Author Archives: Yasser Akkaoui

Seven times destroyed, seven times rebuilt

Last month’s so-called election of a Lebanese President must have seemed to international onlookers an event drenched in degradation, an example of both how low Lebanon’s politicians have sunk and allowed themselves to be manipulated by those who claimed to be their friends — and those the politicians vowed to fight because they sought to

Diversity within identity

January may be upon us and stretching out blue and gray. But, to generate some cheer, it is worth reflecting on the positive impact of Christmas in the Middle East. Despite the contradictory motifs of snow and cosy Victorian cheer, the Christian tradition was born in Bethlehem, Palestine. However it is also worth remembering that

A different focus

This year’s Executive Facts and Forecasts has picked three nations in the MENA region that it believes best represents its economic heartbeat: an emerging Sudan, a thrusting UAE and a Lebanon that is in transition but which has potential in abundance. One of the exciting stories of the past years has been the resurgence of

Value before reality

I recently witnessed at the house of a Polish friend a card game that went on for hours and during which 20 players around the same table had to wait longish periods for their turn to play. I noticed that when the players were not “in” the game, they were deep in furious discussion. “What

Looking to the profits of tomorrow

Why should the GCC consider investing in alternative energy? The Gulf nations have enough energy of their own for the foreseeable future, so why dismantle a lucrative and historic revenue stream? There are, however, three powerful reasons why we should not ignore the current interest in alternative energy. First, there are the investment opportunities, and

This is Beirut!

It’s Saturday night at White, the rooftop bar on the edge of the beleaguered Beirut Central District. The affluent 30-something crowd, many of whom live and work in the GCC, dance to the beat pulsating from the huge speakers. At the refrain “This is Beirut! Not Dubai! ” they cheer loudly. They are on holiday

The New Middle East

With the announcement of the creation of SolidereInternational, Lebanese entrepreneurship can once again holdits head high. Again, it has proved its credentials anddemonstrated that it can grow well beyond its borders evenwhen it is burdened by internal crises and politicalinstability. For international investors know that Lebanesebusiness acumen is resilient and operates outside mainstreamMiddle East rhythms

The Middle East roundtable

The recent World Economic Forum was held under the banner“Putting Diversity to Work.” For in the Arab world,diversity is a tool for conflict. This was borne out inspades at one particular session at the WEF when two panels,one made up of a Saudi, an Iranian and another comprising aPalestinian, an Israeli and two Americans (one

An honest man, badly drawn

While corporate governance continues to be the hot topic ina region with a still-evolving corporate culture, it isinteresting to note that even the supposed arch-exponents ofthe practice sometimes fall foul of the standards theyimpose. George Bush-appointed World Bank chief and noted neocon,Paul Wolfowitz, appears to have been a victim of a campaignto discredit him over