Page 1

inside this issue june 2013 / Vol. 39/ Issue 6

cover story


It’s that time of year again when Qatar Today partners with AlShall Economics to give its readers an insight into the most lucrative shares trading on the Qatar Exchange. Though 2012 was not a landmark year for the Qatari bourse, there are high hopes for this year, with massive public spending by the state and the non-oil sector expected to lead economic growth.

spot light

82 Success through sharing

A few decades ago, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was an emerging concept. Today, in 2013, we are talking about a social licence to operate (SLO) across multiple industry sectors. This sea change in the behaviour of businesses can be attributed to the impact of globalisation. Qatari companies are also engaging in activities that show how businesses are mindful of their social image. A detailed report on the CSR climate in Qatar.

36 Consolidation the name of the game

Gulf airlines have recently been accused by some of the industry’s leading players of working off skewed balance sheets - burning cheap fuel and being bankrolled by their governments. CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) Willie Walsh says that consolidation is where the real longterm growth potential lies.

I8 Go for global equities

Paul Temperton tells Sowmya Sundar about investment options in a low-interest regime.

30 Joining the dots

Is consolidation of the GCC’s stock exchanges just a pipe dream or an inevitable event, asks Philippe Carré.

inside this issue june 2013 / Vol. 39/ Issue 6

68 Meet Qatar’s indigenous inventor

Adnan Fahad Al-Ramzani Al-Naimi, a humble, soft-spoken Qatari from a modest family background, dreams of making his dry desert land green with his invention Agri-Green – a machine that makes water out of thin air.

62 Which is the smartest city of them all?

Housing more than half the global population, consuming 75% of global energy, producing 80% of global CO2 emissions and generating more than 80% of GDP, cities form an integral part of the global economy. But how do cities compare with each other? What makes them “smart cities”? Sindhu Nair put these questions, and more, to experts gathered here for the Arab Future Cities Summit.

72 Keep your friends close

Rory Coen looks at the ever-evolving subject of cybercrime and how attackers are using social engineering techniques to infiltrate some of the most secure network environments.

78 Time for a Digitox?

What was the first thing you did when you woke up this morning? Was it reaching over for your phone to check your mail, and then your social networks? Welcome to a new kind of addiction, says Damian Radcliffe.

74 Call for regulation of the internet

Northwestern University in Qatar recently conducted a comprehensive study on media perceptions in the region and found that the Internet is widely regarded as the “free zone”. More interestingly, and even with increasing internet penetration, Qatari nationals look first to interpersonal sources for news, which reaffirms the important role the majlis plays in the lives of Qataris.

and regulars I0 newsbites 22 o&g overview I6 bank notes 24 realty check 80 teck talk I02 auto news I06 market watch II4 doha diary

from the desk It is that time of the year when Qatar Today embarks on its annual project of correlating the performances of the 42 companies listed on the Qatar Exchange. A month of consolidation, in partnership with Al Shall Economics, to find out how Qatar Inc. has been performing in a year that was economically stable and “a good year” for many of the world’s major stock markets, some of which witnessed double digits growth and a recovery from their weak 2011 performance. While the world went through restructuring and reconciliation, Qatar Exchange did not perform as brilliantly as might have been expected from one of the world's wealthiest countries. But hopes are high and expectations higher for this year, driven by the state’s massive public spending on infrastructure and a much awaited IPO listing later this year. May is also the month when we commemorate the precious lives lost during the Villaggio fire, last year. A year has gone by without a verdict being announced, a year without the people involved – the defendants that include the Gympanzee nursery's co-owners, four Villaggio mall officials and an employee of the Ministry of Business and Trade – being bought to book. An agonizingly long year for those who lost their near ones. While all of us wait for the verdict to come out in June, let us hope that this past year has considerably increased the safety standards of all buildings in the country and also given each and every citizens a heightened sense of responsibility. Corporate social responsibility (CSR), meanwhile, is used to describe the work that companies do voluntarily to make a positive impact on society, the environment or the economy. Companies in Doha are raising their social responsibility antennae and this month we bring you a special report on the CSR activities Doha-based companies are engaged in. Let's remember too that it's not just companies that have a CSR role to play, but also countries,with Sweden recently topping the Responsible Competitiveness Index, earning its high ranking for clean tech and gender equality as well. Qatar, meanwhile, ranks 11th in a global competitiveness report issued by the World Economic Forum and the onus falls squarely on the city of Doha, the main city of business in the country to maintain this position. Qatar Today examines the concept of "Smart Cities" and wonders whether Doha will one day fall under this category omce its Master Plan is finalised and executed. We also have stories of consolidation, in the airline sector and the stock markets of the region; and stories of dreams, of a Qatari inventor trying to make his desert land turn green; and they all add up to making this issue another page-turner. Summer is here, so stay indoors, remain hydrated and keep reading...

Sindhu Nair

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Yousuf Jassem Al Darwish Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman editorial Editor Sindhu Nair SENIOR CORRESPONDENTS rory coen eZdhar ibrahim abigail mathias AYSWARYA MURTHY SUB-EDITOR SUE EEDLE art senior Art Director Venkat Reddy deputy Art Director Hanan Abu Saiam assistant art director Ayush Indrajith senior Graphic Designer maheshwar reddy Photographer Robert F ALTImirano marketing and sales senior Manager – Marketing Zulfikar Jiffry ASSISTANT MANAGERS – MARKETING Chaturka Karandana THOMAS JOSE senior Media ConsultantS HASSAN REKKAB LYDIA YOUSSEF MARKETING RESEARCH AND SUPPORT EXECUTIVE KANWAL BALUCH senior Accountant Pratap Chandran distribution Sr. Distribution Executive Bikram Shrestha Distribution Support Arjun Timilsina Bhimal Rai basanta pokhrel

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affairs > local

The Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani (L) and the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani (R) attend the opening of the Doha Forum, an international meeting to discuss regional political, economic and social issues in the wake of the Arab Spring, in Doha on May 20, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED HUWAIS

Doha Forum deliberates Syrian situation

The 13th annual Doha Forum came to an end on May 21 after three days of discussions on the theme of "Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future".


E Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohamed bin Jabr AlThani, Minister’s Assistant for International Co-operation, Chairman of Permanent Committee for Organising Conferences, officially closed the forum and thanked all the participants for their insightful contributions and engaging debates. Recapping the topics discussed in the Forum, he highlighted the fact that the humanitarian plight of the Syrian people loomed large over the conference.


The Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) held its fifth annual forum and announced a new research grant worth a total of

QR440 27 137

was announced.

million ( $121 million)

local research institutions received funding for a total of

proposals, out of the 710 proposals submitted. 12 > qatar today > june 2013

Fund to boost education and health sectors Qatar is to set up an ambitious QR360 billion ($98.9 billion) health and education fund that aims to take care of the two key sectors in the event of budgetary deficits caused by oil price volatilities in future. A law (Number 6 of 2013) was issued by the Emir, H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, last month that paved the way for the establishment of the said corpus. The law, according to Qatar News Agency (QNA), is to be effective from the date of issue and is to be published in the official gazette. The capital for the fund is to be set aside from budgetary surpluses every year over the next 10 years as decided by the Emir. The corpus will be a standby and will plough funds into the health and education sectors only if there are shortfalls in budgetary outlays for the two sectors due to budgetary deficits in future. The funding is not to exceed 65% of returns on the invested assets of the corpus in a previous year, says the law. This is to ensure that the capital of the corpus doesn’t erode over time. Qatar is the first country in the GCC to set up a permanent fund for health and education – the two basic sectors the country wants to be world class and manned largely by indigenous manpower, since they are crucial to the country’s social and economic development.

Take flight

Qatar Airways Cargo has welcomed three new Airbus A330-200F freighters to its fleet of seven aircraft. The new A330s have replaced three Airbus A300 freighters that the airline has phased out of the fleet to make way for the new state-of-the-art aircraft.

Need for more Qatari graduates Qatar’s labour market will need 151,000 Qatari graduates over the next 10 years. However, Qatar University will be able to meet only 9% of the national requirement, given the current number of students graduating every year, reveals a study conducted by an expert at the Supreme Education Council (SEC). THE Qatari labour market has a workforce of


Qataris are only



of the total

Illiterates in Qatar has been put at

of the illiterates Only



are Qataris


r Abdul Aziz Al Saadi from the Policy Analysis and Research section at SEC conducted the study based on information gathered from 170 government entities and private sector companies. Annually, the country will need 331 Qatari graduates holding a degree in mathematics and computing, but Qatar University is graduating only 58 such students every year.

Al Jazeera Ahead

in a press release, Al Jazeera said that According to audience data produced for Q1 2013 by Ipsos and Sigma – two independent media research agencies – the channel exceeds the combined total viewership of all other pan-Arab channels. Al Jazeera’s daily viewership across the MENA region was


higher than all the other Pan-Arab channels combined.

Ringing in more

Vodafone Qatar QSC’s mobile base has expanded with its customer numbers increasing by

30 I,084,000 %

over the year to reach

customers as at 31, March 2013.

qatar today > june 2013 > 13

affairs > local “The visit is an inspiration, and we hope to build something as spectacular as Qatar Foundation, which is serving not only Qatar but the region. We hope to collaborate on future projects by tapping into the academic and scientific expertise that Qatar Foundation offers.” First Lady of Senegal, HE Marième Faye Sall when she visited the Qatar Foundation Visitors Centre.

GDP to grow by 5-6%

Two festivals for movie maniacs The annual slate of the Doha Film Institute (DFI) will now include two festivals: Qumra Film Festival, focused on first- and second-time filmmakers, and Ajyal Film Festival for the Young, a community-based event due to bring cinema and film-related activities to Qatar. The inaugural Qumra Film Festival will take place in March next year, and will include international competition sections for featurelength and short films, and provide opportunities for creative collaboration among film-makers and industry professionals. The Ajyal Film Festival for the Young will promote film appreciation among families and educators, and its first edition will take place in November 2013.

Taking stock of the latest data released about Qatar’s sovereign and banking sector outlook, the Qatari economy is likely to perform “better than expected” and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow by 5-6% in the next few years, according to the latest Emerging Markets Research by Barclays.


he report highlights that tightening LNG markets and the redirection of LNG shipments eastwards are producing hydrocarbon windfalls. Qatar’s current account surplus rose further to 32.9% of GDP in 2012 compared with 30.3% in 2011 and Barclays expects the fiscal balance to have risen to 11.4% of GDP in financial year 2012-13 from 8.4% of GDP a year earlier.

Doha is a Convention Destination


oha's position is strengthening amongst the world’s most popular convention destinations. The city moved up by 49 positions to share the 111th position with Florence, Riga and San Juan, in a list of over 360 participating cities in the recently released ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) 2012 Country and City Rankings. The rankings are based on the number of international association meetings that rotate among a minimum of three countries.

14 > qatar today > june 2013

affairs > local

Inventor Rewarded

The 4th Middle East Business Leaders Awards in Abu Dhabi, honouring the best in innovation and excellence in the region, announced that Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) was voted winner of the Leadership in Global Solar Technology Awards. Dr Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri, QSTec Chairman is seen here accepting the prestigious award.

Al Rayyan to get facelift

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has started a project to give a complete infrastructure facelift to Legdeim and Bani Hajer area (North) in Al Rayyan Municipality. The project will provide comprehensive infrastructure for residential units, educational institutions and businesses located in Rawdat Legdeim, Bani Hajer and the surrounding areas.

QF Endowment buys shares in Bharti Airtel


atar Foundation Endowment (QFE) announced that it had entered into a binding agreement with Bharti Airtel (Bharti), a global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, under which Bharti will issue 199,870,006 of its new shares to QFE, representing a shareholding of 5% in the company, following issuance of the new shares. Under the agreement, QFE will pay INR340 per share, amounting to a total consideration of $1.26 billion (INR6796 crores). The investment will further strengthen Bhart's capital structure and provide further flexibility for the company to deliver on its growth strategy.

Health is Wealth for Qatar

9 H I8

new hospitals and

primary health centres over the next few years in Qatar

16 > qatar today > june 2013

ealthcare facilities in Qatar saw an increase of 120% over the past three years (since 2010), according to the 2012 annual report of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH). The number of practitioners also surged, with a 25% increase last year in health professionals seeking a license. The health sector is set for further expansion, with the opening of nine new hospitals and 18 primary health centres over the next few years. Two branches of the Medical Commission will also be set up soon, the Minister of Health HE Abdullah bin Khaled Al Qahtani said in his preface to the report. Last year, Hamad Medical Corporation and SCH announced plans to add 836 hospital beds by 2015. Three of the new hospitals will be under SCH and the other six hospitals will be managed by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), some of which are already under construction.

business>bank notes Great opportunities for NSGB



"The apex bank issued QR39 billion worth of sukuk to help manage the liquidity of Islamic financial institutions so they can meet Basel III norms. Sukuk issuances are likely to rise by an estimated 20% to meet the heavy demand for Shariacompliant financial products locally and globally. Despite the international financial crisis, 2009 witnessed the issuance of QR84 billion ($23 billion) worth of sukuk compared with QR51 billion ($14 billion) in 2008. And with that, the volume of the international sukuk market increased from QR404 billion ($111 billion) in 2009 to QR477 billion ($131 billion) in 2012.” H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Saoud Al Thani Governor, Qatar Central Bank (QCB)



Qatar National Bank Qatar


United Overseas Bank Singapore

18 > qatar today > june 2013

NB Group CEO Ali Shareef Al-Emadi expressed his satisfaction over National Societe Generale Bank SAE (NSGB), an Egyptian joint-stock company engaged in the provision of commercial and investment banking services and solutions, joining QNB Group, stating that the move represented the largest acquisition in the financial sector in the Middle East, and fell in line with the group’s strategy to expand in selected markets across the region. Al-Emadi presented an overall vision of the group’s future plans to cooperate with the NSGB team to continue its sustainable growth over the coming years. He also highlighted the group’s new strategy to enter into the Egyptian banking sector through buying a share of 97.1% of NSGB. He asserted that the Egyptian bank had promising opportunities for expansion in the Egyptian market through increasing its network of branches and ATMs across different governorates, and could see a doubling of the network during the coming five years. This would require increasing the number of staff and providing them with training programmes as part of QNB Group policy to recruit talented staff and develop their capabilities. He added that the team currently working at NSGB is more than capable of managing the bank’s operations in a manner that achieves QNB’s strategy to increase its presence in the Egyptian market. There will also be close cooperation between the teams of QNB and NSGB in several areas including information technology, operation, risk management, and corporate communications.

QNB tops Bloomberg poll Bloomberg Markets, a leading provider of business, financial and economic news, released its 2012 ranking of the World’s Strongest Banks, in which QNB ranked as Number 1. The 2012 ranking includs 78 banks worldwide, with QNB being the only bank in the MENA Region.


he 78 banks included in Bloomberg’s ranking includes some of the largest and most renowned financial institutions in the world. The ranking is based on five criteria for banks with total assets of over $100 billion (QR3.64 billion): Tier 1 Capital to Risk -Weighted Assets with a 40% weighting; Non-Performing Assets to Total Assets (20%); Loan Loss Reserve to Non-Performing Assets (20%); Deposits to Funding (15%); and Efficiency (Cost to Revenue) (5%). QNB entered the ranking for the first time, as its level of total assets surpassed the US$100 billion mark, the threshold for being included in the list in 2012. Bloomberg ranked banks on each criterion and the ranking positions were weighted and combined to determine the banks’ overall score.


Oversea-Chinese Banking Singapore


Bank of Nova Scotia Canada


Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Canada


Toronto-Dominion Bank Canada


Royal Bank of Canada Canada

09 Citigroup US

05 DBS Group Singapore


Hang Seng Bank Hong Kong

business > bank notes

Go for global equities By Sowmya Sundar

“It is not bargain basement level for valuations, but they are still reasonable. About 8% real yield (on global equities) on a 10-year horizon looks pretty attractive.� 20 > qatar today > june 2013

A presentation on global economics usually ends up as a monotonous sermon. Not the one presented by renowned economist Paul Temperton, who was in Doha recently to talk about investment options in a low-interest regime. Former economist at the Bank of England, Vice-President for European Economic Fixed Income Research at Merrill Lynch, a prolific author and influential speaker, Temperton shared insightful nuggets of financial wisdom laced with his trademark wit to an attentive audience.

“There is enough similarity between what is happening in Europe and what has happened in Japan. The problems are essentially the 3 Ds – high levels of debt, poor demographics and deflation.”


nvest in global equities. Stay away from government bonds, hedge funds and gold,” he says. Making a strong pitch for global equities, Temperton says: “It is not bargain basement level for valuations, but they are still reasonable.” Emerging market equities have been on a multi-year bull run, buoyed by increasing consumption and high growth rates in emerging markets such as the BRIC countries. But Temperton is concerned about emerging market equities, he says: “To me, as a cautious investor, I prefer to have exposure through developed companies.” Temperton recommends European companies with global exposure, such as RollsRoyce, BMW, Tesco, GlaxoSmithkline and Inditex, or global financials like Standard Chartered – a bank with global emerging market exposure listed in the UK. “It is more about finding the right companies wherever they are, a bottom-up approach,” he says. Global equities, measured by the World Total Market index, a broad index including small, medium and large cap companies, trade at a price-to-earnings multiple of 15.5 times, compared with the average of 17 times since 1973. (The price-to-earning multiple is a measure of how expensive a stock is. The lower the multiple, the cheaper the stock.) “If you buy at 15.5, it is about

8% real yield on a 10-year horizon, and that looks pretty attractive,” he says. Reiterating the age-old wisdom, he says: “You make returns in the equity market in the long term by taking out dividends and reinvesting them, not just by aiming for capital growth. Dividend yield is important.” Commodities wearing out Temperton says commodities are driven by two things: economic growth and typically long commodity cycles of 15 to 20 years. According to him, “low growth rates mean not much increase in commodity prices” and the 13-year-old rally is “getting a bit tired”. Commodities may potentially “have a little more to go in terms of rising prices but are relatively still cheap”. Three asset classes to stay away from Temperton cautions against investing in hedge funds, government bonds and gold. According to him, the good days of hedge funds are over and access to best styles is difficult. “You risk going into a style that will probably not do well. I am nervous about hedge funds at this point in time,” he says. He recommends staying away from bonds as well, as returns from government bonds post-inflation and expenses are poor. For all those heading to buy gold after the recent drop in prices, he cautions: “Despite the drop in gold prices, gold does not make

Average experience of previous 15 big crises Real house prices fall by


over 6 years Equity prices fall by


over 3.5 years Unemployment rate rises


points over 4 yearS Output falls by


over 2 years Government debt rises by


of GDP over 5 years (Source: Paul Temperton) qatar today > june 2013 > 21

business > bank notes OR:

Gold: An unproductive asset

All the US cropland (400 million acres) yielding

$200 + $40 + $1 billion p.a.

16 Exxon Mobils, each earning

What would you choose?

Global mined gold stock


20.7 m

tonnes Value 20.7 m

20.7 m



billion p.a.

trillion left over for incidental expenses.

Source: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Letter to Shareholders, February 25, 2012.

“Despite the drop in gold prices, gold does not make sense for long-term investors. It is not an income-producing asset.”

22 > qatar today > june 2013

sense for long-term investors as it is not an income producing asset. It is an attractive asset if you think the world is going to come to an end or if there is going to be hyper inflation. We don’t see a risk of hyper inflation.” There is a huge “opportunity cost” associated with parking funds in gold, he says. Economy – –––no recovery yet? Temperton thinks Europe has not yet seen the bottom, whereas the US is on its path to recovery. Drawing parallels between Europe and Japan, Paul says: “There is enough similarity between what is happening in Europe and what has happened in Japan. The problems are essentially the 3 Ds – high levels of debt, poor demographics and deflation. We have high levels of debt, an ageing population and there is a risk of deflation in Europe. The US implemented a definite set of policies quickly leading to a turnaround and is now well on the road to a solution. In Europe it is a slow process.” Pointing to the contrast between US and European equity markets and the lag effect, he says: “It is now four years since the bottom of the US equity market post the Leh-

man crisis, whereas other European markets had their trough only in the middle of last year.” Suggesting that European real estate is still not cheap, he says: “The markdown in values has probably got much further to go. People are holding on to an unrealistically high valuation because they may have a lot of debt secured on the property. A halfprice sale would be my thumb rule to enter. In the UK, housing has dropped 25% and has still not seen the bottom. “Real estate prices and equity prices are telling a very similar story. The story is that the European market is three to four years behind the US market. It is a long, slow adjustment. In the US, the typical post-crisis adjustment is done. In the European countries, the real economy has not yet bottomed,” he concludes. On emerging markets, the long-term story is intact, but in the short term there are worries such as slow growth, inadequate infrastructure, lack of political direction, exchange rate worries and exports getting hit due to the eurozone crisis. “Indonesian real estate looks interesting,” he says

business>oil&gas expert speak

Maria van der Hoeven Executive Director, International Energy Agency.

“Developing economies are in the driver’s seat as rising oil consumption in those regions leads to a shift in the balance of power from the West to the East. Also one of the winners in this new game is the US, as well as China and other Asian markets. In between is Europe, and they are importing countries. It will be necessary for Europe to see what is happening in the changing oil and gas market.”

Laffan Refinery 2 work begins

The contract for the Engineering, Procurement, Supply, Construction and Commissioning (EPSCC) of the Laffan Refinery 2 (LR2) Project, the second condensate refinery at Ras Laffan Industrial City, was awarded to a joint venture of Chiyoda Corporation and CTCI Corporation.


he contract was signed by the Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman and Managing Director of Qatar Petroleum, HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada; the Chairman of Chiyoda Corporation, Takashi Kubota; and Chairman and CEO of CTCI John T.Yu. Qatargas Chief Executive Officer Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani and senior officials from Qatar Petroleum and Qatargas also attended the official signing ceremony, held in Doha. Dr Al-Sada hailed the agreement as “an important part of a vigorous drive to expand and diversify Qatar’s industrial base”.

Chiyoda and Shell partnership


atar Shell has given a contract to Chiyoda Almana Engineering (a joint venture of 51% Almana Trading and 49% Chiyoda Corporation) to conduct engineering and project management services at Pearl Gasto-Liquids plant, the world’s largest and most innovative GTL facility, jointly developed by Qatar Petroleum and Shell. The contract covers Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) and Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) activities for brownfield projects designed to deliver asset integrity, growth and development. This is a strategic contract supporting Qatar Shell’s delivery of planned engineering works while leveraging locally available capabilities in the country. Qatar Shell's Managing Director and Chairman, Wael Sawan, said: “This contract clearly demonstrates our continued commitment to create opportunities within the local market to help the growth of the service provision sector in Qatar. This is in line with our commitment to support the social and economic pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030.”

24 > qatar today > june 2013

LR2 will have a processing capacity of


barrels per stream day and will be operated by Qatargas. LR2 will have a daily production capacity of


barrels of naphtha

53,000 24,000 barrels of jet fuel

barrels of gasoil, and


barrels of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

business > realty check

Vertical Gardens in Qatar?

Projects Peak The GCC projects industry is expected to have another stellar year in 2013 as the value of contracts to be awarded is expected to reach QR4.91 ($1.35 trillion) by year-end, significantly higher than the QR2658 billion ($730 billion) total last year. Saudi Arabia leads the region with close to QR2184 ($600 billion) projects UAE QR1274 billion ($350 billion) contracts Kuwait with a little over QR546 billion ($150 billion). Between Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, more than QR910 billion ($250 billion) are expected to be awarded this year.



vision for developing Doha’s own hanging gardens, like the fabled gardens of Babylon, using green architecture, or "biotecture", was the topic of discussion and debate at a Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) seminar recently. In a keynote presentation, renowned international architect and urban planner Edouard Francois outlined his vision for sustainable building that integrates nature and architecture, and its potential for Qatar, where urban spaces are enriched by copious vertical green planting and urban landscaping. “Green architecture is not only about techniques, it’s about the right attitude, and the right values, to address the pressing challenges in sustainability that face society today. Doha is really moving and shaking, and I am impressed with the types of projects under way here. The approach that organisations like QGBC are taking to address sustainability is systematic, which is key,” added Francois. A line-up of local experts from various backgrounds and professions including architecture, structural engineering, air quality management, environment, sustainable development and green education joined Francois to examine the technical aspects of his vision for biotecture in Doha.


billion Saudi Arabia


Industry Experts flock to Project Qatar Around 45,000 people visited the four-day International Trade Exhibition for Construction Technology, Building Materials, Equipment and Environmental Technology for Qatar (Project Qatar) 2013.


n its tenth year, Project Qatar attracted 2,100 exhibitors from 50 countries, 28 of which had their own national pavilions. Malaysia, Canada, India, Korea, Romania, Spain and Thailand each had a national pavilion at the event for the first time. A total of 32 companies participated through the Malaysia Pavilion. The Malaysian exhibitors in the construction cluster offered architectural, engineering and construction services, and pre-cast and formwork products, as well as soil testing equipment and services. In the building materials cluster, Malaysian exhibitors offered various types of products ranging from water tanks, waterproofing products, recycling bins, electrical appliances, solar water heaters, laminate flooring, outdoor tents and screws. In the ICT cluster, exhibitors showcased digital surveillance systems, integrated e-business property software solutions and internet TV hosting services.

26 > qatar today > june 2013




qatar, oman and bahrain



business > viewpoint

projects trigger rise in spending


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

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup less than a decade away, Qatar’s government is poised to up the tempo of its infrastructure and development programme after raising expenditures on April 1 for the new financial year. 28 > qatar today > june 2013

pending has been increased by 18% in the budget for fiscal year 2013-14, paving the way for the state’s infrastructure investment programme to gather further momentum. Interest from local players in the construction industry and related segments is expected to be high, with business leaders aware that investment levels will likely ease once the state projects are completed. The budget sets out spending of QR210 billion ($57.8 billion) against revenue of QR218 billion ($59.9 billion), leaving a surplus of QR8 billion ($2.1 billion). While the surplus is much lower than the QR28 billion ($7.6 billion) estimate given for the previous financial year, the budget’s revenue figures are based on a cautious oil price of just QR237 ($65) per barrel, according to a statement by HE Yousef Hussain Kamal, Minister of Economy and Finance. Much of this year’s budget has been dedicated to infrastructure projects, with capital works set to take up around 30% of all spending. Infrastructure’s allocation is up 28% in a year-on-year comparison. Farah Ahmed Hersi, an economist with regional bank and finance house Masraf Al Rayan, said the lower budgetary surplus forecast for Qatar was not unexpected. “When external accounts are healthy, there is a natural tendency to increase spending, and then you dig into your surplus,” he said to Reuters on April 2. “The budget shows how serious the country is about speeding up infrastructure development for 2022.” While the government has already increased expenditure by almost a fifth this fiscal year, a report by Qatar National Bank (QNB) suggests spending levels could rise even higher in the 12 months to end-March 2014. The report, issued in mid-April, said the combined spending programmes outlined for the current financial year could push up expenditure to as much as QR240 billion ($66 billion) for the 2013-14 budgetary cycle. Much of the funding will be channelled towards rolling out projects for the 2022 World Cup, including venues and additional facilities. Qatar is also keen to accelerate a number of key projects after

investment slowed somewhat in 2012. A number of ventures are set to be tendered this year, including the Doha Metro. While QNB forecasts higher outlays, its report still predicts a solid budgetary surplus for the fiscal year, based on its estimate that oil prices will remain well over both the current $103-per-barrel mark and the $65 level used by the government to calculate its energy revenues. QNB expects Qatar to record a QR29 billion ($8 billion) surplus, equivalent to 4% of GDP, while forecasting the economy to grow by 6.5% this year and 6.8% in 2014. The forecast is far higher than the government’s more conservative projection of around 4%, and up considerably on the 6.2% growth Qatar posted in 2012. Although the government is pumping more funds into the economy this year and looks set to maintain spending levels in the coming years, Kamal expects to scale down investment in the second half of the decade once several of the state’s big-ticket projects are finalised. However, while state spending is rising sharply, some business leaders are concerned that not enough funds are finding their way into the domestic economy. Nasser Al Khaledy, the Chief Executive Officer of mixed business and industrial firm Qatar Oman Investment Company, pointed out that although faster-paced infrastructure would have a positive impact on the country, most of the work was going to foreign contractors. While the government has shown itself keen to quicken the tempo of its projects, observers suggest the key challenge could be ensuring that the work is carried out to schedule. There are concerns that firms may be hard pressed to manage the workload of the infrastructure developments, which are valued at more than QR728 billion ($200 billion) and set to be rolled out over the next 10 years. Delays could have a knock-on effect, slowing other projects and forcing the government to put back plans to reduce spending. However, as long as the projects are delivered on schedule, surpluses should start to rise once again after 2017

business > viewpoint

One of the greatest challenges facing the tourism sector is to sustain growth in an uncertain economic environment. In recent years, tourism has been affected by the global slowdown, market volatility, and ongoing problems in the EU and other economies. Significant technological and demographic changes are forcing tourism destinations to forsake old marketing and product formulas in favour of new approaches. If policymakers want their destinations to be resilient and grow steadily, they will need capabilities that can tackle the impact of these disruptions.

30 > qatar today > june 2013

How the GCC can build a successful and resilient tourism sector


nside the sector, digital technologies and the changing profile of tourists are having important effects. Digital applications give tourists more flexible ways of booking their holidays and travel than in the past. What is also changing is who these tourists are. Developed countries, previously the main sources of tourists, have ageing demographic profiles. The new sources of visitors are the increasingly prosperous emerging economies such as China, along with Brazil, Russia and India. These changes have tremendous implications for some of the GCC countries, which are expanding their tourism sectors. Tourist arrivals in Qatar are rising steadily, with the 2022 World Cup drawing attention to the country. Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest destination, attracted 60% more arrivals in 2011, according to UN statistics. The eventual goal for GCC destinations is to have consistent, all-year-round offerings built around distinctive, country-specific tourism experiences. To achieve this, GCC policymakers will need sophisticated approaches to developing tourism. For example, marketing will have to change. That in particular means supplementing advertising campaigns and industry fairs, previously the mainstay of attracting customers, with multiple direct and indirect online

channels. Such digital marketing is effective because it uses analytical data to more accurately target likely visitors and uses the feedback from social media and traveller reviews. The GCC will also have to alter its marketing and tourism offerings to take into account the specific needs of travellers from emerging economies such as China. Policymakers will need five core capabilities to make their destinations distinctive. These capabilities were identified by taking the 20 best- and worst-ranked economies in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index and examining the correlation with stable growth in arrivals during the past five years. Policymakers will need to identify their main tourism opportunities and then develop their capabilities to realise those opportunities. These capabilities are quite distinct from a destination’s underlying strengths, such as its climate, scenery, cultural assets, and infrastructure. Nonetheless, they are capabilities that policymakers can influence and develop. GCC tourism destinations will succeed by using these capabilities to develop distinctive tourism offerings, enhancing the attraction of their underlying strengths, ensuring that travellers keep returning and also leave with wonderful memories.

The first capability is to augment the existing affinity for travel and tourism, a capability that fosters long-term growth potential. Policymakers should nurture a positive environment for tourism and link the sector closely to the national economy, and not just through such largescale infrastructure projects as new airports. For instance, the promotion of culture, a key attraction for tourists, is part of Qatar’s National Development Strategy. This involves developing services that are distinct to the destination. Developing the affinity for travel and tourism also requires considering how a destination can appeal to tourists at different stages in their lives. That can mean attracting successful young professionals who become loyal to the destination and keep coming back, whether with their family or when they are retired.

By George Atalla, Partner, and Antoine Nasr, Principal, at Booz & Company

The second capability involves policy rules and regulations, the main area of competence of policymakers and where they can have the most impact. Policymakers need to develop a long-term tourism sector strategy and the ability to respond to short-term disruption. This can involve easing visa regulations (consistent with broader economic and security concerns), making it simpler for the private sector to invest (such as by creating public-private partnerships in hospitality), and encouraging local communities to take the initiative in attracting visitors.

The third capability is price attractiveness. This capability addresses the transparency brought about by the increased flow of information and the ability of tourists to quickly compare between destinations with similar product offerings. In response, destinations should offer an attractively priced package compared with their competitor destinations’ products. A useful example of price attractiveness is the experience of Turkey, which also demonstrates how quickly a country can develop a resilient tourism sector. Turkey developed a range of price-attractive products, from beach holidays for young people and families to cultural tourism for older segments and the promotion of Istanbul as a cost-effective conference destination. The result is that Turkey now ranks sixth in the world for tourism arrivals, attracting more visitors than the UK or Germany.

The fourth capability is environmental sustainability. Countries have now implemented environmental regulations that have reduced or eliminated the breakneck speed of hotel-building programmes and the over-development of the past. Although environmental regulations can limit investments in tourism infrastructure, policymakers should turn environmentally sustainable tourism into a source of differentiation. By prioritising conservation, policymakers can attract environmentalconscious travellers, who tend to be wealthier, while preserving the natural attractions and cultural heritage of their countries. This capability involves making the tourism sector economically and environmentally sustainable by balancing long-term tourism sector planning, the short-term needs of tourism businesses, along with economic development, and changes in the products that tourists want. A successful approach to environmental sustainability will manage natural assets so that there is environmental protection and economic yield. One example is Kenya, where ecotourism has grown from a niche activity into a substantial, high-yield market.

About Booz & Company:

The fifth capability is safety and security. Crime, unrest, natural hazards and personal privacy issues deter tourists. Destinations should develop effective emergency response mechanisms in tourism locations. In addition, destinations should react following safety and security incidents by winning back the trust of travellers, which will demonstrate their commitment to traveller safety. This can be a difficult capability to develop as it touches on so many other areas of policy.

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

qatar today > june 2013 > 31

business > viewpoint

Joining the dots Why we need an alliance of GCC exchanges By Philippe CarrĂŠ

32 > qatar today > june 2013

philippe Carré

Is the consolidation of the GCC’s stock exchanges just a pipe dream or an inevitable event?


ast year, the Stock Exchange of Thailand joined the ASEAN Trading Link, an alliance comprising three exchanges in Southeast Asia – Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – with Vietnam potentially also about to join. In 2011, the Russian exchanges MICEX and RTS completed their tie-up to form the Moscow Exchange. And most recently, the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Osaka Securities Exchange completed their merger to form the Japan Exchange Group. The trend is seemingly towards fewer or combined exchanges covering larger areas, so surely it is only a matter of time before the Middle East region follows? Indeed, some might argue that the GCC exchanges already share a number of similar attributes and factors that make such a consolidation the next natural or practical step. Well, no, actually. The issue of joining up bourses across the Middle East region has long been debated, in Qatar and other GCC countries. There are strong views both for and against such a move. For the record, I believe firmly in taking this step. It will help create more competition and likely far greater foreign participation and investment in Qatar and the other GCC markets, as well as offering a deeper pool of liquidity and a greater appeal for companies looking at regional exchange

listings as an alternative source of funding to bank credit lines or bond financing. There are challenges, of course. Despite the major steps forward in the technology platforms used by Middle Eastern exchanges and the participant financial institutions, there is a perception of complexity around cross-border trading. The exchanges themselves remain relatively small, difficult to access, and subject to differing regulation at the national level. As a result, the capital markets in the Middle East, including Qatar, still remain largely underdeveloped relative to elsewhere globally. Over the past few years, we have seen multiple alliances in other parts of the world come to fruition. As well as ASEAN, there is Euronext in Western Europe, CEESEG (Central and Eastern Europe Stock Exchange Group), and Mila (Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano) in South America. So the concept of regional exchanges is certainly not a new or groundbreaking concept. Linking exchanges also creates a large amount of goodwill, because the whole is greater than the sum of the constituent parts. In the case of Mila, which links up Chile, Colombia and Peru, you could say that the sum of the total three is four. Investors who previously might have qatar today > june 2013 > 33

business > viewpoint

shied away from spending the resources required to look at investing in one small market, will now make that investment if they can access multiple markets at once and with greater ease. That reality and ease of access also brings new sources of funds as well as growth opportunities to businesses and institutions within each member country. We at SunGard believe four conditions need to be met to get an exchange alliance to work effectively. The first is a political superstructure, which can develop in different ways. In the case of Mila and ASEAN, there was an existing structure created to facilitate and promote the interaction of the different countries. The ASEAN Stock Exchange linkage initiative, for example, leverages the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' political alliance superstructure, while the Euronext and CEESEG alliances operate under the single market promoted by the European Union. The Middle East already has such a superstructure, with the GCC connecting the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and, of course, Qatar. This structure could

Philippe Carré is Global Head of Connectivity for SunGard’s capital markets business.

34 > qatar today > june 2013

bring regional exchanges closer together and promote the formal link-up of the region’s capital markets. The second required element is a strong and persistent political will. In Europe, the EU provided the structure and initial momentum, so when the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris exchanges announced their plans to create Euronext, the idea resonated with the political will and desire of that time. The next hurdle, and probably the biggest, is the different regulatory environments among Middle Eastern and GCC markets. But if you do not start somewhere, the issues will never be addressed. A regional exchange alliance can create the momentum needed to kick-start that process, as was witnessed in the Mila and Euronext countries. The final condition is the use of the right technology. Although the Middle East is large, and therefore not without its infrastructure challenges, ASEAN provides some clues for overcoming them. It shows how to link these markets, demonstrating that you can build a network among exchanges without losing each player’s national identity, trading platform or connection to its individual investor community, while at the same time leveraging each participant’s own strengths and creating a new, regional synergy. Each country in the Middle East is trying to develop national industries and a national psyche beyond its oil and gas extraction or mineral resources. A properly functioning, world-class regional capital market is a key piece of that development and would benefit Qatar, as well as the other countries in the GCC, enormously. I’m quite certain we will see initiatives and further strides made that will eventually create much stronger links and convergence between these regional markets. After all, it is, at its heart, really just a matter of having the political will and then maintaining the momentum to complete such a project

newsbites > regional

36 > qatar today > june 2013


UNITED KINGDOM, Windsor : Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) walks and talks with Emirati President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan after a ceremonial welcome on his State visit, in the grounds of Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, west of London, on April 30, 2013. AFP PHOTO / POOL / TOBY MELVILLE

qatar today > june 2013 > 37

development > listening post

Consolidation the name of the game

38 > qatar today > june 2013

The Gulf airlines have recently been accused of working heavily off balance sheets – burning cheap fuel and being bankrolled by their respective governments – by some of the industry’s leading players. In an effort to keep in touch, CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) Willie Walsh says that consolidation is where the real long-term growth potential lies.


he International Air Transport Association (IATA) raised its 2013 profit forecast for the global airline industry to QR38.6 billion ($10.6 billion) recently, due chiefly to increases in passengers and cargo. Industry revenues are projected to increase by 5% to QR2.5 trillion ($671 billion) but costs are also expected to rise by 4% to QR2.4 trillion ($649 billion). “The improvements in industry profitability are encouraging,” said Tony Tyler, Director-General and CEO of IATA, “but they must be kept in perspective. We are projecting that airlines will make a net profit of QR38.6 billion on QR2.5 trillion in industry revenue. By comparison, last year, Nestle, a single company, made over QR42 billion ($11.5 billion) in profit on revenue of about QR364 billion ($100 billion).” Good news for the industry, after the recent slump, but not great. IATA noted that its forecast was based on the eurozone remaining stable. “Improving conditions in early 2011 and 2012 disintegrated as the eurozone crisis intensified, and it could happen again,” he said. “Airlines were dealing with unpleasant ‘curve balls’ from governments, including European proposals for passenger rights legislation, US budget cuts to air traffic management, and anticipated

increases to air passenger duty in the UK.” So how does an airline find its way to profitability and stability? IAG was formed in 2011, in the midst of the global financial crisis, from the merger of British Airways and Iberia, the flag carriers of the UK and Spain respectively. Willie Walsh moved “upstairs” – from CEO of BA to CEO of IAG – to manage the merger from the top down. Both airlines at the time were struggling financially, but a key benefit for BA was seen as Iberia’s greater access to South American routes, while Iberia in return would gain from BA’s more extensive North American operations. However, IAG reported a QR4.8 billion ($1.3 billion) loss for 2012 after BA’s profits were wiped out by strike-hit Iberia, and the group wrote down the value of its Spanish carrier. Even so, BA managed to make an operating profit of QR1.7 billion ($454 million) in the year. Walsh had said the merger would help both airlines cope with the recession, so looking at it through these most recent figures, how has it performed? “I think people tend to measure things in the short term,” said Walsh. “IAG are looking long-term. Our industry is one that needs to consolidate and we’re beginning to see the benefits of consolidation globally. The airline industry has been very weak when it comes to profitability, and

NET PROFIT 2012-2013 emirates

QR2.26 billion


QRI53 million

british airways

QR I.7 billion

qatar today > june 2013 > 39

development > listening post “The overall financial result that we reported was clearly poor, but if you stripped out the provisions that were made for restructuring and various accounting adjustments, we still performed well.”

that, but a majority of the BA profits have come from synergies that we have been able to generate by working BA and Iberia together.”

that’s mainly because it’s very fragmented; there are a lot of small airlines and they’re all jockeying for market share. Very few of them have a long-term profitable outlook. “What we’re seeing now is that the industry is beginning to rationalise and we’re getting more and more consolidation, and structurally that’s more important for the industry. So we’re going in the right direction and that’s why I’m confident about the Iberia-BA merger in the long term. “I think something that’s often forgotten when we look at the financial performance of a business is that a significant part of positive results is often created by synergies that have been created by bringing these airlines together. People often ignore 40 > qatar today > june 2013

Scaling up Walsh explained that the combined scale of the organisation worked to get better deals, such as with insurance and aircraft purchases. “We’ve been able to save millions on our insurance bill by negotiating as a single company rather than two,” he said. “Negotiations with aircraft manufacturers are based on scale, so we can get greater discounts by ordering more. “We don’t have to worry about growing at the same pace,” he continued, regarding the disparity in the growth of the two airlines. “BA is in a better economic environment than Iberia. The UK is pretty weak, but the London market, where BA is primarily based, is actually quite strong. So although the UK has recorded successive quarters of negative growth, London hasn’t seen any recession. The structure that we have allows BA to take advantage of any opportunities that exist, and we can keep it separate from any problems that Iberia faces, and vice-versa. Spain will recover in due course.” This is certainly something that IAG are banking on, having recently acquired control of Spanish discount carrier Vueling Airlines for QR582 million ($160 million). Vueling and Iberia will cooperate where possible, Walsh said, though feeder flights for the larger carrier will continue to be provided by Iberia Express, set up in 2012 with non-fuel costs around 40% below its parent. “We plan to retain Vueling’s current business model and management structure and its strong base in Barcelona,” Walsh said. “It will benefit from the group’s financial strength. We’re always on the lookout

for opportunities to acquire other airlines. We’ve always said if the right opportunity presented itself, we are structurally set up to allow us to bid for that. Outside of that, we’ll be looking to develop some joint ventures, so where we can’t consolidate we'll see if we can work with other carriers on a joint venture basis, and that’s also a successful feature of the industry.” Walsh tries to paint an optimistic picture of the long-term future of the Iberia-BA merger, but the IAG board also wants shortterm success, and the blame for the huge 2012 losses was placed firmly on his shoulders. The former BA CEO was paid a basic salary of QR4.6 million ($1.28 million) but the board decided not to pay a bonus. The irony here is that the package for the current BA chief, Keith Williams, rose 40% to QR7.9 million due to the British carrier’s robust performance. Is this fair? “The thing about being CEO,” said Walsh, “is that you get all the credit when things go right, even though it’s everyone else who does all the work, and you get all the blame when things go wrong, I’ve never had a problem with that. But I think the underlying performance of the group is satisfactory. We had a lot of restructuring last year, particularly in relation to Iberia. The overall financial result that we reported was clearly poor, but if you stripped out the provisions that were made for restructuring and various accounting adjustments, we still performed well. The board said that the performance was good but it would be insulting to the shareholders to decline them a dividend and then award the chief executive officer a bonus.” Symbiosis Qatar Airways (QA) is expected to join the Oneworld alliance, which includes such airlines as British Airways, American Airlines and Qantas, next year. Bruce Ashby, CEO of the alliance, said that QA is a “king-sized feather in Oneworld’s cap” because it’s the first of the three powerhouse Gulf carriers to sign up to an alliance. What did Ashby mean by this? “I am delighted [Qatar Airways] is joining the alliance, and of the Gulf carriers, our priority was always them. They're growing so fast and it’s exclusively down to what Akbar Al-Baker (CEO of QA) has done in developing a truly international global airline and creating a global hub at Hamad International Airport. “We recognise that he can serve areas in this part of the world that we can’t. We’re looking therefore to connect into the net-

work that they have developed, which has great access into Asia and India, and he can benefit from being in the alliance, so we can work off each other. You’ll see more of a flow of Oneworld carriers into Qatar and from Qatar into Oneworld airports in the future.” Walsh forwards a very positive opinion of what Al-Baker and QA are doing for the airline industry globally, but his feelings aren’t shared by his peers, many of whom have complained about the steeply sloping playing field the Gulf airlines are playing on – where they are getting free or at least very cheap fuel and their governments are pushing capital their way without conditions. “I think the Oneworld alliance has a more progressive attitude to developments in the Gulf than some of the other alliances, or indeed some of the other European carriers,” said Walsh. “A lot of the CEOs in the industry have been very critical of what is going on in the Gulf, which I don’t buy into at all. What they have benefited from here is the progressive outlook in terms of the benefits of aviation, good developing infrastructure and a good geographical position, so when I look at what has happened here, I admire the attitude of the governments here and the airlines here who have seen an opportunity and have seized it. “A better example than Doha is Dubai, where from being ranked #99 in the world in 2001 in terms of passenger traffic, it was ranked #2 in 2012, so it’s inevitable it will overtake Heathrow as the busiest international airport in the world; and that’s down to having vision and determination, and creating an environment where airlines can succeed.” Walsh is very critical of how London’s primary airport, Heathrow, has been forgotten about by successive UK governments, which are playing politics for their own gain instead of looking at the bigger picture. They have refused to expand the airport’s capacity for years, and it looks like this attitude will prosper well into the near future. However, this isn’t as bad for BA as it is for their local rivals. “Heathrow is now full, and there’s no prospect of adding any additional flights unless you add more runway capacity. It means the rest of the world will overtake it. From a selfish point of view, I guess British Airways are OK because we bought our growth and our capacity to grow by acquiring British Midland International (BMI), but for other airlines competing with us, they’re going to find it impossible to grow because they can’t get any more runway slots,” said Walsh

“I am delighted Qatar Airways is joining the Oneworld alliance, and of the Gulf carriers, our priority was always them. They're growing so fast, and it’s exclusively down to what Akbar Al-Baker has done in developing a truly international global airline and creating a global hub at Hamad International Airport.”

Global Airlines Will make a

QR38.6 QR2.5 billion profit on

trillion in industry revenue in 2013

qatar today > june 2013 > 41

affairs > international

42 > qatar today > june 2013

Fa l l e n!

BANGLADESH, SAVAR : Bangladeshi rescue personnel carry stretchers with the remains of garment workers from the site of a collapsed building, as heavy machinery clears the debris in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on May 7, 2013. Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis joined May Day protests last month to demand the execution of textile bosses over the collapse of a factory complex, as rescuers warned that the final toll could be more than 1,000 AFP PHOTO/ MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

qatar today > june 2013 > 43

affairs > local

Qatar Inc. Inches Up

Qatar Today Top 10 The Ten performing companies on the Qatar Exchange

44 > qatar today > june 2013

Last year was particularly languid for the country’s market, with Qatar Exchange’s (QE) earnings falling 0.3% in 2012 year-on-year AND real estate sector earnings down 56%. The consumer goods sector tumbled 9.7%.






National Leasing Holding co.


Qatar Fuel (WOQOD)


Industries Qatar

Mannai Corporation


Masraf Al Rayan

Medicare Group


Qatar Islamic Insurance co.


Qatar Industrial Manufacturing co.

I0 Doha Bank

Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations CALCULATION FORMULA GIVEN ON PAGE 51 qatar today > june 2013 > 45

development > coverstory


hough analysts foresee more companies in the pipeline for listing on the QE and its new Qatar Exchange Venture Market for SMEs, which would logically lead to higher trade volumes and pricing efficiencies, last year’s negative performance of the Qatari bourse is seen as an anomaly. The strong performance of the Qatari economy, and the direct official support for the banks and their portfolios, seems at odds with the negative performance of the Qatari market. Corporate earnings were not so encouraging in 2012, but analysts say they expect a turnaround this year driven by massive public spending by the state, with the non-oil sector expected to lead economic growth. 2013 has clearly shown some signs of improvement with May 13 being marked as a historic day when Qatar Exchange’s market capitalisation breached the magical barrier of QR500 billion. The capitalisation, or total value, of Qatar Exchange (QE) shot up beyond the QR500 billion mark to QR500.86 billion ($137.59 billion) at the close of trading on that day. The exchange when it began formally

camille Raphael General Manager, AlShall Economic Services

46 > qatar today > june 2013

operating in mid-1997 had just a handful of listings. Today it has 42 listed entities – a number that, unfortunately has remained unchanged for almost three years now. There was talks of a mega primary issue being launched by the state with a total capital of QR45 billion ($1236 billion) as Doha Global Investment Company, DGIC, with shares said to be made available to citizens, local firms and institutions via a mega initial public offering (IPO), but this seems to have been delayed. The market did not perform in 2012 as well as it should have done, while world stocks have begun recovering now, and it is also expected that the Qatari market will follow suit. Right now, most prized stocks here remain undervalued. Analysing the local exchange’s performance with regard to the global market climate, Camille Raphael, General Manager of AlShall Economic Services, the first market capitalisation-based index for the Doha Stock Exchange, says that 2012 was a good year for many of the world’s major stock markets, which witnessed in some cases double-digits growth and a recovery from their weak 2011 performance. “That occurred in an environment where the global economy was passing through fears of disintegration of the European Monetary Union or the economy of the United States. The Europeans in particular provided a highly responsible model to counter their problems,” he says. “Within this environment,” Raphael continues, “the Qatar Exchange, registered in 2012, a loss that was difficult to explain, while most GCC markets ended in the positive zone during the same period.” Although major indicators such as market value and total trading volume have increased during the year, the QE official index, total trading value, and number of deals have decreased. AlShall’s index (market capitalisation weighted / 42 stocks) finished the year showing a decline of 2.14% compared with the end of 2011, while the QE price index dropped by 4.79%. As in previous years, Qatar Today with AlShall Economic Services, embarked on its annual exercise of listing the current

Mannai Corporation


Medicare Group



Qatari Investors Group



Average EARNINGS PER SHARE Growth with Dividend

Zad Holding co.


Qatar Oman Investment co.


qatar co. for meat & livestock trading


Qatar Gas Transport Co. (Nakilat)


United Development co.


Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations

Average price growth


27.2 24.6

24.6 22.0 I7.6 I3.2

Qatar National Bank


Al Khalij Commercial Bank


Dlala Brokerage & Invest. Holding co.

Zad Holding co.

Qatar Gen. Insurance & Reinsurance co.

National Leasing Holding co.

Medicare Group

Qatar Cinema & Film Dist. co.


Qatar Fuel (WOQOD)

Five-year selection criteria All financial and trading performance was taken as an average of the five year period


Al Khalij Commercial Bank

Qatar Co. for Meat & Livestock Trading (WIDAM)

Top Ten companies listed on the Qatar Exchange. “We retained the same calculation methodology that we had chosen and used in previous years, i.e. we just looked at historical performance from an investor’s perspective. We have tried to answer the investor’s dilemma of choosing the right company to invest in by looking for the company that would have made him happiest from a financial performance perspective, had the investor bought one share of that company at the beginning of 2008 and sold it at the end of 2012, along with any additional shares received for free during this period,” explains Raphael. To the share market price appreciation, was added the amount of cash that the company distributed to its shareholders from its net profits over the period under study, as well as the attractiveness of the company’s shares based on revenue and net profit growth, with the rationale that the value of a company (hence its share price) could potentially increase if the company’s sales revenues and net profits keep increasing extraordinarily year over year. Lastly, liquidity of the stock expressed in terms of average traded volume and number of transactions was taken into consideration, given that if someone would like to exit the investment, he or she should be able to do so that easily. For calculations of price per share, cash distributions, net profit and revenue growth, we took the total shares held at the end of 2012 on the basis of the purchase of one share in that company at the beginning of 2008, and the computations were made on a per-share basis. “This was done to offset any ownership dilution from corporate actions such as mergers and acquisitions, or capital increases. It should be noted that from time to time, Qatar-listed companies distribute cash to their shareholders during the year, depending on their previous year’s performance (what is referred to as cash dividends), as well as free share dividends,” Raphael says.

National Leasing Holding co.

Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations

qatar today > june 2013 > 47

development > coverstory

Vodafone Qatar is the only stock whose price


presently falls below par, that is, below the face, or nominal, value of


to smooth out extraordinary one-time performances, and assess the listed companies during a period that has seen both boom and gloom. The overall rankings of the companies listed on the Qatar Exchange since the beginning of 2008 are based on a selection of financial measurements, which may not be the only ones used to assess the attractiveness of a company. It is important to diversify the financial measures to be used in conjunction with statement analysis to achieve a more objective approach in determining a company’s rank in the market as a whole. Relevant to an investor’s point of view, the overall ranking of companies listed on the stock market was based on seven financial indicators in line with their respective weighted average criteria. The weights used are 20% each for Price Growth, Dividend Yield and Liquidity, while Net Profit Growth, Revenue Growth, Return on Equity and Return on Asset are weighted 10% each. It is important to note that the rankings apply only to 36 companies out of the 42 currently listed on the Qatar Exchange because only companies that have been listed on the Qatar Exchange since the beginning of 2007 and that have at least five years of public disclosure on record were selected. This year, Aamal Holding Company, Mannai Corporation, Qatar Oman

Average Dividend Yield II.5%


Masraf Al Rayan

Doha Bank



Salam International Investment Limited

Ahli Bank

8.7% Qatar Co. for Meat & Livestock Trading



Commercial Bank of Qatar

Qatar International Islamic Bank



Doha Insurance co.

National Leasing Holding co.

6.5% Qatar Islamic Bank

Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations 48 > qatar today > june 2013

Investment Co and Al Khalij Commercial Bank are included for the first time, as they have now reached the five-year criterion for selection. Eight of last year’s Top Ten companies were included in this year’s rankings. Qatar Co. for Meat & Livestock Trading (now know as Widam Food Company), which held third position last year, took over the top spot from Masraf Al Rayan, which slipped to second. Qatar Fuel (Woqod), which has consistently been among the top performers since we started the ranking process, took the third spot. This year’s top performers are spread over various industries. Three companies come from the financial sector, namely Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar Islamic Insurance and Doha Bank while another three companies, Wisam Food Company, National Leasing Holding and Mannai Corporation, come from consumer services sector. Two companies come from the industrial sector – Industries Qatar and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing while Qatar Fuel (Woqod) comes from utilities sector. Finally, Medicare Group in the healthcare sector and ranked sixth this year, has been included in the Top Ten for the first time since we started the ranking process. Price Growth Historical data for year-end share closing prices and share dividend distributions for the past five years were used to assess each company’s ranking in terms of price growth (or average yearly portfolio value increase based on one share purchased in each company at the beginning of 2008). Qatar Company for Meat & Livestock Trading (Widam), which was ranked second last year, occupied this year’s number one spot in terms of price growth, followed by Qatar Fuel (Woqod). Price growth is equal to the average growth of share closing price each year multiplied by the total shares held on the basis of one share purchased at the beginning of 2008 plus additional shares distributed in dividends over the 2008-2012 period. Dividend Yield One of the major criteria in our methodology for determining a company’s overall ranking is the calculation of its dividend yield, which demonstrates how much a company pays out in dividends each year in relation to its average market capitalisation. Masraf Al Rayan still achieved the

346.I% highest rank in terms of dividend yield. It is also evident that seven of the top 10 companies in terms of dividend yield came from the financial sector, while the rest came from the consumer services sector.

Average Revenue Per Share (including Bonus share)

Net Profit Growth Net profit growth has been calculated on a cumulative shares held basis, to reflect whether the shareholder’s original claim over each company’s net profit has increased or decreased over the five-years period, and by how much on average. This has been done to offset any possible dilution resulting from corporate action. Medicare Group still ranks the highest, achieving a remarkable 959% percent average increase in net profit per share held. Average net profit growth is equal to the average yearly growth of earnings per share (EPS) multiplied by the total shares held on the basis of one share purchased at the beginning of 2008 plus additional shares distributed in dividends over the 2008-2012 period. Earnings per share is equal to net profit divided by total number of subscribed shares. Net Revenue Growth Revenue growth is one of the basic criteria in assessing a company’s attractiveness, with the assumption that the higher the revenue growth, the more the potential for future profits. Qatar Gas Transport Co. (Nakilat) significantly led the rankings, with cumulative shares held multiplied by revenues per share growing at an average of 346%, followed by Al Khalij Commercial Bank at 105% average RPS growth. Net revenue growth is calculated as the average growth of total revenue per share multiplied by the total shares held on the basis of one share purchased at the beginning of 2008 plus additional shares distributed in dividends over the 2008-2012 period. Revenue per share is the total revenue divided by total number of subscribed shares. Liquidity The measure of liquidity should indicate how easily shares can be purchased or sold on the QE based on average trading volume per year and number of trades per day from 2008 to 2012. Generally speaking, companies with both high daily volumes of traded shares and a high number of trades have a better liquidity, as compared with thin trading volumes and number of trades. Widam Food Company ranked first on this criterion, followed by last year’s top per-


63.9% 60.4%



43.5% 42.2%



. . . & ) . k co co co Gaso. ) . for roup roup eatAM co C an Khalij ices o G G D M B easing I C ev L atar kilat Al (W D Q a . for Holding (N olding o estors H C erman edicare evelopment ad arehousing G edical ational M Transport Z nv rading D I W N T atar Commercial M Limited Q k ulf atari atari G Q Q United estoc iv L Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations

liquidity Rank

Economy Sector

Market Sector


Consumer Services





Masraf Al Rayan


Consumer Services


Barwa Real Estate co.




Qatar Gas Transport Co. (Nakilat)


Health Care


Qatari German Co. for Medical Devices




Industries Qatar


Consumer Services


Qatar Oman Investment co.




Qatar Islamic Bank


Consumer Services


National Leasing Holding co.


Health Care


Medicare Group

Company Qatar Co. for Meat & Livestock Trading (WIDAM)

Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations qatar today > june 2013 > 49

development > coverstory

Market efficiency improvement in Qatar

Qatar’s equity capital markets have come a long way since the inception of Qatar Exchange (QE) in 1997, with institutions, regulators and the QE continuing to make efforts to further improve market efficiency.


n efficient capital market has two key features: the availability of timely and relevant information; and sufficient volume of daily trades reflecting that information.

Milhan Baig Director, Deloitte Qatar

deloitte ‘The opinions expressed here are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Deloitte & Touche (M.E.). Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Deloitte is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence for over 85 years. Deloitte is among the region’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries, with over 2,500 partners, directors and staff who are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.’ 50 > qatar today > june 2013

Information Fundamentally speaking, the price of listed stocks should reflect the market’s collective view based on available information. As such, having timely and relevant information impacts “pricing efficiency”. For example, the existence of potentially “undervalued” or “overvalued” stocks encourages investors to exploit and benefit from any mismatch between current and expected prices. However, to do this, investors would require relevant, high-quality and timely information to make their trade decisions. Without this, expectations on value could be misconstrued, leading to erroneous pricing and investment decisions. Fostering a wider and deeper information platform in the market which investors and analysts can use to obtain information more readily and easily is amongst the signs of improving market efficiency in Qatar. There is encouragement for listed companies to provide more detailed and timely information, coupled with an increase in the numbers of broker/analysts in the market. The Qatar Financial Markets Authority also continues to introduce measures to enhance information transparency whilst advocating the need for more qualitative and efficient information. Trade volumes Foreign ownership currently represents a small minority of shareholdings in the 42 companies listed on the QE. Foreign ownership restrictions, whether regulatory or institutional, confine the pool of available investors, which means lesser trade volumes and lower liquidity available to buy and sell stock. Relaxing these restrictions and attracting more foreign investors could help the market. Given the current global economic climate, Qatar’s economic and financial stability is attractive to foreign investors with an appetite for emerging economies. Equity derivatives can provide additional efficiencies as they incorporate the market’s views on pricing from creating additional demand and supply volumes. Such products haven’t quite gathered

much interest in the GCC (apart from Kuwait) as investors largely prefer simple trading mechanisms. However, encouraging the use of simple derivatives such as equity options or the facilitation of exchange-traded funds could be another step towards achieving better efficiency in the market. More listings More companies are now in the pipeline for listing on the QE and its new Qatar Exchange Venture Market for SMEs. This would logically lead to greater trade volumes and pricing efficiencies, as having a bigger pool of listed stocks to choose from means a greater degree of relativity available in the market. Volumes aside, traders and institutions might take more carefully considered buy and sell decisions, which could also result in more efficiently priced trades in the market. New listings conducted through an initial public offering (IPO) are mainly based on fixed pricing in the GCC, as opposed to “book building” as used in other markets. Book building involves providing value parameters to potential investors who will place their own valuations on the stock to eventually determine an IPO value for the company. It is arguable that a fixed IPO might lead investors’ expectations, which could be counterintuitive to the concept of market efficiency. However, the use of book building would lead to an IPO value based on the views of several market participants, which means a more efficiently priced stock on launch and a perhaps a reduced risk of price mismatching in the aftermath. As such, introducing and utilising book building on IPOs could be an initiative to consider further. Lateral development Technical analysts often follow “block-holding” trades as a strategy to set price expectations. Block-holdings allow shareholders with a material shareholding in a company to have access to privileged information about the company and to strike a privately negotiated deal at a price different from the quoted price. With more rigorous regulation now being discussed in Qatar around transparency and price negotiation, activities such as block-holding trades can be expected to be conducted in a manner more closely aligned to the more developed markets.

Average ROE 2008-2012



Qatar National Bank




United Development co.


Qatar National Cement co.

Consumer Services


Ahli Bank

Consumer Services



Qatar Co. for Meat & Livestock Trading

22.0% 21.8%

24.5% 22.9%


National Leasing Holding co.

Qatar Cinema & Film Dist. co.



National Leasing Holding co.

Al Khaleej Takaful Group



Qatar Co. for Meat & Livestock Trading


Mannai Corporation

Qatar Industrial Manufacturing co.

Qatar National Cement co.



Qatar Islamic Insurance co.


Average ROA 2008-2012

Qatar Fuel (WOQOD)

Performance of the Qatar Exchange for Year 2012 Performance indicators for the QE showed a mixed performance for the year 2012. Major indicators such as market value and total trading volume increased while the general index, total trading value, and number of deals decreased during the year. AlShall Index (cap-weighted / 42 stocks) finished the year at 1,180.42 on December, showing a decrease of 2.14% compared with 2011 year-end when it closed at 1,206.26 points. At the end of the year 2012, the QE Price Index finished at 8,358.94 points, losing 4.79% of its closing value at the end of the year 2011 (8,779.03 points), and losing 3.7% of its value compared with the end of the year 2010 (8,681.65 points). Total volume during the year 2012 (252 trading days) increased to 2.428 billion

Consumer Services

Mannai Corporation


Average Return on Asset (ROA) ROA determines the company’s ability to utiliSe its assets effectively and efficiently, thus earning a good return of it. In this criterion – crucial to asset-intensive companies – Industries Qatar ranked first followed by Qatar Fuel (Woqod), the same as last year, showing close results. Average return on assets is the yearly net profit divided by the average yearly total assets, and the ranking is determined by taking the arithmetic average ROA for the five year period from 2008 to 2012.


Industries Qatar

Industries Qatar

Average Return on Equity (ROE) Return on equity measures the ability of the company to generate sufficient returns for the capital invested by its shareholders. Qatar Fuel (Woqod) maintained its top position as in last year’s ranking in this category, followed by Qatar Electricity & Water Co. Average return on equity is equal to yearly net profit divided by the average yearly shareholder equity. The ranking is determined by taking the arithmetic average ROE for the five-year period from 2008 to 2012.


Qatar Electricity & Water co.


former, Masraf Al Rayan. Liquidity is calculated as a 50% weighted for average daily transaction plus 50% weighted for average daily volume per outstanding share (20082012).

Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations

Utilities Qatar Fuel (WOQOD)

Source: Audited Financial Statements for the past five years (2008-2012), Qatar Exchange and ALSHALL Calculations

qatar today > june 2013 > 51

development > coverstory GCC & World Stock Markets

Qatar Exchange Bahrain Bourse


Kuwait Stock Exchange (Price Index)

1,065.6 1,143.7

5,934.3 5,814.2





Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange

8,358.9 8,779.0

SSE Composite (China)

2,269.1 2,199.4

2,630.9 2,402.3





I3 6



Nikkei 225 (Japan)

FTSE 100 (UK)



5,897.8 5,572.3


13,104.1 12,217.6





2 CAC 40 (France)

3,641.1 3,159.8



5 I


2012 2011


Saudi Stock Exchange


Shares whose prices remain lower than

QRI5 (QRII) (QRI4.56) (QRI3) (QRI3.65) (QR I3) include Mazaya Aamal

Salam International

Qatar German Co for Medical Devices and Qatar Oman Investment Company

52 > qatar today > june 2013


DAX (Germany)

7,612.4 5,898.4

10,395.2 8,455.4

6,801.2 6,417.7

Muscat Securities Market

5,760.8 5,695.1


4 Dubai Financial Market

BSE SenSex (India)

19,426.7 15,454.9


1,622.5 1,353.4


6.0% shares; this was higher by 5.5% than the total traded volume of shares during the year 2011, (252 trading days) which was 2.303 billion shares. The daily average of traded shares during the year 2012 rose to 9.636 million shares compared with a daily average during the year 2011 of 9.138 million shares. The total number of deals fell to 0.882 million for the year 2012 compared with the total number of deals during the year 2011 (1.119 million). The value of traded shares for the year 2012 amounted to QR70.674 billion, 15.3% lower than the value of the year 2011 (QR 83.419 billion), and the daily average traded value was QR280.45 million compared with a daily average traded value during 2011 of QR 331.03 million. The highest traded volume by sector was for the consumer services sector (51.4%), followed by the financial sector (19.5%), industrial sector (18.6%), telecommunications sector (6.3%), healthcare sector (3.6%) and utilities sector (0.5%). Seventeen stocks of the total 42 listed

companies advanced and ended at higher prices than their previous year (2011) last trading day’s prices, while 25 stocks declined. Total subscribed shares during the year 2012 reached 10.197 billion shares 5.5% higher than the total subscribed shares during the year 2011 which was 9.663 billion shares. Market capitalisation of the 42 listed companies increased to QR 459.88 billion during the year 2012, an increase of 0.6% on the year 2011 market value which was QR457.35 billion. Comparative Performance of Selected Stock Markets During 2012, which was a good year, 12 out of 14 selected stock markets ended the year with gains, six of them with double-digit growth. The same 12 markets ended 2011 with a negative performance. The German DAX led the markets in the positive zone with a 29.1% rise; the Indian market came next with 25.7%, followed by the Japanese Nikkei with 22.9%. The Indian market was the biggest loser back in

2011 with a 24.6% drop. This perhaps justifies its gains in 2012. The other markets in the positive zone were led by Dubai, which gained 19.9% and came fourth. Abu Dhabi market came 6th with 9.5% gains, and between them stood the French market which achieved growth of 15.2%. The Saudi market came 8th after overtaken by the Dow Jones which came 7th with 7.3% gains. The Saudi market lost most of its early gains late in the year and finished up 6.0%. Perhaps one fact which is worth commenting on is the rise of the Chinese market index in December alone by 14.6%, to move from the bottom of the negative zone with losses of 21.7% in 2011 to the positive zone with 3.2% gains in 2012. What is worth studying is the ability of China’s management to deal with what was believed to be an asset bubble about to burst, but resulted in a steamoff without explosion. The Kuwait stock market gained 2.1%, mainly at year-end. It is believed that the increase in the market liquidity occurred for political reasons and supported stock prices. It was not surprising for the Bahraini stock market to lose, as it now occupies the bottom of the table, with a decline of 6.8% in value. This reflects the sensitivity

Weighted Average Criteria Price Growth


Dividend Yield


Liquidity 20%, Net Profit Growth


Revenue Growth


Return on Equity


Return on Assets

10%. (Al Shall Formula for QATAR TODAY Top Ten calculations)

and danger of internal political conditions. But what is difficult to explain is the loss of the Qatari market, which sits alone with the Bahraini market in the negative zone amongst the selected markets. The Qatari market loss was about 4.8%. The strong performance of the Qatari economy with direct official support to the banks and their portfolios, does not justify this negative performance of the Qatari market

Profile of ALSHALL Economic Services: ALSHALL Economic Services QSC is a private Qatari shareholding company providing different economic, business and corporate finance advisory services to local and regional institutions. It has been established in late 2002 by ALSHALL Consulting Company KSCC, a Kuwait-based private consulting company, along with other partners, as a strategic arm in Qatar in order to provide the same range of established services in Kuwait. ALSHALL has built its track record and accumulated experience through continuous involvements in the business sectors in Qatar, Kuwait and MENA region during different economic cycles. This directly has strengthened the business consulting services, the core activity of ALSHALL. ALSHALL aims to provide services that help its clients meet their challenges, be competitive, efficient and ready to exploit growth opportunities.

The numerical accuracy of the calculations has been verified by Deloitte. Disclaimer: ALSHALL expressly disclaims any and all liability for, or based on or relating to any such information, including, without limitation, any information contained in, or errors in or omissions from, the article or based on or relating to any reader’s use of the document. All analyses appearing in this article do not in any way constitute an offer or recommendation to invest in any of the listed securities. ALSHALL hereby disclaims any responsibility of any direct or indirect claim resulting from using this article.

qatar today > june 2013 > 53

development > coverstory


Widam Food Company (Qatarco. for meat & livestock trading)

Last year Average Price Growth Average Dividend Yield

03 0I 03

Pioneers in Food Safety Widam Food Company, formerly Mawashi, was established in 2004, and was listed on the Qatar Exchange in the same year. The company’s activities are concentrated on meat, meat products, livestock and fodder trade and transportation; hides and waste treatment; and managing the automatic and other private slaughterhouses in Qatar.

T Ahmed Nasser Sraiya Al-Kaabi, CEO and Managing Director, Widam

he company went through difficult times in the first few years following its establishment. However in 2010, when it had a new board of directors, a government decision to acquire full ownership of the company was taken to enhance the company’s performance and activities in this vital field of supplying an essential food product, meat, to the community. The government took this step because the company had failed to meet its obligation of providing this commodity to the required standards of quality and quantity. The new board of directors of Widam Food Company, with Ahmed Nasser Sraiya Al-Kaabi as CEO and Managing Director, was given the power to use its full potential until Widam became one of the biggest companies not only in the Gulf region but internationally too. Al-Kaabi talks about the challenges that the company went through and the successes it achieved to win substantial international accreditation for quality and performance. How do you rate the performance of your company in the past year? Our hard work resulted in making Widam a multimillion dollar company with 27,000 shareholders and the highest share value of QR60 in 2012, up from QR10 in 2009. Net profits stood at QR75 million in the financial year ending December 31, 2012, compared with QR58 million the previous year, an increase of QR17 million or about 29%.

54 > qatar today > june 2013

This high-quality performance contributed to the enhancement of the company’s commitment to distinction and support of the national objective of achieving food security. The company bagged many accolades at the 16th International Star for Leadership in Quality Convention held in France in June 2012, including four quality management system awards from the Australian Meat and Livestock magazine. This is a strong testimony to the commercial success of the company, its effective contribution to the local and regional food products sector, and the soundness of its position in the field of food safety and general health. How did your company benefit from the country’s economic boom to achieve this high growth rate? The outstanding position that Qatar holds in the international arena is no longer a secret, thanks to the wisdom and prudent leadership of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and his government, whose policies have made Qatar a favourite destination for employment and tourists from all over the world. Qatar also enjoys a strategic geographical location and we cannot miss the fact that it heads the list of the world’s 10 richest nations with a GDP of over QR320,320 ($88,000) per capita. All these factors have made Qatar a thriving international place of opportunity and caused the population to grow dramatically, which is reflected positively in all economic sec-

tors including contracting, construction, real estate, trade and other sectors down to food consumption. We in Widam Food Company, as major players and suppliers in the sector of live and chilled meat, consider meeting this increase in demand one of our topmost priorities. In confirmation of this, and as has become well known to all, Widam presented to the government a proposal to enlarge its activity to cover poultry in addition to livestock and meat, due to poor supply of this commodity in the market. This expansion, if approved, will enhance our main role of supporting local food security and will also increase the benefits and profits of our shareholders. What major changes or decisions has the company had to make recently to maintain its performance? How difficult was it to make those changes or take those decisions? Since we took over the management of Widam Food Company (knowm as Mawashi at that time), we have developed an strategic work plan to transform the company from the state it used to be in to the position we were hoping to raise it to. We started by attracting the most highly skilled and experienced workforce, holding workshops, and studying the experience of pioneering countries in this field to upgrade the company to international levels through adopting international standards of food quality and food safety. We have also developed the automatic slaughterhouse at a cost of over QR11 million so far, pursuant to our commitment to apply the best service standards and use the most relevant up-to-date international systems. We are different from other sectors. Ours is one of the most sensitive and important sectors. We are a source of food, so we cannot afford to make mistakes, and despite many difficulties and challenges we are destined to put forth the best performance and extend the best services. We shall not spare any effort to present the best quality, cleanest and safest food products to the consumer. We are part of the core of Qatari society; thus we are steadfastly committed to serving the whole society, Qataris and expatriates alike. Our values are derived from the authentic, firm Qatari traditional and religious heritage that cannot be compromised. In confirmation of this we changed the name of the company from Mawashi to a new name more relevant to our local culture

2 Masraf Al Rayan An Islamic Bank for the New Age

Last year 01 Average Dividend Yield 0I LIQUIDITY 02


hen Masraf Al Rayan was launched in 2006, one aim was sacrosanct, and has stayed so till today – to provide banking, financial and investment services bound by Islamic Sharia principles. Having achievied success on the local front, the bank is now looking to take Islamic banking global, with several international acquisitions lined up. The bank’s business remains structured around its four main divisions: Retail banking, Corporate banking, Financing, and Finance and advisory services

Adel Mustafawi, Group CEO, Masraf Al Rayan

Performance The first-quarter results released by the bank are quite promising, with an increase of I3.3% in Net Profit to


million ($110 million).

The bank’s total assets increased to




billion in the first quarter

compared with

of 2012, an increase of

8%. Financing activities increased by 20.4 percent to reach



while customer deposits increased by 48.3% from last year to


billion. Total returns on shareholders’ equity increased by 9% to reach about



earnings per share reached

QR0.53 QR0.47 QRI2.33 QRII.3I.

compared with

, And book value per share increased to compared with

Highlights 2012 Masraf Al Rayan is still keen on acquiring a stake in the loss-making Islamic Bank of Britain, the only Sharia-compliant bank in the UK. “We are at an advanced stage regarding fulfilling the requirements of the concerned authorities in the UK,” Adel Mustafawi, Group CEO, was quoted as saying in a Qatari English daily. The bank is also eyeing an acquisition closer to home. “Regarding the acquisition of a stake in a bank in Libya, we are in the final stages of preparing the required studies. This will be followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding with our partners before we proceed to secure the required approvals from the concerned authorities in both Qatar and Libya,” he said. Masraf Al Rayan has said that once acquired, the bank in Libya would also start functioning as an Islamic bank. Good tidings came in October last year when Moody’s upgraded the bank’s ratings to A2/ Prime-1 and its future outlook was changed to "stable". This was the result of an improvement in the credit standing of its own financial strength and based on its strong track record of maintaining sound assets. Looking ahead Chairman and Managing Director of Masraf Al Rayan Dr Hussain Ali Al Abdulla is geared for growth in the bank’s prospects, mirroring Qatar’s own daring new strides into the future. “We aim to scale even greater heights of success in the coming months, especially in the light of the massive increase in the state’s general budget for the year 2013-2014, in which over QR210 billion ($58 billion) has been allocated for government spending, an 18% increase over the previous year, and over QR40 billion ($11 billion) has been earmarked for major projects,” he said. qatar today > june 2013 > 55

development > coverstory


qatar fuel (WOQOD)

Last year Average Price Growth ROE 01 ROA

02 03 02

Jetting Ahead


oqod is a public share company, listed on the Qatar Exchange since 2002. The company is responsible for the distribution of diesel, gasoline and aviation fuel through a fleet of more than 150 road tankers. The company trades in ship-to-ship bunkering, bitumen importation and distribution, lubricants and modern service stations. Woqod also distributes all LPG in Qatar. The company is rated as one of Qatar’s Top Ten companies, having been profitable since its establishment and the first Qatari company to pay a dividend in its first financial year. Future plans Woqod is all set to open two more technical inspection centres, "Fahes" at Al Mamoura and Wadi Al Banat, by the second quarter of

2013 according to the Chairman, HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah. The company is also constructing 11 more petrol stations (which are now in the design phase), apart from opening five new service centres and expanding two of its existing petrol stations this year. These were announced by the Woqod board to shareholders at an annual general meeting chaired by HE Abdullah bin Hamad. Pipeline Besides these two new centres and the fixed centre at the company’s headquarters in the Industrial City, there are four specialised portable inspection stations in service. Woqod is all set to complete the final phase of connecting a new pipeline from Mesaieed refinery to transport jet fuel to Hamad International Airport (HIA), the timing of which has been set for the opening of the new airport. This was disclosed by the

Mohamed Khalifa Turki Al Sobai, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Woqod

company’s directors to the shareholders at the same annual general meeting. The project is being implemented in two phases. The first phase of linking the current 12-inch pipeline with the 16-inch pipeline has been completed, following successful technical testing. According to Woqod's Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mohamed Khalifa Turki Al-Sobai, “Woqod’s strategy is to be the best downstream energy company in the region as measured in terms of customer and employee satisfaction and shareholder earnings.”

Performance The company's net profit for 2012 was QR1.15 billion ($0.3 billion) and earnings per share (EPS) amounted to QR22.13. The Board of Directors recommended distribution of cash dividends of QR519,750,000 ($142,757,086) at a rate of 100 % of the value of the paid-up nominal capital, in addition to 25% bonus shares. Woqod's interim financial statement for the first quarter of 2013 revealed a net profit of QR241 million ($66 million) in comparison with QR240 million for the corresponding period in 2012.EPS amounted to QR3.71 as of March 31, 2013 versus QR3.70 for the same period in 2012.


National Leasing Holding Co.

Last year 04

Committed to Sharia Law


ational Leasing Holding Company (Alijarah), established in 2003 as a Qatari shareholding company, has been providing products and services related to renting and leasing to individuals and small, medium and large business firms. With subsidiaries that are involved in property development, equipment and limousine services, Alijarah prides itself on its commitment to the principles and provisions of Islamic Sharia law in all transactions

56 > qatar today > june 2013

5 A Decade of Excellence Industries Qatar

Highlights 2012 Last year ROE 03


05 0I

Performance IQ ended 2012 with results that added more cheer to their tenth anniversary celebrations. They recorded their best-ever revenue and net profit on record – QR18.7 billion ($5 billion) and QR8.4 billion ($2.3 billion) respectively, beating forecasts. Shareholders’ equity rose from QR5 billion ($1.3 billion) to QR30 billion ($8.2 billion) despite the payment of annual dividends that exceeded QR23 billion ($6.3 billion). At the same time, total assets increased from QR8.7 billion ($2.4 billion) to over QR40 billion ($11 billion).

Abdulrahman AhmAd Al Shaibi, Chief Coordinator, Industries Qatar


he oldest of the Industries Qatar companies, Qafco, was established in 1969 and the youngest, Qafac, in 1991. IQ celebrates a decade of being listed on Qatar Exchange, after an initial public offering in 2003. From steel to petrochemicals and

fertilisers, IQ’s operations are based in Qatar and the UAE, with products being exported to markets as diverse as Australia, India and the United States of America. The group operates a number of world-class production facilities in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates

Last year witnessed the launch of IQ's important giant projects of QAFCO-5 and QAFCO-6 and the low density polyethylene plant, LDPE-3. The number of companies under the IQ umbrella, whether directly or indirectly, also increased from 8 to 18. “Having realised the limited growth opportunities locally, the board approved a growth strategy framework in early 2012 whereby IQ can develop alternative strategies to continue its successful record. In this regard, an internationally renowned consultant has been appointed to identify potential opportunities for IQ to move ahead with its aspirations. The consultants are working closely with all stakeholders in order to deliver the most suitable growth strategy for IQ. The strategy is expected to be progressively unveiled during 2013,” Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman and Managing Director of IQ, said in a financial report. Looking ahead According to the company's five-year business plan, profit is expected to remain on par with 2012 levels as moderate incremental volume and minimal price inflation is offset by rising production costs. Accumulated capital spent over this period is expected to be around QR6 billion ($1.6 billion). Good financial results have been attributed mainly to a larger share of gains from joint ventures and better cost management. “We continue to consider IQ our top pick among Qatari equities,” QNB Financial Services was quoted as saying to a major English daily. “With major expansions now complete, significant cost-advantaged volume growth in fertilisers and petrochemicals should allow for decent earnings growth in 2013 even if economic conditions deteriorate.”

HIGHLIGHTS 2012 Last year the share capital of the group was increased by 50%, infusing the company with fresh funds. According to first quarter results released recently, Alijarah and its subsidiaries reported an operating income amounting to QR140 million ($38 million) and a net profit of QR46 million ($13 million). Total shareholders' equity stands at QR1,270 million ($340 million) and earnings per share at QR0.93.

Performance Total operational revenues of the company reached



$167 million) at the end of 2012. The company has witnessed profits amounting to



($52 million) in the same year, with Earnings per Share (EPS) amounting to

QR4.2I QRI,320

and total equity jumping to

million ($362 million).

The Board of Directors recommended the distribution of a cash dividend of

20% QR98,960,400

(i.e. QR2 per share), a total of


qatar today > june 2013 > 57

development > coverstory



Average Price Growth 04

Medicare Group

The latest financial statements for the first quarter of this year revealed a net profit of QR24 million compared with QR23 million for the corresponding period in 2012, the company said in a statement. Earnings per share (EPS) amounted to QR0.87 as of March 31, 2013 versus QR0.82 for the same period in 2012. At the Annual General Meeting held in April the board decided on distribution of a cash dividend of 18 percent of the nominal share value (i.e. QR1.80 per share), Sheikh Abdulla bin Thani Al Thani, Chairman of the Board, announced. Managing Director and CEO of Al-Ahli Hospital and Medicare Group Abdulwahed Al Mawlawi attributed the promising financial results mainly to the opening of new facilities at the hospital.

The Business of Love and Care


edicare Group (previously known as Al-Ahli Hospital Company) was established in 1989, but it was not until 1995 that it was announced as a public shareholding company. Its flagship 250-bed luxurious private general hospital, Al-Ahli, commenced operations in 2004.

Performance Medicare Group’s net profits increased by



for the full year 2012 compared with the previous year.

The Board suggested the distribution of cash dividends of




an increase of



from the year 2011. The company’s net operational profits reached


million ($12 million) compared with

Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company

million ($11 million) for end of year 2011. This was reflected in the earnings per share, which yielded

QRI.60 QRI.39

compared with

for end of year 2011.

Last year 06

Building Qatar’s industrial future

Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMC) was established in 1990 as a shareholding company, and was eventually listed on the Qatar bourse. It is the pioneering local manufacturing company operating in the field of downstream intermediate industries in Qatar.

Abdulrahman Al Ansari, CEO, QIMC 58 > qatar today > june 2013


he company has a sizable stake in various industrial projects inside and outside Qatar, and is continuing to explore new avenues of contribution to the industrial and economic future

of the country. Speaking about the support system offered to local companies by the government, QIMC CEO, Abdulrahman Al Ansari, says: “The huge budget assigned by the state is a two-edged sword. It is a positive step, but it will not be enough unless

the state compels foreign companies to use Qatari products and local raw materials, and reserves all small-scale and local contracts for local companies so that they can benefit from the experience and knowhow of competing foreign companies.” QIMC has 17 companies operating under its umbrella. “We are studying many projects, some of which will be launched soon,” says CEO Al Ansari. Current projects of the company include Qatar Metals Coating Company, which is specialising in coating steel bars with epoxy at a capacity of 100 thousand tons annually; Qatar Sand Treatment Plant, which produces treated (washed) sand for construction and agricultural uses; Qatar Paving Stones Company, which is designed to produce premium-quality paving and kerb stones of all colours and patterns; Qatari-Saudi Gypsum Industries Company, which produces gypsum powder to fulfil the requirements of the local and GCC markets for this material; Qatar Clay Bricks Company, which produces high-quality red clay bricks and interlock to satisfy the requirements of the construction market; Amiantit Qatar Pipes Company Limited, which produces fibre glass pipes and fittings for infrastructure components; and Qatar Aluminium Extrusion Company, which produces aluminium profiles in all shapes, sizes and colours to meet the requirements of the accelerating development in the construction sector. ” QIMC signed a QR400 million ($100 million) contract with the Indian KLJ Organic Company Limited in a ratio of 60 : 40 shareholding to establish KLJ Organic Qatar Company Limited to produce high-quality chlorinated paraffin waxes, caustic soda and other chemicals in Qatar. Lack of efficient infrastructure Al Ansari confirmed the importance of small and medium-scale industrial enterprises, saying that this sector, being an essential component of the economy, is one that should get the most care from any government. He says: “According to recent studies, small- and medium-scale enterprises help solve a number of problems in the field of job creation, which is essential for social and political stability. Most of the challenges facing countries are based on the extent of their ability to create new jobs. Accordingly, this sector should hold a leading position in the economics of every country.” He went on to say that despite the ef-

forts exerted to develop this sector in the GCC countries, actions were not sufficient, and according to a study conducted by the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), the right infrastructure for this sector is not yet in place in these countries either. He indicated that caring for the smalland medium-scale industrial enterprises sector is unfortunately not qualitative. He thinks development of this sector should be qualitative and be introduced through providing all the required infrastructure components including industrial estates, technical support, equipment and other requirements, in addition to facilitating the operations of the main and subsidiary industries and associated activities within the sector itself. Emerging projects in this sector should be nurtured and monitored closely until they become fully fledged and strong enough to play their role in supporting the national economy. He emphasised the importance of establishing a purposeful system to do that, as the development of this sector is tied to the availability of such an efficient follow-up and assessment system. The provision of qualified cadres that have enough experience to manage such a system and support the workforce to implement this vision and strategy is crucial, according to Al Ansari. Industrial investment risks On the industrial investment risks, Al Ansari says: “There are real risks associated with industrial investment. However, this sector is here to stay, and it represents the future,” calling for prioritising industrial development in national visions and strategies in the countries of the region. About integration between the GCC countries, he feels: “Integration is essential, and I personally see that these countries are so identical that they can be labelled as one,” confirming at the same time the importance of further facilitating inter-GCC trade movements in line with the requirements of each country. Regarding competition between the products of GCC countries, he says: “The current systems that protect local products need to be revised. It is not within the ability of GOIC or any other entity to protect local products in the GCC countries from competing against each other. You cannot do that even in the same country. The ministries of energy and industry are still only issuing certificates, while their role should

go beyond this to provide an industrial strategy. Such a strategy, in the case of Qatar, should be reflected and have the lion’s share in the Qatar National Vision 2030.” Technological strategy About the strategy of the company, Al Ansari says: “The strategy of the company is to provide new technologies, introduce highquality new products and expand the local market by encouraging foreign companies to engage in joint ventures in Qatar. The investments of the company cover various industrial sectors including chemicals, petrochemicals, construction materials, and food industries.” He added that the KLJ Organic Qatar project is an integrated facility that will produce 66,000 metric tons of caustic soda, 28,000 metric tons of calcium chloride and 6,600 tons of hydrochloric acid annually. QIMC has additional plans to be implemented in the near future regarding integration between all the units of the plant. Al Ansari confirmed that the actual production of the new company will start towards the end of 2014 or early 2015 at the latest. On Qatarisation plans, Al Ansari says: “Qataris represent 30% of the total workforce of QIMC, whose administration is in the process of preparing a study to increase the ratio of Qataris through creating new work opportunities for them.” Commenting on the conclusion of a MOU between GOIC and QIMC, Al Ansari says: “The MOU aims to establish a framework to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the two parties, particularly in the technical field and feasibility studies of the small- and medium-scale industrial enterprises proposed by both parties. To achieve these goals the two parties will work to build the capacities of the staff of the export department at QIMC to enable them to prepare an import marketing plan and extend other services associated with developing the import and supply services portfolio of the company, while exploring viable industrial investment opportunities in various industrial sectors. They will also conduct a technical evaluation of small- and medium-scale industrial projects' locations, facilities, services and industrial operations, with a view to reducing costs through improving energy efficiency, increasing productivity, reducing waste, combating pollution and maintaining the cleanliness of the environment.” (Interviewed by Ezdhar Ibrahim) qatar today > june 2013 > 59

development > coverstory HIGHLIGHTS 2012


Mannai Corporation





New Kid on the Block


Alekh Grewal, Group CEO and Director, Mannai Corporation


new entrant in this year’s Top Ten list is the heavily diversified Mannai Corporation, whose interests range from automotives and energy to IT and travel and, with its recent takeover of Dubai’s Damas Jewellery, diamonds. Though the company is over six decades old, Mannai entered the stock market rat race only as late as August 2007, and today it stands eighth on Qatar Today’s prestigious list. Probably its brand new logo, which was unveiled last year, has infused the company with fresh enthusiasm and luck

Qatar Islamic Insurance Co.

By acquiring 66% of Damas International Limited in April, Mannai Corp. became the majority shareholder in one of the GCC’s biggest networks of jewellery stores last year. In November, Mannai recovered a portion of what it spent on Damas, QR1.1billion ($300 million), through its second successful rights issue at QE, which received an overwhelming response and QR685 million ($188 million). It also took a tentative step into the Turkish automotive market with the Chevrolet dealership that was established in Istanbul in December, with the support of General Motors. From the boardroom In the annual report for 2012, Chairman Hamad bin Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al Thani mentioned that Mannai Corporation had a strong and stable business base in Qatar and the sound fnancial and economic policies of the Qatari Government to thank for its performance that year. Commenting on its first-quarter performance in 2013, Alekh Grewal, the newly-appointed Group CEO and Director, said that “the strategy to diversify the Group’s earnings outside Qatar has been instrumental in achieving these results”. He also noted that, “Qatar’s thrust for infrastructure development for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the rail network project will provide great opportunities, and Mannai, with its diversified business activities, is ready to play an active role in the development of our nation”.

Last year I0 Average DIVIDEND 05 ROE 03

Following the vision of the leader Performance

Ali Ibrahim Al Abdulghani, CEO, Qatar Islamic Insurance Company


li Ibrahim Al Abdulghani, the CEO of Qatar Islamic Insurance Company, says that for any institutional teamwork to achieve its objectives, it needs the guidance of a visionary and inspiring leader. Team leaders should always have a comprehensive and consolidated perception about their work systems followed by thorough assessment of all the elements of the strategic vision and growth plans. This is exactly what Al Abdulghani did to enable his company to achieve its outstanding results, he says

60 > qatar today > june 2013

The company achieved tangible operational performance advancements during the year 2012 compared with 2011. Fixed assets grew by 7% from QR637 million to QR679 million; shareholders' equity grew by 4% from QR268 million to QR278 million and net profits of shareholders' returns increased by 34% from QR45 million to QR58 million. “These results were achieved due to the strong and continuous support from the board of directors and the loyalty and diligence of the work team of the company,” says Abdulghani. “The economic growth in all sectors including construction, industry and commerce witnessed by the country, thanks to the support of HH the Emir of Qatar and HH the Heir Apparent, had a positive effect on the performance of insurance funds of all national insurance companies, which represent a major driver and channel of the national economy,” he says. Challenges and changes “In order to achieve operational development objectives and maintain higher growth rates, senior management had to take many decisive decisions to modify the methodology and course of action. This was done through reevaluating the structure of human resources; defining the general policy of work with regard to indemnity, recovery and financial and technical accounts; revising recovery agreements to conform with the new vision of operational development in such a way as to provide more freedom of movement for the company in accepting major insurance risks; encouraging the company’s technical cadres to be more creative through continuous training; and supporting inter-departmental communication systems. These actions enabled the departments to achieve the targeted growth rates,” he says. The company’s administration worked from 2012 to put Qatar Islamic Insurance Company back on track to hold its rightful position as a pioneering Islamic insurance company, he says, a position it has held since its establishment in 1995.



doha bank

A customercentric approach


oha Bank, founded in 1979, is today the third-largest commercial bank (in terms of assets) in Qatar. The bank’s operations are spread across strategic locations in the country and it also operates fully fledged branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, and has representative offices in Turkey, Japan, Singapore, China, South Korea, the UK, Germany and Australia, encompassing a strategic network of correspondent banking relationships

Dr R. Seetharaman, Group CEO, Doha Bank

Highlights Last year Doha Bank was honoured with several international awards: Best Bank in Qatar 2012 by Global Banking Finance Review Most Innovative Bank 2012 by Global Banking Finance The Golden Peacock Global Award for Sustainability by IOD Best Bank in Qatar 2012 by EMEA, which it received for the third consecutive year Best Corporate Responsibility Programme in the Middle East Best Credit Card, for Doha Bank Lulu Shopping Credit Card Best Performing Trade Correspondent 2012 from Deutsche Bank The bank went on a spree to maximise its strong GCC presence with the opening of full branches in Kuwait and Dubai and the recently-added full license in Abu Dhabi. Capital Intelligence, the international credit rating agency, has affirmed Doha Bank’s financial strength rating at ‘A’. Capital Intelligence has assigned a positive rating (upgraded from stable) on Doha Bank’s foreign currency outlook. Ratings by Moody’s, Fitch and S&P respectively were A2/A/A. In line with the growth in opportunities in Qatar and internationally, Doha Bank increased its capital by 5% in the first quarter of 2013 with the issuance of new shares to raise additional capital of QR1.55 billion ($0.43 billion) to meet operating needs at the local and international levels. The bank plans a further increase of 25% during the year through a debt issuance or global depository receipt.

From the boardroom Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R. Seetharaman commented on how the bank was leveraging Qatar’s economic growth, saying: “Qatar’s strong economy and credit ratings as well as the overall positive sentiment in Qatar as a business destination and sovereign investment partner benefits major financial institutions in the country both domestically as well as whilst seeking international growth. Doha Bank is not looking at leveraging this positive sentiment so much as looking to participate in the numerous global opportunities available to innovative firms from Qatar, capitalising on our core strengths – our long and successful corporate banking history and the ability to provide expert advisory services to serve the needs of major largeticket projects and ventures.” Elaborating on the key challenges the bank faced last year, he said: “One of the most important things considered in the past year has been risk management pertinent to each undertaking, and ensuring that our shareholders continue to derive value from their equity stakes.” Leader vs entrepreneur "These are very closely aligned terms. Entrepreneurship can however be considered a subset of leadership. Leadership begins from the ground up. Leaders work their way up an organisation and build trust along the way. Leaders are present at all levels of an organisation, not just at the top. However entrepreneurship is often an executive role and one that seeks fundamentally to grow a business and develop new avenues for development. To be a successful entrepreneur, one needs to be a leader who has earned the respect and loyalty of their coworkers," said Seetharaman.


The bank’s net profit at the end of 2012 reached


billion ($0.36 billion) compared with QR1.241 billion ($0.34 billion) in 2011.

Total assets rose from


billion ($14.5 billion) in 2011 to QR55.2 billion ($15.6 billion) in 2012, up 4.7 percent. Loans and advances rose from


billion ($8.5 billion) in 2011 to QR33.8 billion ($9.3billion) in 2012, a growth rate of 8.9 percent. Customer deposits grew by 8.5 percent, whereas total deposits increased from



($8.7 billion) in 2011 to QR34.4 billion ($9.5 billion) in 2012. Shareholders were compensated with the distribution of cash dividends of 45 percent of the paid-up capital, i.e. QR4.5 per share, to the shareholders.

The first quarter results released recently placed the bank’s total assets at

QR57 QR34 QR33


($15.72 billion), its loan portfolio at


($9.46 billion) and deposit portfolio at


($9.12 billion).

qatar today > june 2013 > 61

business > bottomline

WHAT Every MENA Jobseeker Should Know


n the current age of informational empowerment, tactical and timely data can help you make the right decisions when it comes to your career. The career experts at have gathered opinion data from thousands of professionals from around the Middle East and North Africa to give you a list of 12 statistics that which will help you plan your career progress: 1. Attitude matters 28.8% of employers in the MENA look for "hunger, drive and ambition" as the most important factors when making a hiring decision.

2. It’s all about your transferable skills 67.2% of employers don’t mind hiring a candidate who has the relevant skills but no direct experience in the company’s field. 3. A poor CV won’t take you places The biggest mistake that jobseekers make, according to 21.3% of MENA employers, is having poor language on their CV. 4. Interview preparation is important 20% of MENA employers consider poor preparation prior to interviews to be the biggest turn-off in potential employees. 5. Having an online CV is essential 32.5% of MENA professionals found their last job online.



of employers don’t mind hiring a candidate who has the relevant skills but no direct experience in the company’s field.

62 > qatar today > june 2013


of MENA professionals found their last job online.


6. Senior-level recruitment has also moved online 50.5% of MENA employers recruit senior executive talent online, 18.3% through networking and events and 14% through traditional headhunters. 7. Having a professional online public profile is imperative 57% of MENA employers “always” research candidates online before hiring them, and a further 27.9% do so “frequently”. 8. Patience is essential during the job search Only 34.2% of professionals say it can take one month or less to hire a senior executive. 34.1% maintain it takes between 1 and 3 months; 13.8% between 3 and 6 months; 7.6% say between 6 and 12 months; and 10.3% claim it can take more than a year. 9. A large segment of MENA employers favour growing top ranks from within 42.2% of employers say they “rarely hire new talent” at top levels and prefer promoting from within. However, 27% “very regularly hire new talent” for senior executive roles and a further 31% maintain they “always” look outside the organisation for executive roles.

34.2 % 34.I % I3.8 % 7.6 % I0.3


% is the #1 job site in the Middle East, with more than 40,000 employers and over 11,595,000 registered job seekers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the globe, representing all industries, nationalities and career levels. Post a job or find jobs on today and access the leading resource for job seekers and employers in the region.

of professionals say it can take one month or less to hire a senior executive.

maintain it takes between one and three months;

between three and six months;

say between six and 12 months; and

claim it can take more than a year.

10. Career changes are easier earlier on in one’s career 45.1% of MENA professionals maintain it becomes harder to change jobs as they rise up the career ranks. 11. The grass is not always greener when it comes to compensation 60.8% of MENA professionals feel they are not compensated enough. 12. It is possible to enjoy work 49% of MENA professionals maintain they enjoy their job “on most days” and a further 25% say they enjoy their job but only “on some days”


of MENA professionals maintain it becomes harder to change jobs as they rise up the career ranks.

qatar today > june 2013 > 63

development > tag this

Which is the

smartest city

of them all? 64 > qatar today > june 2013

The importance of cities is indisputable. Housing more than half of the global population, consuming 75% of global energy, producing 80% of global CO2 emissions and generating more than 80% of GDP, cities form an integral part of global economy. Qatar ranks 11th in a global competitiveness report. But how do cities compare with each other; what makes them smart cities? By Sindhu Nair


atar ranks eleventh in the Global Competitiveness Report 20122013 of the World Economic Forum (WEF), reaffirming once again its position as the most competitive economy in the region. It moved up three places from last year, sustained by improvements in its macroeconomic environment. According to the WEF, competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. Countries are measured in 12 parameters that include institutions, infrastructure, macro economic environment, education, labour market effectiveness, technological readiness and innovation. With the major motivator towards the whole “Smart City” transition being the need to earn a competitive edge over other cities in attracting more business and investment, Doha, a Smart City-in-the-making, is poised to boost this ranking even higher, if it plays its card right. While sustainability seems to be an integral part of the Smart City formula,

what exactly does the phrase entail? What are the features that make a city smart? More than three years ago, Master Planner with the Ministry of Urban Planning and Infrastructure Ian Lyne spoke to Qatar Today about the country’s master plan built on the “smart city” concept, a concept that defies our early learning of scattered living but one that is fast gaining popularity. Lyne (with the Qatar National Master Plan in its initiation process) said that “high population densities in cities reduce transaction costs, make public spending on infrastructure and services cheaper, and make the generation and diffusion of knowledge easier. In turn, these factors attract the fastgrowing sectors of an economy into cities.” Qatar’s Master Plan focuses on developing new centres, core cities, with higher population densities that use a public transit model for transportation and put a competent infrastructure in place with emphasis on public spaces, parks and green buildings. Three years later, with no recent update on Doha’s Master Plan strategy, the concept of Smart Cities is getting popular and is being implemented globally. Abdullah Al Karrani, the Qatar National Master Plan (QNMP) Project Manager

Sean Patrick O’Brien, Global Vice-President of Urban Matters and Public Security at SAP,

qatar today > june 2013 > 65

development > tag this

Ghassan Barghouth, Country President, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, Schneider Electric, (left) with Charbel Aoun, Senior Vice-President, Smart Cities at Schneider Electric (right).

66 > qatar today > june 2013

at the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, has clarified that the Master Plan is in its final stages of planning and will be revealed in a few months. “There has been a lot of hype around Smart Cities. Holistically, this is about improving the lives of people in cities and driving the economy. Smart Cities essentially use technology to do things faster and easier,” says Sean Patrick O’Brien, Global Vice-President of Urban Matters and Public Security at software giant SAP, talking to Qatar Today on the sidelines of the Arab Future Cities Summit held in Doha in April. Cities have been smart for centuries. But what has happened now is that cities are competing against each other to attract work-force, business and investment, all of which combine to make the economy stronger. “Competitiveness, however, is a holistic concept,” says O’Brien, “While economic size and growth are important, several other factors determine a city’s competitiveness, including its business and regulatory environment, the quality of human capital and indeed the quality of life. These factors not only help a city sustain a high economic growth rate, but also create a stable and harmonious business and social environment.” A city has a continuously evolving, hugely complex nature, says O’ Brien. “You

cannot label it smart just based on its infrastructure. It is much more complex.” Competitiveness is not just about technology but also about resilience; how the city manages risks and also copes and recovers from disasters, how clean and safe it is and how green and welcoming the country and its citizens are. Smart Cities are not just intelligent (most cities are intelligent) but are astute, says O’Brien. Lots of cities are doing smart things and Boston is one of them, he adds, specifying the ongoing programme that ensures that Boston residents receive the best services and increases the accountability of city officials by sharing detailed performance information. “Boston About Results is about aligning strategic goals, metrics and initiatives with clear accountability and ownership that enables city officials to continuously evaluate services and improve quality of life for all Bostonians,” he says. From filling potholes to managing traffic and even collecting garbage, everything can be monitored by Bostonians. The Performance Management Scorecard gives city officials and residents the ability to find out what city agencies are doing, how well they are doing it, and where they can improve. Collecting, sharing and analysing the data helps city agencies understand what programmes are working. It also enables the city to determine the root cause of problems and take proactive action to help ensure progress on strategic policy goals. The cornerstone is a webbased system for collecting and tracking performance data for all city departments. The scorecard is based on the SAP Strategy Management application and a mobile app, CitizenInsight, delivers information to mobile devices, according to O’Brien. He remembers that SAP’s first client in 1994, was the City of Edmonton when the process was better known as “Transforming the City” and later SAP has been involved in many such city transformations. According to Nathalie Leboucher, Head of Smart Cities Programme, Orange Business Services, a smart city is basically one that uses digital tools to support its social and economic development and creates new services for citizens, companies and tourists. “These digital tools can also optimise and

Top 11

gci 20I2

gci 20II
























The most competitive of them all The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 by the World Economic Forum This year’s report finds that Switzerland tops the overall rankings for the fourth consecutive year. Singapore remains in second position with Finland, in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th). Qatar reaffirms once again its position as the most competitive economy in the region by moving up three places to 11th position, sustained by improvements in its macroeconomic environment, the efficiency of its markets for goods and services, and its institutional framework. Its strong performance in terms of competitiveness rests on solid foundations made up of a high-quality institutional framework, a stable macroeconomic environment (2nd), and an efficient goods market (10th). Low levels of corruption and undue influence on government decisions, high efficiency of government institutions, and high levels of security are the cornerstones of the country’s very solid institutional framework, which provides a good foundation for heightening efficiency. Going forward, as noted in previous editions of the Report, reducing the country’s vulnerability to commodity price fluctuations will require diversification into other sectors of the economy and reinforcing some areas of competitiveness. Qatar’s efforts to strengthen its financial sector appear to be paying off, as trustworthiness and confidence in the country’s financial markets improved from 80th to 44th this year. However, the legal rights of borrowers and lenders remain underprotected (99th). Given its high wage level, diversification into other sectors will require the country to raise productivity by continuing to promote a greater use of the latest technologies (27th) and by fostering more openness to foreign competition currently ranked at 42nd, reflecting barriers to international trade and investment.






united states

united kingdom

hong kong sar



reduce the costs associated with the operations of the city. For example, connected meters – for gas, water or electricity – can control consumption and create new services, such as advising of a water leak in your house. “Other examples are intelligent energy management systems installed at homes, in buildings or in a whole area; connected cars, providing connectivity in the car for emergency calls (a requirement for all new models of vehicles in Europe by 2015) and also for in-car entertainment; and intelligent transport services, to help better manage overloaded transportation networks. “Orange recently (January 2013) launched a new joint venture company in Qatar in partnership with Sheikh Fahad Bin Ghanim Al Abdul Rahman Al Thani, dedicated to large, complex systems integration programmes and operations, including new cities and large infrastructure projects, such as those related to the FIFA World

Cup in 2022. This is a very significant step that will support the development of worldclass ICT infrastructure in Qatar,” she says. Charbel Aoun who is the Senior Vice-President, Smart Cities at Schneider Electric, lays down the principles of a smart city quite explicitly; efficient, livable and sustainable. Making a city smart involves improving the efficiency of the city’s urban infrastructure – public services like schools, services and transportation, creating jobs and improving attractiveness for residents by making the city a better place to live, work and play. “Every city is smart in its own way,” says Aoun, “and each city has its own specific challenge in becoming smarter.” All cities will have conversations on how to deal with global challenges, but each of them will interpret the tasks in a different way and that is where Schneider comes in, says Aoun, to bring tailor-made solutions for each city to tackle its specific challenges. qatar today > june 2013 > 67

development > tag this

Doha’s Smart City solution at Lusail The Smart City service at Lusail City positions it as one of Qatar’s most advanced cities. Lusail will provide a switched-on, high-technology environment comprising both wired and wireless communication networks to offer advanced services. An operation control centre will be responsible for implementing and managing the strategic information technology network covering the city’s entire systems and activities. For example, the city’s traffic light system will be monitored and controlled to ease traffic at peak times. A centralised command and control centre will handle the surveillance systems in and around the city, maintaining the security of buildings, facilities and streets around the clock. Video surveillance is recorded and stored. The centre can group locations and connect surveillance systems in order to respond quickly to any emergency. All these safety measures and procedures are designed to maintain stability and bring complete peace of mind to residents of Lusail City when it is completed

Nathalie Leboucher, Head of Smart Cities Programme, Orange Business Service

8 Points for a smart city Good governance: stable, inclusive, effective and transparent Human and social capital: educated, skilled, available and flexible work force Infrastructure: high quality Financial expertise: maturity, knowhow and expertise Resilience and Sustainability: green, clean and risk-reducing Strong economy: wealth, growth and innovation Societal character: open, free, diverse and fair Global attractiveness: safe, secure, friendly and accessible 68 > qatar today > june 2013

Schneider has provided smart solutions to 200 cities and some of them are already being introduced in the region, says Ghassan Barghouth, Country President, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, Schneider Electric. “Kahramaa has already introduced Schneider’s smart solutions related to improving the water distribution network. In Saudi Arabia, we have worked on mobility and traffic management systems. Utilities, advanced metering infrastructure, distribution management and energy management solutions are areas where we have been strongly present,” he says. Challenges Challenges for a city are three-fold, says Aoun – global, regional and city-specific. “Globally with the surging population and resources getting scarcer, the pressure on cities is increasing. Every city has an aspiration to attract businesses and people. But today you are not competing just with the next neighbouring city or a regional city but with every single city in the world. You have to be in both defence and offence mode – one to protect what you have and one to attract more. So the challenges are globally similar. Regionally, it is more about energy efficiency. Locally, it is about city specific integration, legislation, interoperability, talent and skills management and, to an extent, data privacy. It is more about people and processes than technology. A Smart City is about creating a system of systems that work together,” he says. Barghouth feels that the vision for change is present in the region. The drive for energy management and efficiency is strong, he says. Qatar, together with the wider Middle East region – is unique because of the ‘greenfield’ opportunities it presents. Urban and community plans can

include the ‘smart’ elements that deliver valuable intelligence, supporting some of the key economic and other deliverables set out in the Qatar 2030 Vision, says Nathalie Leboucher. “Smart cities might not be engaging in great activities, but there are some very interesting ones,” says O’Brien, talking about an activity in Pune, India, where the government, in a green drive introduced a mobile tree census app that could record every tree in the city. The Pune Municipal Corporation deployed a Geographical Information System (GIS) that incorporates geo-tagging and the creation of a data-base for the effective mapping and enumeration of trees. Such a system can also ensure the availability of data in respect of each individual trees as well as the systematic collection of data for the entirety of an area with a grading of trees.” “Collaboration between private and public sectors is a major challenge,” according to Aoun, “Once that is in place then there will be innovation and smarter solutions for cities.” Transparency is another major hurdle that governments in cities need to clear to pave the way for a smarter city living. “Backed by the right level of visionary leadership, which is already so evident in Qatar today, the solutions for smart cities can drive good governance, empower users, engage communities, unlock innovative services and achieve unprecedented urban resilience,” says O’Brien. For Qatar, the right foundation that is already in place in the form of the National Vision 2030, and keeping the people at its core, Doha is on the way to being a Smart City and climbing higher in the competitiveness ranking

development > tag this

The Man and his Machine

Meet Qatar’s indigenous inventor

Away from the glitz and glamour of current-day Doha, in a modest building in the crowded part of the city, Qatar’s indigenous inventor dreams of making his desert land green. Agri-Green – the machine that makes water from thin air – is the brainchild of Adnan Fahad Al-Ramzani Al-Naimi, a humble, soft-spoken Qatari from a modest family background. By Sowmya Sundar

70 > qatar today > june 2013

“It will not be expensive to make these machines. I am trying to make it affordable. For large-scale machines, the money can be recovered in a year or two.” Adnan Fahad Al-Ramzani Al-Naimi


he "spark" occurred to him quite late in life, when he was nearing retirement at Qatar Petroleum. “The idea came to my mind in 2006 when I was thinking about solutions to overcome the water problem in Qatar. By 2009, I was convinced that the idea of condensing suspended humidity in the air could work.” Agri-Green, an environment-friendly solution for dry desert lands, was indigenously developed by Naimi, based on the principles of condensation. The machine uses solar and wind energy to draw humidity from air, condense it and convert it to water. It also produces cool air and electricity, which can be used to cool cattle sheds and greenhouses. “It can be an environment-friendly solution for the country’s water crisis and also provide an impetus to the nascent solar industry in Qatar. My aim is to make the country green and support its food security,” says Naimi. Like most inventors, Naimi’s journey was

not smooth. When he discussed the viability of the idea with friends and well-wishers, it was brushed aside by most of them. They warned him against squandering his retirement money. “They thought I was crazy to spend my retirement money on this idea.” Qatari innovators are generally met with cynicism, as a result of which some projects are forgotten after the initial euphoria. “There is no confidence in the capabilities of a Qatari," he laments. Nevertheless, in 2010 he started researching his dream project from his brother-in-law’s workshop. “I funded the project myself without any external funding. I have spent more than QR3 million on this project. "Financial assistance is hard to come by, says Naimi. “People appreciate me, pat my back, but when it comes to financial assistance it is not easy. Maybe I don’t know which doors to knock on. Even the workshop where I plan to start manufacturing now is a rented one,” he says. Today, he is on track to commercialise Agri-Green, which has been recognised

“The idea came to my mind in


when I was thinking about solutions to overcome the water problem in Qatar. By


I was convinced that the idea of condensing humidity could work, and started work on it.”

qatar today > june 2013 > 71

development > tag this The Machine

Can generate an average of The size of the machine depends on the amount of water required to be produced. The pilot plant size is

Constructed in steel, the device consists of coolers, compressors, condensers, fans and different types of filters.

6 2 3 500 gallons

of water per day approximately (2 cubic metres per day)

“I am working on a new design for greenhouses using solar panels. The greenhouses currently used in the Gulf are not suitable for our weather conditions.”

72 > qatar today > june 2013

Does not consume fuel or electricity; generates energy only from natural resources.

metres long

metres wide

metres tall

The larger the area to build solar cells and windmills, the more electricity can be produced.

internationally. Naimi is the recipient of a number of awards, including a Gold Medal and a Glory Medal at the 2012 iENA International Trade Fair in Germany. During the Doha COP18 Summit in 2012, the United Nations recognised Agri-Green as a 100% sustainable project under the Clean Development Mechanism. Currently, Naimi is trotting the globe scouting for suppliers and meeting prospective clients. He has been to China and Vietnam to buy supplies, has bought equipment for his workshop and plans to start commercial manufacturing this year. Naimi has received queries from local firms as well as companies abroad, including a request from Somalia. He intends to comply with all requests received so far. In addition, he is close to finalising three projects for Saudi-based clients including a megaproject for supplying water to 30,000 people. He is evaluating the possibility of manufacturing in the UAE and Saudi Arabia as well. Citing cost pressures, he says: “Qatar is very expensive. I can buy four coolers in Saudi for the price of one in Qatar. I am not able to find affordable office space here, either.” On the investment required to set up a commercial project and the expected pay -back, he says: “It will not be expensive to

make these machines. I am trying to make it affordable.” According to a strategic study done for a small-scale unit, a prospective client can get back his investment in four and a half years. “For large-scale machines, the money can be recovered in a year or two,” says Naimi. He plans to start recruiting and training staff soon. His success with his maiden project has given him the confidence to work on new ideas. Naimi plans to design a greenhouse suitable for the hot climate of a desert and give it free to his Agri-Green clients. According to him, the greenhouses used in the Gulf are not suitable for the hot weather conditions in the desert. They are designed for cold countries like Europe. “I am working on a new design using solar panels. The production is not optimum in the greenhouses currently used as the cooling is not uniform,” he says. Naimi is also pursuing another idea – a machine that produces electricity. It is still an idea in progress and he is still testing it out. “I wanted to present this one during the COP18 Summit, but it didn’t work then. Right now, I am concentrating on the first project. Once I commercialise this I will start work on the second idea,” he says.

development > tag this

Keep your friends close What’s that saying... “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer”? Well, there may be reason to assess the priority there. Rory Coen looks at the ever-evolving subject of cybercrime and how attackers are using social engineering techniques to infiltrate some of the most secure network environments.


et’s start with a quick question: Have you ever received a rather dubious e-mail from a good friend? Maybe they’re telling you about a great offer on a digital camera, or about the cruise of a lifetime. They don’t say much, just “Hey, check out this link” as if there’s no time to waste. The link looks like the characters have been strung out on a clothes line for airing after spending an hour in the tumble dryer, but you can’t resist clicking on it. After all, it’s from Joseph who spends his weekends volunteering at the local refuge centre. “Joe’s as genuine as they come. Let’s see this offer, then.” Aw, but you’re too smart for that, I hear you say. Many of us have become immune to these threats and we understand they’re most probably “spam”. In Joe’s innocence, he must have clicked on a dirty link himself which propagated these threats to anyone and everyone in his contacts. The general protocol is to send the e-mail to the wastebasket and tell Joe his account has been infected. But these attackers are getting smarter too, because they are doing their homework every night. If they see you as a potential

conduit to important data within your organisation, they will go online, research your hobbies and interests, identify your most trusted friends and your professional acquaintances. They will find out what they need to know to get you to click on that link. So the next time you get an e-mail from Joe, he might be pointing you to an article that is of mutual interest. Maybe you both have a peculiar interest in Asian tomatoes, so an e-mail from Joe about this subject would seem very genuine. You click on the link and maybe it is a website about Asian tomatoes and maybe it’s not, but you carry on regardless, unaware of the fact that the attackers have planted a seed in the link to gain access to your machine. They can look at passwords, access files and send similar e-mails from your account to, pardon me, more important people than yourself. Now you have to ask yourself this question: How much trust does the chief executive officer at your organisation have in you – or how much trust does he need to have to click on a “genuine enough" looking link from you? The answer is not much. He’ll probably click on it if the attackers have done their homework properly. Without knowing it, his machine is compromised. Johnny Karam, Regional Director of Symantec for the Middle East, revealed how

Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report - Key findings: Small Businesses:

3I % 300 %

of all attacks - up

ON 2011

74 > qatar today > june 2013

Most targeted employees: Knowledge workers with access to intellectual property

27 30% % 24 %

Web-based attacks:

Sales personnel

increase in 2012

an organisation in this region tested its employees in such a scenario. They sent a generic e-mail, with a “loaded” link, from a random account to everyone in the organisation and traced how many hits it got. The memo which complemented the link was enticing enough to convince 70% of its employees and 40% of the IT department, alarmingly, to click on it. Prey and prosecute This is just one of the ways these guys can get into your network. They prey on society’s weaknesses and prosecute their agenda when they get somebody who lets down their guard. The recent attacks on Al Jazeera and Qatar Foundation were similar to this. A recipient was tickled into clicking on a link which s/he felt was genuine. And these types of targeted attack are becoming more frequent now. Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) reveals a 42% surge in targeted attacks in 2012 compared with the previous year. The manufacturing sector saw the greatest increase while small businesses shipped an extra 31%. “Attackers may be targeting smaller businesses in the supply chain because they are more vulnerable, have access to important intellectual property, and offer a stepping stone into larger organisations,” said Karam. “In addition, they are also targeted in their own right. They are more numerous than large enterprises, have valuable data, and are often less well-protected than larger companies. For example, an attacker may infiltrate a small supplier in order to use it as a spring-board into a larger company. They might use personal information, e-mails and files from an individual in such a smaller company to create a well-crafted e-mail aimed at someone in a target company."

Mobile Malware

58% Increase of

in 2012


surge in targeted attacks in 2012 Symantec

In 2012, there was a big increase in attacks on people in research and development and sales roles, suggesting that attackers are casting a wider net and targeting senior positions below the executive level in order to gain access to companies. The increase in attacks has been particularly high overall in these two areas. Attackers continue to use social engineering techniques in targeted attacks, the report revealed. For example: messages impersonating EU officials, messages that appear to come from security agencies in the United States and target other government officials, or messages that piggyback announcements about new procurement plans from potential government clients such as the US Air Force. This shows extensive research and a sophisticated understanding of the motivation of recipients, and makes it much more likely that victims will open attachments that contain malware. “This year’s ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes,” said Karam. “The sophistication of attacks coupled with today’s IT complexities, such as virtualisation, mobility and cloud, require organisations to remain proactive and use ‘defence in depth’ security measures to stay ahead of attacks.”

Android dominates the mobile malware landscape with

97% of new threats

“This year’s security report shows that cybercriminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes.” Johnny Karam, Regional Director of Symantec for the Middle East.

QATAR: Decrease in global ranking across all categories including spam, malicious code and bots. Ranks seventh in the Middle East for outbound malicious code and ninth overall for its security threat profile. Ranks eighth in the Middle East for outbound viruses, with the top industries being transport and utilities organisations.

Malicious websites:


are actually genuine sites that have been compromised and infected. Business, tech and shopping websites are among the top five types of site hosting infections.

qatar today > june 2013 > 75

development > tag this

Regulation CALLED for on THE

Internet Local media recently came under censure with one of the newspapers referring to journalists as “gifted” media, obliquely referring to the culture of gifts, cash handouts and free overseas trips “which is spoiling journalists, and the newspapers seem to be turning a blind eye to the malaise as that helps them multiply their advertising revenues.” BY Abigail Mathias


hile the role of the journalist has been deliberated by Qatar Today previously, how the media are perceived was never properly addressed. Northwestern University in Qatar recently conducted a comprehensive study on media perceptions in the region and found that the Internet is widely regarded as the "free zone". This could explain the flurry of online news sites. More interestingly, even with increasing Internet penetration, Qatari nationals look to interpersonal sources as their major source of news and entertainment, which reaffirms 76 > qatar today > june 2013

the important role the majlis plays in the life of nationals. Qatar also showed the highest use of tablet usage among the eight countries surveyed. A strange dichotomy emerged from the findings, says Everette Dennis, the Dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar and a researcher himself. “Almost every country surveyed views the Internet as a 'free zone'. It's a platform where people can express themselves on almost any topic. Idealistically it should offer freedom of speech. The paradox here is that respondents wanted to see more government regulation, particularly on the Internet. “We attribute that to accommodating the traditions and culture of the region.

Everette Dennis, the Dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar

While the social network growth was not a surprise, the extent to which it is strong in some places and not so strong in others was interesting to see,” he says. “As far as assimilating data was concerned, we wanted to see if there were similar trends in different countries. We wanted to see the changes that exist after the 'Arab Spring', as Al Jazeera calls it. “We hoped to see if media coverage in general was strengthened or weakened. There was a strong consensus that the media in general have become better. This was something we found across platforms, be it radio, television or the Internet. That was very interesting,” explains Dennis. When it comes to economic background, Internet usage among the top 50% by economic status is 89%, while among the

bottom 50% usage is 93%. This, he stated, was the converse of the effect in the West. Surprisingly, the most populous country, Egypt, is media-poor in its use of social media. The survey on “Media Use in the Middle East” covered eight countries: Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. “There were places we would have liked to go, like Iran and Yemen, but because of time and resources we had to shortlist countries. We didn't want to oversample the Gulf. We have three GCC countries – Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE – so we went ahead with that,” says Dennis about the choice of countries surveyed. Work on the survey began a year ago. “While the emphasis was on Qatar, we also

How do people in the Arab world perceive the media?


respondents aged 18 years and above were asked to shed light on how people in the region use media, and whether they trust their sources of information. Al Jazeera came out as one of the top sources for news in the Arab World.

qatar today > june 2013 > 77

development > tag this Survey says Of the

9I9 60%

When it comes to social media, a high proportion of participants use

94% 52%

respondents from Qatar,

agree with the statement 'It is okay for people to express their ideas on the Internet even if they are unpopular'. this is just

46% 14% of social media users report using Instagram, the majority of whom are in Bahrain.


below the average of the total number of respondents from eight countries. Saudi Arabia is highest at

Television is considered to be the most reliable source of information for most of the countries surveyed, except Bahrain, where the internet is thought to be the most reliable source of information.


Voices from Qatar Qatar Today conducted a short survey of our own. Malaysian resident Prema Kumar has been living in Qatar for the past seven years. She says: "The media haven't evolved much since 2006, when we first moved. In fact the newspaper sometimes gives false news," she says. Sakshi Vashist has lived in Qatar since 2004 and has a different view. She says: "The media have evolved tremendously over the past decade. There was a time when the Internet was so expensive that the sole connection to the outside world and latest happenings was either through newspapers or word of mouth." "Today, there are more than three English daily newspapers, at least a dozen English magazines, and news channels, apart from Arabic and other languages. Due to availability of a plethora of electronic resources just a click away, more people have online subscriptions in Qatar. Fewer people read printed versions evidently, because getting news off the Internet and television is hassle-free," she says. Photographer Ren Wlasiuk relocated to Qatar seven years ago. She is sceptical of the media, saying: "It hasn’t really changed much. Except for Doha News, which is online, there hasn’t been any change. Papers just spout press releases and are filled with advertisements." Anu Vye made Doha her home eight years ago. She says: "The media have evolved considerably over the years but local news is still not reported accurately, if at all. Very limited coverage, although community events are now pre-advertised as opposed to finding out about an event after it has finished!" Speaking about media, she says: "It still has a long way to go in terms of total press freedom."

78 > qatar today > june 2013


in Qatar feel the local media are credible, compared with


in Saudi Arabia.

A majority in Qatar 57%, Saudi Arabia 62%, Lebanon 64 % Tunisia 52% want tighter regulation of the Internet in their countries, survey results show.

Note: Data from the media survey can be found at

joined the World Internet Project and combined studies with the questions they asked worldwide. We partnered with the Harris Poll, since we wanted the highest standards of research,” explains Dennis. Responding to sceptics and how they view media, Dennis says: “There are many who don't believe the media are credible. While the institution is susceptible to criticism, it is also more prone to open discussion, even to correction at times.” Dean Dennis speaks passionately about the need for such a survey. “We were very intrigued with the development of the media in the Middle East. In fact it is vital information to the students of our school. If you don't know the territory you are in, that can lead to a lot of misrepresentation. While there were a few studies on the media in this region, we found a lot of them were either outdated or not well conducted. We thought we needed to do our own research.” The road ahead “We will be collaborating with the Interna-

tional Communication Association in London this June besides the Association for Education for Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in Washington, DC in August where this data will be discussed. "We are also publishing a monograph in much more detail for all of the countries surveyed. We intend to get this information out and are sending it to different industries that we looked at, including radio and TV. Recently Bahrain picked up the print media aspect, that book reading is higher there,” says Dennis. Looking forward, Dennis says, “We would like to learn more about people who work in the media; this includes motion pictures, TV, theatre, other kinds of entertainment. This is part of a continuing programme. We will try and understand the media of this region. For instance 'Ramadan media' is a genre of the Islamic media that can be explored. By analysing these aspects, our students can understand the job market better and contribute to better communication in the region.”

development > tech talk

Digital Addiction

Time for a

Digitox ? By Damian Radcliffe

80 > qatar today > june 2013


hat was the first thing you did this morning? Did you lean over and kiss your spouse? May be you staggered, bleary-eyed, into the bathroom for an invigorating shower. Or perhaps you rolled over and lazily hit the snooze button? Repeatedly. Until you really had to get up. For many of us, our first reaction was probably none of these things. Instead, we probably reached for our phone and checked our e-mail. Then our social networks. And only then did we feel like we were ready to face whatever challenges the day in front of us posed. If you fall into this last camp (I don’t, but I’m married to someone who does), then don’t worry. You are not alone. In fact you can probably take comfort from the thought that at least you don’t live in South Korea. Last year the government of the digital pioneering nation estimated that 2.55 million of its 50 million population were addicted to their smartphones. To fall into this category you had to use your phone for over 8 hours a day. That’s a lot of screen time. Examples such as this are part of an increasing volume of evidence that suggests that among the benefits of living in a 24/7 connected world there are downsides too. Not least our digital dependence. MIT Professor Sherry Turkle identified

this digital irony in her book Alone Together when she gave it the very telling sub-heading “Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other”. As she notes on her website, “we shape our buildings, Winston Churchill argued, then they shape us. The same is true of our digital technologies. Technology has become the architect of our intimacies.” This sentiment is arguably especially applicable to young people. A 2012 report, “Gen Z: Digital in their DNA” by JWT Intelligence, found that amongst those born after 1995 more than half said it was easier or more convenient to chat with friends digitally than face to face. And around four in 10 were more comfortable talking online than in real life, and found it more fun. Yet at the same time, the 2012 report “Understand the Arab Digital Generation (Internet users aged 15-35 in the Middle East)” by Booz & Company and Google found that “37% [of their 3,127 respondents] believe that technology has reduced family communication and cohesion”. And of course young people aren’t the only ones who are finding that technology is changing the nature of their relationships with friends and family. Or indeed the employer-employee dynamic. (They don’t call it a “crackberry” for nothing.) A 2007 report by Kelton Research concluded that three out of five Americans spend more time at the computer keyboard than they do with their significant other at home.

mobile phone addictiveness Adults



GB total

regular mobile teens total









smart phone

32% 37%

37% 25%

smart phone

regular mobile

26% High Moderate Low




High Moderate Low

60% 1810 adults and 502 teens were asked to choose a number between 1 and 10, where 1 represents "I'm not at all addicted to my mobile phone" and 10 represents "I'm completely addicted to my mobile phone".



Source: Ofcom Omnibus research, march 2011

Meanwhile, in 2011 the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, reported that more than a third of adults and 60% of teens admitted to being “highly addicted” to their smartphones. This manifested itself in behaviours that divide opinion, with nearly a quarter (23%) of UK adults and a third (34%) of teenagers admitting to having used their smartphone during mealtimes. That may be acceptable, but when more than a fifth of UK adult and nearly half of UK teenage smartphone users admit to using or answering their handset in the bathroom or toilet, perhaps we have to ask if our need for connectivity has gone too far? Certainly some consumers, and increasingly employers, think so. In South Korea children as young as three years old are now being taught how to control their electronic device and internet use, while some schools now ask students to hand in these devices at the start of the school day, so that students remain focused on their lessons instead of their handsets. In the working environment, German company Daimler has announced plans for staff to be able to “auto-delete” any e-mails that get sent to them when they’re on vacation. As a result, you avoid the guilty temptation of reading them whilst sat on the beach, and the dread of coming back to

several hundred e-mails (or more). Many individuals too are taking more control of their digital access, including having periods of deliberate digital downtime. There’s even a word for it: Digitox. These digital detoxes – a typically self-imposed temporary exile from Facebook et al – can last anywhere between a few hours and several weeks or months. And if you need help to go “cold turkey” there are hotels and holiday companies lining up for you to pay top dollar to be disconnected from the electronic world. Given the pace of change and adoption of new technology, it is not really surprising that social norms are sometimes struggling to keep up. And one thing is for sure, digital norms and behaviours will continue to evolve as new technologies come online and go mainstream. Anticipated trends, from wearable computing like Google Glass to virtual offices, 3D printing and holographic teleconferencing, will all challenge the digital status quo. Mads Thimmer, founder of Danish emerging technologies network Innovation Lab, tells us: “There’s no need to be afraid... The beauty of the online society to come is that it will have an off button.” The thing is, I suspect I won’t be the only one who may need help finding it

Activities done less since having smartphone Adults


Any Activity


I6 I5% I3% I3% I0% 9% 7% 4% 4% %

Taking Photos On A Camera

Using A Computer

Reading A Printed Newspaper

Using A Paper Map

Watching Television

Reading Books

Playing Games On PC/Console

Socialising With Friends

Taking Part In Sports

qatar today > june 2013 > 81

development > tech talk It’s Elementary, My Dear Watson

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

Middle Eastern Travellers are Tech-Savvy: Google

Google’s report at ATM 2013 gave an insight into the average Arabian traveller.


oogle, a sponsor of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) this year, announced the results of an independent study, entitled "The Traveller’s Road to Decision", which aimed to better understand the decision-making process of travellers in the Middle East, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE. According to the report, leisure, business and affluent travellers here extensively use the Internet to plan their trips. While the Saudis depend heavily on social networks, the Emiratis turn more towards search engines and videos. Google cited that large percentage of these travellers access the Internet through their smart phones (50% in Saudi and 35% in the UAE) due to improved connectivity in the past few years. They pointed out, however, that very few of them ever completed a travel-related booking via their mobile devices due many of these sites not being mobile-ready.

Take Your Phone for a Swim

Sony’s latest smartphone offering is just in time for the summer.


ere is the answer to all those times you wistfully wished that your phone could shoot underwater videos (can’t be more than five times over your entire lifetime, can it?) – the Sony Xperia ZR. Though it might seem like a bewildering attempt from manufacturers who are probably running out of new features to wow smartphone users, we admit it’s still pretty cool to boast that your phone can capture pictures and video almost five feet under water (only fresh water, mind you. So don’t even think of taking this for your next ocean dive or trip to the beach). The rest of the specifications of this Android phone are the same as for the Xperia Z, and it will be available worldwide in the second quarter of this year. The price has not yet been disclosed.

82 > qatar today > june 2013

BBM Now Across Platforms BBM goes cross-platform. Will BlackBerry benefit from this move that many say is several years too late?


he popular BlackBerry Messenger takes on cross-platform messaging apps like Whatsapp with the latest announcement that BBM will soon be available for free for iOS and Android users, subject to approval from Google and Apple. In a recent press release at BlackBerry Live 2013, Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice-President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem

at BlackBerry, had this to say, “For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service. BBM has always been one of the most engaging services for BlackBerry customers, enabling them to connect easily while maintaining a valued level of personal privacy. We’re excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community.” With tech commentators feeling that this is too little, too late for the manufacturer, whose users have been dwindling over the years, it’ll be interesting to watch whether messaging users across platforms, especially BlackBerry owners themselves, who are already quite comfortable with their existing services, are drawn to BBM.


Mobile Phones Outnumber Humans

Stock Watch on Wikipedia?


study at Warwick Business School has analysed whether an increase in views of financially-related Wikipedia entries can be construed as a warning sign of oncoming turbulence in the stock markets. Historically, there was found to be increased activity on related pages before major stock market falls. Dr Suzy Moat, who led the team of researchers, said: “These results provide evidence that online data may allow us to gain a new understanding of the early stages of decision-making, giving us an insight into how people gather information before they decide to take action in the real world.”

The International Telecommunication Union has predicted that by 2014 the number of phone subscriptions will outnumber the number of humans on the planet. Currently, there are 6.8 billion mobile phone subscriptions, while the population stands at 7.1 billion people in the world.

MENA Loves Android

The Arabian love affair with Android continues.


ould you have guessed that over 40% of the 22 million smartphones and tablets operational across the Middle East and North Africa region run on Android? FrootApps, who develop apps across various platforms, released a report that throws some light on the average smartphone user in the Middle East. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), games remained the most popular category across the platforms. The report also noted how male users were more active than women users, both in downloading apps and also paying for them when necessary. qatar today > june 2013 > 83

affairs> >csr focus local

The Changing Face of CSR

84 > qatar today > june 2013

Corporate Social Responsibility has evolved from being something that companies engaged in perfunctory fashion to an essential part of their brand positioning that has been proven to pave way for tangible results.AD BY SHALINEE BHARADWAJ

CSR: Developing Perspectives


few decades ago, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was an emerging concept. More often than not it represented organised philanthropic efforts on the part of organisations. In 2013 we are talking about the social license to operate (SLO) across multiple industry sectors. This sea change in the behaviour of businesses and the stakeholders can be attributed to the impact of globalisation and a striking indulgence in social media. This has not only enhanced consciousness about the social responsibility of commerce, seeing the organisation as ‘a citizen’, but has also served to lay the power of driving CSR in the hands of consumers and the

larger community. SLO is described as the stakeholder’s perception of the legitimacy of the project, a company or an industry; it reflects an account of good trust developed over the years and can play a pivotal role in the long term achievements and sustainability of the business. Today, no organisation wants to be left out in the global CSR ratings and reports and is eyeing CSR as an important strategy to branding and profit maximising. Leading European companies have shown that embedding CSR at all levels of their company has given them a competitive edge in the market. Pioneering companies are making CSR a part of their DNA through integrated management performance systems, creating a corporate culture that is based on

In order to make the principle of CSR integral, the company needs commercial incentive.

corporate social responsibility


Customers and communities have become more sensitive to business practices of the companies and are seen as tilting loyalties towards those using fair means and contributing to the welfare of the society.

the elements of CSR. The companies make it clear that their CSR systems provide them with a powerful tool for successfully operating in an international marketplace and help them integrate business acquisitions across the globe. One thing is clear; CSR has come a long way from being perceived as simply altruistic to being a serious business fundamental. Why should companies engage in CSR? Global markets have shrunk and are now even more accessible to the consumers. This is forcing companies to adopt CSR in order to remain competitive locally and in the international market. It has emerged as a powerful tool to survive in the ruthless environment. In many countries, government regulations on environmental and social issues have increased and laws and standards are being set. Customers and communities have become more sensitive to business practices of the companies and are seen as tilting loyalties towards those using fair means and contributing to the welfare of the society. A company that has built the trust and goodwill of its stakehold-

Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings : Transparency Impartiality Continuous Improvement Inclusiveness Assurability Materiality Comprehensiveness Sustainability Context Long-Term Horizon Value Chain Balance Comparability

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er finds itself getting elevated in the social media, giving it a clear business advantage over others. In recent years, human resource analysts have noted that the most competent and skilled workers would want to be associated with companies that have good business practices and reputation. Adopting CSR practices via employee engagement and strong leadership can be an answer to the growing concern of retaining highly skilled individuals. Companies with ‘good’ business practices also get an edge in convincing investors. Recent studies have shown that a growing number of investors would prefer companies with strong CSR programs. They see CSR involvement as an indication of the company’s long-term potential. The reasons are enough to weigh over just financial gains and this is turning the companies to follow the concept of CSR as an imperative business reality in the long term. The positive impacts of CSR on competitiveness are increasingly recognised but enterprises still face a dilemma when the most socially responsible course of action may not be the most financially beneficial, at least in the short term. Can CSR generate money? Over the years, companies have come to behave ethically and sustainably, but is there a point to it if it does not generate increased profit? Now a model of CSR is emerging that seeks to weave this behaviour into the very fabric of a profitable business, rather than just wearing it as a badge at a net cost to a company. In order to make the principle of CSR integral, the company needs commercial incentive. Companies will adopt it more willingly only if they see that doing business in a sustainable way sells. A few organisations in recent years have claimed to have gained money besides sustained cus-

tomer relationship. Marks & Spencer’s Plan A made the business an extra QR 275 million (£50 million) in a year. The program is now four years old and aims to reduce the retailer’s environmental impact while trading ethically and helping consumers become healthier. This involves meeting 180 self-imposed targets by 2015. According to M&S Head of Sustainable Business, Mike Barry, “Plan A has been enormously powerful to link together relatively small sums of money that we save in many different stores, products and supply chains. On their own, none of them would have got the attention that they actually merit without the Plan A wrap-round.” Similar results were reported by Coca Cola Customer Sustainability Director, Jake Backus, “In 2009 we avoided the use of 85,000 tons of primary packaging, resulting in estimated savings of QR 360 million ($100 million). In the same year, our water efficiency improvement avoided QR 70 million ($19 million) in costs and our energy savings ended up costing us QR 100 million ($28 million) less.” ‘Green Labels’ are finding wider acceptance amongst the shoppers and people are now willing to pay even more to buy products conforming to green guidelines. Saga Furs that produces fur for the fashion industry from farmed mink and foxes has been involved in promoting the Origin Assured (OA) label, which tracks pelts through the production chain to help make sure animals are treated fairly. This has perhaps been influential in the sudden upsurge in designers’ use of fur at fashion shows and OA has run ad campaigns to sell more of it. On the flip side, being ethical or sustainable alone is not enough to make something desirable to a mass consumer market. For it to be a profitable part of a business, a strategy of simply marketing an inferior or more expen-

sive product as a responsible purchase may fall out as disastrous. Consumers will not switch to a more sustainable product unless it is equally good or better than the current one. Trending in CSR In this era of technology and the information superhighway, companies are forever looking for more inventive ways of getting their message across, and CSR opens up endless possibilities for reaching out to the consumers. The link between CSR and branding is coming up as an important area in discussions and debates. Tim Mohin, author of ‘Changing Business From the Inside Out: A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations’ has described examples of companies utilising CSR themes in their brand messages. Timberland has developed a successful business around their Earthkeeper line of footwear and apparel designed with a core philosophy of environmental stewardship. General Electric’s Ecomagination line of energy-efficient products claimed QR 76 billion ($21 billion) in revenues in 2011. Perhaps one of the most innovative CSR branding initiatives was the Patagonia advertisement that ran on ‘Black Friday’ in the New York Times with the bold message “DON’T BUY T HIS JACKET.” It is hard to imagine a stronger CSR stand than a company asking you NOT to buy its products. The connection between CSR and branding is running deeper than ever. A surge in cause marketing is evident across brands where companies and non-profit organisations cooperate for mutual benefits. Best known examples being ‘Product Red’ to help raise awareness and funds to eliminate AIDS in Africa and the ‘Pink Ribbon’ campaign to combat breast cancer. A study on the aspects that make up a company’s ‘reputation’ conclud-

CSR has come a long way from being perceived as simply altruistic to being a serious business fundamental.

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corporate social responsibility


Businesses today are ever more mindful of their reputation on the social accountability scale.

ed that 43 percent is based on issues within the scope of CSR. This clearly indicates why CSR is a rising profession. Currently, more than 100 ratings, ranking and indices are evaluating the performance of more than 10,000 companies. They are using more than 2,000 indicators of corporate sustainability performance. Recently the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) released the Beta Version of a set of 12 core principles as part of an international effort to drive excellence in corporate sustainability ratings, rankings and indices. Launched in June 2011 by Ceres and Tellus Institute, GISR is a global non-profit initiative aimed at moving markets to the advantage of corporate sustainability leaders. GISR will not rate companies. Instead, it will accredit other sustainability ratings, rankings or indices to apply its standard for measuring excellence in sustainability performance. It may be thus concluded that for the success of any CSR programme, there is a need to set meaningful goals and know what to measure. There has to be a strong method set in place for collection and analysis of relevant data that can feed the strategy and project the

Qatar is the first Arab country to have come up with a social responsibility report and is working towards making World Cup 2022 a zero carbon event 88 > qatar today > june 2013

achievability of goals. CSR in the Middle East: An emerging concept Sustainability and CSR seem to have become the talk of the town over the last few years, with Qatar having positioned itself as an important forerunner. Despite its overconsumption trends, high ecological footprint and hydrocarbon based economies; the region has shown significant advancement towards the growth of CSR. There appears to be a genuine effort on the part of the organisations to internalise CSR as a central aspect in their business models. While earlier CSR was seen more as a promotional tool and revolved around philanthropy, today's business community is getting more aware of the necessity to imbibe a responsible organisational culture. This could be due to various factors, the primary being a more conscious consumer who also has a ‘power of say’ owing to globalisation and astronomical digitalisation. Businesses today are ever more mindful of their reputation on the social accountability scale. The construct of CSR is evolving in the Middle East and the governments are playing an active role in making it

happen. Qatar’s initiative in hosting the ‘Conference on Climate Change’ and being the first Arab country to have come up with a social responsibility report speaks of its commitment towards this change; more so in the light of World Cup 2022 slated to be a zero carbon event. With substantial funding, to the tune of QR 360 billion, being set aside for health and education projects, the country is also keen on promoting the best practices in the business community. Exemplifying this is the recently introduced mandatory sustainability reporting as a requirement for industries seeking to align with the country’s national vision. Now, with the Fourth Conference on CSR in foray that looks at internationalising the concept within the framework of QNV 2030, Qatar is definitely hoping to achieve meaningful changes. CSR agenda within the country can be well predicted as focussing on capacity and skills development among the Qatari youth, supporting green technology and enhanced healthcare options. Government organisations like QU, QP, Rasgas, Qatargas and HMC to name a few, have taken appreciable initiatives within the country; organisations such as ROTA, Qatar Charity and Red Crescent are taking steps beyond the border as well. According to a recent survey by Grayling PULSE, although the number of organisations integrating CSR in their corporate strategy in the Middle East falls well behind the global average; the situation may not remain dismal in the years ahead. Global brands are an important vehicle in promoting a culture of CSR in the region, especially the oil companies that have been pioneers in introducing this concept. High GDP and consumption rates have attracted the global giants in different sectors of commerce, bringing with them an increased awareness of social

responsibility in business. Enhanced competition with such brands may be a key factor in pushing the regional industry to follow suit. Other factors that motivate businesses to take up CSR are the need to build and maintain a strong reputation, the need to procure and retain skilled employees and to attract the ‘new age’ customers. It has also been observed that companies that were rated high in their CSR indices were the least affected by the economic crisis. Creating a sustainable business model for the Middle East that integrates CSR and its elements of transparency, knowledge and risk-sharing is not without challenges. Companies are still struggling on how they can integrate CSR to their core businesses, identifying metrics that capture their organisational sustainability performance. Putting mechanisms in place for CSR governance is a concern as several companies are in the process of structuring their CSR departments. Companies lack adequate social measurement parameters and techniques to demonstrate the value generated off their social investments. CSR reporting is more of a PR exercise rather than a tool supporting transparency, monitoring and evaluation of CSR functions. Despite the challenges, a positive outlook of the governments in the region in supporting and introducing policies to encourage sustainable development in both public as well as private sector is a rather welcome sign. CSR and sustainability has also emerged as an important career option that supports its growth in the coming future. Most importantly, CSR has stepped in as a business reality in the local market with its implementation being realised as a branding essential, if not a true profit contributing business prerogative

Global brands are an important vehicle in promoting a culture of CSR in the region.

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corporate social responsibility


Leo Messi Brings Great News to Qatar


Ooredoo, in association with the Leo Messi Foundation, is set to launch mobile health clinics across the Middle East and North Africa.


ne would think it nearly impossible to experience deafening silence in an auditorium filled to bursting point with excited kids. Well, not if Lionel Messi was waiting in the wings. Quite suddenly, a few minutes before the proceedings began, the chatter died down completely, as if somehow everyone telepathically knew that Messi was in the building. Not too long after, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Ooredoo, Waleed Al Sayed, COO, and Alexander Rusli, President Director and CEO of Indosat, took to the stage to outline the new initiative – the launch of mobile health clinics across the region. “It’s so good to see so many talented youngsters present here,” Sheikh Abdullah said, pointing to the rows of children who had flown in from Palestine, Iraq, India, Indonesia and more for a chance to meet with their football hero. “Every child must be given the chance to pursue their ambition, and these mobile health clinics will reach out to the underserved children in this region. It is our objective to serve about two million children by 2016 and we are happy to be working with the Leo Messi Foundation to make this a reality. “But I am sure you are not here to listen to me,” he declared, calling the man of the hour to the stage. Leo Messi emerged, shy smile and all, to thunderous applause and insistent clicking by the shutterbugs.

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He said little, save that he was happy to be in Qatar again, having visited the country several times during the course of his career. But the children were determined to take advantage of the opportunity to grill their idol and directed several questions at the star, who answered each of them patiently, and with an amused smile. “It was always my dream to play professional football,” he stated when asked about his childhood dream. “I am happy to have achieved that goal and now I want to give back something to football and humanity at large. I hope to be remembered as a good footballer, but more than that, a good person, both on and off the field.” Alexander Rusli spoke about the mobile clinics that Indosat is already supporting in Indonesia. “We launched this service in 2008 and have about 16 of these clinics servicing all the Indonesian islands. From general health checks to ultrasound scans and minor surgeries, the mobile clinics have attended to over 600,000 people, mostly women and children from the rural areas. We have won several awards as well for our work, which has included providing relief and support during natural disasters like epidemics, floods and earthquakes.” Ooredoo, which is Indosat’s major shareholder, is hoping to replicate this success in the Middle East and North Africa regions. After the event, Messi interacted with the children over tea and a personal training session

Good Deeds in the Far East

Young volunteers from Doha reflect on their recent trip to Cambodia.


odafone Qatar and Reach Out Asia (ROTA) sponsored and organised an eight-day trip to Cambodia for girls from several secondary schools in Doha in March this year, and the students, parents and organisers later gathered at the Museum of Islamic Art to reflect on their experiences. During this trip, the all-female volunteer group hosted workshops for 150 students at a new ROTA-funded and supported high school. Additionally, the volunteers raised funds to present a school with learning materials and books,

and helped distribute basic food supplies to 200 local families. HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, Chairperson of ROTA, who was present at the event, congratulated the volunteers, saying: “The impact you had left on the local community in Cambodia will be felt for many generations to come.” A volunteer, Sara Ibrahim Al-Housani, said: “Visiting Cambodia has changed me. I have come back to Doha knowing I need to do something. I must let people know about the important work ROTA is doing to create a better future for thousands of Asian children.”

CSR Conference

Doha’s fourth annual CSR conference gets under way Under the auspices of the Ministry of Business and Trade, Doha hosted the fourth edition of the conference on Corporate Social Responsibility on May 28 and 29. Several local and international experts and various organisations committed to CSR got together to discuss the theme "Deepening of Responsible Practices in the Business Community", and covered a range of topics like the role of government in implementing CSR-related policies and programmes, building a Qatari CSR network, and how social responsibility features in the Qatar National Vision 2030. While the Minister of Business and Trade, HE Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, stressed the importance of the private sector’s role in developing and implementing CSR initiatives, he also acknowledged that cooperation and joint efforts were needed to educate more businesses on CSR and how it can be used towards economic growth and sustained development.

QatarGas Spreads Green Cover

Employees at QatarGas help plant trees and clean up beaches.


s part of its Desert Plantation Day activities, Qatargas brought together over 150 of its employees for a green initiative where they planted nearly 130 'Wild Sidr' seedlings, over 1.5 kms at the Umm Qarn Nature Reserve some 30 kilometres north of Doha. The first leg of what is going to be an annual project from here on, covering different areas of the country, was organised in collaboration with the General Directorate of Nature Reserves in an effort to preserve the biodiversity of the State of Qatar. Before this, another group of 250 employees cleaned up a two-kilometre stretch of Al Fuwairit beach, 80 km from Doha, collecting and removing plastic bottles and plates, cans and other debris. This annual event, which coincides with the turtle nesting season, was coordinated by the Ministry of Environment. During this time, the northern shores are used by the endangered hawksbill turtles to lay their eggs. Mansour Rashid Al-Naimi, Qatargas Public Relations Manager, said: “Hundreds of Qatargas employees set aside a few hours from their holiday to take part in the beach clean-up despite the adverse weather conditions. This is a clear demonstration of their personal commitment to environmental protection.” qatar today > june 2013 > 91

corporate social responsibility


Qatar Shell:

Setting a benchmark for Corporate Social Responsibility

Along with innovation in energy and R&D, Qatar’s largest foreign investor has brought with it a fresh approach to CSR that turns vision into tangible results.


atar Shell (QS) is an energy company that fully understands that its host country is determined to take advantage of its hydrocarbon resources to build a sustainable knowledge economy, and actively supports achieving that vision. The largest foreign investor in Qatar, QS has carved out a distinctive approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR), investing in Qatar’s lasting resource – its people – to support the nation on its path to 2030. As part of its core business, QS invests heavily in the development of its own 300 Qatari employees and in sponsoring students, and it undertakes research and technology development at its centre in Qatar Science and Technology Park. However, QS has also developed a social investment programme that seeks to help turn Qatar’s vision into tangible results for people in Doha and also in remote precincts surrounding the capital such as Al Khor and Al Shamal, where nearly 50% of the country’s population resides. The company pursues various initiatives to

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develop the private sector, to encourage a healthy lifestyle through football, to promote road safety, and to build technical capability in project management. In short, Qatar Shell’s CSR model is focused on social impact and partnerships with other Qatari organisations to create a lasting legacy that contributes to the fulfilment of Qatar’s National Vision (QNV 2030).

A partner from the beginning Shell first came to Qatar nearly seven decades ago and in 2003, exactly a decade ago, Shell and Qatar Petroleum signed a Heads of Agreement to build the world’s largest Gas to Liquids plant, Pearl GT L. Since then, thanks to an extraordinary partnership, Shell has invested some $21 billion (QR 76 billion) in Qatar, making the company the largest international investor in the country. While Qatar set out to identify its priorities and direction in the new millennium, Shell remained committed to adding value in its areas of expertise, namely innovation and technology. The QNV 2030, published in 2008, set a clear and visionary framework of pri-

corporate social responsibility


Wael Sawan Managing Director and Chairman, Qatar Shell

orities, inviting broad participation and generating momentum as Qatar moves into the new era. Qatar Shell seeks to play its part towards fulfilling these priorities. Summing up the approach QS has taken to help the country fulfil its vision, Managing Director and Chairman of the company Wael Sawan says: “Qatar Shell believes that CSR should be about having material and measurable impact for Qataris and Qatari society. We therefore seek to go beyond philanthropic donations to contribute both our innovation and our expertise, in addition to money.”

A holistic approach to CSR Qatar Shell employs a holistic approach to CSR that is both guided by and centred on the National Vision. While its core business operations, embodied in the Pearl GT L plant, contribute to the Economic pillar of QNV, Shell’s CSR efforts seek to contribute to the Human and Social development pillars (through investment in Qatari talent and developing Qatari enterprise) as well as the Environmental pillar.

Developing a vibrant private sector Qatar Shell launched an initiative to bring more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and local manufacturers into its supply chain, thus enabling them to become suppliers of choice in place of international service providers to the Pearl GT L plant, the largest plant of its kind in 94 > qatar today > june 2013

the world. At the accompanying workshop, Sawan spoke to over 100 local business owners, all of them SMEs, and said: “We do this because we recognise the importance of developing SMEs in the countries where we operate to create a vibrant and dynamic private sector. We have been very impressed with the quality of our local providers and we continue to look at opportunities of broadening that partnership base.” He continued: “A healthy private sector, which begins with SMEs and entrepreneurs, is beneficial to large organisations. We hope that Qatar Shell will become the lead example that has succeeded in delivering and then operating world-scale projects with local suppliers.” The workshop followed on the heels of an agreement signed between Qatar Shell and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) earlier this year to provide local companies and manufacturers with access to new business opportunities. Qatar Shell also signed an agreement with QDB and Corporate Publishing International (CPI), the publishers of Private Sector magazine, to partner with them in supplying information and advice on best practices from leading international and local experts.

ing entrepreneurship begins with another kind of investment – in young minds. Following the success of Enterprise Challenge 2012, Qatar Shell entered into an agreement with Bedaya Centre to bring to Qatar Enterprise Challenge 2013, a business simulation competition that promotes the spirit of entrepreneurship and business knowledge among young people. The partners – Shell, Bedaya (a business incubator set up by Qatar Development Bank and Silatech) and Mosaic (a UK-based charitable initiative for Muslim youth founded by HRH the Prince of Wales) will open their doors to students from all of Qatar’s universities as well as several high schools in Al Khor and Al Shamal, in the north of Qatar, to participate in this programme. Enterprise Challenge Qatar kicks off in September 2013, and concludes with the Business Simulation Finals during Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 1824. Sawan believes that “bringing this innovative simulation to students will contribute to a lasting impact for participants and, ultimately, Qatar. Widening the horizons of youth to consider and appreciate the value of entrepreneurial endeavours is part of our investment in Qatar’s future and in a sustainable economy.”

Investing in young minds

Empowering young people to build a sustainable environment

While supporting established local SMEs, Qatar Shell also recognises that cultivat-

In 1939, several researchers in a Shell laboratory in the United States began

across the country and was attended by over 1,000 children; 300 youngsters participated at the one in Al Khor. During the Emir Cup, QFA and Qatar Shell also launched "L’Batak" as part of Koora Time! This high-tech football-themed mobile Fan Zone toured Qatar, and since its launch has been attended by over 6,000 participants. A total of 17,824 calories were burned across the country as a result of a wide range of activities that were part of L’Batak.

Capacity-building based on excellence

a friendly competition to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicles. Decades later, the competition, dubbed Shell Eco-marathon (SEM), is one of the world’s most challenging student innovation competitions, held annually in Europe, America and Asia. At Shell Eco-marathon, student teams are challenged to design, build and compete with energy-efficient vehicles. The winner is the team that goes the furthest distance using the least amount of energy. Preparations are already under way for Shell Eco-marathon Middle East and Africa to be held in Doha in 2015. The marathon, which according to Sawan “aligns perfectly with the Qatar National Vision 2030, touching the Human, Social and Environmental pillars through its focus on education, teamwork, environment and scientific innovation”, brings together current and future leaders and people who are passionate about energy issues and asks them to think about sustainable solutions to the world’s energy challenges.

Protecting Qatar’s most precious asset While road safety is an integral part of Shell’s social investment programme globally, it takes on a special significance in Qatar where too many of the country’s youth are lost in fatal accidents caused by reckless driving. In an effort to protect Qatar’s most valuable resource, Qatar Shell launched "U-Turn", a road safety campaign designed in consultation with the Ministry of Interior to be in line with its priorities. According to Sawan, U-Turn was developed based on original market research

that Shell conducted last year and is focused on men between the ages of 16 and 21 who are the most prone to road accidents. “The research led us to take an approach that highlights confident and ‘cool’ males doing the right thing, rather than adopting ‘fear tactics’ or focusing on the breaking of rules,” he explained. The video campaign, which can be found on YouTube, consists of three short films focusing on speeding, use of seatbelts, and operating mobile phones, and has aired on Al Jazeera Sports Channel, MBC2 and Al Kass T V as well as in local cinemas, alongside a radio campaign. A well-known and prevalent threat to the well-being of Qatari youth is obesity, and to that end Qatar Shell invests heavily in sports, especially football, from grassroots youth football to the pinnacle of Qatari football, the Emir Cup. Qatar Football Association and Qatar Shell have partnered to develop "Koora Time!", an initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of Qatar’s youth through football. A community based initiative, Koora Time! utilises football as a platform for healthy and active lifestyle by facilitating access to more hours of physical activity and more opportunities and spaces to play. The initiative expanded further this year to launch "Il’Ab We’Yana" (“Play With Us”), an extra-curricular school programme based on the FutbolNet method created by FC Barcelona Foundation. This uses football as a means to develop healthy habits and provides children with an extra four hours of non-competitive physical education per week. The initiative was launched with kick-off festivals

At the recent CSR conference held by the Ministry of Business and Trade, Bader Al Jaidah, Tafawoq's Operations Manager, tied together all of the company’s initiatives in a simple but telling statement: “Our strategy is to build a corporate social responsibility programme through investment in the community, youth and "Qatarisation" and to develop a sustainable legacy of professional competency in Qatar.” He went on to speak of Tafawoq (“excellence”), the Project Management Center of Excellence, a partnership between Qatar Petroleum, Hamad Bin Khalifa University and Qatar Shell, focused on developing the competencies of project management professionals. Al Jaidah continued: “In partnership with QP we delivered the Pearl GT L project safely, on time and on budget. This required excellent project management skills; Qatar Shell recognises that Qatar will develop some of the world’s largest projects in order to achieve its National Development Strategy, and so will continue to encourage and invest in project management skills and capabilities.” Tafawoq builds on the internationally recognised and accredited Shell Project Academy (SPA) 'Pentagon' model and Qatar Petroleum’s extensive experience in building large-scale capital projects. Ninety-five project professionals have successfully completed Tafawoq project management courses and now form the foundation of the first "Project Management Community" in Qatar

qatar shell Qatar Shell’s holistic approach and focus on impact and outcomes in supporting all four pillars of the QNV 2030 is what makes its CSR programme distinctive. By driving these initiatives, Qatar Shell seeks with its partners to set a benchmark for Corporate Social Responsibility in Qatar. qatar today > june 2013 > 95

corporate social responsibility



Leading the way on Water Conservation, One School at a Time

All water conservation efforts depend on public awareness and an understanding of the need for conservation.


romoting reduction of water misuse, waste and loss are considered to be the most economical and environmentally-protective management tools for meeting today’s water supply challenges. The Visitor’s Centre at the ConocoPhillips Global Water Sustainability Centre (GWSC) in Doha is a showcase for how water defines the past and guides the

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future of the country. It not only acknowledges the technology that is needed to develop sustainable water supplies but also promotes the need for conservation and the stewardship to ensure sustainable supplies for continued growth and economic prosperity. Through dynamic, fun and interactive education, children are taught that wasting even a drop of water is bad and this helps them value this scarce natural resource, changing their wasteful con-

corporate social responsibility


sumption behaviours. Encouraging children to keep taps turned off while brushing teeth and washing hands and avoiding taking long showers can motivate them to promote water conservation in their respective homes by discussing it with their parents and siblings. It can save hundreds of cubic metres of water each day. The 300-square-metre GWSC Visitor’s Centre, located in Qatar Science and Technology Park (QST P), excels at providing interesting and memorable water conservation knowledge and tips for school children. The Visitor’s Centre opens its doors to schools in Doha to enhance awareness of water conservation among students between the ages of 9 and 16. The fun-packed educational tour takes about 1-2 hours and is divided into four parts. First, students learn about the importance of water and how limited it is at the global level. Second, they get to know about Qatar’s water resources and how they are utilised. Third, the children are taught how to minimise their personal water consumption. And fourth, they are shown a video on water conservation and what GWSC does in terms of research and development. At the end of the educational tour, each student is given a certificate of attendance and the centre bestows on them the responsibility of being conscious water conservation promoters in the hope that they will take 98 > qatar today > june 2013

back to their homes and schools all that they have learned at the centre. The centre is very child-friendly. It is designed to catch the children's attention and in many ways resembles a small amusement park, making it an exciting experience for all students. Visitors enter through a captivating water gate made of fine water droplets and get to watch a video on a globe-shaped rotating projector. GWSC’s educational philosophy is about hands-on learning methodologies and persuades children to embrace an active role in water conservation through touch screen animations and interactive experiments. Director of GWSC Dr Samer Adham, states that these types of centres are extremely important in enhancing awareness, commenting: “With every school that comes to GWSC, you already have 20-30 water-conscious kids who serve as catalysts in changing patterns of behaviour that are detrimental to our limited water resources.” Children who come to GWSC enjoy three potential benefits: they learn methods to conserve water in their daily routines; they bring this knowledge to their homes and encourage water conservation behaviour in the family; and it leaves a lasting impression on the child well into adulthood and improves the water-using behaviours of the next generation. To date, GWSC has welcomed over 3,000 students from 35 schools in Qatar, with some of the schools sending their students on several visits each year. On March 24, 2013, GWSC observed the annual UN World Water Day by sending three experts to visit Omar Bin Al- Khattab First Primary School for Boys. The event started with a short video and an informative presentation about the water cycle, followed by a quiz where students were divided into groups and the winning groups received prizes. The school visit was concluded by demonstrating good water conservation practices and presenting Certificates of Appreciation to the school principal. GWSC aims to become a global centre of excellence for desalination and water management, befitting its unique position in Qatar. While the centre’s primary focus is finding solutions for the State of Qatar, it is also keen on exporting its knowledge globally. GWSC’s educational programme is just another way of promoting water conservation among Qatar’s younger generation, leaders of tomorrow, one school at a time

corporate social responsibility



A WELL-ESTABLISHED concept of social responsibility

Eng. Ali Mohamed Al Ali, Manager of Conservation and Energy Efficiency Department at Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) talks about Tarsheed’s success in building a strong alliance with many state representatives towards achieving its objectives. “Besides its contribution to achieving the objectives, Tarsheed is keen to have the flexibility to evolve and live up to the Qatar National Vision implemented in collaboration with all our partners in society.” Eng ali Mohammed al Ali tells us about the programme and its goals.

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Tell us about the role and objectives of KAHRAMAA with regard to its responsibility towards Qatar and efforts to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030? The concept of social responsibility is deeply entrenched in all of KAHRAMAA’s business activities, under the guidance of senior management, viz. HE Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, the Minister of Energy Industry and HE Eng. Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, President of KAHRAMAA, and stems from our responsibility towards the community. KAHRAMAA’s main responsibility is to provide sustainable resources for electricity and water for the benefit of the nation, thus improving the quality of life for generations to come, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 that calls for “environmental management and protection so as to ensure harmony and consistency with economic and social development.” KAHRAMAA is committed to achieve its essential goal of strengthening the capacity of the infrastructure of electricity and water sectors in the country. As

such, it has developed a strategic goal to promote and spread a culture of rationalisation of electricity and water resources. In this framework KAHRAMAA established the Department of Conservation and Energy Efficiency in October 2011, to manage the rationalisation and raise the efficiency of usage of electricity and water. This will contribute to the reduction of waste through the application of Rationalisation Law No. 26 for the year 2008 and invite all groups and sectors of society to cooperate in keeping our vital natural resources sustainable through effective projects and activities applied through the Tarsheed programmes and campaigns. These were launched in April 2012, under the slogan “ Keep Qatar Pulsing!”, with the patronage of HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Heir Apparent.

You recently celebrated the first anniversary of the Tarsheed campaign. What results were achieved so far? Tarsheed succeeded during its first year

in raising community awareness. This

was measured through a number of polls, implementing the latest methods and studies, which also highlighted areas to be encouraged and pitfalls to be avoided in the coming years. It also succeeded in building a strong alliance with many representatives from different sectors in the state. This success was fueled by KAHRAMAA’s commitments as the leading regulatory in the state. Besides its contribution towards achieving the objectives of overall development, Tarsheed was keen from the start to have the flexibility to evolve and live up to the national strategic programme that will be implemented in collaboration with all partners in society. This is in addition to laying the first building blocks for many new projects, as the first year was the year of the development of the road map to achieve the objectives of conservation and energy efficiency on sound scientific basis.

What role does the society, at large, needs to play towards the success of the Tarsheed campaign? I invite everyone, even ordinary citizens, to interact more and participate with the programmes of Tarsheed. Change starts from us, and attention to small things like not leaving lights, electrical appliances and computers on when not in use, using a bucket instead of a hose when washing the car, quickly repairing leaks, installating time-indicator sensors to adjust exterior lighting, etc and most importantly instilling a culture of conservation in our children from an early age to create a generation capable of achieving the targeted development and sustainability, all makes a great contribution to the campaign.

The national per capita consumption of water and electricity is still among the highest in the world, how do you confront this? Unfortunately our per capita rate of consumption of water and electricity is one of the highest in the world. But we have identified the way forward in tackling each issue.

Water We have begun the implementation of many programmes to achieve one of the objectives of Tarsheed campaign during the next five years, namely, to decrease the average water consumption per capi-

ta by 35% through the implementation of a number of important projects: The establishment of role models in the fields of rationalisation and environmental sustainability across all sectors. Implementation of water conservation projects for bulk consumers who consume close to 23% of the total water consumption in the country. Carrying out technical studies towards completing a number of projects, including the retrofit project of water-saving devices. We are also preparing to announce a draft for energy efficiency in government buildings and important strategic projects during the year 2013. A public tender will be launched, dedicated to equipping schools and mosques with conservation tools which will cut around 4% of the total water consumption.

Energy-efficiency projects Among the more prominent projects, is the application of the energy management systems based on ISO standards that will allow KAHRAMAA to start a system granting license to work as an “officer of energy efficiency� for specialists in the field. This new initiative led by Tarsheed will monitor and improve the energy efficiency of applications and rationalise the

use of water in all sectors in the country. On a parallel level, KAHRAMAA works periodically to update the specifications for installations in public buildings, with the successful cooperation of responsible parties like the Specifications and Standardisation Authority at the Ministry of the Environment. We also started several projects that will reduce per capita electricity consumption by 20% over the next five years as well as reduce carbon emissions in all KAHRAMAA projects.

Energy-efficiency rating for air conditioners We are currently studying energy efficiency systems of all air-conditioners here to adopt an efficiency classification system to ban the entry of non-energy-efficient ACs in the country. This has a significant impact in reducing the consumption of electric power. The air-conditioners account for a large proportion of total energy consumption, reaching up to 60%, especially during the summer months. We have embarked on a system for labelling the characteristics of economic and energy efficient ACs to classify them according to their efficiency in energy consumption. The consumer can select the ideal air conditioners to use through the labelling qatar today > june 2013 > 101

corporate social responsibility


of announcement of the amendments in KAHRAMAA’s installations, regulations and standards. The power factor will be monitored for older participants and high-consumption violators in the industrial sector. As indicted earlier, we will study the management of loads in industrial sector buildings so that they adhere to the law passed in this regard, which will return large revenues towards the provision of state resources. It is also beneficial to the environment as will reduce the rate of carbon emissions by 370,000 tons over five years.

Phasing out high-glow, inefficient lamps Honouring winners of 'Conserving Buildings' competition

The project aims to stop the use of highglow lamps as these may cause fires as a results of the high temperatures they operate at, it addition to consuming a high amount of energy when compared with energy-saving lamps. We are directing construction offices to stop using these lamps for newly built or designed buildings in addition to stopping the import of such bulbs. The first phase is to ban the import of 100 watts and 75 watts lamps, followed by a second phase to stop importing bulbs of 60 watts capacity, followed by a third phase to stop 40 watt bulbs from being brought in. The application of this programme will see CO2 reductions of 640,000 tons within the next four years.

Renewable energy

Raising the power factor

For renewable energy, we have policies and major plans that will give us access to reliable electricity generation. The most prominent pilot project currently being executed by KAHRAMAA exploits unused spaces such as roof tops and reservoir tops at KAHRAMAA for the production of solar energy, thus meeting 2% of the state’s energy needs by 2020. We are also studying the modified requirements meant to encourage subscribers to install solar water heaters in homes and shops, create incentives for projects that adopt alternative energy and develop specifications for connecting solar panels to KAHRAMAA's network. We also encourage research and development in the potential and applications of alternative energy, especially solar ones.

We also studied the environmental and financial returns of lifting power factor in Qatar to 0.9 or, better still, to 0.85 and its application has started from the date

What was the scale of the coordination between you and other parties in achieving the goals of the campaign?

honouring the winning school students of tarsheed competition

system, which consists of five categories, ranging from one star to five stars. Purchase of a machine with one star rating, which is the minimum (8.5 efficiency ratio), allows reduction of energy consumption by about 12% compared with a non-classified one. The percentage of reduction in energy consumption when using an AC which holds a five-star rating is 32% or more. This shift towards more economical devices in energy consumption enhances the state’s efforts to reduce harmful CO2 emissions by 700,000 tons by 2017.

Sustainable buildings and conservation retrofit tools In this regard, we are cooperating with 102 > qatar today > june 2013

several groups and sectors to transform all state buildings to energy-efficient buildings. The coordination is continuous, and an annual contest will be announced for sustainable buildings in the country to reward committed entities and provide examples of successful role models. KAHRAMAA have recently completed a cooperation agreement with Barwa Real Estate & Qatar Green Building Council to implement Baytna experiment of building energy-efficient villas.

Targets and goals 1. Achieve a reduction of 20% of electricity consumption and 35% of water consumption through targeted programmes, without affecting the level of services or the quality of life enjoyed by the citizens and residents of the state. 2. Building on the corporate identity of the national promotional programme, Tarsheed, by launching integrated and engaging media and advertising campaigns, whose objectives and visual identity provides an effective platform for communication. 3. Application of Conservation Law No. 26 for the year 2008 to build qualified national cadres to enforce the law, and the development of proposals necessary to draft laws to strengthen the legislative base and legal support of Tarsheed programmes. 4. Revise and update the regulations and related specifications for installations in buildings that lead to raising the efficiency in the use of water and electric power in the state. 5. Build an interactive relationship with all partners in the society through the development and implementation of awareness and education programmes. 6. Building a strategic partnership between KAHRAMAA and ministries of state, public sector bodies, private sector companies and institutions of civil society, in order to spread the culture of conservation.

In terms of community partnerships, we have succeeded in building a strategic partnership between Tarsheed and a number of ministries, public sector bodies, private sector companies and institutions of civil society that has resulted in the signing of several memoranda of understanding as follows: 1. Signing of a cooperation of agreement between KAHRAMAA and Barwa Real Estate and Qatar Green Building Council to implement an unique experiment in the field of sustainable construction 2. The signing of a pilot programme between KAHRAMAA and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, to make provisions for electricity produced from solar energy as a component of the Smart Grid Development Project in Qatar. 3. The signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Qatar National Programme for Food Security for food and water security. 4. The signing of a MoU with the Minis-

try of Awqaf to spread awareness in mosques and religious centres. 5. Signing of a MoU with Qatar Foundation to spread awareness and community development through training, lectures, seminars and various other activities. 6. The signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Qatar Stars League in order to emphasise and apply the concept of sustainability in sports stadiums and buildings. 7. The signing of a MoU with the University of Qatar to jointly work in on research and studies in the fields of energy-efficiency, in general and renewable energy, in particular. 8. A partnership towards the research on energy efficiency and rationalisation with the Mitsubishi Research Center and Japan’s Chubu International Company under the umbrella of the Joint Economic Committee between Qatar and Japan. 9. Signing of a memorandum of understanding with Unilever to raise awareness of cooperation through communi-

ty support programmes 10.Signing of MoUs with several other entities is currently being explored, including one with Qatar Olympic Committee, the Supreme Council of Health and the Supreme Education Council and others.

How do you intend to convince citizens and residents of the importance of conservation of energy sources? We use all existing languages in Qatar in order to reach everyone. We also use all means of communication, with a focus on T V, radio and social media. Tarsheed also has an integrated programme for our main targets – school and college students – in cooperation with the SEC, as well as the Qatar Foundation and Qatar University. We will start a programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Guidance to reach citizens and residents through Friday sermons at mosques and affiliated centres. We have urged citizens to participate, interact and instill the thoughts and culture of conservation through special events such as World Earth Day and Arab Water Day.

You have announced a new park to raise awareness of environmentally friendly causes in the year 2014. Tell us more about it? The Awareness Park project is located in the Thumama area, which serves as an 'Edutainment' museum showcasing the importance of electricity and water, their sources, generation, transfer and distribution operations. The project has already received a Green Buildings Certificate at a green building solutions conference in Doha in 2011.

Project objectives 1. The project is designed to be a centre for dissemination of knowledge and awareness in an interesting, fun and innovative way. 2. Raise the level of consumer awareness on the importance of adopting preventive steps to reduce the consumption of electricity and water with a particular focus on school and university students. It is worth mentioning that the project will be completed on 22 April 2014, on the eve of the second anniversary of the Tarsheed campaign qatar today > june 2013 > 103

business>auto news A Beast on the Street

Harley-Davidson’s new special edition model, Street Bob, is meant for “the owner who would order a muscle car with the biggest engine and no radio”.


orn out of Harley-Davidson’s Factory Customisation programme, the strictly limited edition Street Bob is a stripped-down model that means business. While the engine has been upgraded and the styling has been kept minimalistic, the bike boasts bare-essential equipment, and brings riding enthusiasts the pure essence of motorcycling. It also allows owners to play around with the customisations, making the vehicle truly their

own. “Our focus is on street appeal,” said Harley-Davidson Styling Manager Tony Pink. “As part of this restyle, we cleaned off the rear fender, ditched the battery box trim, and bolted on a classic oval air cleaner cover. The goal is to create an elemental Big Twin that a customer can define as his own.” The model is only available in select markets, including those in the European, Middle East and African regions.

Qatar Loves its Rolls-Royce

More Qataris are going for ultraluxury cars, judging by sales figures from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Doha. 104 > qatar today > june 2013


percent more Rolls-Royce cars were sold in the first quarter of this year than in the first quarter of 2012, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Doha has said. The official importer of these cars in Qatar says that this sales growth is the second-highest in the Middle East region. Commenting on these positive results, Mohamed Kandeel, General Manager of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Doha, said: “These numbers reflect the increasing appetite for exclusivity and fine engineering here in Qatar. We are committed to delivering the highest standards of customer service and the latest in automotive luxury. This commitment is what allowed us to record such impressive growth.” The company recently introduced a dedicated recovery truck which will handle delivery of new vehicles to customers as well as pick-up and drop-off of vehicles of existing customers for service and maintenance. “In our efforts to improve and enhance our unrivalled after-sales service, we have carefully selected and designed the Rolls-Royce Recovery Truck, which is tailor-made to safely and securely transport RR cars to and from the client,” he added, saying that these efforts, in addition to the arrival of the all new Rolls-Royce Wraith in Doha within a few months, will fuel their growth this year.

BMW Certified

Alfardan Automobiles Sales and After Sales staff graduated from the world-class BMW Sales Certification Programme.


he senior management from BMW Middle East dropped in at Alfardan Automobiles recently announced a Alfardan Automobiles recently on the eve of the graduation of ten of its sales and after sales executives from the BMW Certification Programme. Alfardan, the official importers of BMW in Qatar, enrolled its staff in the programme to provide all its executives with a comprehensive understanding of BMW’s products and brand. The highly sought-after accreditation is achieved after passing several training modules that include product knowledge, customer service increase in sales in the first three months of 2013; Qatar was one of and brand behaviour. The training programme continues throughout the five best performing Middle their careers, as performance and achievements are continuously monEast markets in terms of sales itored to ensure that learning from the training is put into action in the growth. showroom. BMW Group Middle East’s Managing Director Dr Joerg Breuer was joined by Frank Nadler, Area Manager; Daniel Schreier, Regional Training Manager for BMW Group Middle East; and Mohammed Kandeel, General Manager of Alfardan Automobiles, at a ceremony which included guests like Ayad As-Siaidi, Sales Manager, and Chris Weglinski, After Sales Manager for Alfardan Automobiles. “The programme sets a benchmark for customer service,” said Kandeel. “I’m proud to say that over a third of all graduates from across the region that took the training last year were from Qatar. It’s a great honour for the team.”

dramatic new cadillac on Doha’s Roads




he Mannai Auto Group and Cadillac Arabia unveiled the allnew Cadillac XTS, which is available for the first time in Qatar starting this May. The XTS boasts several industry firsts, including capacitive-touch control; proximity-sensing safety systems featuring both audible alerts and the Safety Alert Seat feature where the seat vibrates to warn drivers of an impending collision; Magnetic Ride Control; short- and long-range radar systems that support adaptive cruise control and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and it comes in six interior colour/trim combinations. At the event, Mohammed Helmy, Group General Manager of Mannai Automotive Group, exclusive importers of Cadillac in Qatar, said: “The all-new Cadillac XTS truly embodies the space, elegance and dramatic presence that are signatures of the Cadillac brand, amplified by entirely new and advanced technology that is geared to a new generation of luxury customers.”

Cadillac’s most advanced model – the Cadillac XTS – arrives in Qatar. qatar today > june 2013 > 105

business > auto news

Doha’s New Eco-Taxis

Karwa received the first-ever cab in Qatar manufactured to be run on CNG.


olkswagen delivered the first of its VW Passat EcoFuel cars to Karwa. This will be the first eco-friendly cab plying the roads of Doha. The compressed natural gas-powered vehicle was received on behalf of Karwa by the government public transport firm’s Director of Taxi and Limousine, Abdulla Ali Bahzad, and is considered a major push towards boosting Qatar’s environmental-friendly initiatives. Q-Auto, the German automobile company’s distributors in Qatar, stated that even though CNG-powered cars are 15-20 percent more expensive than regular cars, they are cheaper in the long run as their maintenance works out to be 15 percent cheaper. Bahzad said that most of Doha’s public transport vehicles would be converted to CNG in phases so that the proper infrastructure for the same can be developed, and as part of this project over 60 CNG buses are to be introduced later this year.

A Taste of Ferrari

Ferrari owners in Qatar were invited to live life in the fast lane on the Losail International Circuit.


he third edition of "Emozioni in Pista" attracted Qatar’s Ferrari owners and enthusiasts who enjoyed the opportunity to truly push their machines to the limit on the Losail International Circuit. Organised by Alfardan Sports Motors Company, the official Ferrari importers in Qatar, in cooperation with Ferrari Middle East and Africa, the event saw guests take their cars into top gear around the track, under the watchful eyes of the official Pilota Ferrari instructors, who also conducted competitions. They were also invited to experience the thrill of test-driving the manufacturer’s three fastest, top-of-the range models – the Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari California and Ferrari FF. Giulio Zauner, General Manager of Ferrari Middle East and Africa, said: “We are proud to see so many enthusiasts attending the annual Emozioni in Pista in Qatar. We see more and more Ferraristi wanting to feel their cars' performance and develop their driving skills.” Mohamed Kandeel, General Manager of Alfardan Sports Motors Company, who personally welcomed the guests at the event and presented prizes to the competition winners, said he was glad to see the Emozioni in Pista becoming an iconic event among Qatar’s Ferrari enthusiasts and fans and hoped to see them all again next year.

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business>marketwatch Time again for B2B

“For the ninth year in a row eight business councils have united and worked together for about ten months to arrange this unique event for Doha,” says Pamela McDowell, General Secretary of Back to Business.


he event was originally arranged by three business councils, and last year the Turkish business council joined as the eighth member in this international alliance. This year the two business councils acting as chairs of the organising committee are the Spanish and the Scandinavian Business Councils, supported by the Turkish Businessmen Association, Italian Business Council, Dutch Business Council, Qatar British Business Forum, German Business Council and Australian and New Zealand Business Community in Qatar. “The work for Back2Business 2013 began in January 2013. Even though the event is

many months away, the interest is high for what is already considered the largest networking event in Doha, bringing together not only many different nationalities, but from a range of industries as well as positions,” she says. It is an excellent occasion to make new contacts but also to reconnect with people you might not have seen for a while. More than 600 people were there last year and it is expected to receive close to a thousand people in this year’s edition. McDowell adds: “The feedback from some of last year’s participants was very positive. This year special identification

Oryx Rotana Doha wins award


he Oryx Rotana Doha was named Best Airport Hotel in the Middle East this year at the 2013 World Airport Awards, held at the Passenger Terminal Expo in Geneva. Oryx Rotana General Manager Kevork Deldelian said: “We are so proud of this award. It symbolises all that we set out to achieve when opening our doors three years ago.” Edward Plaisted, Chairman of Skytrax said: “We congratulate Oryx Rotana Doha on a most successful

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performance at the World Airport Awards, which serves to show how the hotel has become established as one of the finest airport hotels in the world. The results demonstrate that the Oryx Rotana Doha has established itself as a true guest favourite, with the hotel not only named Best Airport Hotel in the Middle East for 2013, but also ranked in third position worldwide for the best airport hotels in the world.”

based on colours is being given to the participants in order to make the networking activity even easier.” The event will be held on October 2. “Vodafone has signed on as a strategic partner for the third year in a row, and through their support and innovation we will be able to reach more people this year, as they’ve committed to, amongst other things, ticket sales for the event in four selected stores throughout Doha,” informs McDowell. Those interested in participating in this year’s event can visit or

Game on for Davidoff


he latest eau de toilette by Davidoff, “The Game”, has been launched exclusively for men. Designed by master perfumer Bernard Ellena, the fragrance belongs to the aromatic woody family. The striking top note is closely followed by a rich heart note of iris artfully faceted with precious woods. This exclusive element gives the scent a very distinctive elegance. Refined blackwood forms the strong base note. It creates a powerful and sensual resonance that grounds the whole perfume. The perfume is aimed at men who have a strong and distinct personality.

Intercon gets new look The InterContinental Doha has reopened rooms to guests after the completion of an extensive room renovation project. The new rooms will cement the hotel’s position as the leading hotel in Qatar with defined luxury and convenience for guests.


hile the hotel has undergone minor refurbishment projects in the nearly 13 years since its doors first opened, the latest renovation marks the first time that such an extensive project has been carried out at the hotel. “It has been exciting to join InterContinental Doha and be tasked with the challenge to renovate and launch the new rooms and suites. The completion marks a pivotal time for the hotel and we are all very proud of the new product. Not only have we ensured that the local Arab touch and artistry is prevailing, but we have integrated a state-of-the-art modern design to the Arab culture and heritage,” said Andreas Pfister, General Manager, InterContinental Doha. The completed renovation is part of a larger vision for the hotel, which will include additional developments to be unveiled soon.

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business > market watch

Burger King appreciates employees

Al Jassim Group subsidiary Premier Food Services hosted its annual staff party to emphasise the company’s appreciation for the contributions of all its staff.


he event recognised excellence, teamwork and leadership and was attended by Sheikh Khalid bin Jassim Al Thani, CEO of Al Jassim Group; Camille Aoun, Premier Food Services’ General Manager; and other senior members of the group, including staff from Burger King, Caffe Vergnano 1882 and Quiznos Sub. The staff were congratulated for their hard work which, amplified franchise performance in Qatar including elevating Burger King to the position of the best performing franchise in the entire Middle East region in terms of comparative sales growth among franchise operators, for which Premier Food Services received an award from Burger King recently. Sheikh Khalid bin Jassim said: “This annual event is an important part of the company’s calendar as it allows us to develop closer bonds, and also recognises the individual contributions of some of our most dedicated staff members over the years.”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Middle East launched

United Media Services International FZ LLC (UMS) and Bloomberg Businessweek have announced an agreement to publish English and Arabic editions of Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East.


his partnership will allow Bloomberg Businessweek to continue to expand its reach among globally-minded business leaders in one of the most important and emergent economies in the world. Launch preparations are currently under way for the English-language edition of Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East, which will be published twice per month, and a first issue date will be announced soon. The targeted circulation of the magazine is 24,000, focused on an audience of business leaders in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Arabic-language edition of Bloomberg Businessweek will also be published twice per month and is scheduled to launch in May 2014. Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East will provide readers with incisive analysis and unparalleled access to the CEOs, dealmakers and industrial decision-makers around the world who are changing the face of business and finance. Both editions will feature the best global content from Bloomberg Businessweek, which draws on Bloomberg’s 2,400 journalists worldwide, and locally-focused business and financial content produced by UMS's vast regional network of bureaus and editors.

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CGC partners with Christie Digital Consolidated Gulf Company (CGC), a Qatar-based technology and engineering conglomerate, has joined forces with Christie Digital Systems to offer a range of visual displays and audio video solutions to meet local needs.


nil Mahajan, COO, CGC, and Mahesh Singh, Sales Manager, Christie Digital Systems, formally signed a partnership agreement in Doha recently. “The partnership takes CGC’s AV portfolio to new heights with Christie’s reputation as the world’s single source manufacturer of a variety of display technologies and solutions for cinema, large audience environments, control rooms, business presentations, training facilities, 3D and virtual reality, simulation, education, media and government,” said Mahajan. Mahesh Singh said: “As a market leader, Christie has installed over 100,000 projection solutions worldwide. We bring huge experience and customised solutions to meet local needs in conjunction with CGC’s skilled workforce and proven deliverables. Together, we are confident to bring world quality and professional services to our AV customers in Qatar.”

Four Points to launch in Saudi Arabia Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. recently announced the debut of the Four Points by Sheraton brand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


he new Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia is owned by Khaldia Towers Company, a partnership between Al Jedaie Group and Al Hokair Group. The hotel is conveniently located 20 minutes from Riyadh’s business district and 45 minutes from King Khalid International Airport, making it an ideal choice for business travellers. “We are delighted to partner with Khaldia Towers Company as we mark the entry of the Four Points by Sheraton brand into Saudi Arabia,” said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “This project further underlines our commitment to continued expansion in Saudi Arabia, an important business and outbound travel destination.” Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia currently operates two convenient dining venues: Al Nakheel, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant serving international cuisine, and Khaldia Lounge, offering refreshments and snacks in the lobby area. Early in 2014, the hotel will open Panorama, which will serve the finest local flavours and offer spectacular views over Riyadh from the 26th floor. Starwood today operates close to 50 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company’s nine distinct lifestyle brands: The Luxury Collection, St Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft.

Samsung gets cool Samsung Electronics, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, has unveiled its new 3050 Top Mount Freezer Refrigerator at a dealer conference with TechnoBlue WLL.


he refrigerator leverages Samsung’s superior digital inverter technology for improved energy efficiency, better durability, enhanced cooling performance and optimal freshness. Coupled with space-saving and convenience features, the new refrigerator offers the ultimate convenience for the modern-day family. “The refrigerator is at the heart of every kitchen today. Our new 3050 refrigerator brings advanced technology and power into the "heart" of the kitchen without compromising energy efficiency. With its wide range of features, including a MoistFresh Zone and space-efficiency details, the 3050 refrigerator is the ideal home appliance for today’s families,” said Robin Kadyan, General Man-

ager of Home Appliances Sales Group at Samsung Gulf Electronics. Techno Blue General Manager K.V. Gopal said: “We are very excited to bring this product to our consumers in Qatar. The 3050 is the perfect combination of durability and high quality, and was designed to be simple yet very effective in keeping your meats and vegetables fresh giving you enough space to store food, and comes with a 10-year warranty on the Digital Inverter Compressor.” The 3050 Top Mount Freezer Refrigerator is now available in all leading retailers in Qatar in a wide range of sizes from 220 litres to 480 litres, with prices ranging from QR 1,049 to QR 1,749 respectively. qatar today > june 2013 > 111

business > market watch

Pioneering the Business of Fashion Splash, Middle East’s largest fashion retailer, turns 20 this year. In an exclusive interview with Qatar Today, Raza Beig, CEO of Splash talks about their stupendously successful journey.


rom a single store in 1993 to more than 200 stores and 50 brand stores today, Splash’s success story has been phenomenal. Attributing this success to customer support, Beig says his life is packed with challenges. “I personally do not give up easily. Success is subjective. I strive to work towards happiness, rather than success,” he says. And the one lesson he has learnt is that when there is a vision to create a new future it should be implemented without delay and without compromising on quality. Talking about his business strategy in the Middle East, he says, “Our business strategy is always to be on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities in unexplored markets. The Middle East has been the birthplace of Splash and as long as we are here, we will always look to improve our current stores and open new ones. Qatar is a growing market for us and customers have been loyal to Splash. With an increasing customer base, we will definitely look for opportunities for expansion. We will be opening more stores this year.” “The reason we have gone from a single

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store to 200 stores is only because our customers have always been with us and loved us, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them,” he says. To celebrate this occasion the brand promises a year full of surprises for the customer. “For this year specifically, we have planned a year-long celebration packed with an exciting calendar of activities and elements that will be consumer-inclusive. We kick-started the merriment by partnering with BMW to launch the "20 BMW’s To Be Won" promo in a bid to reaffirm our commitment towards our customers and thank them for their continued love and support.” “Earlier in the year, Splash launched the Emblem Design contest, calling for entries to create a 20th year logo, which received an overwhelming response. The winner walked away with prize money and the logo is being featured on all brand collateral in the coming year. Adding to the buzz, we have various activities and quirky contests for all our customers who have a passion for fashion and are loyal to the brand.” Fashion is a competitive industry with brands spurting every minute. How does

Splash keep its edge in this cut throat sector? “The competition in the last decade has multiplied many times over and every time somebody comes in, the competition gets fiercer. I do believe that competitors create a new market, new opportunities and new avenues like more malls and shopping districts. When such new avenues open, more spaces need to be filled and probably that’s why we have been successful,” he says. High-end fashion luxury is another big business that is being eyed by all conglomerates. Does Splash have plans to go luxurious? “Splash is a value fashion concept, where you can find a piece or two for a fair price. We do not want to change our focus and therefore, luxury is not on our agenda,” says Beig categorically. Talking about Splash’s international expansion plans, he says, “Today, we have decided to take the franchise route because, if we want to be a global retailer, we need to be everywhere. So we have opened stores in Jordan, India, Pakistan and Egypt, and we will shortly open stores in Sri Lanka and African markets. We are already present in Tanzania with our second store opening soon; in Libya we will be opening our third store, and we will soon be opening doors to our first store in Sri Lanka. “ Attributing the success to his team, Beig says, “Along with customer support, when your team puts in hard work and has the zest for more, your business tends to succeed. We have been fortunate to have the loyalty of the team and our customers.”

Wait for the Doha show The Jumeirah Group recently hosted a GCC road show in Qatar. In an exclusive interview with Qatar Today a senior executive talks about impending Doha plans. By Abigail Mathias


hristian Pertl, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Dubai and MEASA, is exhausted but he doesn’t let on. With six road shows in six different countries on his agenda, he has reason to be tired. The luxury group recently visited Doha to meet with business partners and traders and discuss their business in the region. “Qatar is an extremely important market for us. We are here to further engage with our partners,” says Pertl. Although it was only set up in 1997, the Jumeirah Group has 20 hotels under its belt and has won a number of international accolades. These include the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Award for the Burj Al Arab, and the Conde Nast Traveller Award for its property in Spain. “We started in the UAE with the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which recently celebrated 15 years. Ours is a fairly young company, and although we only have 20 hotels at the moment, we are looked at as an international brand in the luxury segment.” Pertl’s team had just spent the previous day hosting an event at the Messilah Beach Hotel in Kuwait, their latest property in the region and first in that country. Unfortunately he doesn’t divulge too much information on plans for Qatar. “There’s not a lot

I can share except to mention that serious negotiations are under way.” When prodded further, he says: “There are definitely plans to open a hotel in Doha soon.” Pertl hails from Austria. He oversees all sales and marketing activities for Jumeirah’s properties in the region, playing a significant role in maximising room revenue, occupancy and market share for all the group’s properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, the Maldives, Istanbul and Baku. Although one would generally associate the Jumeirah Group with the UAE, it has had enormous success in Europe and New York. “We want to further develop the brand not just in the GCC but also in Asia and China,” says Pertl. Speaking passionately about his brand, he adds: “I think if I have to express why Jumeirah is different, it is actually very simple. When we first meet customers they are strangers whom we make guests. These guests then become friends, and once they are friends they soon become believers. We have this emotional connection with our guests and customers. That makes us special.” Elaborating specifically on the Doha market, he says: “Qatar is one of our leading clientele. They are affluent and choose our properties in Europe. We have three properties in London and one in Spain. In the near future we will further develop our portfolio here.” Possibly why Qatar is an important stop on the group’s itinerary. “The roadshow is here to spread love,” he says with a chuckle. “We want to go back to our customers and say thank you. It is a very simple thing to do, but we have a strong partnership with our customers. It is our duty to come and discuss the business and see where we can do better.” With the iconic Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, the group is known for its uniquely designed hotels. We ask if Qatar’s skyline can hope for the same. “When we look at our development strategies, we usually create iconic hotels. Our new hotel in Abu Dhabi called ‘Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel’ is one of the most iconic buildings. You can be sure we will do the same in Doha,” is the tight-lipped reply. qatar today > june 2013 > 113

focus > sports file

Qatar’s star performer does it again


utaz Essa Barshim competed in the men’s high jump event on Day One of the 18th Arab Athletics Championships at Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium and recorded an impressive height of 2.30m to win the gold medal. Sudan’s Mohammed Younis bagged the silver (2.24m) while Nawaf Ahmed of Saudi Arabia picked up the bronze.

Mutaz Essa Barshim in a file photo AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI


Al Rayyan clinches Emir Cup

Al Rayyan beat Al Sadd 2-1 to lift the Emir Cup at Khalifa International Stadium on May 18. The Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, presented the trophy to Al Rayyan captain Fabio Cesar and the club president. Al Rayyan upstaged Doha giants Al Sadd to bag the Emir Cup for the sixth time. Powered by two goals in the first eight minutes of the final, Al Rayyan edged past the resolute Al Sadd to win the title clash 2-1.

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Vive le Qatar FRANCE, Paris: Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain won the 2012-13 French league with two games to spare last month. It was its first championship win since 1993-94, and the players celebrated in style near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE


“It is always hugely exciting to visit Qatar, a country where sport is taken seriously as a vehicle for socio-economic development, and a place where the worlds of business and sport are working so effectively together. In the next decade Qatar will undergo dramatic change, and it’s heartening see that plans are being developed to ensure 2022 and other major events leave a lasting legacy.” Sebastian Coe Double Olympic champion and chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

Doha shines bright

Doha kick-started the 2013 Diamond League last month with some incredible performances by the world’s top athletes.


llyson Felix’s reign over Doha was brought to an abrupt end by an inspired performance by Botswana’s Amantle Montsho. In the 400m race, the African’s time of 49.88 was too much for Felix to beat, the American settling for second with Christine Ohuruogu from the UK in third. There was no risk of failure for 800m Olympic champion David Rudisha. The Kenyan led the race comfortably until he let down the small wheel with 300 metres to ease over the line. Local favourite Mutaz Essa Barshim set a season best at 2.30 metres in the men’s high jump, but that wasn’t enough to prevent surprise winner Bohdan Bondarenko of the Ukraine surpassing him. The women’s 3000m steeplechase was another chapter in the annual regular Ethiopia vs Kenya battle – and despite the former placing three athletes in the top four, it was Lidya Chepkurui who won it for her Kenyan fans. However, this disappointment didn’t stop the

largely Ethiopian contingent dancing to the music of their national singing hero, Teddy Afro, in the post-meet concert.

FOOTBALL Date for your Diary

june I8

Uzbekistan vs Qatar, Tashkent: Qatar’s final qualification game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be crucial if AlAnnabi can overcome Iran at the Al Sadd Stadium on June 4.

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culture>doha diary

The Bidding Business

By Lina Lazaar Jameel, Sotheby’s International Contemporary Art Specialist


fter more than two decades of working with clients in Qatar and the MENA region and nearly five years with an office in Doha, Sotheby’s achieved a landmark of sorts with an evening auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art on April 22, 2013. In the words of Robin Woodhead, Chairman of Sotheby’s International, we had a sale that “we would have been proud to have had in any one of our other major international centres”. Having had the luxury of piecing together our Contemporary Art Doha sale in just the way one would curate a gallery exhibition, we were able to source works in a broad range of media, from paintings to sculptures to installation pieces. Offering the works of 43 contemporary artists, some native to the Middle East, some from Europe, the United States or China, the auction achieved the strong total of QR55,327,090 ($15,199,750), solidly between the pre-sale expectations of $11.1/16.1 million; set records for nine artists; and established the highest total for an auction of contemporary art in the Middle East region. Most importantly, interest in the sale came from around the world, with bidders from 21 countries on four continents competing actively for outstanding examples of works of global appeal. While some of the artists were well known and already celebrated in the wider international market, many of the artists represented have long been appreciated within the region; I believe that our sale helped them on the way to achieve the international acclaim they deserve. The perspective we’ve gained into burgeoning collector interest in this exciting area of the market is intriguing. There was

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wide pre-sale attention to the 2008 oil on canvas "Rising Down" by Ethiopian-born artist Julie Mehretu, one of the most visually arresting works ever produced by the artist, a monumental work that exhibits the inspiration the artist receives from a fantastically diverse range of sources, from Chinese calligraphy to architectural plans and cityscapes. It set an auction record for Mehretu when it achieved the strong price of QR11,200,280 ($3,077,000), over its high estimate of QR10,920,000 ($3 million), after competition from four bidders. Egyptian-born Chant Avedissian’s painting was composed of 120 individual paintings presenting a striking commentary on the rich mosaic of the recent Egyptian cultural past. "Icons of the Nile" is the largest piece the artist has created to date. The exhibition of the work during pre-sale shows in Jeddah, Dubai and Doha created excitement and the work set a record for a living Arab artist when it fetched QR5,696,600 ($1,565,000) (est. $1/1.5 million). An important and celebrated installation work by Saudi-born artist Manal Al-Dowayan provided symbolic testament to the restrictions inherent in Saudi female experience. "Suspended Together" had previously been displayed at several major international shows, including "Edge of Arabia" in Dubai in 2011 and the 54th Venice Biennale, when I chose it for a show I curated in the pan-Arab pavilion, "The Future of a Promise". While her installation works have not previously appeared at auction, Suspended Together, with its magnificent scale, epic grandeur and elegiac beauty, was widely admired. The Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki, who was born at the start of the Lebanese civil war, draws most of his inspiration from those events, and the work we offered in Doha, "Ya’illahi" (Dear Lord), is one of the most important paintings by him ever to come to auction. Depicting the shrouded face of a lone, heroic figure gazing up to the skies, the powerfully charged work explores the acute tension and ambiguity within the kaffiyeh, an everyday garment. Competition drove the final price to QR1,372,280 ($377,000), well above the pre-sale estimate of $100/150,000, a price which represented an auction record for the artist. One of the other themes beloved in Middle Eastern art is art based on or inspired by calligraphy, and a prominent work by the influential Iranian artist Mohammed Ehsai, "Eshgh" (Love), dating from 2012, exhibits his distinctive style, blending


traditional calligraphic techniques with modern graphics. It fetched QR1,590,680 ($437,000). These results indicate the fantastic response to art auctions in the Middle East, and collector response has been growing increasingly more enthusiastic in the past few years. The larger picture of course would take into account the activity of our Middle Eastern clients interacting at auction in our other selling centres as well. Prior to this recent Doha sale, over the past twelve years the combined figure for sales of art in Middle Eastern categories – both Arts of the Islamic World and Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian art – from 2001 to 2012 amounted to QR1.175 billion (£212 million). This activity has come from clients transacting from 19 different MENA region countries, with as much as a 21% increase this year to date compared with last year. This most recent compelling evidence of their activity in the fields of contemporary art, alongside collectors from around the world, shows that Sotheby’s, with its work in Doha, is bringing the world to Doha, and Doha to the world of international collectors

Prior to this recent Doha sale, over the past twelve years the combined figure for sales of art in Middle Eastern categories – both Arts of the Islamic World and Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian art – from 2001 to 2012 amounted to

QRI.I75 I9 % 2I

billion (£212 million). This activity has come from clients transacting from

different MENA region countries, with as much as a

increase this year to date compared with last year

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culture > doha diary

DFI Gives Novice Filmmakers across the world a Boost

DFI announced at the Cannes Film Festival that it was expanding its grants programme to support entries from across the world. snippet


n order to establish Qatar among the global hubs of filmmaking, the DFI announced that film-projects from all nations are now eligible for funding from the institute. The programme is open to first- and second-time film-makers and, while it retains its emphasis on support ing young directors from the MENA region, it will accept entrants from other countries under two other separate categories – the OECD Development Assistance Committee's list of aid recipient countries (narrative features) and the rest of the world

(by invitation only). DFI’s CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater said: “The expanded DFI grants programme marks our commitment to developing a new talent pool of international film-makers regardless of location, and to creating a portfolio of what we call ‘global films’.” Scores of young film-makers stand to gain from this move, as the programme not only supports them in completing their projects but also facilitates networking and creative exchange between the grantees through their alumni programme at the end of the grant.

Spanish Treasure Trove Arrives in Doha The Spanish Ambassador to Qatar donates a selection of valuable books focused on Spanish-Arab relations to the Qatar National Library.

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Renowned contemporary filmmaker Elia Suleiman, of The Time that Remains (2009), Divine Intervention (2002) and Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996) fame, has been appointed as the new Artistic Adviser at the Doha Film Institute.

Plating a Culinary Revolution Blue celebrated Food Revolution Day with an organic set menu that wowed diners.


xecutive Chef Mehmet Koyuncu at Grand Heritage Doha Hotel and Spa put together a completely organic set menu at its signature restaurant Blue in celebration of Food Revolution Day. Situated at Aspire Zone, the spread of healthy, nutritious food prepared made from fresh, all-natural ingredients seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. General Manager of Grand Heritage Doha Pierre-Marie Vasseur said: “After last year’s success, we were keen to once again mark Food Revolution Day, and we fully support the concept of delivering healthy meals with the freshest of ingredients to our guests. Our special healthy menu was uprising with flavours and freshness. We are thrilled with how Food Revolution has been received by our customers, and look forward to introducing the idea to many, many more.” A concept pioneered by Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution Day is supposed to be a chance for diners to savour real food for at least one day – food that is 100 percent natural and completely free of artificial flavours.

Kawader set to inspire Qataris


hen HE Carmen de la Pena, Spain’s Ambassador to Qatar, visited Qatar National Library’s Heritage Collection Building recently, she brought with her a rare and thoughtful gift. The collection of valuable books she donated to the library was in line with QNL’s mission to bridge cultural gaps with knowledge. The books, curated in collaboration with the Islamic Library of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and Casa Arabe, a Spanish public diplomacy institution, explore topics like architecture in Iraq, sub-Saharan migration, contemporary art, and early medicine. HE de la Pena said: “Although the books donated cover a wide range of subjects, all of them

reflect the close historical and cultural ties between Spain and the Arab world.” Project Director of Qatar National Library Dr Claudia Lux, who welcomed the ambassador, noted: “The donated Arabic, Spanish and English books will enrich the library’s collection, further enhance researchers’ opportunities and provide library members with access to Arab and Spanish cultural and historical knowledge.” The collection also includes contemporary titles like The Spanish Company in the Arab Investment Experiences and Triangulation (2009), The New Arab Capital: Major Players and opportunities for Spanish companies (2013) and Arab Contributions to Latin American Identities (2009).

Qatar Finance and Business Academy (QFBA) unveiled ‘Kawader’, a programme that targets Qatari students attending universities or colleges in their third year, as well as fresh graduates, to persuade them to choose a career in the financial sector. It is anticipated that the programme will motivate and empower talented students for careers in the financial sector. Kawader is divided into two parts. The first part covers overviews of important topics such as Qatar’s financial services sector and capital markets, as well as legal and regulatory frameworks. The second encompasses introductions to banking, insurance and asset management as well as courses in financial, English, soft skills and corporate social responsibility, plus personal development programmes.

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culture > doha diary

A Celebration of History and Culture Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Museum joined more than 30,000 museums across 100 countries to commemorate International Museum Day.


he Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Museum, which houses wide-ranging collections from Islamic cultural artefacts to vintage cars, launched a brand new website in celebration of International Museum Day. The site, which presents the museum's exhibits in mesmerising detail with stunning photography, fully explained and documented, is to serve as an important bridge to the next generation. The museum is pioneering several new programmes to safeguard the local heritage, promote cultural exchange and preserve these pieces of history and culture for future generations, like the first travelling museum exhibition of the Middle East,

Eco-conscious Fashion Is In A gathering of fashion enthusiasts at VCU-Q celebrated World Environment Day in their own unique, colourful style.


he Eco Fashion Design Contest held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar at Education City attracted over 500 children from 40 schools, who clamoured to create glamorous clothes bound by the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink. The contest was open to students as young as eight years old, and Artistic Director Dimple Rajesh of the International Academy for Intercultural Development (IAID), noted “it was very encouraging to see children using recyclable materials like cardboard, tin, recycled fabric or clothing etc., to express their eco-friendly beliefs in their works.” The panel consisted of designers from the Qatar Fashion department at the university. The shortlisted designs would be re-invited to walk the ramp during the closing ceremony on June 7 and the final winners would be chosen then.

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entitled “The Beauty of Words”. An exchange with the British Museum is planned in October as part of the Qatar-UK Year of Culture 2013 in addition to a second travelling exhibition that will be displayed at some of the UK’s top tourist destinations. Collector, owner of the museum and “Heritage Personality of the Year”, HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani commented: “International Museum Day serves as a reminder of the significant role that museums play by keeping alive the past’s history, culture and traditions for the next generation to learn and draw from, thus enriching and influencing society in a positive way.”

Qatar Today looks at two expatriates from everyday life, one who has lived here for a significant amount of time and another who has just made Doha her home, for their take on life in this city.

My Home in Qatar Alaa El-Dabaa

Business Communications Manager, Qatar Shell

What I strongly admire about Doha is that while growing into a vibrant metropolis, the city and the whole country persevere to maintain national identity. There is a strong national pride in the country’s legacy and traditions.

Qatar is home: I arrived in Doha mid-2008 on an international assignment with my company, Shell, to lead communications at the Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) project at Ras Laffan Industrial Area during the construction phase. Jointly developed by Qatar Petroleum and Shell, Pearl GTL is the largest energy project ever launched in the country. With up to 52,000 people from 60 nations working on the project at peak construction, communications was clearly a crucial element for delivery. Doha then, Doha now: It has been amazing to see the phenomenal growth in Doha and the whole country over the past five years. Beyond the physical growth of high rises and urban expansion, Doha has taken vast strides towards realising the country’s National Vision 2030. In as little as a decade, Doha grew as the unrivalled global champion of gas monetisation, becoming the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the GTL capital of the world. The country invested heavily in the development of spectacular infrastructure and world-scale projects and the past five years saw the shift from construction to

Aoife Boyce

Primary School Teacher In Doha since August 2012

Qatar is Home There is an amazing array of sports and social clubs. For an active person like me there are ample 122 > qatar today > june 2013

What I miss: Doha and Qatar have some of the nicest beaches in the Gulf but they do not have the facilities that make them properly useable. I know there is a desire to maintain the pristine nature of these beaches but they do not need to develop into an all-out touristic drive. I love: What I strongly admire about Doha is that while growing into a vibrant metropolis, the city and the whole country persevere to maintain national identity. There is a strong national pride in the country’s legacy and traditions. This is clearly manifested in the naming of modern projects, assets and even tankers after old villages and traditional crafts. A quick visit to Souk Waqif at night is enough to realise how tradition is cherished.

After living and working in the UAE, Italy, Australia and Ireland I felt Doha would be an interesting place to move to as it an exciting and vibrant city.

New Beginnings

New beginnings in Qatar Since arriving in Doha last August I have made so many new friends and have enjoyed the combination of modern and traditional that Doha offers.

operation and value generation. But above all, Doha has seen a spectacular growth of local talent, with the rise of a new generation of extremely gifted Qataris who are leading the country to the future at different levels of leadership.

opportunities. Most weekends there are sporting events to compete in. When I first arrived I joined the Doha Bay Running Club and found every member very welcoming. I miss training on the hills at home but I don’t miss training in the hailstones and gale force winds. Aspirations I believe that Doha is a place with excellent schools,

and a fantastic place to work. I have learned so much already from my international colleagues, and I hope that I continue to do this in my time in Doha.

Qatar Today June 2013  

QATAR TODAY TOP 10: It’s that time of year again when Qatar Today partners with AlShall Economics to give its readers an insight into the mo...

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