It’s that time of year again, but this time the party hats and horns are being distributed with a bit more caution than in previous years. Depending on who you listen to, the world is sinking into an economic crisis that could match the great depression that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929.
Certainly as I sit here in Dubai, writing this last editorial for 2008, the buzzword is restructuring. Every company is doing it in preparation for a 2009 that is yielding little in terms of economic and financial outlook. This was an economic crisis that began in America and it is the ripples of this crisis that are now beginning to lap the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Whether it becomes a tidal wave remains to be seen but cautious businessmen and financiers are battening down the hatches nonetheless.
This current restructuring will be accompanied by the inevitable layoffs that will see the departure of many skilled people from countries — Lebanon, Jordan and India — with a tradition of exporting human talent, depriving those economies of much needed remittances.
The potential upside to this rather dark development is that they will no doubt eventually be deployed to areas of fresh opportunity, such as Iraq, a nation that Executive has earmarked for considerable growth in 2009. It is a country rich with oil, minerals, agriculture and an educated workforce. It is high risk, but high-risk means high reward. As companies in the Gulf try to speculate by how much revenues will drop in 2009 – 10%, 20% or even 50% — such opportunities cannot be scoffed at.
Executive knows a bit about crises. It knows that publishing is not just about the good times when the ad revenues come in thick and fast. We stood by our readers during the 2006 Lebanon war and now we do not flinch in standing by our loyal subscribers across the Levant, the Gulf, Sudan and the Maghreb in this latest test of will and character.
Executive reiterates its commitment to the private sector, be it, banking, real estate development or trade and encourages the tireless pursuit of sustainable development. It is in these areas that we will channel our own energy; for the passion of those with the vision to achieve new goals will outlast even the gloomiest economic downturn.
Yasser Akkaoui Editor-in- chief