11/7/10 11:44:19 AM
11/7/10 11:46:35 AM
11/1/10 7:09:56 PM
44 Take me To your
Every organisation needs leadership. Regardless of the economic weather, a steady hand is the bare minimum needed at the tiller to guide the company through even the most clement financial conditions the world over. But this region is different, and Qatar more different still; here there is massive growth, international expansion and a steady rise in international profile and this requires bespoke leadership strengths: vision, aggression, ambition and a desire to see your charges thrive with the company. In short, Qatar requires inspirational leadership through hard work, dedication and an unbending will. Qatar Today meets the people that make this country and others in the region reach for greater heights in society, business and sport.
Qatar Exchange has a new trading platform. For the Exchange, the adoption of the new system is seen as a milestone in the exchange business in this country. For the small investor, it is claimed, it has turned a formerly simple task into a labyrinthine pursuit. So... who is right?
seeing iT differenTly
Sindhu Nair reports on the regionâ€™s first Assistive Technology centre â€“ Mada â€“ where the use of cutting-edge technology is literally changing the lives of those with disabilities.
98 a whole new ball game
Aspetar sports hospital is home to some ground-breaking research into human sporting endurance in extreme climates. John Hunt observes the exertions from a safe distance.
11/1/10 7:10:57 PM
72 feeling energeTic
Head north out of Doha and in short time you will reach Qatar Energy City, a headturning development that is set to be the region’s first integrated energy hub, with an initial investment of QR1.8 billion. Ahmad Lotfy reports.
whaT am i bid..?
Art auctioneers Christie’s recently showcased the work of contemporary Middle Eastern artists who are taking the community by storm. Jussi Pylkkanen, President, Christie’s Europe and Middle East, feels that the region has more to offer.
The joy of six
The Middle East’s premier job site examines six ways in which you can get ahead in your career. ‘Finding a mentor’ is, as this month’s cover story explains, a good place to start – how better to improve and enhance your self-development than by aligning yourself with the best? Bayt.com offers the practical tips to better your workplace lot.
sPend, sPend, sPend sP
Qatari state spending is due to increase this financial year to QR117.9 billion, with 40% of this figure – QR47 billion – dedicated to infrastructure projects. It's a huge figure, yet represents less infrastructhan a quarter of the planned infrastruc ture spending over the next few years. Is it too much to be spending in a small state like Qatar? OBG looks closer...
Graham Wolverson, Independent Financial Advisor, returns to train his 20-plus years of dealing with expatriates’ monetary and investment concerns onto the queries of our readers.
Technology: looking down on The edge
Consumer technology has an impact in this region greater than just about anywhere else. The love of new gadgets seems to be an Arab trait and the expats are not far behind in their devotion to shiny things with flashing lights, especially if they also play a little tune. In a new feature, we look at some of the latest technology launches and tech stories from around the world.
regulars News Bites.................................10 Realty Check..............................16 O&G Overview..........................18
Bank Notes.................................20 Arab Snippets.............................22 World View.................................24
Braking News.............................76 Market Watch..............................80 Doha Diary..................................92
inside: cgc nokia ProducT bookleT
11/1/10 7:11:52 PM
From the DeSk When the Queen of the United Kingdom hosts VIPs at Windsor Castle it indicates a special favour. This month the honour was laid out to none other than our Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned. Ò Expanding UK business and political ties with the Gulf States is a priority and this red carpet treatment will be a bridge-building exercise with a country that has been identified as one of the cash-richest of the Gulf states,Ó according to political experts from Durham University. For a country that was almost unknown a few years ago, Qatar has indeed come a long way. From a pearl-exporting backwater it is now home to an impressive sovereign wealth fund - the Qatar Investment Authority, with its assets of $100 billion (QR364 billion) - assets purchased from the income of the countryÕ s offshore natural gas reserves which represent a third of the worldÕ s total supplies. It owns a considerable amount of British Ô stockÕ including Harrods and prime real estate such as the US Embassy building in Grosvenor Square. Qatar also has stakes in Barclays Bank and it is reportedly looking at bidding for ChristieÕ s, the auction house. For those of us who have witnessed the progress of the country in the last century, change was inevitable. Change that has put Qatar atop of the list of gas-exporting countries, change that has brought leading education brands to the country, change that has brought top research institutions here under the umbrella of QSTP, change that has encouraged sports and sporting activities in superb stadiums. Talk to any high-ranking official and you are sure to hear them laud the ‘vision’ that has brought about this change. This is not to be brushed off as a comment to flatter the leaders, for it is a vision, a sustainable one that has given the country a push far stronger than the wealth that has come off its gas and oil reserves. This month, Qatar Today salutes the leaders that make dreams a reality, stars who have changed the existing structure. Stars of a different kind descended on the country for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival; we bring you some glimpses from the red carpet. Read on in this issue to get the inside track on the new trading system at Qatar Exchange, the Assistive Technology Centre, Mada, and Aspetar’s influential study on the impact of extreme climate on sporting professionals... Address all your correspondence to Qatar Today, oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.o. box 3272; Doha-Qatar. tel:(+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584, Fax:(+974)44550982, email: qtoday@omsqatar. com. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. the publisher does not accept responsibility for advertising contents. Licensing/republishing Qt content: to obtain permission for text syndication in books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers and web or to use images/pictures carried in Qatar Today, please contact our syndication & licensing department on the numbers given above. Permission is also required to photocopy a Qt article for classroom use, course packs, business or general use. Custom reprints: Any of the previously published article/s to be used as stand-alone pieces can be reprinted by us on special request. the reprint cost is based on the length of the article and the quantity ordered. Contact our custom publishing division on the numbers given above for more information. Previous issues (FebrUAry 2004 onwards) of Qatar Today are available for sale, contact our Library department. to subscribe to Qatar Today call our subscription department on the numbers given above.
voLUme 36 iSSUe 11 November 2010 managing editor vani saraswaThi
Art Director venkaT reddy
Deputy editor sindhu nair
Asst Director Ð Production sujiTh heenaTigala
executive vice President alPana roy
Assistant editors ahmad loTfy ali john hunT
Assistant Art Director hanan abu saiam
vice President ravi raman
editorial Coordinator cassey oliveira
Publisher & editor-in-Chief yousuf jassem al darwish Chief Executive Officer sandeeP sehgal
Contributor shalinee bharadwaj
Senior Graphic Designers ayush indrajiTh samPaTh gunaThilaka
managers Ð marketing mohammed sami Zulfikar jiffry Senior media Consultant chaTurka karandana media Consultants vicToria ferraris hassan rekkab
Accountant PraTaP chandran Sr. Distribution executive bikram shresTha Distribution Support arjun Timilsina bhimal rai
marketing research & Support executive amjeTh ali
Published by oryx ADvertiSiNG Co WLL, P.o. box 3272; Doha-Qatar tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.omsqatar.com Printed at: Gulf Publishing and Printing Co WLL Copyright © 2010 oryx Advertising Co WLL
11/1/10 7:14:25 PM
11/1/10 7:14:26 PM
11/1/10 7:15:27 PM
11/1/10 7:15:31 PM
MICE on focus The October issue of Qatar Today raised an interesting topic Ð on the future of business tourism in Qatar. ItÕ s true that Qatar is a small country, and compared to others it doesnÕ t boast of many tourist attractions. But with a number of luxury hotels on the rise and the improving infrastructure, I am sure Qatar will race ahead to make a mark in the MICE sector. Hussain Fayed
Poll result is based on messages received till 20th of every month
Boosting the hotels
QT poll september LeADerS PLAy A vitAL roLe iN the ProGreSS oF ANy CoUNtry. yeS / No SmS ANSWerS to +974 33072524 A LUCky WiNNer WiLL WiN A NokiA e63
The cover story of Qatar Today was an exhaustive take on the MICE sector of Qatar. Personally, I feel this sector is dependent mostly on the hotel industry. Incentives seem drab in a small country like Qatar, so finally itÕ s the Conferences and Exhibitions which have to buck up in order to propel Qatar towards the next MICE destination. Sami Zeinab
Truth prevails I have always enjoyed reading the Ô bottom lineÕ section of Qatar Today as it covers various, but true angles
of corporate world. ItÕ s a perfect take on what actually happens in organizations and how organisations should move forward to achieve the best in terms of profits as well as employee productivity. James Noel
Islamic Art I have been an ardent fan of anything related to Art and Islamic Art is something which I have developed a taste for, after arriving in Qatar. I think ChristieÕ s has done a commendable job of hosting a public art exhibition. Fine Art is a treasure, and it has to be appreciated and cherished for it to survive in this modern world. Mona Dias
A true journalist The article on Roxana Saberi was a very touching one. I feel sorry for the trials and tribulations she had to face in her journey to showcase the truth. I totally support her fight for human rights. ItÕ s nice to see that her life was well portrayed in your magazine. Joanna Williams
The winning number of The lasT QT poll is 33010701
QT poll resulTs CAN QAtAr ever beCome A GLobAL rAther thAN A reGioNAL miCe veNUe?
QAtAr toDAy iNviteS reADerSÕ FeeDbACk Share your views on the magazine or any issue connected to Qatar. one lucky reader will win an exquisite mont blanc writing instrument. Write to: the editor, Qatar today, Po box 3272, Doha. Fax: (+974) 44550982, email: email@example.com
Check out all articles of Qatar Today on www.issuu.com/oryxmags
Qatar Today reserves the right to edit and publish the correspondence. views and opinions expressed in the published letters may not necessarily be the publicationÕ s views and opinions.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:18:08 PM
11/1/10 7:18:11 PM
WhAt LANGUAGe Do yoU SPeAk?
the royAL viSit
HH the EmirSheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani along with HH Sheikha Mozah and HE the PM and FM Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Charles of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Princess Camilla
H The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani was on a two-day state visit to Britain along with HH Sheikha Mozah. Queen Elizabeth II of the UK bestowed on HH the Emir the Merit of Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in appreciation of the distinctive relations
HH Sheikha Mozah attending the signing of a partnership between QF, QMA and UCL
between Qatar and the UK. The ceremony, at Windsor Castle, was attended by HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser Al-Misnad, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani and several members of the accompanying delegation. HH Sheikha Mozah signed a partner-
ship during the visit to establish the first UK university campus at Education City, University Campus, London (UCL). The agreement was signed by Qatar Foundation Vice President for Education, HE Sheikh Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani and UCL Provost Professor Malcom Grant.
HH Sheikha Mozah and Chairman of the British Library Baroness Blackstone signing a Digital Heritage Project between QF and British Library
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:19:17 PM
11/1/10 7:19:20 PM
5% oF bANCo SANtANDer Qatar Holding (QH) announced the acquisition of a 5% stake in Banco Santander (Brasil) S.A. through an agreement to purchase $2.7 billion (QR9.83 billion) of mandatorily exchangeable bonds to be issued by Banco Santander S.A. The three-year bonds pay an annual coupon of 6.75% and are exchangeable into Santander Brasil units at a reference price of BRL23.75 per unit. Closing of the transaction is expected to take place by the end of October 2010. Upon completion of the transaction, Qatar Holding is now a key shareholder in major financial institutions around the world, from China to Europe and now Brazil. Commenting on the transaction, HE
Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr AlThani, Prime Minister and Chairman of QH, said: “We are happy to announce our new investment in Santander Brasil. This reflects our commitment to strengthen bilateral ties and economic cooperation with an important growing economy." QH, Vice Chairman, Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla added: “This acquisition accomplishes our objective of increasing our exposure to fast growing emerging markets like Brazil, after our earlier investment in China. This will further diversify our portfolio’s geographical coverage, this time to Latin America.” Barclays Capital is acting as exclusive financial adviser to QH.
tALeNt CoNFereNCe FoCUSeS Not jUSt oN NUmberS ‘Managing nationalisation successfully amidst turbulent times’ was the focus of a recent conference on Local Talent. The event was organised by Fleminggulf.com and brought together an expert panel of speakers from the region. Adnan Al-Banna, Senior ManagerCorporate Planning at Qatar Airways discussed the current situation of nationalisation in the GCC. He said taking the six Gulf countries with a total workforce of 40 million, nationals does not exceed 45% of the total, while expatriates working are approximately 55%. He said that Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain have managed their local talent fairly well, with the percentage of nationals close to 70.
In Kuwait the percentage of working nationals to the total population was 42%, while in UAE it was 17% and in Qatar it was 14%. This is not an ideal situation; he said and called for integration of nationals and expatriates. He also called on nationals to raise their expectations and look out for mentors. David Jones, Senior Leader of Aon Hewitt spoke about an ongoing survey called Qudara that focused on the habits of the workforce in the region. According to the survey, GCC nationals show a greater tolerance towards working in a multi-cultural environment than the other Arab nationals and expatriate workforce. Oryx Advertising Company was the media partner of this conference.
73% Saudi Arabia
eDUCAte QAtAr LAUNCheD
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani announced the launch of Ò Educate Qatar,Ó an education centre, based in Doha, Ò to enhance the overall standard of educational facilities throughout Qatar.Ó
ducate Qatar is a new subsidiary of Allied International Holding specialising in education and training. The organisation has a portfolio of educational products and programmes licensed from many of the world’s leading academic and corporate services and solutions brands to support the existing education system in place in Qatar. Educate Qatar, provides after school in-centre and online tutoring programmes for Qatari grade school, middle school, and high school students licensing Carnegie Learning® and Cognitive Tutor® software for its learning programmes.
UAE Qatar (percentage of working nationals to the total population)
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:20:35 PM
11/1/10 7:20:38 PM
breAkthroUGh reGeNerAtive therAPy For NeWborNS tor of HMC. This close cooperation will facilitate the treatment of children who suffer from urea cycle disorders, which is a genetic disorder caused by a deficiency of enzymes in the urea cycle responsible for removing ammonia from the blood stream thereby cleaning it of toxins. Under the agreement, these children can be included faster into the liver cell therapy study programme.
Dr Hanan Al-Kuwari, Managing Director of HMC
amad Medical Corporation (HMC) has partnered with the University Children’s Hospital in Heidelberg and German biotech company Cytonet Gmbh & Co. KG to establish an agreement to conduct the clinical trial SELICA (Safety and Efficacy of Liver Cell Application). The joint venture between HMC and the specialists in regenerative medicine
(Cytonet) was announced publicly following a launch event on October 11, which was held alongside a Newborn Screening Workshop. “This initiative is one of the many medical and healthcare projects we are working on that will raise the health standards in Qatar and lead to a better quality of life for our population,” commented Dr Hanan Al-Kuwari, Managing Direc-
CGC: AWArDS GALore
(L-R) CGCÕ s CFO Tawfeeq Salem and COO Anil Mahajan (1st & 2nd from left), receiving ISO certifications from Velosi's Sudhir Pandra and Terry Armes
GC, one of the first IT, Telecom and Engineering solutions and services providers in Qatar, has achieved three international standard certifications covering its entire business domains. Besides attaining the Environmental Management System ISO 14001:2004 and Occupational Health and Safety Management System OHSAS 18001:2007, CGC also received recertification to the Quality Management System 14
ISO 9001:2008. These three certifications cover CGC’s vast business portfolio, fully demonstrating its upgraded capabilities and increased commitment to best practices and principles as per international standards. “The certifications came as a result of CGC’s well defined approach and full adherence to quality, environment, occupational health and safety of their employees and stakeholders,” said Anil Mahajan, CEO, CGC.
No heALth WithoUt meNtAL heALth Qatar marked World Mental Health Day on October 10 with a seminar on mental health at the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) premises.
Experts in the field addressed the gathering and spoke on various kinds of mental disorders and the factors that lead to these conditions. In his keynote address, Dr Mohammed Al-Thani, Director of Public Health at SCH said psychiatric health was essential to an individual to enable him perform his role in the society. Quoting the latest statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO), he said that more than 450 million people suffer from psychiatric disorders which result from socio economic, biological and environmental factors. Dr Tahir Shaltot, psychiatry consultant at the Hamad Medical Corporation spoke about the factors affecting the psychiatric health of an individual such as the lack of moral values, weakness of the personality, the low economic status and social pressures.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:22:06 PM
11/1/10 7:22:23 PM
A SUStAiNAbLe 101010 0101010 10010 miSSioN 100010 10101 0010
QGbC LAUNCheS memberShiP ProGrAmme Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), a non-profit organisation supported by Qatar Foundation, formally launched its membership programme at an event at the organisation’s headquarters recently. “This is a milestone in the history of QGBC,” said Issa Al-Mohannadi on the occasion. “Keeping with QGBC’s mission, we have been holding awareness events, knowledge seminars, training in internationally recognised rating systems and will continue to do so,” he said. Rajaa Saleh, Administration Manager, QGBC gave a presentation on the e-types of membership available. “QGBC aims to have membership across sectors. It will have participation from the government, real estate developers, investors, facilities managers,
construction manufacturers, professional firms, consultants, financial services, academia, NGOs and media,” she said. QGBC is seeking to become accredited as a fully established member of the World Green Building Council, a network of national councils from 80 countries and represents over 50% of global construction activity bringing together 15,000 companies and organisations. The vision of QGBC is to provide leadership and collaboration in guiding and adopting environmentally sustainable practices for green building design and development to support the health and sustainability of the environment, people and economic security for generations to come. Membership costs QR500 for an individual and for students the cost is QR100.
the PeArL-QAtAr: beSt ProjeCt oF the yeAr At the recent Ô Arabian Business Achievement Awards, Qatar 2010Õ United Development CompanyÕ s (UDC) flagship project The PearlQatar was named Ô Best Project of The YearÕ . The award is the latest recognition for The Pearl-Qatar which is seen as a world leading urban development project. Accepting the award, UDCÕ s Technical Director Jerry Jackson said, “This has been a fantastic year for The Pearl-Qatar and the project is developing well.This project has been achieved as a result of the vision of His Highness the Emir and the hard work of everyone.”
ohaland’s stand at the recently held Expo Real, Munich – Germany, was visited by thousands. Dohaland was lauded as the world’s first sustainable property developer regenerating a downtown area on such a large scale from the Middle East. Dohaland’s Musheireb stand, whose design was inspired by the company’s Knowledge Enrichment Centre, contained artifacts and traditional elements to facilitate peoples’ understanding of the process, progression and origins of Dohaland’s new architectural language. The stand also featured a traditional Qatari majlis as well as the exhibition’s largest scale model on display. 16
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:23:26 PM
11/1/10 7:23:27 PM
emir DeDiCAteS meLAmiNe ProjeCt to NAtioN
is Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, dedicated the Qatar Melamine Company to the nation in the opening ceremony held in Mesaieed recently. The inauguration of the Qatar Melamine Company (QMC) marks the debut of a new industry in Qatar, and will enable the country to avail itself of the abundance of feedstock and competitive energy supplies. The new industry will be a unique, genuine addition to Qatar’s cluster of economic activities feeding on the petrochemicals output. QMC is an initiative
In Numbers Wells drilled in Pearl GTL Average Time
22 45 days
the eGG AND the 101010 0101010 10010 ChiCkeN 100010 10101 0010
QAtAr to SUPPLy LNG to SPAiN For three yeArS The Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani with the Deputy Prime Minister, HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah
by Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO) to further support the State of Qatar’s industrial diversification strategy.The inauguration ceremony was attended by HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry, HE Dr Mohammed Saleh Al-Sada, State Minister for Energy and Industrial Affairs. In his speech on the occasion, quoted in a corporate documentary screened at the inauguration, HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry said, “The inauguration is as a key addition to the industrial sector in Qatar.”
QatarÕs deal to supply liquefied natural gas to Spain’s Repsol will run for three years, with the LNG destined solely for Canada, QatarÕs energy minister said. Qatargas and Spain’s biggest oil company announced a multi-year deal to supply Repsol’s Canaport terminal in Canada’s New Brunswick province. HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah told reporters the Repsol deal would last about three years – after which many industry observers expect the current gas glut to end and prices to rise. “I think this is shortterm, for three years or so,” Attiyah said when asked about the Repsol deal, adding the LNG was for use “only in Canada.”
SheLLÕ S oFFShore SUCCeSS Shell Executive Vice President, Andy Brown, briefed an audience of industry leaders in Doha about the successes Shell has achieved with Qatar Petroleum (QP), in its offshore operations. “QP and Shell smashed previous records for drilling wells in the North Field using an approach called ‘simultaneous operations’ for the first time in Qatar. The 22 wells for Pearl GTL were drilled in
an average time of 45 days, compared to the industry average of 75 days, thereby saving the country and Shell over $46 million (QR167.44 million) in drilling costs,” he said. Brown also spoke about the innovations Pearl GTL is bringing to operate the project’s two offshore platforms in Qatar which will help in delivering better performance and safety.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:24:28 PM
11/1/10 7:24:28 PM
QCb AGAiNSt DiFFereNtiAL iNtereSt rAte Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has announced the need to guard against a large interest rate differential with other economies, which could prompt heavy capital inflows. It has also identified the need to ensure sustained bank lending to support growth of the Gulf Arab economy. “A large interest rate differential between Qatar and advanced economies may lead to heavy inflows of capital while challenging liquidity management and financial stability,”
miDDLe eASt SeeS GroWth iN PrivAte eQUity
the Bank said. “However it has been possible to meet these challenges by adopting a flexible approach in conducting monetary policy and complementing it with measures that strengthened financial stability.” Qatar cut its overnight deposit rate to 1.5% in August to support the non-oil economy and curb capital inflow, while it spent about 6.5% of GDP last year on capital injections and other measures to maintain stability in the sector.
QFCA ANNoUNCeS NeW tAx reGime FormALiSAtioN Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) announced that companies registered with QFC will have to pay 10% corporation tax on locally sourced profits as part of its new tax regime which will be effective retroactively from January 1, 2010. With this, the tax-free period of 121 licensees has officially ended. Features inclusive of the new regime are, it will be administered through self-assessment and advance transaction ruling scheme; tax incentives for reinsurance, captive insurance and asset management profits and zero personal income tax and new regulations ensuring QFC’s inclusion in Qatar tax treaties negotiated
In Numbers Global tax rates
with other countries. “The introduction of these tax regulations is integral to the QFC's long term strategy and this low rate has been introduced to encourage further investment in Qatar, particularly in QFC,” said Ian Anderson, Chief Finance Officer and Director of Tax, QFCA., “A tax rate of 10% is a competitive tax rate compared to the UK which has 28% tax. The tax regime is developed over the last three years in close consultation with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and being implemented with the cooperation of the financial services industry.”
A research by Booz & Company shows a remarkable growth in private equity (PE) in the Middle East. From 2004 to 2008 alone, global PE growth in the Middle East reached 70%. According to the research, the regionÕ s PE industry picked up when equity prices were rising, and many local players enjoyed early success through quick and profitable exits from investment positions. However in the last few years, there have been more problems than profits in region’s PE. For regional firms to grow, they will need to identify sustainable investment ideas.
“The tax returns and payments submitted by the companies will be “audited by the QFCA” and due “a reasonable six months after the end of each accounting period,” he said. Meanwhile, QFCA’s acting CEO Shashank Srivastava while hailing the enactment, said, “It is important to have a viable tax regime that ensures a sustainable economy."
briDGiNG bArrierS throUGh iCt
(unofficial estimates of corporation taxes on locally sourced profits) 20
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:25:36 PM
11/1/10 7:25:38 PM
the0101010 CLUSter 101010 10010 eFFeCt 100010 10101 0010
hAj iNFLUx beGiNS
Pilgrims have started pouring into Saudi Arabia from all over the world to perform Haj – the fifth pillar of Islam – this year. They arrive via 16 land, sea and air inlets. So far, at least 62,500 pilgrims have arrived from various Arab and Islamic countries on board 276 flights and immediately proceeded toward Makkah or Madinah. The first batch of pilgrims arrived on October 9 and will continue to arrive until
November 12. They will start departing from November 18 until December 21. According to General Authority of Civil Aviation, there are six Haj flights every hour and 144 flights every day. The number of Haj flights peak on the second week of November, reaching 200 flights every day. The number of pilgrims coming from outside the country is expected to be higher than the 1.7 million that arrived last year.
$18.6 biLLioN bUDGet DeFiCit ProPoSeD Iraqi Deputy Finance Minister Fadhil Nabi said that the country’s proposed 2011 budget runs a deficit of $18.6 billion (QR67.8 billion) and assumes oil exports of 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd). The government, which is trying to rebuild Iraq after years of war and sanctions, is dependent on oil revenue to fund about 95% of its budget. The OPEC producer has signed deals
with global oil firms that could boost its output capacity to 12 million bpd in six to seven years from the current 2.5 million bpd, potentially rivalling top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia. The assumed exports of 2.4 million bpd next year would represent a significant boost. Iraq’s exports in September were 2.021 million bpd.
$100,000 reWArD oN AL-QAeDA SUSPeCtS Yemen’s Interior Ministry has promised a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of any eight Al-Qaeda suspects it named. The Interior Ministry promised a reward of $100,000 (QR365,000) for anyone providing information leading to the capture of any of the “terrorist extremists.”It identified them as Amin Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al-Othmani, Bashir Mohammed 22
Ahmed Al-Hlaisi, Showqi Ali Ahmed AlBaadani, Abdul Elah Ali Qasem Al-Mesbahi, Abdul Hamid Ahmed Mohammed Al-Hubaishi, Mohammed Ali Abdullah Al-Nashri, Musleh Abdullah Ahmed Al-Hlaisi and Yusef Ahmed Muthana Zayud. The official warned against giving them shelter or withholding information on their whereabouts.
$848 miLLioN From eU; $270 From Wb The Egyptian government has received an $848 million (approximately QR3 billion) grant from the European Union to be spent between 2009 and 2013, with most of the money to be spent on economic and social development projects. Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said at the signing ceremony in Cairo that an Egyptian-European partnership agreement, which came into force in 2004, had led to a surge in investment and trade with the EU. Of the total grant, $625 million will go to help boost Egypt’s economic and social development, while a further $153 million will support the country’s health sector. Smaller amounts will be used to help alleviate poverty and improving electricity supply. The country has also secured a $270 million (QR985 million) loan from the World Bank to finance a solar power plant including a $100 million investment by Clean Technology Fund, associated with the World Bank, and a $170 million loan from the bank. Egypt, which has about 25,000 megawatts of power capacity, has experienced repeated outages this year and plans to spend $100-120 billion to triple capacity by 2027.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:26:42 PM
11/1/10 7:26:45 PM
FRANCE : Video grab taken from the French television channel France 3 shows LÕ Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt speaking to a TV host earlier this year. Bettencourt, FranceÕ s richest woman, was attacking a renewed bid by her daughter, Francoise BettencourtMeyers, to have a judge declare her incompetent to manage her own affairs. Her daughter has alleged that her 87-year-old mother is influenced by photographer Francois-Marie Banier, to whom she has given gifts worth nearly a billion euro.
living hisTory Palestinians and foreign workers work on the new Russian-built museum in the Palestinian city of Jericho in the West Bank on October 5, 2010, ahead of the cityÕ s 10,000th anniversary celebrations. The Ò worldÕ s oldest cityÓ anniversary was intended to showcase the revival of the West Bank town: instead, it risks revealing how far they still have to go, say residents.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:26:52 PM
world view AFP PHOTO
LEBANON, Qana : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C), flanked by bodyguards, is surrounded by supporters trying to shake hands and take pictures of him on October 14, 2010 in the southern Lebanese biblical village of Qana, which has earned a grim place in history after being targeted by Israeli shelling that killed 105 civilians who had sought shelter at a UN base in 1996 during the Jewish stateÕ s Ò Grapes of WrathÓ offensive on Lebanon. Ahmadinejad predicted on the second day of his first visit to Lebanon the demise of arch-foe Israel from HezbollahÕ s stronghold in southern Lebanon, just miles from the border of the Jewish state.
French rogue trader Jerome Kerviel (R), who faces up to four years in prison for covert stock trades that Societe Generale bank says cost it almost five billion euro, arrives with a French gendarme for his verdict hearing on October 5, 2010 at ParisÕ main courthouse. Court found Kerviel guilty for breach of trust, sentenced him to three years in jail plus two years suspended and also him to pay his former employer damages of €4.9 billion (QR 24.8 billion) for the massive fraud.
11/1/10 7:26:57 PM
The ClusTer effeCT NeW oPPortUNitieS iN the AviAtioN AND AeroSPACe SeCtor
he aviation sector is booming in the Middle East. Even in 2008 and 2009, through one of the worst global recessions in recent history, the Middle East showed a 13% annual increase in passenger trafficmore than any other region. On the military side, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Jordan combined are expected to invest up to $70 billion in 2011 (QR254.8 billion) – a figure expected to grow by 10% by 2015. As a result, an entire aviation-related industry of supporting businesses has been flourishing around the major airlines’ and Armed Forces hubs. These include maintenance, repair, and overhaul companies (MROs); training centres; catering businesses; ground handling providers; and manufacturing companies, which have leveraged offset agreements or large aircraft acquisitions to gain manufacturing work packages. Such clusters can now be found in all major Middle East cities where aerospace and aviation players have emerged in recent years as leading regional players, and are now expanding 26
their offerings worldwide. Middle Eastern governments have heavily supported the growth of those clusters. Doing so allows them to diversify their economies and support GDP growth. It also increases the amount-
that knowledge-based sectors contribute to overall GDP, as aerospace-related activities are among the most technologically advanced sectors of the economy. Aviation and aerospace clusters are a way to develop a highly qualified local workforce, as well as attract private development capital and financing.
Offering lessons to policy makers
Political support, heavy subsidisation, and offset programmes are not sufficient to overcome these hurdles and ensure the
exiStiNG roADbLoCkS However, the development of these districts, in terms of both investment returns and time to market, is hindered by several existing and potential roadblocks specific to the region: ● Local populations might have little interest in working in the aerospace and aviation sector, due to its relatively low market wages. As a result, companies have higher costs of labour because they must hire expensive expatriates. ● There are currently limited aerospace and aviation educational programmes, which makes the development of local workforces difficult. ● The region lacks a network of small and medium-sized enterprises (providing such services as carpentry and precision machining) to support the operations of large companies. ● The R&D system is not yet able to support the long-term growth of a technology-driven industry. ● The region’s financial and funding system is not yet mature to provide funding to innovative, and consequently high-risk ventures.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:27:56 PM
11/1/10 7:27:57 PM
view PoinT long-term success of aviation and aerospace industrial clusters. However, there are clusters around the world – aviationbased and otherwise – that can offer some lessons for policymakers. Such areas as Boeing-centric greater Seattle, Airbuscentric Toulouse-Bourdeaux, the aerospace districts in Hamburg and central Italy, and Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace, as well as Silicon Valley, Toyota City, and Stuttgart Automotive, have in common a set comprehensive set of strategic elements that MENA policymakers should consider implementing to build sustainable aviation and aerospace clusters.
Plan around dependable aviation and aerospace players
Ancillary businesses tend to take root where they can find dependable, major clients that ensure a constant critical mass of business. This ensures market-driven, organic growth within the cluster-thus attracting value-adding business.
Establish clear governance
Governments should develop a clear vision of their strategic objectives and implement a governance system that supports them by drawing in all relevant stakeholders and allowing them to agree on a common long-term vision. For example, the objectives of the tourism industry and the airlines should be coordinated; governments should leverage national defence offset programmes to build civil industrial capabilities (as Brazil did with Embraer); R&D programmes should be harmonised with the national manufacturing industry’s requirements (as it happened with local universities in Tolouse and Hamburg); and the education system should be aligned to the needs of the industry and R&D. Because aviation and aerospace is a very capital-intensive industry, full alignment among leading sponsor insti-
tutions is critical to keep resources from being squandered.
Develop an attractive business and social environment
Political stability, low levels of bureaucracy, transparent and expeditious processes, low taxes to encourage capital-intensive businesses, and easy and affordable access to skilled labour are key elements that determine the attractiveness of the cluster to new businesses. However, clusters only distinguish themselves with these elements once they have achieved adequate “social attractiveness” – which means a safe and healthy environment, high standards of living, and a social community that can foster individuals’ personal development outside of the office, and other lifestyle factors.
"Aviation and aerospace clusters are a way to develop a highly qualified local workforce, as well as attract private development capital and financing" Develop an efficient cluster support system
In order to maximise the cluster’s chances of success, governments should build powerful support services. These can take the form of collaborative frameworks between the education system, R&D, and the industry; the creation of advanced industry-specific R&D institutions; strong marketing vehicles build the cluster’s international credibility, attract new tenants and clients, and promote it as an ideal workplace; or logistics centres to support the inbound and outbound flows of material and goods. Additionally, through
a systemic approach to support services, governments can find ways for companies to equitably share overhead financial burdens-for example, the IT infrastructure necessary to reduce bureaucratic processing times and costs (such as a one-stop shop for all governmental services), or a collaboration platform such as the one built by Yorkshire Forward, a regional development agency in the UK.
Develop an efficient funding system
In order to ensure the vital supply of capital to sustain the cluster’s success and maximise the efficient use of resources, governments should also clearly identify which primary strategic programmes require major public funding (e.g. the development of a new aircraft). They should also facilitate access to international capital and private funding markets-for instance, by removing limits cross-border equity participation and cooperation, and by fostering the creation of venture capital and public funding institutions or mechanisms (such as the EU Framework Programmes) for large strategic programmes. Qatar has taken an important step with its investments in the aviation and aerospace industry. It is expanding the Qatar Aeronautical College, and growing Doha’s airport and Qatar Airways. Qatar has also signed several agreements to develop R&D projects with leading aerospace players such as EADS, BAE Systems, and Rolls Royce. The next challenge, however, will be to put together all the different pieces of this puzzle and to construct a sustainable aerospace and aviation cluster that is aligned along common objectives, and is able to attract additional businesses and foster economic diversification. Doing so will bring the country a wide range of benefits n
By Alessandro Borgogna, Principal and Leonardo Monti, Associate, Booz & Company Booz & Company is a leading global management consulting firm, helping the world’s top businesses, government ministries and organisations.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:27:58 PM
11/1/10 7:28:00 PM
Graham Wolverson, an Independent Financial Advisor with Pinnacle Asset and Wealth Management with over 20 years’ experience, returns to cast his eye over our readers’ money queries. I am sending money back home on a regular basis and the exchange rate is very much in my favour at the moment. Some of the transfers are for importing goods that are being sold here so obviously this is increasing my level of profits. What can I do to make the most of this exchange rate? There is indeed. Typically, we use our banks to transfer money and rely on the exchange rates that they impose. Banks function with the intention of making a profit and foreign money exchange is a good source of income. Banks buy currency at one rate to sell at another and we’ve seen the difference between these two prices as high as 5%, with an additional fixed charge added to it. A large institution would be able to negotiate a commercial exchange rate much lower than this because of the large volumes of transfers they do. Companies have been formed that can attract these lower rates that you can use as they act on behalf of many clients and therefore have a high volume of business. One we recommend typically charges 0.7%, a huge saving over the bank rate. Opening an account with them is relatively simple and very secure with a large international bank backing it. In your case and for anyone else that is going to make regular payments over a known period, or, know that they have to make a transfer in the future, the exchange rate today can be fixed for up to two years. If you know that you will be leaving local employment and will receive an end of service settlement that you need to transfer home, fixing at today’s rate could be a good move.
I will be retiring to the UK in a couple of years and I have been careful with my money. I’m considering what I should do to provide me 30
with a regular income during my twilight years and I feel safe with buying investment property and living off the rental income. I’m new to this and have heard horror stories in the past of people buying land to build on that ended in tears. Do you have any tips? There are two issues here. The horror stories involve ‘land banking’. This is where you are sold a piece of land anticipating getting planning permission sometime in the future only to find out that the local council has no intention of allowing anyone to build on it, ever. This is not isolated to the UK and should be researched carefully before entering into any such agreement. Simply contacting the local authorities where the land is situated would be a good starting point to find out if they are likely to give planning permission. These activities normally turn out to be a scam and this activity is prevalent in the region. As for investment property, there are projects specifically set up purely to provide good rental yields in areas with high demand. We know of a large London project that looks like it will be owned by foreign investors when it completes, just before the London Olympics in 2012. It is attractive now as the investors are benefitting from a favourable exchange rate and are only required to pay a deposit before it completes. You need to be aware that net rental income is taxable in the UK, resident there or not. Having all your money tied up in property is not wise as if you fall on hard times, you can’t eat bricks. Also, your “returns” will be reduced whenever you have to provide any maintenance for your property, etc. There are other options that you should also consider, which will allow you to have a fixed income that is not taxed which also give you access to cash if you need it. Re-
member, if you have all your investments in one asset class, then if that asset class (such as property) falls in value, you have all your eggs in one basket.
We have a new-born child and we want to contribute on a regular basis for their future. When I was younger that my granddad took out an insurance plan that matured when I was 18. Is this kind of plan still available? It is and many parents do this for their children. Very popular in the region is the ability to take life insurance on your child’s life that has an investment element. Some cultures question the reason why a parent would want to insure the life of their children as life insurance is generally used to replace an income in the event of a death. However, these plans are looked upon as a way of starting something with a long-term benefit for a child when they become an adult as they can take over the payments; and if they fall on hard times, they have access to the investment within the plan. They are also very popular for paying further education fees as money can be taken from the plans to pay for a child to go through university. It is also possible to include a Critical Illness Benefit – a cash payout if the child becomes seriously ill, and the cash is used to pay for expensive medical treatment n
Graham welcomes enquiries for financial advice at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Peruse the website at: www.yourmoney-matters.com
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:28:00 PM
11/2/10 12:44:58 PM
i Hesham Al-Emadi, the projectÕs CEO, and a pioneer of energy sustainability and green building in the ergion.
By Ahmad Lotfy
energy CiTy QaTar
f you are an enthusiast of the green building revolution, and the way it is trending in Qatar, you need not travel more than 20 minutes north of Doha International Airport, till you reach Energy City Qatar – a head-turning property development. Still in the offing, the City stands as a tangible testimony to top-notch business knack and the highest sustainability benchmark region-wide. ECQ is set to be the region’s first integrated energy hub, with an initial investment of $500 million (QR1.8 billion), arranged and managed by Gulf Finance House. And within 18 months, angel capitalists were rewarded with 36% return on investment and exited. Today almost all land plots of the projects are sold out to local, regional and international investors, and the concept of Energy City has been extended to India and Libya. Qatar Today spoke with Eng. Hesham Al-Emadi, the project’s CEO, and a pioneer of energy sustainability and green
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:28:10 PM
building in the region. Al-Emadi earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the US, and returned home to champion green initiatives throughout the GCC. His efforts have resulted in the establishment of several proenvironment agencies, awareness-raising seminars, and a wide-scale local capacity building in the field.
The Real Green
Al-Emadi made sure the concept and creation of ECQ stands on firm grounds of sustainability. “Around the region, we have instances of the limited understanding of sustainable construction, and of utilising sustainability as a sharp business promotion tool without real implementation. “In ECQ, we take it serious, right from pre-planning to finalisation, prudent operation and efficient maintenance.”We mandate all our sub-developers to build green buildings with minimum Silver LEED Certfications. ECQ also put in
place Sustainable Guidelines and LEED Certification Strategy.
Towards exceptional frontiers
Over the last five years, he has had an incredibly challenging experience in the CEO’s seat. “I worked with the team to leverage the image of the project, from inception to where we are today and what we plan ahead. Our focus was to construct a unique verve and value proposition for the project, and make sure the concept and model are able to deliver success. “This was the guarantee to take the model to international frontiers. We deployed into India and Libya, opening Energy Cities in each, and Kazakhstan, China and South America are on the agenda.”
Greening raises cost, but…
He says sustainability may mean more expenses, or so investors think. When you talk about LEED or GREEN, you
Ò In ECQ, we take sustainability serious, right from pre-planning to finalisation, prudent operation and efficient maintenanceÓ
know it entails an extra cost, because you target higher specs, further efficiency and smoother operation. “At the end, you have to justify that investment to your investor. You can justify it by saving for a number of years, providing a higher quality product or service, cutting maintenance or operation cost… etc. That will obviously translate into revenue streams. “We knew how to persuade our investors of the extra cost for a refined value. They made sure that owning a green and efficiently-run business will eventually pay off.” November 10
11/1/10 7:28:13 PM
Ò We deployed into India and Libya, opening energy cities in each, and Kazakhstan, China and South America are on the agendaÓ
Gigantic data centre
Al-Emadi says ECQ will be run via a state-of-the-art data centre, offering some of the most advanced data communication services and solutions ever provided in the region. This will put ECQ on the map as a smart city or eCity. It will leverage on cutting edge technology and provides services such as IT Command Centre, Smart Traffic System, Centralised Data Centre, Security System and Facility Management. “We have signed an agreement with Qtel to build it.” ECQ infrastructure work will be completed in six months, and within two years, the City’s main control centre, ie the Energy City headquarters building, will be operable. ECQ will develop 5-10% of the city’s layout, while other developers will take charge of the rest. It may take 2-3 years for developers to complete their work. “Around 70% of investors have submitted their concept designs in accordance with ECQ’s specifications, and the we are working on getting them approvals,” notes the CEO.
Asked about the real unique proposition of his project, Al-Emadi says the
QR billion Estimated project value (total)
strength of ECQ emanates from the resilient, robust economy of Qatar. “All the figures are favourable for Qatar. The country is pitching itself as a leader of the future, clean energy on the global arena. Qatar’s role in the international energy market can’t be undermined. And in a country relying heavily on the energy sector, a huge deal of developments are energy-oriented. This is the right environment for our business. ECQ can play the role of a regional energy centre with unlimited global potential.”
The Way Ahead
The CEO says his company has multiple plans for the future. They are trying to expand ECQ concept as a solely business park, into more comprehensive parks in subsequent undertakings, with shorter term prospects. “We are looking at expanding it into all-inclusive projects that consist of education parks, R&D venues, residential areas and service and entertainment zones. While putting these together, we will target shorter term ventures.” n
iN A NUtSheLL Energy City Qatar is the first integrated energy hub in the GCC and MENA regions. With a vision to enhance the Gulf regionÕ s ability to capture critical revenue streams from hydrocarbons, ECQ will act as a nucleus for the core elements of Middle East ever growing oil and gas industry. ECQ is located midway between the Dafna business district and Lusail City, approx. 20 kilometres north of Doha International Airport.
Of developments to be done by ECQ
ECQ was launched in March 2006 with an estimated project value of $2.6 (QR9.4) billion. ECQ will consist of 92 corporate buildings and can house around 20,000 people. All buildings have to adhere to the building guidelines defined by ECQ. Structures will be constructed at the highest standards complying with US Green Building Council LEED Certification requirements for energy efficiency.
Of investors submitted concept designs
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:29:25 PM
11/1/10 7:29:30 PM
11/1/10 7:30:32 PM
11/1/10 7:30:36 PM
Qe’s new Trading sysTem
do you speak?
QE's new trading platform fuels debate and reveals a communication gap.
hen the Qatar Exchange was all set to plug its fresh trading platform, it underscored two contrasting sides of reality in the stock business in the country. The national stock market dubbed the adoption of New York Exchange’s UTP system as a milestone on a long, but promising, path. While small investors insist, the new system turned their daily
By Ahmad Lotfy
job into a maze. On the day of the launch of Universal Trading Platform, the CEO of Qatar Exchange Andre Went said it was a significant positive step towards the promotion of trust in the market. “It will increase the efficiency of services provided to investors, and provide a trading platform for brand new products and instruments to be launched by Qatar Exchange. Both issuers and investors
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:30:47 PM
will benefit from the speed, efficiency and reliability of NYSE Euronext’s world-class technology, coupled with greater market transparency resulting from the introduction of a closing auction,” he maintained in an adhoc press conference. But a random survey of investors’ a month after the launch shows that the Exchange and its operators talk two different languages. Mohamed Salem Aldarwish is one of many investors who see no further merit in the fresh system. “Where’s the feat? The earlier platform was far simpler, more user-friendly. I will give you an example. While keeping watch of my target stocks, the new interface doesn’t show the total quantity of stocks on offer or demand at a certain point of time. How can you
make a decision without this information? The earlier software marked it clearly.”
Saleh Mohamed Al-Yazedi says if the new system is a necessity, then more education is required. “Let’s assume that UTP is a need for a transformation into a global market. Then you need to train your investors beforehand,” says Al-Yazedi, a Qatari investor who relies on the Stock Market for 50% of his investments. “QE should organise workshops or training sessions to all investors in the language they understand. I can guess that up to 70% of individuals are unaware of how the system works. Worse, many seasoned brokers in the country don’t really know how to help us.”
Ò With the new system, the last 15 minutes of a trading day are a black hole ...elsewhere those last minutes serve for sampling the market and help anticipate the next dayÕ s sentiment.Ó Saleh Al-Yazedi, a Qatari investor whorelies on the Stock Market for 50% of his investments
11/1/10 7:30:59 PM
lisTening PosT Beta Release
DUbioUS PrePArAtioN The Universal Trading Platform was launched on 5 September 2010. A onehour training session was organised for investors on 25 August 2010. Surveyed investors insist the training fell short of their expectations, and that they failed to guard their interests on the early days of operation. The UTP stumbled upon a series of breakdowns over the early weeks of operation. However, the Qatar Exchange’s administration maintained
in a release that the new system, as it puts Qatar at par with NYSE Euronext, QE’s strategic partner since June 2009, represents a significant step forward and lays a firm foundation for the strategic vision of the market. “The UTP is an important piece of infrastructure, crucial to work towards expanding the capabilities of the market with new products such as bonds and other diversified exchange traded instruments,” said the release.
“Is complexity itself an end?” asks a Qatari investor who preferred not reveal his name.“Our dissatisfaction is not born of nostalgia. I can tell you that the earlier platform delivered far better efficiency and accuracy. The UTP shows bulks of data at a quick pace that is impossible to follow. You can’t see the total operations being carried out on a price at a specified point of time. That means a considerable amount of decisions are taken on a wing and a prayer,” says Abu Omar. “I think the ideal way to introduce a system with such a high complexity is to offer a sort of simulation training session and beta releases beforehand. Otherwise, the process of acclimitisation will take too long.”
A Black Hole
Al-Yazedi says the UTP entails a waste of time that an investor’s appetite does not forbear. “The last 15 minutes of every trading day is a black hole in the fullest sense. Ask anybody about that. You can’t do any transaction in that time. Though elsewhere those last minutes serve for sampling the market and help anticipate the next day’s sentiment. We call upon the QE administration to fix this issue,” adds Al-Yazedi.
Good deal for portfolios
Ò The UTP gives portfolio holders an edge over small investors, here lies the issue. Portfolio managers have the required level of familiarity to benefit from such a sophisticated trading platformÓ Tamer Hassan, Qatar-based financial analyst and investor
Ò Our dissatisfaction with the new system is not born of nostalgia. While the earlier platform delivered far better efficiency and accuracy, the UTP shows bulks of data at a quick pace that is impossible to followÓ A Qatari investor who preferred to remain anonymous
Financial analyst Tamer Hassan thinks the UTP gives portfolio holders an edge over small investors and there is where the issue lies. “Portfolio managers have the level of experience and familiarity that is necessary to benefit from the system from day one. Quite a lot of those investors own stakes on global markets like the New York Stock Exchange and had earlier exposure to these systems.”The Euronext-compatible platform has its upside, which we shall not deny, says Hassan. “It is highly sensitive to trading and implementation of orders. In general, that sustains more dynamism and guarantees better deals and cash. And I think with a little more training and support from the Stock Exchange, things can be much better.” n
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:32:16 PM
11/1/10 7:32:20 PM
Health Matters The Healthcare sector in Qatar presents a two sided picture. On one side, it boasts of the most modern medical equipments and facilities available and on the other side the researches that make innovations in this sector attainable in the near future.
Labourersâ€™ Needs Private sector must take responsibility
Making Health Management Services Work in the GCC
â€œ The growing prevalence of chronic diseases in GCC nations generates higher healthcare costs, lowers productivity, and clogs healthcare service channels. Adopting health management services (HMS) can address the epidemic
Insurance scheme to be rolled out in three to four years...
Dr Faleh Muhammed Hussain, Assistant Secretary General for Policy, SCH
Booz and Company
11/1/10 7:32:25 PM
HEALTHCARE healthcare suppliment VOLUME 1
A special report on the heatlthcare sector of the country with this issue of Qatar Today.
HMC: Pioneering medical care
18,000 adults were seen and treated for suspected H1N1 infection. With the support of the Supreme Council for Health, Hamad Medical Commission invested in technology and personnel to ensure our capacity to manage the pandemic met the highest international standards.
so mething sho ul d discribe the hea dl ine
QSTP goes global with healthcare research
Our whole effort is geared towards providing platforms and technologies, which assist modern medicine. What we are not into is biotechnology in the sense of designing new drugs and new treatments
Dr Tidu Maini, Chairman, QSTP
11/1/10 7:32:35 PM
â€œA leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realising that all along they are being directed from behindâ€? Nelson Mandela
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 44
11/2/10 10:11:36 AM
History has shown us leaders who have guided nations towards change. Leaders have created a culture, a shared vision and inspired people to achieve more than they had ever dreamed possible. They articulate a shared vision in a way that inspires others to act. Qatar Today salutes the leaders who have inspired nations and movements...
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 45
11/2/10 10:11:40 AM
e r sto r y
HH The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani “Our strategy for economic development is based on human development through improved education and healthcare as well as the improvement of infrastructure, the energy sector, environment, media and arts”
atar was unknown outside its region before the discovery of its huge oil and gas reserves that took it to a new world of repute. Such credibility was not gained due to the huge wealth or the high GDP, but the way resources were managed through the wise governance of its ruler, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Qatar has delved into more liberalisation and privatisation of the economy. Women earned the right to vote, and ran for office in municipal elections since 1998. The government also ended press censorship, going as far as to abolish its Ministry of Information, and put the state-run television service under an independent authority. The country now works to attain its National Vision 2030, envisaging a vibrant, prosperous country that provides socioeconomic justice for all, and in which nature and man live in harmony. Under the directive of the Emir, Qatar has played the role of a peacemaker. Its efforts brought fruit after successfully shepherding the negotiations between feuding Lebanese factions, thereby ending months of political turmoil and violence. The country made remarkable progress in all arenas, from democracy to finance and religious tolerance. In 1999, the country held its municipal elections, the first democratic polls since 1971, which marked the start of a democratisation programme, initiated by the Emir. In 2005, Qatar’s first written constitution came into effect, providing for some reforms. The country had its first official Christian church, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in 2008. Qatar and the US launched a $14 billion (QR51 billion) joint project to build the world’s largest liquefied natural gas plant. Qatar also became one of the shareholders of the London Stock Exchange, the world’s third largest stock exchange, all under the Emir’s guidance. HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani became the Emir of Qatar on 26 June 1995. A keen sportsman, HH has additionally played an active role in promoting athletics in the country.
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 46
11/2/10 10:11:42 AM
The Heir Apparent HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani “Strong Islamic and family values will be our moral and ethical compass. I call on all to work hard and utilise your expertise to help achieve the goals of the Vision and advance the nation’s development”
ince his appointment in 2003 as the Heir Apparent, His Highness Sheikh Tamim held various positions, and has successfully led the way in all endeavours.. As the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Education, His Highness played an integral role in the development and implementation of the education reform effort. Last year, the Heir Apparent received the inaugural Texas A&M University at Qatar Medal for Leadership at the University’s 2009 commencement ceremony. The Medal for Leadership was established to recognise distinguished, meritorious achievements and exceptional contributions to humanity in a variety of fields. Chairing the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee, Sheikh Tamim had shown to the world the capability of Doha to host global sporting events like the 15th Asian games in 2006, boasting of spectacular stadiums, hospitable hosts and world-class infrastructure. He also expressed encouragement for the participation of women in various games and competitions. HH Sheikh Tamim also played a pivotal role in launching the Qatar National Vision 2030, with an aim to build a bridge between the present and the future and envisages a vibrant and prosperous country with economic and social justice for all. According to him, the vision reflects the aspirations of the Qatari people and the resolve of their political leadership and it belongs to the government, the private sector, civil society and to all Qatari citizens.
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 47
11/2/10 10:11:52 AM
e r sto r y
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bin Nasser Al-Thani “We want our people to have a stake in their country, and we are working to ensure that leaders emerge from each and every Qatari generation”
er name has been synonymous with change, especially for women in the Arab world. She is seen as the face of the modern Arab woman, one who strives ahead in the field of education and youth empowerment. HH Sheikha Mozah is not unknown internationally too. As the founder of the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, she was awarded the Spirit of Leadership award from Best Buddies International in 2008 for her advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities. In 2007, she was awarded the prestigious Chatham House Award which is given annually to a leading international statesperson who has made a significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year. Also in 2007, Forbes magazine named her as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world, and The Times of London named her one of the 25 most influential business leaders in the Middle East. Two years ago, HH Sheikha Mozah initiated an Arab movement, Silatech, with an ambitious objective of creation and development of employment opportunities for the youth. Silatech has now ongoing programmes in Syria, Yemen and Morocco. Under her active involvement, the education sector in Qatar has received a major boost promising a brighter future for the nation. Her Highness is Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which under her leadership launched Education City in 2003, bringing various international university communities to the Qatar campus to provide innovative educational and research opportunities through leading local and international educational institutions. Her pioneering work for education is not limited to Qatar. In 2003, she was appointed Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education by UNESCO, by which she has been actively promoting various international projects to improve the quality and accessibility of education worldwide. “Qatar’s most valuable natural resource is its people,” believes Her Highness, who is also involved in the upliftment of less-privileged individuals in Qatar, for which the Social Development Centre has been set up to provide training and skills-building.
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 48
11/2/10 10:11:57 AM
Prime Minister HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani “We will channel our wealth in such a way that different streams of economy are left open for the country”
he Prime Minister, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani served ten years in key roles all over the government, before he assumed his present position. As the first minister of the combined Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, he helped modernise Qatar’s important fishing industry and beautify Doha and other towns around the country with new parks and recreational venues. He served as acting minister of electricity and water; chairman of the Central Municipal Council; and director of the Emir’s Special Projects Office. He has also been on the boards of Qatar Petroleum and the Planning Council. What His Excellency the Prime Minister is doing now is revolutionary, he is channeling the national wealth into a sustainable future. “We are building our investment inside and outside Qatar, investing not only in infrastructure, but in a way that we can at least have some steady income to the government. By doing so, we will continue the development of the country. We are doing this at the moment. We invest in Europe and the United States and Asia,” said the Prime Minister. His main contribution is to give Qatar an international presence, through its investment fund, Qatar Investment Authority, using its oil-derived wealth to offset its small size. After more than 14 years, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jabor has proven himself as one of the most astute, pragmatic foreign ministers in the Arab world.
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 49
11/2/10 10:12:00 AM
e r sto r y
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani
Chairman of Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee “Our World Cup bid is a reflection of our nation’s rise in prominence on the international stage. It encompasses technology, innovation and a goal of bringing people of different backgrounds together to bridge cultural divides. It has been an exhilarating experience to lead a multi-national and multi-talented bid team, working together to bring the World Cup to Qatar in 2022”
ears after the 2006 Asian Games, the image of the determined young prince riding his horse over the steep steps to light the flame of the Games is still fresh. The young prince has now taken another bold step. He heads Qatar’s bid for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and is determined to see that the dreams and the passion of the Arab population in bringing the World Cup to the region comes true. He is leaving no stone unturned in his effort, with stadiums to beat the climatic challenge and infrastructure to beat the hurdles that the country presently faces. As the whole region waits for the results of the bid, Sheikh Mohammed is satisfied with a job, a plan, well executed.
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 50
11/2/10 10:12:01 AM
Mohamed Bin Hammam AFC President “I believe that it will not take us very long to make an even bigger impact on world football”
f not for Mohamed bin Hammam, President of Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Qatar would have remained inconspicuous in the game of football. Armed with his leadership skills, Hammam has brought passion for the Games to the country. His visionary efforts have led to Qatar consistently claiming the honours in Asian football and also qualifying for FIFA’s under-17 and under-20 tournaments. His role in the country’s bid for the 2022 World Cup is also not to be taken lightly. He is widely seen as the successor of Sepp Blatter but recently made a statement saying that he won’t challenge Blatter for the FIFA Presidency next year.
Nasser Al-Attiyah Rally Driver “Stardom comes only after years of persistence and hard work. The name that I have built is a result of 20 years of hard work.”
asser Al-Attiyah is the youth icon of the country. His name is included in the Guinness Book of World Records after he bagged three global titles in 2008, the Middle East, Cross Country and World Cup. He also brought home the crown of Dakar Rally 2010, a hugely prestigious title. But for him, accolades mean much more than personal fame. “Sports is no longer a pursuit of personal acclaim, it is a tool to bridge gaps, inspire the hopeless and push causes.” To the young, who are pursuing a career in sports, he says, “The name that I have built is a result of 20 years of hard work. Our problem is that we want to reach the podium as soon as we have started our journey and that is impossible.” November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 51
11/2/10 10:12:07 AM
e r sto r y
Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber Secretary General OF ictQATAR “Openness is the key for the country to develop as a thriving knowledge economy. Openness means collaboration, it means transparency; it means sharing and it means innovation. To this end, I believe digital openness across all sectors is essential to being a global leader of the future”
n her nearly six years of leadership at ictQATAR, Dr. Al-Jaber has led Qatar’s ICT strategy across sectors, spearheading major initiatives in government, education and business. She has overseen the liberalisation of Qatar’s telecommunications market, ushering in an era of choice and competition, and directed the modernisation of ICT infrastructure. Passionate about ensuring that the benefits of technology reach all sectors, Dr. Al Jaber has led numerous initiatives to make Qatar a more inclusive society through ICT. She has spearheaded the modernisation of Qatar’s government through ICT, streamlining processes, making government more transparent and accessible to its people, and also launching an online portal to the government, Hukoomi. She also leads Qatar’s initiative to build the first high-capacity satellite “E’Shail” to be launched in 2012.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Thamer Al-Thani Chairman of Al Jazeera Board “Events themselves are what make news channels. We try to be present where events are taking place, to distinguish ourselves and transmit a clear picture to our viewers, whether they are in the Arab world or elsewhere”
l Jazeera is a home-grown brand, one that pushed Qatar to international fame. The original Arabic news channel, established in 1996, not only bucked the trend towards frivolity and light entertainment but broke many taboos, interviewing Israeli politicians and allowing debate of a kind rarely seen on Arab television. It began to attract worldwide attention during the Afghan war in 2001 as the only station with a round-the-clock satellite link from Kabul to the outside world. Leading the organisation through controversies and bans was the man at its helm, Sheikh Hamad who says he owes the success of the organisation to freedom of expression. “I think the key word in our success is the amount of freedom available to the people who work here, in addition to their professionalism. That differentiates us from the others.” 52
Qatar Today November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 52
11/2/10 10:12:11 AM
Sheikh Fasial bin Qassim Al-Thani
Chairman of Qatari Business Association “The future growth of Qatar relies heavily on investment in education. The government has succeeded in creating a renowned educational hub attracting the investment of some of the world’s leading educational facilities who have established a presence.”
heikh Faisal bin Qassim Al-Thani began his business in 1964 with a small company that traded in automobile spare parts. Today his company has expanded to a multi-million dollar organisation, comprising over 30 companies. He is the Chairman of Aamal Company, one of the largest public shareholder company in Qatar. His business enterprise is spread across various sectors, from hotels, construction and transportation to manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail and education. His business interests are also spread outside the country, in international investments, like the Al Rayan Algerian Bank. He is the owner of one of the largest shopping malls in Qatar – City Centre. He is also an avid collector. He’s been collecting antiques since the 1960s, and his museum, Sheikh Faisal Museum, has over 3,000 artefacts and is a major tourist attraction.
PresidenT, Qatar Women’s Sports Committee “What I managed to achieve as a young woman, I need to provide that or more for young Qataris, which is why I find much interest in my present job”
or Ahlam Al-Mana, now is the chance for women to use the newfound status that sport has achieved in Qatar. Since she has taken over the reins of QWSC, it has started to function on a set of objectives that support women in sports and encourage their participation. The goal of QWSC is to train the young women to international championship standards. And considering the recent success of women’s division in the Asian Youth Games in Singapore in July, where Qatari women won two silver medals, the goals are being achieved. For Al-Mana, the first step was to bring awareness and then through the success of the women’s team in the Asian Games more participation. Other issues like lack of suitable infrastructure cropped up, but they are being addressed and women are being included in most sporting activities. November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 53
11/2/10 10:12:14 AM
e r sto r y
Akbar Al-Baker CEO, Qatar Airways For Al-Baker, a leader is someone who sets the trail for others to follow. Here are his thoughts on leadership. How do you think your leadership skills helped motivate those around you? When I joined Qatar Airways (QA) in 1996 my mission was to bring the airline to international standards to reflect the vision and growth of my country. Today QA is recognised as the third-best airline in the world, and one of the fastest growing carriers in the aviation industry. That QA has reached this status is through hard work and determination of committed and extremely driven employees. As the CEO of QA and its subsidiaries I am responsible for over 15,000 staff, who share the same goals that I have set for the company. My hands-on leadership style directs staff towards the airline’s strategic objectives, while at the same time boosts employee morale and performance. The result, speaks for itself.
Everyone needs a mentor to pave the way to success. Did you have one such mentor and how did he/she help you? I pursued my studies in economics and commerce in a college environment away from family and friends. That gave me the strength to be the person I am today. My career started as a civil servant, and I had worked at various levels in the Civil Aviation Authority in Qatar before taking over the national carrier. Along the way I was fortunate to meet very influential leaders and personalities, and have in parallel started various successful business enterprises. This mix of experience gives me the right blend of skills to manage an airline of the calibre of QA.
Qatar Airways has witnessed an amazing turnaround in the last decade. What are the key lessons learnt through the process? When the airline was re-launched in 1997, it was the vision
Advice to the younger generation
“You need a vision. And it needs to be ambitious.” of His Highness, The Emir of the State of Qatar, to create an airline of choice; a global hub premium airline of which the people of Qatar would be proud. It’s been just over 13 years since the airline’s re-launch and QA has gone a long way towards achieving the mandate set out by HH The Emir. Today, QA is recognised as one of the fastest-growing airlines offering a world-renowned product and state-of-the-art facilities. Consistency in quality is the secret to our success and a key lesson learned through history. Companies known for the quality of their products and services are the ones best placed to sustain a competitive advantage. And the ones which believe in quality and continuous improvement are the ones that will succeed in navigating themselves through the ever-changing economic conditions.
Qatar Today November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 54
11/2/10 10:12:17 AM
grEEN IS THE WAY
Issa Al-Mohannadi Founding chairman, QGBC
Advice to the younger generation
“Be positive, take initiatives and avoid being passive. There is always hope, so don’t give up.”
hree years ago, ‘Green Buildings’ was a phrase not used often in the construction sector. Now many buildings in the country are vying to ‘Go Green’. Much of this is due to awareness, awareness that is brought by organisations like Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC). QGBC is an independent non-profit organisation committed to developing a sustainable property industry for Qatar. Issa Al Mohannadi, the CEO of Dohaland is the brains behind this organisation, the leader who guides the construction industry to think sustainably.
How does your leadership skills help motivate those around you? To be able to lead others you will need to have different skills and use diverse techniques. Inspiring a team is just one of many techniques a leader uses to get something out of his team. I make my team understand why they need to go where you want (map), empower them (vehicle), and then inspire and motivate them (fuel). This will help make people believe and do something that is not part of their daily habit. I’d like to look at this as an art rather than a science.
Did you have a mentor who helped you in your path? We all need mentoring in one way or another to inspire us and keep us going. During my career, I have had some
“I believe QgBC is one of the positive initiatives for Qatar. When we started the idea of establishing a local council for green buildings in Qatar, the subject was hardly talked about. Since then, there have been many other initiatives, and I am happy to see positive competition and conferences taking place with regard to green buildings” ‘informal’ mentors who inspired me to face challenges.
The path of a leader is often lonely, how do you handle the pressures associated with being at the helm of an organisation. I agree that there are moments when leaders need to shelter their team from external pressures to keep them focusing on their tasks and keep them away from external politics. In such situations, I am lonely and the team will probably not be aware of such pressures.
What is your definition of a leader? A leader is an agent of change, who uses his skills based on art to get into people’s inner minds and hearts to win them to his side and lead them to achieve the goals.
A decision or project that you think of with pride? Each project or initiative I do becomes like one of my children. I am still proud to reflect on my earlier projects in the oil and gas industry and to hear that they are still working successfully. The Musheireb Heart of Doha and Dohaland are close to my heart as I’m watching them grow.
The mistakes from which valuable lessons were learnt? There are many. I learned that always make sure you have the right tools before embarking on a new challenges! I learned not to say ‘yes’ or accept new challenge before knowing all the whereabouts.
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 55
11/2/10 10:12:25 AM
e r sto r y
Ibrahim Jaidah First Qatari Architect “A true leader is someone who is an active part of the team and is never isolated. He should be involved in every process of his industry, because every step is important”
reams definitely come true,” believes Qatari architect, Ibrahim Jaidah. “But dreams have limits and you have to be realistic as nothing can be achieved without effort.” In Jaidah’s case, dreams definitely came true as he took over a small construction company, Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB) in 1991 with just seven employees, and resurrected it to an organisation with over 300 employees and branches in numerous countries. Under his leadership, AEB evolved into Qatar’s esteemed architectural design consultancy, working on projects worldwide. AEB’s work has garnered several awards, including two Arab Cities Awards and two Islamic Capitals and Cities Organisation Awards, as well as received three nominations for the prestigious Aga Khan Awards. Meanwhile, the architect is elated at the growing rate of environmental awareness in the architectural community. “Qatar has already established the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System which is the first attempt to custommade certificates for environment that relates to Qatar. Many of our clients are requesting LEED-certified projects for most of the new developments. Developers now realise that by doing so, it will be much cheaper to operate and maintain the building.” Paving the path to success often requires a mentor or two. Unfortunately, Jaidah took on the role of his own mentor due to the lack of one in his profession. Outside the realms of professional world, there were a few though who influenced his way of thinking. “They gave me opportunities and challenges, and however hard they may seem to be, they made the best out of me,” says Jaidah. And who were the few? “My mother, brothers, friends, their parents and a
Advice to the younger generation
“Dream a lot but be ready to work hard to attain it.” few colleagues. They were the ones who believed in me and gave me an opportunity to work hard and make me what I am today.” And how does being a leader, motivate people around him? “Motivation requires encouragement, be it at any position – everyone deserves equal opportunities. Those who work very hard need opportunities and you can see them move ahead very fast.” Jaidah has found a way out to handle lonliness that comes along with success. “My colleagues and me sit down together and openly discuss what we are going through, the challenges we are facing, our weaknesses, our strengths. It’s nice to share the pressures you are facing; eventually nobody is left lonely.” “The day you think you don’t have to learn from your mistakes, is the day to quit. As long as mistakes are committed in good faith and not negligence, they can be rectified and we can learn from them.” For those pursuing architecture, he says, “Architecture in particular requires lot of patience and open-mindedness. You have to accept criticism, and those who can’t, will lose.”
Qatar Today November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 56
11/2/10 10:12:29 AM
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 57
11/2/10 10:12:30 AM
e r sto r y
A KINgDOM OF CHANgE
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud Ruler of Saudi Arabia There’s a lot going on beneath the surface in Saudi society. King Abdullah still governs a deeply conservative country. But both Saudi society and the kingdom’s economy reveal dramatic shifts in the four-and-a-half-years since he formally assumed power.
he King’s attempt to revive interest in his 2002 Middle East Plan is notable. The Plan suggests a right to return for Palestinian refugees in return for which Israel would control the Western Wall and parts of the West Bank. He appointed Nora al-Fayez as deputy education minister, making her the highest-ranking female official in the country’s history, and also strived to equalise the education of women and men as well as modernise the nation’s school system. Under his regime, freedom of speech has very gradually seen the light of the day. Festivals and fairs are more of an open gathering for both men and women.
TAKINg THE CHALLENgE
HE Sheikh Mohamed Al-Maktoum PM of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai “I don’t call it a recession, I call it challenge. The companies are restructuring because it’s a new world. You have to stop and restructure”
ubai is home to the region’s largest airport, largest airline and largest trade port, the tallest tower, one of the most luxurious hotels and Dubai Metro, the region’s first mass transport system. In the past two decades, the tiny Emirate has created a name for itself in finance, tourism and logistics. But, the past year has included a different set of challenges. During this period, Dubai has been carrying out an across-the-board restructuring of Dubai World and many brands under Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle in which Sheikh Mohammed holds majority stakes. But even in the face of such controversies, the ruler is unfazed as he looks upon this period as a challenge and rules the nation without fear.
Qatar Today November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 58
11/2/10 10:12:37 AM
A TrANSPArENT APPrOACH
HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi Minister of Economy, UAE “We need forums to erase the popular stereotypes of women as the weaker sex with limited social roles. We need to encourage young Arab girls to believe more in themselves and to have confidence in their ability to achieve and excel”
s the Minister for Foreign Trade, Sheikha Lubna became the first woman to hold a ministerial post in the UAE and has been a source of inspiration for many Arab women. While working as a senior manager of the Information Systems at the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA), Sheikha Lubna was awarded the ‘Distinguished Government Employee Award’ in 1999 and appointed as Chief Executive of Tejari, the first Middle Eastern Business-to-Business Marketplace. Sheikha Lubna has cracked down on stock market troublemakers by introducing tougher rules, transparency and corporate governance.
THE CAESAr OF ArAB INVESTMENTS
His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed ibn Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud “The question is not what is KHC now? The question is will we continue to deliver a spectacular level of business growth and investment success? The simple answer is yes, and we will far exceed all that we have done before”
t is a known fact that whenever Prince Alwaleed’s sets his mind on a target, he pursues it relentlessly. He formed his own company, which in 1996 was transformed into Kingdom Holding Company, one of the world’s successful international holding companies. A member of the Saudi Royal family, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal never attained any real political power. But his activities as an investor led the way to him amassing a fortune through investments in real estate and the stock market. His investor role took centre stage with his acquisition in 1991 of Citibank stocks. He was the first royal Saudi Arabian whose heavy investments helped restore the bank to become the leading financial institution in the world. He has been hailed as the ‘Arabian Warren Buffet’ by Time magazine. November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 59
11/2/10 10:12:42 AM
e r sto r y
A HYBrID POLITICIAN
Mohamed ElBaradei Former Director General of IAEA “I’m not a professional politician. Someone wrote the other day that I’m a hybrid politician like President Obama. Everywhere I go I see tremendous support, but how far are Egyptians willing to go?”
ohamed ElBaradei, who until recently held the top position at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), hasn’t yet decided whether to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election. But a campaign on his behalf has started anyway... The former head of the UN nuclear agency has returned to his native country to lead a movement demanding reform from President Hosni Mubarak’s government, a prospect about as likely to happen as ElBaradei’s past attempts to persuade Iran to make its nuclear program transparent. In 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA were announced as joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for their “efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy, for peaceful purposes, is used in the safest possible way”.
AN ECONOMIC TrOuBLESHOOTEr
Former Minister of Investment, Egypt “With instability and successive crises afflicting world systems and economies, the importance of the World Bank’s presence is becoming more apparent than ever”
hen the World Bank appointed the Egyptian Investment Minister as managing director last month, the timing had something to reveal. WB President Robert Zoellick said Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin helped Egypt weather the global financial crisis, and will help the Bank undertake its own reform programme. Mohieldin served as the Egyptian Minister of Investment since 2004. From the Cabinet post, he led a comprehensive reform programme to modernise and liberalise the Egyptian economy in three critical areas: leveraging private investment for growth and job creation, enhancing access to non-bank financial services and implementing a successful asset management program of public enterprises. 60
Qatar Today November 10
QT_NOV COVERSTORY.indd 60
11/2/10 10:12:48 AM
11/1/10 7:33:38 PM
11/1/10 7:34:39 PM
11/1/10 7:34:42 PM
CreaTing a CulTure of innovaTion iN the Ò NeW NormALÓ , FoSteriNG iNNovAtioN
ince the Industrial Revolution, there have been three main business innovations. The first was neoclassical economics to drive a supply-and-demand economy. The second occurred in the 1980s and 1990s when companies like Toyota, GE, and others used process improvement to drive profitability and growth. In today’s marketplace, these models no longer provide the competitive advantage they once did. So the third major business model will be the driver of innovation. This model is behavioral economics. Whether these three models were product driven, knowledge driven, or innovation driven, one thing remains constant: They all need people and managers. To execute, you must choose to use people as allies rather than adversaries. Behavioral economics is the science that allows this to occur. There are three mechanisms or levers that an organisation can pull to drive innovation using behavioral economic principles. They are culture measurements, capability assessments, and selection of the idea catalysts (the organisation’s people).
Culture of Innovation
To build a culture that fosters innovation, an organisation must hire for innovation talent, build teams that are diverse in talent, and fit individuals to the right role to drive success. Once the people have been identified and placed, management must provide the right training and onboarding relative to innovation and should train managers for skills needed to drive innovative talent. 64
WiLL be A Driver oF orGANiC GroWth.
In addition, firms must have useful metrics, and these should be embedded in the culture of the organisation. These metrics include benchmarking tools that allow companies to compare themselves to the best in industry and the best in class. There also must be robust customer input to allow for adequate feedback to the innovation process. Lastly, organisations must have an employee engagement programme. Gallup’s research indicates that high levels of employee engagement correlate to more idea sharing, better idea generation, more creativity in role and improved business outcomes (on key items, including customer metrics, productivity, and profitability). In order to execute on this culture of innovation, firms must have six keys in place.
1. Innovation assessment
Contrary to popular belief, organisations can evaluate and select for innovation talent. By studying your best people, you can hire others like them and identify within your current population the role that individuals play in the innovation process. These roles include Innovators (those who generate ideas), Drivers of Innovation (those who align ideas with strategies, allocate resources, and build supportive constituencies), and Drivers to Market (those who commercialise and execute market-facing activities). Beyond identifying talent, a selection tool allows managers to focus on the particular needs of these different individuals and understand the specific behaviors that each will demonstrate in the workforce and how to help them make these
behaviors as productive as possible.
2. Onboarding and training
When employees join your organisation, are you able to provide a scorecard of how they measure up relative to others with regard to the three types of roles in the innovation process? If you are, then when employees enter the business, they should quickly know what innovation role they should play in the different teams they work with. On one team, they may have the highest level of innovative talent; on another, they may be best suited to drive innovation. But without this knowledge, you risk slowing the speed of the commercialisation process. And are you teaching managers how to use the innovation scorecards of their team members and providing them with innovation training? For supervisors to be successful at any level of the organisation, they must be able to conduct structured brainstorming sessions, use their team members most effectively, and direct project and portfolio management processes.
3. Innovation index
When you compare your organisation to others, how do you know how it’s performing relative to innovation? Do you have an index that is broad in scope (companies, industries, and countries) that allows you to compare your progress? Engaged employees share their ideas more often, generate more ideas, and generate better ideas.
4. Customer metrics
Customer feedback is critical to the in-
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:34:42 PM
Ò A new major business model will drive innovation: behavioral economics.Ó
novation pipeline. Are you able to identify your best and worst customers and gather feedback from both? Are you able to take this feedback and constructively use it in the beginning stages of idea generation?
5. Employee metrics
Employee engagement has been linked to increasing levels of innovation. Engaged employees share their ideas more often, generate more ideas, and generate better ideas. In one example, the ideas an energy company was able to generate from engaged teams produced on average three times the amount of cost savings compared with ideas from teams that were not engaged. Employee metrics, if done right, allow senior leaders to look across their organisation and quickly spot managers who may be blocking the innovation process. Teams that have low levels of engagement are likely to be less innovative, so an engagement programme can be an early identifier of poor innovation management pockets within an organisation.
6. An innovation scorecard
It has been said that “What gets measured gets done.” All organisations should build an innovation scorecard if they are to track and measure progress. At this point, you may be wonder-
ing “What would this look like at my organisation?” Think about how your organisation currently structures the teams that are working on new products or processes. If your organisation is like most, it pulls in individuals from marketing, R&D, sales, finance, packaging, etc. By doing so, you probably feel like you have created a diverse team that can now drive a project to commercialisation. You would be right in this thinking if you not only had team members with diversity of function but also diversity of innovation talent. Without identifying the innovation talents of each individual on the team, for example, you risk putting together a team of all Innovators. You might get a lot of ideas from this group about how to drive this product or process to market, but there will be lack of resource allocation and execution to commercialise.
Now imagine that you chose the same functional group of individuals for this project, but you have a group that is diverse in innovation talent. You will have provided for the entire innovation continuum, including idea generation, concept testing, strategy alignment, resource allocation, and commercialisation. Giving each member of the team development tailored to his or her unique skills will help you drive the output more efficiently than your competitors can, thus supplying a competitive advantage using people as the weapon. Innovation in the “new normal” will be the driver of organic growth. For companies to maximize these efforts, they must shift their focus from R&D to one that embeds innovation throughout the organisation, whether the innovation they seek is a new product, process, or business model n
By Jason Krieger Jason Krieger is a Senior Consultant for Gallup. Copyright The Gallup Organisation, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Visit the Gallup Management Journal at gmj.gallup.com
11/1/10 7:34:43 PM
six sTeps To geT ahead in your Career Take aCTion To Climb The ladder of suCCess 1. Find a Mentor
A good mentor is that special someone who will take the trouble to see things from your point of view, take your side and guide you in the right direction. The best professional mentors are people with experience in your own industry who can give sound professional advice, help you brainstorm and solve problems, put matters in perspective and sometimes open doors for you. Mentors however need not be from your own industry. An old college professor, an entrepreneur friend of the family, a family banker with an overall business sense or even someone in a completely unrelated field whose integrity, judgment and intuition you trust, can all serve as allies and sounding boards as you progress up the career ladder. Try to find that someone you can learn from and who can help you through the uncertain patches in your job and career.
2. Effective Time Management
Effective time management boils down to setting specific goals and meeting them. Plan ahead both in macro and micro terms. Set deadlines for projects and then break the projects up into individual milestones with separate deadlines which you can tick off as you accomplish them. Delegate along the way. Make your deadlines reasonable and aim to over deliver rather than overpromise. It is always better to have some slack time at the end of a project to check for detail and presentation rather than have to rush the next item on your agenda.
3. Manage Your Boss
Bosses have lives, career roadblocks, deadlines and worries of their own and a smart employee will learn how to ingratiate themselves to their boss amidst all the noise and create an ongoing professional dialogue that achieves both parties’ objectives. Proactivity is the key to a successful employee/employer relationship. Take control of your career and communicate your goals, aspirations, ideas and concerns to your boss on an ongoing basis rather than hoping he will make plans that suit you and notice all the work you get done. Effective communication in the right tone at the right time is a very important component of this relationship as is full transparency, making it easier for your boss to see and appreciate your work and promote you.
Negotiate for What You’re Worth
There’s nothing like feeling underpaid and undervalued to put a damper on your career aspirations and stifle your motivation and productivity. Take control of the situation and try to negotiate a compensation package that is more in line with what you feel you’re worth. Remember, there are specific rules to successful negotiation. Make sure what you are about to negotiate for is realistic. Arm yourself with some knowledge of what your peers in the industry and in the company are making and a sound judgment regarding how much you feel your boss really values you. Remember to also target a
win-win scenario. Aim to show your employer how much better off he will be having a better paid employee who will then exert more effort, take more initiative.
This is not about passing the buck. It’s about freeing yourself to do what you do best and achieving maximum efficiency all around. Effective delegation can spread the workload amongst people so that each is challenged in their own domain and so that others can learn new skills and improve old ones. The whole outfit benefits when everyone is doing what they do best.
6. Take Ownership
Whether it’s that filing cabinet you’re responsible for keeping in chronological order and safe from natural disasters, or a team of six bankers that you are in charge of, taking ownership of your work is the first step toward personal and professional satisfaction. If you think of yourself as ‘owning’ your little domain – sometimes as part of a team – you will take special pride in your output and results. That feeling of ‘ownership’ will boost your creativity as you look for new ways to indulge and improve your professional terrain and the attitude will almost always communicate itself to your boss and peers. Think of every professional task, no matter how small, as a project worthy of your signature and make sure the quality of the work you produce lives up to your name! n
About Bayt.com: Bayt.com is the #1 job site in the Middle East with more than 30,000 employers and over 4.75 million registered job seekers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the globe, representing all industries, nationalities and career levels. Post a job or find jobs on www.bayt.com today and access the leading resource for job seekers and employers in the region.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:35:43 PM
11/1/10 7:35:44 PM
bridging barriers Through iCT By Sindhu Nair
Mohammed Shafeea, a blind Qatari student with Sabine Sandros, Training Specialist at Mada
Mada, the region’s first Assistive Technology Centre, is aiming to use IT as an equaliser and to up accessibility, to aid those with disabilities. Qatar Today talks to the developers, the users and the principals to find out more...
pdating status messages on Facebook is a simple task for many of us. Not so for Mohammed Shafeea, a blind Qatari student from Qatar University (QU), who can barely see the screen. If technology uplifts all members of society how does it benefit those with disabilities? ictQatar, with the help of prominent business heads in the country, has given this matter due diligence and Mada, one of the few Assistive Technology Centres in the world has been launched in Qatar as a result of this deliberation.
Shafeea is one of the many users of Mada’s expertise. He can be classified as an “expert of Assistive Technology” and is in constant touch with the developers at Mada to find “his perfect” solution. He has been using this technology for over four years but looks forward to working with Mada to help the blind community. He has already started work and has recorded an audio guide for elders on various assistive technologies, as well as recording material for the Qatari Society for Diabetes. “Mada will assist us with technology that will help us. The schools I attended
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:35:47 PM
Ò This is the research hub where people first come to try and find solutions that are ideal for them. Some have solutions that come off the shelf while others have to first go through a process of trial and error to see which suits them bestÓ Anirban Lahiri, Senior Assistive Technology Specialist, Mada
were helpful for me at that stage of my development, while this Centre equips me to face the world,” he says. He is currently pursuing a degree in Media Studies from QU but has already started training with Al jazeera Children’s Channel and aspires to be a TV presenter. Ask him why and he says, “I did that once for QTV and loved every moment of it.” With the tools of Assistive Technology (AT), the world is his stage and both his aspirations and the opportunities can be limitless. Qatar Today visits Mada and learns about barriers in the field of ICT and how they can be lifted to aid the challenged.
teChNoLoGy At mADA
A world without barriers
Enter Mada and you are in a different world, one that is without any physical barriers, making it easily accessible to those in wheelchairs. Accessibility, physical and virtual, is the focus for Mada. Mada (which means horizon in Arabic) is the region’s first AT Centre. “People with disabilities have infinite capabilities and should be active members of the community,” believes Ahmed Habib, Head of Communications, Awareness and Outreach, Mada, who has foreseen most of the queries, and has answers to all of them. Being a journalist and differentlyabled makes him the best spokesperson, someone who understands the difficulties and helps the team in identifying barriers he faces. “ICT is a powerful tool, more so for the differently-abled and hence we try and
Isbar, a computer software that reads the screen for the blind, is available at Mada. Printed books as well as electronic files can be read through this device. With a screenreader a blind user is able to access the Internet and read Arabic and English websites. Switch solutions, another AT, is for those with limited physical movement. With this technology, the computer can be controlled with a single movement. Ò A switch solution can even be used if the only movements you have full control of are that of your tongue, an eyeblink or by sipping and puffing,Ó says Lahiri. Habib is the best person to demonstrate this equipment, says Lahiri.
With a puff Habib Ô clicksÕ on a command and says, Ò Now you can see why training is important. Giving this technology to a person and saying, Ô Good luckÕ will not serve the purpose as this needs to be properly demonstrated and tried out to fully understand its potential. Ò The lack of accessibility in ICT makes working on a complex desktop setting seem like a big jump. Hence we have the Square, a simplified operating system, which can initially make someone who is new to computers adapt to the change well. Imagine the impact of all this on someone who cannot even move his arms and has had no access to the outside world. He can now go on the internet, chat with his friend...Ó
11/1/10 7:35:52 PM
Ò We want people with disabilities not only actively engage in day-to-day activities but also go on to take leadership rolesÓ Ahmed Habib, Head of Communications, Awareness and Outreach, Mada
make it simple for them. This will enable them to get over their barriers. We want people with disabilities not only actively engage in day-to-day activities but also go on to take leadership roles. “Since opening its doors on June 1, 2010, Mada has worked with and on behalf of people with disabilities to connect them to technologies that will improve their lives,” says Habib as he wheels effortlessly around the office explaining more about the organisation. Assistive Technology (AT) is defined as any piece of technology, either bought or modified, that makes people with disabilities gain new abilities or maintain old ones. “People with disabilities along with their families can now come to Mada and make use of the latest technology provided and work with the experts here to find the perfect solution to suit their needs.” A professional assessment team at Mada guides the visitors through the process of training. “We have a comprehensive process. We do not believe in half measures. We give the training and then follow up to see what loopholes have developed and then observe if the technology suited to their specific needs can be arranged.”
A partnership of assistance
Mada is born of key public and private partnerships. ictQatar has partnered with Vodafone, Qtel, QNB and Microsoft to make Mada a reality. “This helps us work on a wider scale,” says Habib. But other partnerships, like an agreement with Bookshare.org has made it possible for users to access over 16,000 books in accessible electronic format. 70
Mada has also connected with other disabled people’s organisations to enhance their ICT capacity. The IT infrastructure
Ò ArAbiC CoNteNt NeeDeDÓ
of Qatar Social and Cultural Centre for the Blind has also been revamped with the help of Mada. Since its inception, the centre has worked with several schools over summer. “We had a week-long activities at one of the schools for the disabled. We are also working with QU and will be outfitting them with assistive technology. We will also be working with the Supreme Council of Education to see which independent schools we can contribute to,” says Habib.
Organisations come together
Faleh Al Naemi, Director, Mada,
Ò One of the urgent needs that Mada has to address is the lack of Arabic content in assistive technology. This has to be done with a lot of research and we hope to address this too,Ó says Faleh Al Naemi, Director, Mada, who was initially with ictQatar and then later moved to Social Rehabilitation Centre before joining Mada. Ò There are very few centres like Mada which addresses all areas of disabilities while also taking care of training and research. We intend to be the best in the region...Ó
As Qatar aspires to build a fully connected society, one of the key issues identified is digital access for people with disabilities and organisations have come forward to make the country a truly enabled one. “It is part of our responsibility to contribute by making communication more accessible for everyone. This includes handsets, tariffs and services that are specifically tailored to people with special needs,” says Luisa Gentile, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Vodafone Qatar, one of the partners of Mada. The fact that competitors like Qtel and Vodafone have joined hands for an initiative like Mada, is by itself a matter of pride for the country. “When it comes to corporate responsibility, there is no space for competition. We believe in the power of sharing ideas, expertise and projects, even with our competitor,” says Gentile. “Sharing with others is valuable. Mada invited Qtel and Vodafone to come together for the benefit of the country. Both are openly and actively cooperating on this. We meet on weekly bases, sharing
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:35:56 PM
Ò PArtNerShiPS NeeDeDÓ Banes has worked for more than ten years as a specialist in ICT and access. He is currently working with developers to promote a wider range of AT solutions for Arabic speakers. He says that Mada is still in its early days but will go on to play an important role in society. Ò AT is not something that can be resolved within Qatar. We need to work with other organisations to bring the best research and development into the country and for this we are also conducting a seminar in November that will help us benchmark where Qatar is in terms of AT. By creating a need for AT, we can get vendors interested in this market which will bring more of them into the business.Ó Technology exists in English, he points out, Ò but people are not aware of it and we should aim for awareness to make technology accessible.Ó Speaking of expenses Ð that rage from the free to the exorbitant, he says Ò Some of the solutions are free to download and would cost you a few riyals. While other solutions like the Tobil requires hundred thousands of riyals. We help people find low cost equipment that meet their need. ThatÕ s why assessment is so important,Ó he says. Equipment is also given to the clients on a Ô need basisÕ . Ò We loan out the equipment. This is mostly to ad-
ideas and issues. It is also an enriching experience to learn different ways of doing business.”
Technology at hand
Anirban Lahiri, Senior Assistive Technology Specialist is one of the earliest members of Mada and is also “one of the driving forces behind the creation of the centre”. He along with Sabine Sandros, Training Specialist, presents the Resource Centre that features the interactive AT equipments. The Centre presents AT in four distinct areas – for the visu-
David Banes, Deputy Director of Mada
dress the need of the person. There has been a long history of equipments being bought and left without being used when you find out that they do not serve your purpose. Through constant assessment you can find the best piece of equipment and then buy it out. So initially the equipment is loaned to be tried out and then bought if found satisfactory.Ó He stresses: Ò What we are doing is unlocking potential. Lahiri and Habib are examples of what technology does to liberate someone with disabilities.Ó
ally impaired, hearing impaired, learning disabled and people with physical disabilities. “This is the research hub where people first come to try and find solutions that are ideal for them. Some have solutions that come off the shelf while others have to first go through a process of trial and error to see which suits them best,” says Lahiri. “Windows 7 has many features built into the system, some which many of us are not even aware of, like the voice recognition, magnifiers, screen readers etc.”
“For others who need more than this, there are specific software that can be installed. For the hearing impaired, the usual communication tool is to change voice into text. There is a whole range of software that makes this possible.” One of the software that is available, Ibsar enables blind users to read printed books and documents in electronic files, by saving and printing these texts in Braille. Ibsar is an example of software that speaks the text on a computer in both Arabic and English. “Voice Recognition is available through a software called Dragon Naturally Speaking, by which a user can enter text and control the whole computer through voice. After 40 minutes of training, the software shows around 98% accuracy. It can be used to send e-mails, write letters, take notes, browse through the web and even play games.” The solutions are very specific and sometimes tailored to meet definite needs, says Sandros.
How expensive are the solutions?
Lahiri says that most of the devices are expensive. So what is the solution for those who cannot afford the expense? “The solutions are sometimes even provided on a loan basis to those who will need it and then through constant review we customise the software,” says Lahiri. There are very few vendors in the market who sell these products, says Lahiri and that according to him is the “real challenge”.Lahiri sources his products from various vendors and hence there is no pressure on the users to buy any product. The solutions, stresses Lahiri, is the best in the world. “The funding is now from ictQatar. But we are working with our other partners, Qtel, Vodafone, QNB, to make sure that assistive technology becomes less of a burden than it is now.” Probe Lahiri about his personal battle in overcoming disabilities and he says, “It is not easy. It is always a challenge but then you learn to overcome some. And so I relate to this Centre and its needs well.” n November 10
11/1/10 7:35:59 PM
The average domestic broadband internet speed in Qatar is approximately 1.5mbps (megabits per second, or ‘mb’). Qtel’s fastest package, at an eye-watering QR600 a month, is 8mb. South Korea, for example, has an average speed of 12mb and its government last month unveiled a national plan to make speeds of 1,000mb (1 gigabit per second, or ‘gb’) available domestically by 2012. One South Korean ISP offers a 100mb home package for the equivalent of QR70 a month, making Qtel’s 8mb package over 10,700% more expensive by comparison. A speed of 1gb would allow the downloading of a standard movie in 12 seconds, and a standard music album in 1/20th of a second.
rEady for my closE uP
Ò W HotEl PlEasE, KittÓ
Software giant Google has been undertaking tests in California with cars that drive themselves. The cars are using Artificial Intelligence to make themselves aware of obstacles and respond as a human driver would to road conditions. The cars have always had a technician behind the wheel, in case the computer malfunctioned, but the test has had surprising results. Google drove seven cars for 1,000 miles with zero human assistance and with one accident – when one of the test cars was rear-ended at a red light. “Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated,” said Google. Engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads (something that would be most welcome in Doha) by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Does this mean we’ll be seeing autonomously driven cars in the future? It’s too early to say, but Google is committed to making the technology safe. Our guess is that it’s only a matter of time, but it’ll be some time before there is a robot that can cope with typical Qatari driving.
Stuff Middle East reports that mobile phone firm Altek has just announced the Leo, a mobile with a whopping 14-megapixel camera. The Leo is set to launch in February 2011, and brings with it 720p video footage capability and an Android OS. Other specs include Xenon and LED flash and proper optical zoom (unlike the non-moving digital version in most mobiles) as well as blink and smile detection. There’s also a 3.2in touchscreen with 3.5G capabilities. The OS is handled by Android 2.1 (a 2.2 update is expected before it starts shipping). So a smart OS and high-end camera spec? Another big player in the smartphone wars, for sure. The Leo will be landing in Qatar in early spring, priced at a very user-friendly QR1,900.
Compiled by John Hunt
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:37:26 PM
in Privacy brEacH sHocKEr
Yet another Facebook privacy story, this time broken by an investigation by the Wall Street Journal. Its investigation has revealed Facebook is letting applications hand over personal details to third parties. WSJ found that even when users of Facebook applied the highest privacy settings, their details were still being picked up by marketing and web tracking organisations. Such exchanges affect tens of millions of people across the most popular apps, and breaks Facebook’s own rules on securing personal information. Facebook said it would be adding new technology to the platform in an effort to curb the issue. Does this keep happening? Yes. Does Facebook become any less popular? No.
taKing tHE tablEts
sEts bring 3d tv to doHa Sony has announced the Middle East debut of its new 3D Bravia televisions, available in 40-inch, 46-inch, 52-inch, 55-inch and 60-inch screen sizes. Said a Sony spokesman, “The new Bravia TVs offer an immersive 3D ambience and the most exciting home entertainment experience we've ever created.” The new sets also access the internet using Wi-Fi. The Bravia is currently available in all major retail consumer electronics outlets in the region. The 40-inch sets start at QR9,000 up to QR30,000 for the 60-inch behemoth.
Samsung has announced the debut of their first tablet PC: the Galaxy Tab. The Tab hopes to shake up the tablet market currently dominated by the iPad. The Tab will run the Android OS with either a 15GB or 32GB capacity, and is further expandable by an extra 32GB. It has an 18cm capacitive touchscreen and weighs 380g. The Tab has great connectivity with 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. It also features GPS and is packed with sensors (accelerometer, geo-magnetic sensor, gyroscope, and light sensor). It looks set to take on both the iPad and iPhone as the Tab makes both voice and video calls. It is powered by a 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM, and features a 3mp camera on the back and a 1.3mp camera on the front. It can also record 720p HD videos and play back multiple formats. Unlike the iPad, it supports Flash video and can also stream content to a TV via HDMI. Expected arrival in Qatar is January 2011 at an approximate price of QR1,900 – cheaper than the iPad by some distance.
(If you have a product, innovation or tech story that should appear here, please email: email@example.com)
11/1/10 7:37:35 PM
11/1/10 7:39:37 PM
11/1/10 7:40:11 PM
GLobAL PLAtForm For reGioNAL Art
mANNAi AUto exhibitS LAteSt moDeLS
annai Trading Co. WLL participated in the ‘Made In The USA’ Exhibition which showcased the American automobile’s latest Cadillac SRX, CTS, and Escalade models, and also had Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih arriving at the Exhibition in a chauffeur driven Mannai Auto Cadillac. “This Exhibition provided an ideal platform to showcase the functionality and
style of the modern Cadillac range,” said Ziad Shuaib, Mannai Automotive Administration Manager. The company offered several amazing deals on new Cadillac and GMC cars booked at its 45 square metre ‘Made In The USA’ stand at the Exhibition. The Cadillac Escalade is the most luxurious SUV in its class, with space for eight passengers and packed with extras including heated electric seats, leather up-
ForDÕ S Driver CoNNeCt teChNoLoGy DebUtS At Gitex
ord Middle East introduced the new MyFord and MyFord Touch driver-connect technologies at this year’s GITEX Technology Week, the Middle East’s leading technology exhibition, held at the Dubai Convention & Exhibition centre. With the award-winning SYNC® device connectivity system, Ford has combined a variety of technologies into one powerful, intuitive connected driver experience called MyFord, which begins rolling out on the new 2011 Ford Edge, the official GITEX Technology Week Car. The MyFord Touch replaces the traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colourful personalised LCD screens and five-way buttons making driving all the more fun. 76
holstery, tri-zone climate control, parking sensors, cruise control and sat-nav. Meanwhile, the Cadillac SRX combines power and performance in a crossover with features like Advanced All-Wheel Drive and a turbocharged V6 engine wrapped around its hand-crafted interior. The Cadillac CTS features 283hp-3.0 litre and 323hp-3.6 litre direct-injection V6 engines, Sport Suspension and six-speed All-Wheel Drive.
jAGUAr CeLebrAteS With xj75 PLAtiNUm CoNCePt
s part of the year long celebration of Jaguar’s 75th anniversary, the Jaguar design team has created the XJ75 Platinum Concept, announced Alfardan Premier Motors Co. Painted in satin matte pearlescent white, the XJ75 is a highperformance 470hp and 424 lb-ft of torque 2011 Jaguar XJL Supercharged direct-injection V8 engine. Meanwhile, a 1,200 watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system with 20 speakers and state-of-the-art sound processing technology ensures entertainment on board.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:40:18 PM
NeW voLkSWAGeN toUAreG LAUNCheD
olkswagen Middle East and Saad Buzwair Automotive launched its most technically innovative model – the new Touareg, at a ceremony held at Saad Buzwair Automotive Volkswagen Showroom in Doha. With this launch, the Middle East becomes one of the first markets to distribute the completely redeveloped flagship petrol engine Volkswagen sport utility vehicle (SUV). The new Touareg also boasts an engine line-up that is nearly 20% more fuel efficient, and is the first and only SUV of European origin to be available in a hybrid version.
PorSChe SALeS Set NeW reCorD iN the reGioN
orsche has demonstrated an impressive growth and broken its own sales records with 6,275 units delivered to customers across the Middle East and Africa region over the 2009/2010 financial year. With 952 sales in June 2010 alone, Porsche enjoyed one of its best order intakes ever for the summer month. Speaking about sales, the Porsche Cayenne accounted for 48% of deliveries over the last year, with a total of 1,112 units ordered prior to the market launch. The Panamera has accounted for 29% of the total delivery spectrum and claimed a 13% market share in the luxury limousine segment. The 911 range comprised 15% of all new Porsche car sales while the two-seater Cayman and Boxster models also showed a consistent performance Porsche Middle East and Africa, Managing Director, Deesch Papke said, “With the help of our committed importers, we have worked hard over the last years to focus on staff development, optimised after-sales processes and a homogenous pricing strategy. We have earned the confidence of buyers and continuously ensure customer loyalty to our brand.”
iNFiNiti iNtroDUCeS DriviNG ASSiStANCe teChNoLoGy
nfiniti has announced its new ‘Moving Object Detection’ (MOD) driving assistance technology, designed to detect moving objects around the vehicle and alert the driver to their presence. The conventional Around View Monitor (AVM) assists the driver during parking procedures with a screen display that shows a bird’s-eye view of the car and its surroundings and gives audible warnings when the car is near an object.
11/1/10 7:40:23 PM
eDF AND reNAULtNiSSAN ALLiANCe StreNGtheN eLeCtriC mobiLity
biG mAkeover For miNi rANGe
he new revised product range from MINI – MINI Hatch, MINI Cabrio and MINI Clubman, debuted at the Mondial de l’Automobile Paris Motor Show, demonstrating more power, driving fun and efficiency. The range boasted of newly designed LED rear lights, dynamic brake lights, and controls for the audio and air conditioning systems. High quality seat upholstery variants, exterior paint finishes, roof colours and wheel designs come with options. Available as an optional extra, the MINI Visual Boost radio and MINI navigation system give owners, access to MINI Connected which integrates the Apple iPhone into the car’s system architecture, allowing its telephone, music player and online functions.
NbkA rAmADAN reWArDS
As part of its ongoing customerbased rewards initiatives, the exclusive dealer of the luxurious Mercedes brand in Qatar, NBK Automobiles (NBKA) has announced Ashraf Omar Awamleh as the winner of a brand new Mercedes-Benz during the Ramadan promotion. “We would like to congratulate our esteemed customer Awamleh, on the ownership of the latest Mercedes CLS. We have worked continuously in conjunction with our staff at the various showrooms to make the NBKA brand and our showrooms an entirely rewarding experience. We are already working to provide more such incentives in the future,” said Khaled Shaaban, General Manager of NBKA.
In an attempt to further strengthen their corporation in electric mobility, an agreement was signed between Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan, and Henri Proglio, CEO of EDF. Both plan to extend their activities in three areas: testing and managing batterylife; testing electric vehicles and innovative charging infrastructure; and creating mobility offers for electric vehicle customers. Proglio said, “EDF is committed to accompany Renault and Nissan’s electric vehicle customers so that they can fully enjoy their new acquisition, with electric energy up to five times less expensive per kilometre than gasoline or fuel, while contributing to preservation of the environment without any emissions of noise, pollution or odours.”
FerrAi PreSeNtS the exCLUSive SA APertA
errari presented its exclusive SA Aperta at the Paris International Motor Show 2010, which is a special series model with a strictly limited number of just 80 built in celebration of Andrea Pininfarina’s 80th anniversary. The SA nomenclature also pays homage to both Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina whose company and work have been linked to the most successful road-going cars ever built at Maranello. The SA Aperta is a front-engined V12 architecture in a completely open-top setting. A low-slung windscreen lends it an exceptionally aerodynamic sleekness. The 670 CV engine embodies the sporty spirit of the 599, incorporating Ferrari’s most advanced technology to deliver benchmark performance and superb driving pleasure. Its interior is sporty with sophisticated materials, trim and colours used throughout, making it an absolutely unique model.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:41:38 PM
11/2/10 10:01:59 AM
CGC UNveiLS NeW W Noki NokiA A N8
A mAtter oF PreStiGe
onsolidated Gulf Co. (CGC), the Nokia partner in Qatar, has unveiled the new Nokia N8, Nokia’s first Symbian^3-powered device to come with a HDMI port. Features include a 12megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and a large sensor, a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen and 16gb internal memory which can be expanded to 48gb. Nokia N8 also offers an intuitive built-in editing suite to edit and make HD-quality videos which can be viewed by using Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, plugged into a home theatre system. Along with videos, Web TV services and social networking facilities can be accessed on the homescreens as well.
AL khALiji CreDit CArDS LiFeStyLe brAND NAUtiCA ArriveS At the mALL
he leading American lifestyle brand Nautica, is now available at the Mall in Qatar. Founded in 1983, the brand offers men’s, women’s, children’s apparel and accessories as well as home collections. The Nautica Fall 2010 collection is inspired by the crisp, clean and distinct waters of the Northern Sea. Functional outerwear, rich wools, substantial cotton knit sweaters, and heavy twill woven shirts are the foundation of the assortment. In all, the collection is rooted in heritage while blending classic sportswear design with technical innovation churning out a timeless, balanced ‘Nautica’ look.
Al khaliji’s new fee-free Classic and Platinum Visa credit cards offer 2% cash back on all purchases along with a leading package of financial benefits offering a superior value. In addition, these cards guarantee 0% commission on overseas transactions, no annual or renewal fee, a highly competitive interest rate and anti-fraud monitoring to protect purchases made in shops and online. Moreover, they are accepted by virtually all shops and points-of-sale both locally and worldwide. “Our generous cash back rate, no annual fee and free purchase protection, combined with Visa’s unrivalled global travel benefits make al khaliji credit cards the best in the market and underline it’s commitment to deliver market-leading, excellent value products for customers,” commented Andrew Ball, Acting Head of Consumer Banking.
LANDmArk GroUP exPANDS iNto FitNeSS SeCtor The Fitness First franchise business in the MENA region has been acquired by the Landmark Group, the leading Dubai-based retail and hospitality Group, through its investment arm, Landmark Investments. This includes the 100% buyout of the business from current franchisee Awwal Fitness Ltd, a Jebel Ali free zone company and part of the Alhokair Group of Saudi Arabia. “We are excited about this significant expansion of the Group into the health and fitness segment” said Micky Jagtiani, Chairman of Landmark Group. The Group looks forward to expanding the business and providing the ‘Fitness First experience’ to much larger MENA-based customers.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:42:59 PM
11/1/10 7:43:10 PM
GbC oFFerS imPreSSive oFFiCe SPACe
rmed with over 50 years of combined Middle East experience, the team at Global Business Centre (GBC), a subsidiary of Al Hitmi Group, provides clients with flexible offices that cater to all the needs of a start-up business and offers complete business solutions. Clients can obtain a flexible serviced office space with only a manageable monthly fee, and the entire set-up is done within 24 hours. Other services provided by GBC are visa and work per-
mit processing, immigration and labour processing, securing trade licenses, seeking approvals from Ministers, providing local sponsorship, and advising and consulting regarding corporate setup. Connectivity-wise, offices come fitted with the latest IT infrastructure and digital telephone system, with no charges. In addition, state-of-the-art facilities and on-call services with professionally trained receptionists and office staff guarantee a perfect destination for business.
korLoFF SPArkLeS At bLUe SALoN
Blue Salon has launched the exquisite line of Korloff Jewellery during an exclusive cocktail reception attended by Blue Salon officials, Nabil Abu Issa, Vice Chairman of Blue Salon; Fatema Alaali, Director, Retail Marketing and their honourable guests. Since 1978, Korloff has been working with well-established diamond cutters who work to improve the quality, perfection and beauty of the diamonds. One of their unique creations is the octagonal-shaped 65-facet cut Korloff diamond, 41 facets on the crown and 24 facets on the pavilion. Bearing the Korloff laser marking on the girdle, the IGIcertified gem is now an internationally recognised new cut.
LG LeADS eCo-FrieNDLy mArketS
As part of its commitment to green technology, LG has developed several innovations such as the Linear Refrigerator Compressors, Inverter DirectDrive, Light Wave Technology Compressor vacuum cleaners, Air purifiers and Dishwashers featuring unique UV lamp sanitisation process with the aim of creating efficient products which provide savings in space, energy usage and in the amount of time spent on housework. “At LG, we’re focusing on the concept of eco-chic lifestyle because we believe the home is where green innovation must start,” said H.S Paik, President of LG Electronics Gulf FZE. LG is taking proactive steps to address global climate change, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire lifespan of its products in accordance to its green initiatives. 82
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:44:35 PM
11/1/10 7:44:36 PM
A bLeND oF CULtUreS: the CrUiSer CoLLeCtioN by oxette
xette’s Spring/Summer 2010 ‘The Cruiser’ Collection is inspired by different cultures and civilisations from all over the world and influenced by the 50s and 60s as well as icons such as Brigitte Bardot, Jackie O
and Michael Jackson. The magnificent collection is adorned by intricate long pendants, playful necklaces and bracelets, big hoop earrings and coloured stone rings, flaunting the style and spirit of jewels found all around the
world. Gold and rhodium-plated silver splashed with black onyx, white agate, green smoky aventurine and turquoise are the significant colours of the collection. A range of accessories, handbags, belts and sunglasses complete the collection.
NADAL SPortS riChArD miLLe At GrAND SLAm
afael Nadal’s victorious ninth Grand Slam title in the final of the US Open, made him the youngest player of the Open Era to win all four Grand Slam tournaments; all this while donning the Richard Mille on his wrist. The RM 027 Tourbillon is the lightest mechanical, extremely shock resistant and comfortable watch ever designed and the first watch to be worn by a player in a Grand Slam. The moving parts are made using innovative materials such as Lital and a carbon-based composite for the casing, resulting in a mechanical tourbillon watch weighing approximately 20 grams, strap included. After Roland Garros and Wimbledon, the US Open has been the yet another victory where Nadal sported his RM 027 on his wrist.
LANDmArk GroUP LAUNCheS ShUkrAN LoyALty ProGrAmme
andmark Group, the region’s leading retail and hospitality conglomerate, announced the first phase of the launch of Shukran – GCC’s leading loyalty programme, in Kuwait, Oman and 84
Qatar, followed by other countries in the coming months. With Shukran, members can earn up to 10 points for QR10 they spend which can be redeemed through rewards certificates sent to them every quar-
ter. The programme is being launched with exciting new brands across retail and hospitality such as Emax, Max, Kurt Geiger and Fun City besides the pre-existing Centrepoint, Babyshop, Shoe Mart, Splash, City Lifestyle, Home Centre, and Kappa. Speaking at the launch, Landmark Group in Qatar, Territory Head, Suresh Sharma, said “Shukran is ‘Our way of saying thank you to loyal customers’ and with the number of participating outlets in the programme, there’s enough reason for them to shop their heart out!”
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:44:49 PM
By John Hunt Emel Atikkan, General Manager, Doha Kempinski
permission To land The hospitality sector in Qatar is growing at pace. The challenge for the established names Ð and the new kids on the block Ð is to provide something unique, something that says: Ô choose meÕ . Qatar Today reports on a new arrival that aims to be chosen.
n the heart of West Bay, the blunt stack that is the Doha Kempinski Residences & Suites (KRS) pokes further into the cloudless sky than any other building in the country. Even allowing for the vagaries of construction, you’d imagine that KRS – which opened in June – will not be top dog for too long in the height stakes, so will need to remain worthy of note for other reasons. Qatar Today spoke to KRS General Manager Emel Atikkan, above, to find out what those reasons might be. One among them, however, is undoubtedly that Atikkan is the only female GM in Qatar’s bur-
geoning hospitality industry. She is, then, a pioneer of sorts. What of the property she manages? “Kempinski Residences & Suites is a first in Qatar,” says Atikkan. “The property is owned by the Al Fardan Group, but this is not a franchise – Kempinski brings the name but also manages the property. This is not a ‘classic’ hotel; this is primarily a residence, a hybrid project and the only one in Qatar that combines residences and a hotel under one roof.” Residences the world over are often fairly desperate affairs. Overpriced, tired blocks with the ‘concierge’ duties carried out by a bored-looking man behind November 10
11/1/10 7:44:52 PM
markeT waTch a desk at the front door. In several recent visits to the Kempinski property though, KRS – cosmetically at least – is about as far removed from this stereotype as it is possible to be. Let’s look at what lies beneath. “The challenge – other than actually running a property to the satisfaction of the guests – is to get the market here to understand how unique this product is – that it is a hotel and it is also a residence. It’s not a marketing boast to say we are unique in this market, and thus we need to position ourselves uniquely,” Atikkan explains. “We have one-, two- and three-bedroom suites here, as well as the Sky Villas [see ‘A Room With a View’, inset right], making 370 units in total, which are available for one night, 30 nights, 60 nights, two years... We’re less a traditional residence, more a long-stay hotel. This is what makes us different,” says Atikkan.
The steady increase in commercial activity in Doha in general and West Bay in particular means that the typical residences client – the businessman – should be nearby and should be in numbers. Atikkan tells us that in terms of marketing the property, the USP is a simple one. “We say that to stay with us here is to get ‘a suite for the price of a hotel room’. Our core clientele falls into two main categories – businesspeople and families. The former are likely to be doing some work, making a ‘base’ for the duration of their stay. For them the 120 sq mt space of the split bedroom/living area is going to be advantageous, as is the fully-equipped kitchen in each unit and the real privacy that can be found here. “For this and other reasons, some of our guests do not wish to engage in the social scene that can be found in hotels which are geared towards shorter stays and more tourist-oriented traffic. We have one cafe bar and one restaurant whereas in a dedicated hotel you’d have a number of both. Our food and beverage operation is thus smaller but we do not compromise on quality, ever,” Atikkan asserts. “We’re doing well with weekend visitors from Arab countries because of the 86
space in our units. A three-bedroom suite can provide accommodation for the parents, the children and a maid. We have a ‘Kids’ Club’ on the premises where parents can leave their children to go shopping or go out and know that their kids will be safe and entertained. There is also a health club and a pair of swimming pools on the premises.” The cost of the new building, its opulence and the 140 staff under Atikkan’s aegis makes for a considerable total investment by Al Fardan, and a challenge for Kempinski to make it pay. How are things progressing in that most vital of regards, the bottom line? “We’re still in the early stages. We have 30+ long-term bookings confirmed in three months and that is an achievement, especially opening during the summer,” she says. “The customers we hope to attract will ‘go shopping’ for the best if they are stay-
ing in Doha for a long time. The onus is on us to make sure that we become the ‘address’ that everyone knows. When they think residences, I want them to think Kempinski Doha.”
Top end bracket
“This residence should be seen as a status symbol. We are all working hard to make this happen. This is going to be a very successful property, a winner. I’m not just saying that, I know it. We are more expensive than the competition, but then we are at the top end of the market. We give the best. Everything is included. People have to see ‘value’ now more than ever and this is what we aim to provide,” Atikkan concludes. Kempinski aims to ‘double up’ in Doha with another Al Fardan-owned, Kempinski-branded property at the Pearl, scheduled for 2013 n
A room With A vieW Kempinski Residences & Suites opened its doors in June. The decision to debut at the start of the low season was, says Atikkan, a deliberate one and akin to a Ô soft launchÕ . Ò Opening in June gave us a few months to get things right before we get really busy,Ó she says. The building stands 62 storeys tall, with ‘double height’ floors available towards the top of the property. The top two floors, 61 and 62, hold a pair of vast suites, one facing the bay, the other the city. Work continues on the latter to complete what will presumably be the most expensive accommodation available at the residences, while the former is currently in temporary use as an entertainments venue for small gatherings. Seven-foot tall windows let the light flood in to an open-plan meeting space with 20-foot ceilings above. Needless to say, the views are pretty
sensational. Ò ItÕ s the ideal space for groups of 30, 40 people,Ó says Atikkan. Ò WeÕ re really happy with how the space has been utilised thus far and there has been a lot of interest from businesses in Doha. Ò Companies using the facility can utilise the reputation that comes with what will be the finest residences in the city, and Kempinski can also say: Ò look at which companies trust us to help deliver their messageÓ . We see a niche, and an opportunity to do something slightly different with this unique space,Ó Atikkan adds.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:46:02 PM
11/1/10 7:46:04 PM
praTT & whiTney
The JeT power By Shalinee Bharadwaj
he Middle East countries are facing serious energy and power generation challenges owing to an ever-increasing demand on the system. With giant construction projects taking off and huge population influx, the region’s authorities have launched several initiatives to resolve these challenges before they disrupt development plans. Power Gen Exhibition 2010 held at the Doha Exhibition Centre is one such effort in this direction providing a platform for discussion on the power issues on a global scale. In an exclusive interview with Chuck Levey, Vice President of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, Qatar Today sets on the power trail, digging into what the legends of the sector have on offer.
Despite abundance of natural resources, GCC is facing an energy crisis. Where is the lacuna?
Undoubtedly, there is abundance of natural resources in the region but the key element is to convert this resident energy into usable forms so as to support the infrastructure. This process involves various steps, ability to extract the resources, refine them to usable forms, transport to the site of demand and finally its transmission and distribution. Generation and distribution of power are the two elements that need to be focussed upon. Infrastructure development in progressing nations is always ongoing. Balanced forethought and planning is the answer to efficient utilisation of natural resources, critical in supporting the society. Technology is available but selecting the right technology is imminent. Selection of technology again has to be based on its applicability rather than availability of the resources. 88
How is the energy scenario different in Qatar viz-a-viz power generation? The element of power distribution plays a lesser role in Qatar compared to other GCC nations where land mass is more and the population density is farther apart. One area of business that we support throughout the world particularly in the US and Europe is the ‘peaking market’ where large generation capacity power plants are present but whether there is enough reserve for high load periods or some alternative small generation capacity source to meet the demand that can come online quickly, in case they shut down for maintenance. I don’t see this peaking market in Qatar at present however, as society grows and there is more demand for power capacity, the need for peaking plants grows. It has its obvious benefit – quick startup, they can shut down and start again in little time just like a jet engine and practically can work for hours without any maintenance needs. As the electricity needs of the growing community in Qatar increases there is a need for diversification of energy generation technology.
What is the scope of green energy/sustainable power technologies in Qatar?
It’s a balanced portfolio and a multitude of technologies that operate in the most efficient environment that is needed in order to effectively utilise the nature’s bounties. There is a need for diversification of technologies and their application to truly arrive at the green scene. The governments everywhere in the world need to provide stimulus packages and create incentives that support this balanced approach. Qatar has an abundant renewable energy sources as well and the government also supports green technology. Qatar is well placed in terms of reducing its carbon footprint n
Chuck Levey, Vice President of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems
Pratt & Whitney, one of the most iconic names in aviation history is a part of United Technologies Corp., a Fortune 500 company with businesses in the commercial and aerospace sectors (Otis, Carrier, Hamilton Sunstrand, Sikorsky, UTC Fire & Security and UTC Power). Founded in 1925, Pratt & Whitney has grown to become a $13 billion aerospace company, a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. Their engines power nearly half of the world’s commercial fleet. In the Middle East, Pratt & Whitney Power Systems has been providing power generation since 1970s. One of the company’s first major projects was when PWPS FT4s were chosen to power ARAMCO pipelines in Saudi Arabia. SwiftPacs also power the Sharjah electricity and water authority. PWPS units have been installed in oil and gas installations as well as power facilities throughout the Middle East region.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:46:05 PM
a maTTer of presTige
Tag Heuer introduces a new luxury mobile phone collection, Meridiist GMT, bringing its brand power to the cellular market. Orna Ballout catches up with Parisian Serge Simon, Managing Director of ModeLabs, the makers of mobile phones for luxury brands, to discuss the market and the latest model.
f you are extremely wealthy and hold a desire to differentiate yourself from the crowd then a mobile phone from the new Meridiist GMT collection by Tag Heuer is the key choice. Whilst the Tag Heuer Meridiist collection was officially launched two years ago, the delivery of the new, speedier GMT model is to commemorate the brand’s 150th anniversary. On this occasion, Tag Heuer teamed up with Tesla Motors to create a car, the Tag Heuer Tesla Roadster GT, to travel with The Odyssey of Pioneers, who recently finished their 37,000 km journey passing through 15 different cities across the world. The new GMT function of the phone, Master Time, was introduced specifically for the phone’s presence in the journey. The Tag Heuer device, built into the centre console of the car presented the driving team the ability to juggle different time zones at the click of a button; easily enabling them to determine their local hour and also the hour of their team base in California. Now its key role is to aid world travellers, as it allows a user to manoeuvre between more than one time zone and switch between modes of home/ travel or origin/destination time. “The market is quite diverse but
the main buyers are those who can afford to purchase a watch at a cost of o ver QR50,000. These phones are really high-end, starting at QR17,700," says Serge Simon.
Luxury Mobile Market
Speaking about the luxury mobile phone market, he says the trend is growing fast. “It’s a sustainable market. A few years ago it was quite new but now there are more brands, providing consumers with a wider choice. These offerings will definitely activate demand. At ModeLabs we have the expertise and are successfully selling in more than 50 countries,” he says. Some of Meridiist’s design features include a top sub-LCD screen that allows users to look at the time when the phone is tucked into the shirt pocket. Its dual display screens are made from 60.5 carats sapphire crystal glass which gives the screen its anti-scratch property. A user can reject an incoming call with a simple touch of the stainless steel side button. It’s available in stainless steel and black PVD models, both of which provide an array of luxury finishings including genuine alligator in black, brown and white skins.
cording to Simon. “This is strange because luxury is timeless but electronics and technology are not. There is always something new coming into the market two or three times a year. The focus on this phone was to strengthen basic features like battery lifetime; it allows 28 hours on standby and seven hours talk time. Buying this phone is like investing in a Tag Heuer watch; it’s a timeless piece with avant-garde design and value for money as the software can easily be updated.” Talking about the Qatari market in comparison to the UAE, Simon says, “It’s different in the UAE as we attract a lot of tourists. Qatar is smaller in terms of potential but it’s a sophisticated market and we are targeting locals who have a high knowledge of luxury products.”
Eyeing the fashion market
A unique aspect of the phone is that it offers customers a timeless product, ac-
Tag Heuer also has the Meridiist Jewelry collection on offer, a more fashionable November 10
11/1/10 7:46:13 PM
markeT waTch range of products tapping into the female market, appealing to discerning fashionable males too. The phones epitomise extreme glamour, made from luxurious materials like Rose Gold and diamonds. The most exclusive phone from the collection commands a hefty price tag of QR152,000 as its case is fully adorned with 1,230 eye-catching diamonds. But is it necessary to spend so much money on a phone? “It’s the same reason as to why people purchase a watch for several thousand when they could buy one with the same function at a fraction of the price. We are not targeting the mass market; this is the luxury market and this product is for wealthy people who want to differentiate themselves with a luxury mobile phone,” says Simon. So what does the future hold at ModeLabs? “Aside from the Tag Heuer Meridiist GMT, we recently launched the Versace Unique which is the first touch screen phone in the luxury category. Our aim is to animate the market and for each
MERIDIIST GMT & Tesla Roadster
brand to be strong with offerings of a large range of novelty products.” Whilst the device is sleek, sporty and sophisticated, like all luxury products that perform similarly to those less expensive, it seems it’s the brand power of a product that allures customers – in return it provides the ultimate platform to exude a sta-
tus of wealth. This point is strengthened when Simon reveals: “Everybody has a second phone like an iPhone or Blackberry for entertainment, but this is the phone you are proud to use.” n (All products are available from Rivoli stores in major shopping malls in Doha)
11/1/10 7:48:28 PM
11/1/10 7:48:33 PM
stars shine at
he second annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) kicked off to an excited crowd of thousands, with the Middle Eastern premiere of awardwinning French-Algerian director Rachid Boucharebâ€™s Outside the Law.
101010 0101010 10010 ForeiGN boDieS 100010 10101 0010
HE Sheikh Jabor Bin Yousuf Al-Thani and Doha Minister of Culture HE Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari along with Doha Film Institute (DFI) Executive Director Amanda Palmer, Outside the Law filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb, Jury president Yosra, Academy Award nominee and Jury member Salma Hayek-Pinault, and a host of other luminaries including filmmakers from the region and across the globe headlined the opening night activities. Celebrities in attendance also included legendary Egyptian actor Adel Imam, Bosnian director/screenwriter Danis Tanovic, American/Egyptian director and comedian Ahmed Ahmed, Outside
the Law producer Jean Brehat, Indian directors Mira Nair and Bhavna Talwar, haute couture fashion designer Stephane Rolland, actress Mallika Sherawat, actor Alexander Siddig, Egyptian actor Lebleba, Ragna El Guedani, Palestinian actor Yasmine Al Massri and American actor William Schimmel. DFI also honoured Egyptian screen legend Adel Imam with the inaugural DFI Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to Arab cinema. The celebrated actor, fondly referred to as 'the Egyptian Charlie Chaplin' is widely regarded as one of the most talented actors to emerge from the Middle East.
MF Hussain Adel Imam on the red carpet of DTFF
Rachid Bouchareb at Doha Talks
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:49:50 PM
11/1/10 7:49:53 PM
talenteD stuDents Do rota prouD
wo young students of photography classes run by ROTA and its Indonesian partner, the Titian Foundation, in an amazing feat of talent and perseverance won the first prize at the Art Festival for Vocational School Students in Central Java, Indonesia. Yanthi Ambar and Krisnawati, in their seven minute documentary ‘Dibawah Naungan Merapi’, recount the story of sand miners living on the slopes of the Merapi Mountains in Central Indonesia. In 2008, ROTA launched the Qatar-Titian Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the Indonesia-based Titian Foundation, aiming to promote access to education for the disadvantaged students in Bayat Klaten – one of the severely damaged regions during the earthquake that left 1 million people homeless on the Island of Java in May 2006.
revival oF oriental equestrian sport
oha will host the regional revival of djerid, an oriental equestrian sport from the 16th century, during the ‘Horse Games and Horse Sports Exhibition’, which will open on October 14. The five-month-long exhibition will feature a broad range of equestrian sports, from the traditional ones to more sophisticated performances that are a part of the Olympics and international equestrian events. In djerid, two teams of horsemen try to score points by throwing wooden javelins, of up to one metre in length, at each other.The game was abolished 150 years ago and has since been revived in Turkey. However,
this is the first time it will be played in the Arab region. The ‘Horse Games and Horse Sports Exhibition’ is being organised by the Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum (part of Qatar Museums Authority) in collaboration with the Qatar Olympic Committee and Qatar Equestrian Federation. “The exhibition highlights the old horse races and games tradition in the East to understand the enthusiasm and engagement for modern Olympic horse sports,” said Dr Christian Wacker, Director/Chief Curator of Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.The exhibition was opened to the public from October 14 and will last till March 20, 2011.
Horse Sports Exhibition being launched by officials
Doha Debates targets aib awarDs
he Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) has shortlisted Qatar’s unique forum for free speech – The Doha Debates, for two categories at the AIB’s international media awards. The awards celebrate excellence in global programme making for television, radio and online material and will be held in London on November 9 this year. The AIB Awards are judged by international panels drawn from the broadcast-
ing industry – ensuring peer review of programming – as well as radio and TV critics, representing the audience’s perspective. The Debates’ Chairman Tim Sebastian cemented his standing as one of the most acclaimed TV journalists after being shortlisted for personality of the year. He has previously won the Royal Television Society’s Interviewer of the Year award on two occasions and Television Journalist of the Year award once.
Tim Sebastian Chairman, Doha Debates
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:51:09 PM
11/1/10 7:51:12 PM
MeDiterranean tapas to Delight you on rotanaÕ s Menu
ryx Rotana promises an exquisite dining experience with the official launch of its restaurant – The Cellar. The property has also opened The Exclusive Jazz Club – a place that offers guests a chance to enjoy top live Jazz while savouring the Asian fusion food and exotic drinks. Oryx Rotana, General Manager, Kevork Deldelian says, “We are proud of this unique addition to the Doha restaurant scene, our signature restaurants are first of a kind in Doha and offers an exquisite dining experience to all diners.”
voDaFone: see the other siDe
ohamed Kamal’s lens truly communicates the life of the disadvantaged families of Najaa, one of the poorest areas in Qatar. In a landmark exhibition ‘See the Other Side’ – put up as part of Vodafone’s World of Difference programme, the Carnegie Mellon University (CMUQ) Qatari student captures a side of
life in Qatar rarely seen by the public. ‘See the Other Side’ is one of the initiatives supported by Vodafone’s World of Difference, the flagship programme of the Vodafone Qatar Charitable Fund, that has given four passionate people the opportunity to work for a local cause of their choice with their costs paid by Vodafone for one full year.
asian Cup 2011 and world Cup
2022 bid boTh on CounTdown...
n just one month’s time the decision will be made as to who will host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 event will, if
capacity of Khalifa International Stadium
QR starting price of match tickets
total spectators at the 2004 tournament in China
successful, mean the World’s biggest sporting event making its way to the Middle East for the first time. The FIFA delegation came to Qatar in September to inspect the infrastructure in terms of stadia, transport and accommodation and their report will have been bundled with those of the other contenders and delivered to FIFA headquarters in Switzerland for analysis and deliberation ahead of the decision which will be announced in Zurich on December 2. So while it’s ‘World Cup, maybe’ for Qatar, it’s ‘Asian Cup 2011, definitely’ when 16 teams from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) descend on Doha and Al Rayyan early next year to do battle for the continent’s most prestigious football trophy. Outside the Balhambar restaurant on the Corniche, a 100-day countdown clock ticks away the hours to the big kick-off on January 7 next year, when the hosts entertain Uz-
bekistan at Khalifa International Stadium at 7:15pm The pick of Asia’s national teams will be showing their skills over three weeks of intense competition, striving for a place in the final which will be also played at the Khalifa. Matches will be played in five of Qatar’s most modern stadia – Khalifa, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held as well as Qatar’s matches played, Al-Sadd Stadium, Al-Gharaffa Stadium, Qatar Sports Club and Al-Rayyan Stadium. Spectators worldwide can already buy their Asian Cup 2011 tickets online. Visit www.afcasiancup.com for more details about the tournament and to purchase match tickets – priced from just QR15 for adults and QR5 for kids.
11/1/10 7:52:38 PM
11/1/10 7:52:45 PM
bodies By John Hunt
Aspetar hospital in the Aspire zone is home to a study which could change the rules about how top-level sport is played in extreme climates. The doctors will see us now...
i A pair of participants toil under the Doha sun
n the shadow of the Aspire Tower lies the Aspetar facility, Qatar’s dedicated ‘hospital for orthopaedic and sports medicine’. When Qatar Today visited last month, it was a veritable hive of activity, most of the same doubtlessly geared towards helping Aspetar achieve its stated mission to “assist athletes in achieving their full potential”. One particular subset of that mission has been taking place recently where the joint efforts of Aspetar doctors Lars Nybo (facing, left) and Sebastien Racinais (facing, right) are focused on human physical performance (and recovery), particularly in footballers, in extreme climates. They’re definitely in the right place. Dr Racinais, a French PhD who joined Aspetar in early 2007 said, “I’ve been here three years and this particular study aims to develop the knowledge of the adaptation of the body to hot climates. By the time the study is complete [Qatar Today went to press just as findings were
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:52:51 PM
Ò To have Qatar-based research assume importance all over the world will be a credit to Aspetar and also to Doctors Nybo and RacinaisÓ Dr Lars Nybo of Denmark, and his French acolyte Dr Sebastien Racinais
being analysed] we hope to have learned three main things. “One, how is performance affected by climate? We know what a hot environment does to the body, there’s already plenty of data available. We don’t know about the specific effect on footballers though, how they will be able to maintain short sprints over long periods of time. How will football coaches have to adapt their tactics around changes in performance levels of their players? “Two, the health and safety aspects. Is it harmful for a player to play in a hot environment? A player could play in a cooled stadium [cooling technology is a cornerstone of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid] but what of the other 22 hours of the day which will be in a hot environment? In this climate, the main factor which affects body temperature is exercise so we need to know the safety aspects of a rise in body temperature in a climate where, outdoors in summer, it is not possible to cool down without outside ‘help’. “Three, recovery of the body from
stresses placed on it by exercise in this environment. Is it the case that while a footballer could play a game every couple of days in a European climate, they would not be able to do so to the same standard here without a longer rest periods between matches? This also includes the process of acclimation – how long does
arid environment to perform to a professional physical standard, Racinais agrees – but only to an extent. He says, “I can tell you that I have worked with people from tropical islands [Racinais achieved his PhD in the French West Indies] in similarly challenging climates but total acclimation is impossible.
Ò I can tell you that I have worked with people from tropical islands in similarly challenging climates but total acclimation is impossibleÓ it take for the human body to get used to this environment, how many days, what needs to be done?” When it is proposed that people native to the region (Arab) or those from warmer climes (black African) would have a physiological advantage over, say, a white European in acclimating sufficiently to an
“From a health point of view, overall athletic performance will decrease in this climate.” The test subjects for this study are a group of Northern European footballers from Denmark and the Faroe Islands (see over). The athleticism of the individuals and their being used to a cool climate November 10
11/1/10 7:53:04 PM
ComFortAbLe mAtrAS A study of human endurance naturally requires some human subjects. With AspetarÕ s focus on the performance and recovery times of athletes operating in hot climates, the ideal Ô guinea pigÕ should be athletic and also a stranger to the often oppressive weather of this region. Due to the predominantly cardiovascular nature of the exercise required to take part in high-level football, footballers make ideal subjects for this kind of study. All that remains is to find someone unused to hot weather Ð someone diametrically opposed to hot weather, indeed, seems to be of interest to Aspetar judging by their choice of participants: a group of footballers from Denmark and, yet further north, the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands are an autonomous province of Denmark situated in the North Atlantic, between the tip of the UK and Iceland with a climate that could best be described as Ô bracingÕ : mean summer temperatures are about 10 Centigrade and there are on average 260 days of rain a year. But the 49,000 hardy souls that call the islands home have a passion for football and this passion is ably demonstrated by the
presence at the Aspetar facility in Doha of Kl¾ mint Matras. Midfielder Matras, 29, is a Faroese who has played for the national team on a couple of occasions and currently captains his club side, B36 Torshavn, who play in the IslandsÕ top division. Ò IÕ ve been playing football all my life,Ó Matras says. Ò IÕ ve spent my entire career playing in the Faroe Islands but even though this is an amateur league, thatÕ s never been an issue. I play because I enjoy it.Ó Matras spent 12 days with Aspetar last month engaged in the study; including travel, a fortnight which kept him away from home, his family and his day job as a carpenter. I mistakenly assumed that this would be a well-rewarded busmanÕ s holiday for Matras and his acolytes, but when the subject of recompense was broached, the player seemed genuinely bemused. Ò IÕ m not really sure what theyÕ re paying me,Ó Matras said, scratching his chin. Ò A daily rate, I think, and some expenses. ItÕ s not important, but the study Ð thatÕ s important. WeÕ re very excited about the tests. Sure, itÕ s hard physically, but itÕ s a great experience for me.Ó
were the main criteria for selection. Their performance levels were monitored by Dr Nybo, himself a Dane, who, “[took] the biopsies, muscle samples, designed the whole set up. What we are doing,” Nybo says, “is asking the question: how does the human body and brain function when exercising in this climate? “We see that it’s not necessarily ‘dangerous’ to play in this sort of climate. You can play, but you will slow down. Will the player recover as quickly after a match in this heat? – this is an important question to which you must know the answer if you are able to say: ‘this is safe’. “As to whether the ‘standard’ of professional football played in these conditions would suffer, I would say ‘no’. The players will run less, but we might get more goals as a result of more mistakes being made. We see that it will be necessary for football coaches to adapt their team’s tactics to deal with the conditions and the inherent effects that they will have on the players. “There are ways of mitigating the effects of the environment: proper acclimation, diet and the body can physically be cooled down before exercise and afterwards,” says Nybo. The relevance of this study is twofold. Firstly, as you may have noticed, Qatar will find out next month if it has been successful in the bid for the 2022 World Cup. If Qatar does get the nod, the results of the Aspetar study will be invaluable at the local level. There is the feeling outwith these borders that perhaps the 2022 bid is a bridge too far for this country – we will know soon enough if FIFA concurs – but this information will be invaluable to professional athletes and coaches all over the region and anywhere else where it gets unreasonably hot. Secondly, and in Racinais’ words, there are the “practical applications” of the upcoming verdict of the study. “This exercise goes beyond football; it’s about understanding general physiology, the limits of the human body. It’s very good to better understand what the human body can and can’t do,” he concludes. To have Qatar-based research assume importance all over the world will be a credit to Aspetar and also to Doctors Nybo and Racinais n
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:54:12 PM
CapiTal of The arab CulTure for 2010
11/1/10 7:55:27 PM
global plaTform for regional arT ChristieÕ s recently showcased the work of contemporary Middle Eastern artists who are taking the art community by storm. Jussi Pylkkanen, President, ChristieÕ s Europe and Middle East, feels that the region has more to offer.
By Sindhu Nair
ussi Pylkkanen says that he doesn’t do anything much other than selling, estimating and appreciating art. “That is what my life and paspas sion is all about,” he declares, as he talks to Qatar Today during an exhibition of modern Middle Eastern art, curated by Christie’s, that showcased a private collection and artistic highlights from the region. The two-day exhibition, which was open to the public at the Four Seasons Hotel, was held in support of Doha – The Arab Capital of Culture 2010. Pylkkanen recently had a three-week long hiatus from work, his “first in a career of 24 years” and “enjoyed it immensely”. But what he did during his vacation, gives us an insight on how deep his passion is. 102
Jussi Pylkkanen, President, ChristieÕ s Europe and Middle East
“I read seven books in 10 days, and most of them were on art...” Art for Pylkkanen is not a political language but a spiritual one, one that bridges cultures and allows people to interact with each other. A frequent visitor to the region, for both professional and personal reasons, Pylkkanen has been at the fore of Christie’s activities in the Middle East in recent years. He has a deep interest in the history, art and culture of the region and has built strong friendships with collectors in this part of the world. Pylkkanen talks about corporate collection of art, which was first setup in the US, when IBM and others started to build their own art collections. “Today we see established and new collections all over the world and Qatar and the region might not be an exception.”
The Middle Eastern connections
Pylkkanen’s tryst with the region began ten years ago. “Ten years ago I was invited by the Iranian Ministry of Culture to visit the country and the experience was fascinating. I learned a lot about the passion for arts and culture in the Middle East. In 2002, we organised an exhibition in London on contemporary Iranian work. By 2005, we had done a lot of work in the UAE, organised auctions like the Camel Caravan, supporting charities. We understood that there was an appetite to promote Middle Eastern art and decided to open Christie’s in Dubai,” he reminisces. In 2005, Micheal Jeha was appointed as the Managing Director of Christie’s in Dubai. “His ten years of experience at Christie’s and being from the region made him the best choice. He was to indicate
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:56:36 PM
11/1/10 7:56:38 PM
Exhibition of modern Middle Eastern art, curated by ChristieÕ s at Four Seasons, Doha
the best ways for Christie’s to become an integral part of the local community.” This was a time when contemporary art was going through a vibrant period. Contemporary artists in Syria, Lebanon and Iran were receiving recognition. The time was perfect for Christie’s and “it made sense to try and give a platform for Middle Eastern contemporary art globally”. “When we opened our gallery on Middle Eastern Contemporary sales, all of our 850,000 clients across the globe were able to see what it was all about. It drove huge interest and continues to do so,” he says. Which is why, Christie’s has come to Doha, with the best ME contemporary artist collection, says Pylkkanen. “The timing couldn’t have been better,” he says, “with Qatar Museum Authority about to open Mathaf, the 20th century contemporary art museum. The interest of Qatar mirrors our own in promoting the ME artist. Six years ago none of these artists were known and now we have several of them selling art between $1 million (QR3.65 million) and $2.5 million (QR9.1 million).” The quality and seriousness of these artists were being recognised, he says citing examples of two: Tanavoli, whose work was sold for over $2 million (QR7.28 million) and Mahmoud Sayed’s work which sold for $2.5 million(QR9.1 million). The artists are now well-known globally, says Pylkkanen, referring to yet another artist, Farhad Moshiri, a young Iranian artist, whose work has been sold at the UAE pavilion at the Venice Biennale, one of the best contemporary art shows in the world. Christie’s was instrumental for this sale.
In 1998, at Christie’s, Pylkkanen launched 104
the Impressionist and Nineteenth Century Art Department before he was promoted to International Director for 19th & 20th Century Art. Talking about his role here, he says Impressionist and Nineteenth Century Art Departments drive the art market. “It amounts to 30% of Christie’s turnover,” he says. “Christie’s organises 500 sales a year of which only two are in the Middle East. But our ME patrons have been buying from us for 40 years. It is also vital for us to encourage our ME patrons to look at the other 498 sales that happen around the world. “Having said that, this is also the first time that we are championing art of the region and we are very proud of the opportunity. What is more important for us is to encourage ME collectors to engage in our sales in New York, London and Hong Kong. “The vital growth areas for us are China, Russia and Middle East. They represent 30% of the new buyers Christies’ deals with. Even as sales from other countries have slowed down, sales from these three regions have grown exponential year-on-year.” This, he says, is a natural phenomenon. “Every decade, we see new forces emerge in the art scenario. As Japan was a new force in the art market in the 1980s, so was ME and Russia in the 2000s. As you go from 2010 to 2020, you will see China grow as a force to be reckoned with...”
Art as a bridge
Middle East as a market is vital for Christie’s. “Christie’s opened its Dubai office in
2005. When you are in the art scenario you want to be in the hub of the activities. With the Middle East and Contemporary Art Museum (Mathaf) opening in December, we are excited about it and want to be a part of it too; this is where the hub is right now.We want to be part of this movement. We will also be involved in the educational aspect in the Museums. “It is not just about money, it is all about a passion for sharing the best”n
In Figures Christie’s Dubai auction October 2010 Realised
14,043,000 million (QR51,116,520 million) 2
Sale result realises times its pre-sale estimate Buyer breakdown
60% from Middle East 28% from Europe 10% Americas 2% Asia 117% increace over 2009
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:57:52 PM
11/1/10 7:57:58 PM
from shadow To sTardom By Ahmad Lotfy
rmed with his obsession of traditional theatre and his dream of reaching new territories on the map of Arab cinema, the hero of Pomegranates and Myrrh finally landed in Doha. Palestinian actor Ashraf Farah joined forces with Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) to nurture the culture of film here. Through the acting workshops he offers under the umbrella of Doha Film Institute, an affiliate to DTFF, Farah spares no effort to make the dreams of hopeful youngsters come true. Farah is a theatre old hand with ten years of diverse credits, spanning Palestine, Jordan, Syria and recently Qatar. And from theatre and a modeling career, he signed up to cinema, TV series and commercials, and really made a mark. His first main role in award-winning, though highly controversial, Pomegranates and Myrrh was not a mere reward for him when harsh critique ensued. After all, “this is inevitable, you can’t appeal to all views. This is cinema,” he believes. Qatar Today met with the thesp.
How did your association with DTFF start and what are you up for? Immediately after the recognition of Pome-
granates and Myrrh in the Dubai Film Festival, I received an offer to come to Doha and take part in the budding project. Scandar Copti introduced me to the team here, and we agreed on organising acting workshops for aspiring youngsters. To my surprise, the interest in learning cinematography here is huge. As far as I can tell, 80% of the youngsters I met are willing to do a cinema activity – be it shooting, editing, acting, logistics... etc. This gives great prospect to the future of cinema in Qatar, and I hope the courses offered now by me and my colleagues help nurture that culture.
Some filmmakers consider Tribeca as the Qatar version of the film festivals of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. How do you perceive it?
DTFF is a young festival by all measures. The whole project is modern and dynamic, it feels different. When you go to wellestablished cinema events the world over, let’s say the Berlin Festival, everything is rigid, clear and specific. The same may apply to the Cairo Film Festival, but here you can’t predict what’s going to happen. That is awesome.
Has Pomegranates and Myrrh been
a twist or a turning point in your career?
I did theatre for over eight years, playing a variety of roles with varying intensities and moods. This set up my deep association with live performance. Theatre is a journey you start off and finish it at one go, say after 90 minutes. Cinema is different. On the red carpet of the Dubai Film Festival, I was shaking and nervous. Pomegranates and Myrrh acquainted me with spotlight and intensive media presence. The film opened doors to new proposals from several producers. This year, I did two series Balquees and The First Love, to be broadcasted on MBC soon. Balquees, the story of a historical queen who lived in Yemen, will be the grandest Arab production of a TV historical piece.
What did you miss in theatre over two years of exclusive cinema and TV production? In cinema, everything is planned. Actions can be refined and enhanced. As much as this adds quality, it takes away the lure of actors, the simultaneous interaction and appreciation.
Back to Pomegranates and Myrrh.
Qatar Today November 10
11/1/10 7:58:04 PM
Ò DTFF is a young festival by all measures. It is modern and dynamic and feels different, unlike well-established cinema events the world overÓ The film looks different vis-à-vis typical Palestinian cinema production, what’s the reason in your view?
The initial expectation of a Palestinian production is to feature Palestinian kids stoning merciless Israeli soldiers forted behind their titanic tanks. We did not focus on that, though we make it clear in the background. And put the lens on the secret life of a rich Palestinian family leading a decent life under the overarching dark cloud of occupation.
in the Arab cinema, take Khalid Yousef and Inas Al-Deghaidi as examples...
Such critical facets of life shall be treated
as a tool to unfold the dimensions of story, depict the comedy, tragedy and paradox of life, but the work shall not be dedicated to sex and scandal n
Your film was harshly slammed, however, as offensive to the Palestinian woman, who otherwise leads a life of struggle against occupation and ever worsening conditions...
Criticism was sharp. The theme and storyline touched on what the Arab world considers as taboo. Qamar, the heroine, whose husband was falsely jailed and their land confiscated, exists in reality. We did not say every Palestinian woman, under choking conditions, will have extramarital love story, but it happens.
But do you agree that sex and ‘taboos’ have been excessively manipulated as a selling proposition
UNDer the LeNS Ashraf Farah is a Haifa-based Palestinian actor, armed with a 10-year career and diverse credits in theatre, cinema and TV. Palestinian director Najwa Al-Najjar chose him to play the main role in her directional debut, Pomegranates and Myrrh. The film made a mark, and was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and Rotterdam Festival, besides Dubai and Doha Tribeca where it bagged two awards. On the basis of that success, Farah has advanced his career, and signed
to two projects, Miral, the new Julian Schnabel movie, and Balkis series, the biggest production for an Arab historical TV work. Balkis will be broadcasted on MBC soon. Born in 1974, Farah earned his acting training from the Ô Nissan NativÕ based in the occupied territories of Palestine Ð a three year diploma in acting and drama. Farah speaks excellent Arabic, Hebrew and English, and acts in diverse dialects, i.e. Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian Arabic and British, American and Scottish English.
11/1/10 7:58:14 PM
toP 10 lEadErs A unique ApproAch to leAdership
1. LUIz INACIO LULA DA SILVA President of Brazil Lula da Silva was first elected Brazil’s President in 2002 and won the second term in 2006. His initiatives like Fome Zero (zero starvation) aimed at curbing hunger and education improvement programmes is an attempt to propel Brazil towards the First World tag. 2. J.T. WANG CEO of Acer in Taiwan In 2005, when Wang was appointed top executive for Acer, it ranked fifth in the global PC market. Since then, Acer has raced ahead of Dell, behind only HP to No. 2, with more than 14% of the market. 3. ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in USA As the highest ranking US official in uniform, Mullen made a breakthrough statement regarding the rights of gays and lesbians to serve their country. He has taken clear stands on matters of military doctrine, emphasising troops over weapons systems and counterinsurgency over the use of overwhelmoverwhelm ing force. 4. BARACK OBAMA President of USA During the healthcare battle, Obama got zero Republican support and had to spend political capital just to keep his own party in line. That urge to convince, to persuade, to draw in political opponents, was used more notably in the coming years. His ability to coordinate the wildly varying political interests of China, India, Russia, Brazil and the other issues like nuclear proliferation, human rights and climate change are a few traits of his political personality. 5. RON BLOOM Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury (Auto Task Force) and Senior Counsellor to the US President for Manufacturing Policy Bloom came to the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler while preserving more than 100,000 jobs, and worked both sides of the equation with authority and respect. If GM and Chrysler went under, under economists feared a series of cascading bankruptcies as thousands of partsmakers and other aligned businesses followed. The US lent a bankrupt GM $52 billion and Chrysler $15 billion. 6. YUKIO HATOYAMA Former Prime Minister of Japan The former Japanese Prime Minister left the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to start a new party, which, after merging with other groups, finally broke the LDP’s virtual monopoly on power in 2009. The party’s goals – a more equal partnership with the US, more power to elected politicians, more transparency – are all commendable. Hatoyama has helped change his country from a de facto one-party state into a functioning democracy. 7. DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) When Strauss-Kahn was appointed managing director of the IMF in 2007, people doubted the purpose of its existence. The Great Recession has placed the IMF back in the spotlight, whether it is helping manage international economic cooperation or coming to the aid of basket cases like Greece. StraussKahn has handled his responsibilities with both flair and a sure hand. 8. NANCY PELOSI Speaker of the US House of Representatives During her stint as speaker in the House of Representatives, Pelosi has fought for all Americans especially working families and their children. The passage of the historic health care reform bill is simply the latest example of her leadership, savvy and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Americans everywhere. 9. SARAH PALIN Former Governor of Alaska When Palin was chosen as the Alaskan Governor, she declared that top priorities of her administration would be resource development, education and workforce development, public health and safety, safety, and transportation and infrastructure development. Her first legislative action after taking office was to push for a bipartisan ethics reform bill. She signed the resulting legislation in July 2007, declaring that she remained determined to clean up Alaska politics. 10. SALAM FAYYAD Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority The Prime Minister has always strived for peace with Israel. In his three years in office, he undertook certain reforms for the betterment of security and economy in the West Bank: Palestinians can move around more freely, jobs have been created, civil servants receive a regular salary, and people generally feel safer. Source: www.time.com
Qatar Today NoveNber 10
11/1/10 7:58:19 PM
11/7/10 11:46:41 AM
11/7/10 11:46:43 AM