A 2013 Marshall Plan will boost Mena nations

When the UAE Minister for Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, called for a new version of the Marshall Plan to rebuild the Mena region after the ructions of the Arab Spring, his example was well-chosen: the US-funded scheme to rebuild Europe after the end of the Second World War is an archetype of bold thinking leading to dramatic success.

Importantly, the parallels between Europe in 1947 and many countries in this region now go much deeper than wrecked infrastructure and displaced populations blighting economic prospects.

The real genius of the Marshall Plan was that it was no act of selfless philanthropy.

Not only did it boost Europe’s sluggish recovery but it also provided an outlet for America’s undamaged but now underutilised manufacturing capacity. Most of the money that was expended flowed straight back to the US.

For a cost of $15 billion over four years– $160bn (Dh588bn) in 2013 dollars – the economies of much of western Europe were shaped resolutely on the American model. And for good measure, the appeal of communism was significantly diminished.

But how good an analogy is the Marshall Plan for Arab Spring countries? There is no question that when Syria finally emerges from its long and bloody civil war, it will be as devastated as Germany was in 1945 and will need vast amounts of assistance.

Similarly, what it and the other nations like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Jordan desperately crave is stability and economic growth so that their citizens can enjoy a sense of economic opportunity and the ability to get ahead – the absence of which were the key factors that fuelled the uprisings in many of those countries.

This is exactly what a modern-day Marshall Plan for the Mena region would provide.

There is one dramatic difference. In 1947, the US provided all the funding for the Marshall Plan. Mr Al Mansouri is absolutely correct when he said the 2013 version, if adopted, must be an effort by all the major nations, including those of the Gulf.

But just as in 1947, everyone should reap the benefits that follow.

Three tips from La Perle's performers

1 The kind of water athletes drink is important. Gwilym Hooson, a 28-year-old British performer who is currently recovering from knee surgery, found that out when the company was still in Studio City, training for 12 hours a day. “The physio team was like: ‘Why is everyone getting cramps?’ And then they realised we had to add salt and sugar to the water,” he says.

2 A little chocolate is a good thing. “It’s emergency energy,” says Craig Paul Smith, La Perle’s head coach and former Cirque du Soleil performer, gesturing to an almost-empty open box of mini chocolate bars on his desk backstage.

3 Take chances, says Young, who has worked all over the world, including most recently at Dragone’s show in China. “Every time we go out of our comfort zone, we learn a lot about ourselves,” she says.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

if you go

The flights

Etihad and Emirates fly direct from the UAE to Seoul from Dh3,775 return, including taxes

The package

Ski Safari offers a seven-night ski package to Korea, including five nights at the Dragon Valley Hotel in Yongpyong and two nights at Seoul CenterMark hotel, from £720 (Dh3,488) per person, including transfers, based on two travelling in January

The info

Visit www.gokorea.co.uk


Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
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Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Masters of the Air

Directors: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Tim Van Patten

Starring: Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Barry Keoghan, Sawyer Spielberg

Rating: 2/5

The specs: Hyundai Ionic Hybrid

Price, base: Dh117,000 (estimate)

Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder, with 1.56kWh battery

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

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Torque: 147Nm (engine), plus 170Nm (battery)

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The Last White Man

Author: Mohsin Hamid 

192 pages 

Published by: Hamish Hamilton (UK), Riverhead Books (US)

Release date: out now in the US, August 11 (UK)

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5