Parfums de Marly introduces a rich and elegant fragrance – the Godolphin. The scent is composed of fresh notes

of thyme, saffron and cypress, which slowly melts into floral notes and culminates into heady woody notes of musk, amber and white cedar wood. A creative blend of sophistication and masculinity!

Ahli Bank customers enjoy travel benefits

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hli Bank credit cardholders can now avail exclusive travel-related privileges and offers, in accordance to a strategic alliance signed by Yehia El Batrawi, Deputy CEO-Retail, Private Banking & Wealth Management of Ahli Bank and Tareq Abdullatif Taha, CEO of Regency Travel & Tours. With this, cardholders will be able to redeem their pearl

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points for booking the tickets or special rate holiday packages of any airline at the Regency Travel branches across the country. Regency Travels will also offer a dedicated 24 hours service centre for Ahli bank customers, who will enjoy tailor made, exclusive travel services with priority handling.

fter a thorough review and evaluation process, Mindshare has landed with a media planning & buying account of Aujan Industries (AI), for the coming three years. The account for which five leading media agencies in the region were bidding for comprises of online and offline media planning and buying and will cover AI’s Powerhouse brands namely Barbican, Vimto and Rani across GCC, Levant, North Africa, Iraq, and Iran. President and CEO, AI, Kadir Gunduz said, “The submissions were of top quality and very competitive, which made it hard to make the call, but a decision had to be taken based on overall parameters. I would like to thank all the media agencies who took part in this process for their hard work, passion, and dedication; and wish to congratulate Mindshare for the win.” CEO of Mindshare in the MENA region, Samir Ayoub said, “We are delighted to win AI media business within our group; we are passionate about their brands and committed to contribute to the continuous success of AI business.”


DOHA DIARY

the ‘special’ champion Abdullah Nasser Al-Mani is nothing like your average sportsperson. His lean and fragile frame doesn’t convey any physical strength But seeing is not ALWAYS believing...

Quick takes

Favourite sport:

His fitness regime:

Favourite sportsperson:

Football

I practiSe football daily, and run on the tracks.

Zinedine Zidane and Naser Al-Attiyah (of course!)

Hobby: Driving cars

A person you are grateful to: The Qatar Paralymic Committee (QPC), and my coaches for all the support they have given me.

His inspiration:

His dream:

My coach. He told me that I am a good athlete and that I can do well in the future.

I want to get married and have two kids.

by c a sse y o li v e i r a

AL-mani

is Qatar’s champion and a special one at that. Having clinched gold and silver medals at the Special Olympics event year after year, he has undoubtedly become a master in his own right in athletics. Relay and long jump are his forte; and each time he sprints and leaps towards victory, he etches a story – a story that inspires the rest.

How sports changed him? Before joining the Qatar Special Olympics team, life was monotonous for Al-Mani – eating, sleeping and walking in the garden. Mild mental retardation made him an angry man too, and he was never quite happy with anything. Things have changed now. “I don’t get angry that much now. Playing sports keeps me happy. I feel good as I have something to do,” he

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doha diary the medals he has won...

World Summer Games of International Special Olympics 1999

Arab Games 1999

Regional Games of Special Olympics MENA 2000

Gulf Games 2001

1 st

long jump

2 nd

100 M

place

1 st

2 nd

100 M

place

long jump

1 st

1 st

100 M

place

long jump

place

1 st

long jump

1 st

200 M

place

place

3 rd

200 M

place

place

World Summer Games of International Special Olympics 2003

4 th

place

long jump

Regional Games of Special Olympics MENA 2004

2 nd

4 th

400 M

place

long jump

place

GCC GAMES 2004

1 st

1 st

200 M

place

long jump

place

2 nd

100X4 M

1 st

100X4 M

World Summer Games of International Special Olympics 2007

2 nd place

foot ball

Regional Games of Special Olympics MENA 2008

2 nd place

foot ball

Regional Games of Special Olympics MENA 2010

2 nd

long jump

place

says. For Al-Mani, sports means everything. “It gives me strength, fitness, team-spirit and friends. It gives me a power.” Al-Mani’s family has never been interested in sports. But after seeing their son emerge a changed man, simply by participating in sports, his family supports him totally. “My brother Mohammad was the first person to support me. He used to take me to the Corniche for exercise. Now my whole family has become very support-

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place

200 M

1 st

400 M

2 nd

400 M

2 nd

200 M

1 st

100 M

place

place

place

1 st

place

place

place

200 M

place

long jump

long jump

2 nd place

1 st

1 st

200 M

place

Regional Games of Special Olympics MENA 2002

Regional Games of Special Olympics MENA 2006

2 nd

place

place

ive. They keep telling me to “go to the stadium, go for practice, take part in regional and international games, and see the world. They also tell me to cultivate what sports has given me – a healthy and fit body.” For his family, Al-Mani is their champion. “My father is very proud of me. He says I have something which my brother doesn’t have. He tells me ‘you’re my unique son’.”


doha diary

Coach speaks Al-Mani’s coach Ali Hudaib has had nine years of experience in coaching in QPC. “Al-Mani is the best at long jump and relays,” he asserts. “This Summer Games 2011, he will be participating in 100 and 200 metres relay.”

CAption ??????

How do the athletes train? The technical committee at QPC assigns a special team of coaches for every category of disabilities. Based on the category, they set training programmes such as: Physical disabilities: Athletics and power-lifting Mental retardation: Athletics, power-lifting, table tennis, speed skating, bowling, swimming and football Visual impairments: Goalball and athletics Hearing loss: Football, bowling, and athletics Having spent considerable time with special needs people, Hudaib has deciphered one special trait of theirs. He says, “These people are pure from the heart. Unlike us, there is nothing hidden inside. When they cheer for you, it’s whole-hearted.”

Donation Campaign: For the next international Summer Games that will be held in Athens, Greece in June 2011, the participating P&G brands have launched a donation campaign from January 25. With every purchase of any of these brands (e.g. Ariel, Tide, Fairy, Downy, Pampers, Always, Pantene, H&S, Pert, Herbal Essences, Crest, Oral B, Olay, Camay, Wella, Gillette) QR1 will be donated to Special Olympics-MENA.

People with disabilities, like Al-Mani, are often inhibited about their abilities, and turn their back on opportunities. But, Al-Mani encourages them to face the world. “We must change what they say about us. We all have strong points, and we should show it to others. Participating in sports make others see what can do, not what we can’t.” The coach in him Earlier when Al-Mani was studying at El Fekrya School (under the Ministry of Education), he loved sports. He enrolled in the Qatar Special Olympic team in 1997 and has since then been making Qatar proud. His immense experience at the Special Olympics has earned him great leadership skills and a strong sporting personality. For four years now, he has been a coach assistant at the Al-Shafallah CentREand considers it to be his “big achievement”. He assists the teachers in bringing the students for practice; he helps them in their exercises and also assembles all equipments required for practice. “In the mornings I teach them sports, and in the evenings I learn sports myself.” Hence, he understands exactly what his students

want. But do his students share the same passion like his? “There are some who do and some who don’t. We have 400 students at the Shafallah Centre – and all are different from each other. But, I try making sports exciting for them. I turn the practice sessions into games, so that they enjoy it.” Love for cars Al-Mani is also passionate about cars and racing. Perhaps his exemplary performance in athletics is a manifestation of his love for speed. He now owns a car and drives to the Center. And there’s no doubt that his favourite sports champion is the famous Qatari rally driver Nasser Al-Attiyah. “I like to drive cars to race. I would like to be with Al-Attiyah in one of his races, like at the Middle East Rally.” He knows it’s difficult to reach the famous rally driver, but wishes that he gets a chance some day. “When Qatar wins any tournament, or there are any celebrations in the country, I take my car and drive along the Corniche to be a part of the celebrations,” he says smiling. So the next time Qatar celebrates; don’t be surprised if you bump into Al-Mani feedback qtoday@omsqatar.com

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d o h a d IA r y

Federer grabs Open honours the metronomic swiss picked up his third trophy at Khalifa after a tournament very high on quality, but low on shock results and pivotal moments

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mine, a bird World No.2 Roger federer lifts the Doha open tennis trophy for the third time

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f it’s January, it must be time for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open Tennis Championship. Played from 3rd to 8th of last month, the ATP250 event took place at the Khalifa Tennis Complex on the fringes of West Bay for the 19th time and, as usual, the event attracted the biggest names in the sport to the city. The total prize fund of just over one million dollars (QR3.64million) meant a cheque for $177,000 (QR644,000) going to the eventual champion. While this might represent a decent return for a week’s work for most of us, it is small change compared to the prize money on offer at the Grand


DOHA DIARY see. The Russian – also defending the title he won here in 2010 – had other ideas, sending the Spaniard packing 6-3, 6-2. As a result, the final on the Saturday evening was something of a damp squib, played in front of an unenthusiastic audience who were at least trying to get in the mood, but ultimately falling short. The Russian lost his first service game and never looked like getting back into the first set, Federer wrapping up 6-3. In the second set, Davydenko was broken again and the game was up, with the Swiss serving out for 6-4, lifting the trophy (for the third time) and banking the aforementioned cheque someone bring me a san mig Rafa met Davydenko at the semi-final stage and crashed out, breaking teenage hearts

FOR THE MOTHERLAND! finalist Nikolay davydenko goes on the offensive in his defeat of rafael Nadal

Slam events. What brings the world’s top players to Doha time and again is a combination of the ATP world ranking points (250 for the winner), the additional appearance money the big names command, but also the exposure (individual and for the sponsor) that comes from being the centre of attention in a ‘market’ that is gaining in profile and credibility worldwide. This is evidenced by the 2022 World Cup bid success, among many other things. The Khalifa crowd were treated to some exhilarating action but there were no real ‘shock’ results to speak of. Indeed, for the first time ever, the top four seeds (Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nikolay Davydenko) made up the four semi-final berths. In the first of the semis, Federer disposed of Tsonga in straight sets, the Swiss’ guile proving too much for the hard-hitting Frenchman. The stage was then set for Nadal to get past Davydenko and deliver the final everyone wanted to

there’s something you don’t see every day... latvia’s ernests gulbis is alarmed to see that someone has drawn a smiley face on the far side of the ball

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news bites

up for the cup the japanese players celebrate their country’s fourth asian cup success - a new record

Joy for Japan The ‘Samurai Blue’ made it a record four Asian Cups with victory in the final at Khalifa last month, but How successful was the tournament for the maroon-clad hosts?

You didn’t want to do that... the net bulges as uzbekistan score their second goal after a terrible qatar blunder

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news bites

now we’re cooking qatar’s players celebrate after beating china in the second game. The dream is now back on...

pieces of kuwait qatar really put their gulf neighbours to the sword in game three in their best performance

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n last month’s Asian Cup preview in this very magazine, we suggested that the experts reckoned the winner of the 2011 tournament would most likely be one of Japan, Australia or South Korea. In the event, these three occupied the top three spots with Japan the victors in the final last month. Japan have now won four of the last six Asian Cup tournaments. They are without doubt the major power in Asian football. But let’s look first at Qatar’s performance over the piece. Can the Maroons be satisfied with their quarter-final spot? Probably not. Four games, with two decent performances bookended by two awful ones. A lot of global attention was focused on the tournament in the wake of Qatar’s 2022 bid success to see both how the team would

that’s all folks... japan proved too strong for Qatar at the quarter-final stage and the hosts were out

perform and how the event would proceed in logistical terms and crowd numbers. With regard to the former, after the first match the world’s press happily reported that Qatar would not get past the group stage. The next game brought a much-improved showing against an absolutely incoherent Chinese side and a 2-0 win made qualification a realistic target once more. Qatar’s best showing of the tournament came in the third group game against whipping boys Kuwait and a solid 3-0 victory. Their quarter-final against Japan saw Qatar put firmly in their place. Yes, the final score showed only a narrow 3-2 victory for the Blue Samurai but psychologically, Japan had Qatar completely bamboozled. A very harsh sending-off for Japan meant that their 10 men had a mountain to climb from 2-1 down but they made it look easy. Japan lifted the Cup after a 1-0 win over Australia’s Socceroos in a tense but mostly enjoyable final. Ninety minutes couldn’t separate the sides but a solitary goal in extra time from substitute Tadanari Lee ( just five minutes on the pitch) settled it.

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TOP 10 INFLUENTIAL ARABS

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doha diary

Ethihad Airways relaunches upgraded office in Doha GUQ Hosts journalist Seymour Hersh

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the new look Etihad AIRWAY’S NEW SALES OFFICE. (INSET) Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airway’s Chief Commercial Officer

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AE’s national airline, Ethihad Airways, has relaunched its sales office in the city, with upgraded facilities and a modernised look to strengthen its presence and further support its rapidly growing customer base in Qatar. The new office features a bespoke interior design, including five separate booking counters, with a dedicated team of specialists at service.

Tennis ace at The Pearl

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Ethihad’s Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Baumgartner said, “The modern, stateof-the-art facilities will provide customers with personal service and everything they need to book flights and holidays.” “With the recent opening of Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi and other cultural and tourist attractions in the next few years, coupled with Qatar’s spectacular win to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup Games, the future for traffic and business in the region is unprecedented,” he added.

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urrent world number one tennis star, Rafael Nadal, while in Doha for the Qatar ExxonMobil Tennis Open 2011, took time off to visit The Pearl-Qatar (TPQ), touring the Island in a luxury yacht, and taking in the sites of Doha’s premier luxury development. This is Nadal’s fourth visit to the country.

eorgetown University in Qatar (GUQ) hosted the esteemed investigative journalist and author, Seymour M Hersh, at Doha’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, where he delivered a lecture titled, ‘The Obama/Bush foreign Policies; Why can’t America Change,’ as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by Georgetown’s Center for International and Regional Studies, a premier research institute devoted to the academic study of regional and international issues. During the lecture, which was attended by more than 800 people, Hersh focused on the lack of change between the Bush and Obama presidencies. He also discussed the changing political landscape of Israel’s government and the recent uprising in Tunisia. Hersh’s illustrious career has been marked with a Pulitzer Prize, five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.

“TPQ is honoured to welcome Nadal to its marina. As Qatar hosts more and more international sports events such as the Qatar Open, high-profile visitors such as Nadal will naturally be curious to see what Doha has to offer. We know TPQ provides a snapshot of Doha that is world-class,” said a Senior Manager from The Pearl.


DOHA DIARY

news bites

GUQ relocates to new building

NUQ prepares students for university admissions

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A FEAST FOR BOOK-LOVERS GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY’S LIBRARY IS NOW OPEN

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he second phase of relocation of Georgetown University in Qatar (GUQ) in its new building has been completed, and the University’s extensive library is now open for public use. The new facility, designed by internationally-renowned architect firm Legorreta + Legorreta of Mexico City, features a three-storey atrium, an auditorium seating 350, and 22 classrooms and lecture halls, in addition

to the school’s impressive new library wing. The school’s relocation is scheduled for full completion in February this year with a formal opening ceremony. The new library will house one of the country’s most extensive collection of books and materials. It also includes individual study carrels, group study rooms, media editing rooms and a map room in addition to two computer classrooms to hold workshops on library research techniques.

orthwestern University in Qatar (NUQ) has offered its students a series of workshop sessions titled ‘Get Ready!’ Application Success, designed to help them submit more competitive college applications. One of the workshops was on how to craft effective application essays, where the students practiced writing their own personal statements and analysed sample personal statements and essays, gaining an understanding of the do’s and don’ts of essay writing. Another session outlined the University’s programmes in Communication and Journalism and the range of career opportunities available for Northwestern graduates around the world. The final session was on applying for financial aid from the various available sources. NUQ Admissions Director, Mounir Ouanaimi, reported that the sessions have been ‘extremely successful’ with an increasing number of students and their parents in attendance. The final deadline for applications to NUQ is March 1, 2011. ALL SET NUQ’S admission workshop session in progress

ROTA and AFC collaborate on new project

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each Out To Asia (ROTA) Chairperson, HE Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, Mohamed bin Hammam, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a major new educational, social and cultural project ‘Dream Asia’, to promote the importance of education for the youth of Asia. The project kicked off in Qatar with

the launch of ‘Midnight Football a football and culture tournament involving schools in Qatar. ROTA was declared the official charity for the AFC Asian Cup 2011 in Qatar, organised by AFC. During the matches, ROTA installed a stand to showcase the work of its educational and humanitarian projects and to collect donations from football fans who were keen to support the charity’s educational projects.

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Qatar Today 10 1


HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani With Qatar winning the hosting rights to the world cup in 2022, the country and its Emir shot into instant fame. But the achievements were already in place. Under the rule of the Emir, Qatar has delved into more liberalisation and privatisation of the economy. Women earned the right to vote, and ran for office in municipal elections since 1998. The government also ended press censorship, going far to abolish its Ministry of Information, and put the state-run television service under an independent authority. The country now works to attain it’s National Vision 2030, envisaging a vibrant, prosperous country that provides socio-economic justice for all. The Emir’s role in trying to bring peace to the region is also commendable.

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Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Country: Saudi Arabia Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) was founded by Prince Alwaleed in 1980, and is today one of the largest and most diversified private investment companies in the world, with holdings in a large number of Middle Eastern and international firms. His personal wealth is an estimated $18 (QR66) billion.

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06 Queen Rania

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Country: Jordan Queen Rania has spearheaded initiatives to adopt a holistic approach to national education in Jordan; Madrasati and the Teachers Academy to name a few. She had also launched an NGO, The Jordan River Foundation, to aid the disadvantaged community in her country. On an international scale, as an Eminent Advocate for UNICEF and Honorary Chairperson for UNGEI, she campaigns for children and their needs.

HH Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Thani HH Sheikha Mozah is seen as a role model for all Arab women with the reforms she has brought in her country. HH Sheikha Mozah has been actively engaged in education and other social reforms in Qatar for many years and has played a major role in spearheading national and international development projects. Silatech is one of the projects she has spearheaded, which has an ambitious objective of creation and development of employment opportunities for the youth. In 2005, she was selected by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to be a Member of the High Level Group of the UN Alliance of Civilisations. She is also actively promoting and protecting the right to education in conflict-hit areas of the world, particularly Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan. She initiated a new strategy development project on ‘Education in Conflict’ in February 2009 and has created an internal Task Force on this issue.

Dalia Mogahed Country: Egypt

Top 10 Influential Arabs

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A list of people from the Middle East, making a difference, in the different walks of life...

After moving to the US at the age of 14, Mogahed was propelled onto the international arena when she became the first Muslim veiled woman to be appointed as an advisor to US President Barack Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships. She reports to the President on the role religion can play in resolving social problems and addressing civil rights issues.

Mohamed ElBaradei Former Director General of IAEA

05 King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

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Ruler of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah still governs a deeply conservative country. But both Saudi society and the kingdom’s economy reveal dramatic shifts in the four-and-a-half years since he formally assumed power. The King’s attempt to revive interest in his 2002 Middle East Plan is notable. The Plan suggests a right to return for Palestinian refugees in return for which Israel would control the Western Wall and parts of the West Bank.

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Mohamed ElBaradei, former Director General, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), hasn’t yet made his mind on running for Egypt’s presidential elections. But his desperate efforts to put the Egyptian people back on track, vis-a-vis soaring corruption and worsening life conditions, gained him a tremendous popular recognition. By far, now ElBaradei is the most influential figure in Egypt over the last year, and nobody knows how far he can go.

10 Mahmoud Mohieldin Former Minister of Investment, Egypt

Dr Samia Al-Amoudi

When the World Bank Group appointed the Egyptian Investment Minister as managing director, the timing itself meant a lot. WB President Robert Zoellick said Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin helped Egypt weather the financial crisis, and will help the Bank undertake its own reform programme. Mohieldin’s post revived the hopes of Arabs of a new era in which they win a say in the West-oriented money pool.

An obstetrician, gynaecologist and assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Dr Al-Amoudi, has played a vital role in highlighting the importance of early examinations for breast cancer, by showcasing her own experience while successfully combating this disease. In 2007, she was recognised by then US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice as being one of the most courageous women in the world.

Country: Saudi Arabia

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Country: UAE The UAE’s rapid development could be accredited to Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai. Burj Khalifa – the tallest tower, Burj Al Arab – one of the most luxurious hotels and the Dubai Metro have taken Dubai to new heights, all under his leadership. Also known for his vast charitable initiatives, he launched the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation in 2007 which donated $10 (QR36.4) billion to promote human development.



Qatar Today February 2011