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QIA Investment Stratagy – Wikileaks 12, July 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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I’ve just stumbled upon, once more, Wikileaks’ treasure-trove of interesting bits and pieces. In addition to HBJ voicing his concern over the security situation in Yemen and the Qataris noting that they doubt that their electricity infrastructure could cope with a nuclear reactor in Qatar, there was also an interesting conversation related by the American Ambassador after a member of the Qatar Investment Authority’s executive board, Dr Hussain Al Abdulla.

While there was nothing new in the conversation to those that pay attention to these things, it was pleasing to see the policies codified in black and white.

  • An interest in ‘any commodities’ – gold, silver, oil, gas, agricultural products. This was based on a belief that there are long-term structural changes afoot in these markets suggesting price increases.
  • Business acquisition.  QIA is “not interested in distressed assets or distressed debt. We are interested in distressed sellers.”
  • Real estate in US and Europe, not Asia.
  • Beginning to invest in South America – particularly in agriculture.

Regarding QIA’s various vehicles, again, there was nothing new to see, but a brief summary-

  • QIA itself as an investment company for established enterprises
  • Diar (wholly QIA owned) focussed on development projects
  • Barwa – owned by QIA, to be privatised at some date
  • National Hotel Corporation – owned by QIA, to be privatised at some date

Egyptian fears realised? 12, July 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt.
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Back when all this started, like a crotchety old git, I bemoaned the perils of Egypt’s transition. Of course it is a good thing that Mubarak is gone, I said to anyone who would listen, but I have a great and profound fear that people automatically expected things to get better…immediately. Sure, Mubarak retarded Egypt’s growth, say, or certainly he and his crony-elite creamed off billions which ought to have trickled down, but simply removing him will change sweet FA in the near term.

The fact that it was a largely youth-led revolution, combined with my crotchetyness, made me even more concerned. I tritely mashed together notions of the MTV generation’s legendary attention span (measured in seconds) and general youth attributes of impatience and impetuousness, to conclude that when everything didn’t suddenly end up smelling like roses immediately, there would be another flare up of indignant anger. Indeed, this chronic youthful naivety was profoundly in evidence at the Al Jazeera Forum in Doha earlier in the year, with at least one of the ‘Egyptian youf’ noting that it was only a matter of time before Pan-Arabism was revived off the back of the Egyptian revolution. Bless.

Well, perhaps my melancholic fear is coming true. While I’m well aware of Fisk’s penchant for exaggeration these days, he perhaps might have a point here.