Author Archives: Yasser Akkaoui

Diversity within identity

Diversity within identity

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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!

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

The new realpolitik

Reading Time: 2 minutes And so to another Arab summit. There was a time when the Arab street would shrug and say “so what?” The most we hoped for was that our leaders would not embarrass us, especially those who used the occasion to showboat and who would leave any feelings of national duty—assuming they had any in the

Keeping the baby and the Baath water

Reading Time: 2 minutes In 2005, the US and its allies, would have liked, by putting as much pressure on Bashar Al Assad, an internally-inspired regime change in Syria. Part of this strategy was the passing of UN resolution 1559, the architects of which were France, Saudi Arabia, the US and, exerting as much influence as they could, their