Federation plan offers Yemen a way forward



A milestone in Yemen's political transformation was reached on Monday when president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi signed his approval of a proposal for the nation to become a federation of six regions. The model to be adopted is similar to the federations of the United States and Australia, among others, where the capital Sanaa will be administered separately, and not subject to any regional authority. The move has not pleased all parties, but it offers a practical way forward for Yemen, which has endured years of civil unrest that culminated in a popular uprising in 2011.

Signed after a two-week discussion that followed last year’s National Dialogue, the agreement significantly eschews a proposal that would have seen just two states – South Yemen, which was once an independent nation, and North Yemen. Instead, there will be four states in the north, and two in the south. This system, allowing limited autonomy to the six regions while retaining a homogenous nation, demonstrates that federalism – a concept often regarded as divisive in the Arab world – can work within the existing borders drawn up 100 years ago by colonial powers. It may serve as a model for Iraq, which has resisted any devolution of power to its regions, and for a post-civil war Syria.

While many of the parties are in agreement, there is considerable resistance to the plan. Shia rebels in the north claim the division will not distribute the national wealth evenly, while some southern factions are demanding more autonomy, up to full reinstatement of the separate state. Nevertheless, this proposal remains the best hope to save the nation from an escalation of sectarian violence.

It’s important to note the input of external players, especially the Gulf nations, in brokering this outcome. The UAE and its neighbours have an obvious, vital interest in what is happening in Yemen, and it is right that they continue to offer assistance and advice to the nascent federation. The role of the US was also important in making the political process possible, although it has been criticised for its use of drones – sometimes with catastrophic misjudgement, causing civilian deaths and widespread resentment.

There is still a long way to go; the federation proposal must be enshrined in a new constitution before elections can be held. But there is a fresh hope that, with good will internally and the support of its neighbours, Yemen can proceed along a path to unity, stability and prosperity.

How will Gen Alpha invest?

Mark Chahwan, co-founder and chief executive of robo-advisory firm Sarwa, forecasts that Generation Alpha (born between 2010 and 2024) will start investing in their teenage years and therefore benefit from compound interest.

“Technology and education should be the main drivers to make this happen, whether it’s investing in a few clicks or their schools/parents stepping up their personal finance education skills,” he adds.

Mr Chahwan says younger generations have a higher capacity to take on risk, but for some their appetite can be more cautious because they are investing for the first time. “Schools still do not teach personal finance and stock market investing, so a lot of the learning journey can feel daunting and intimidating,” he says.

He advises millennials to not always start with an aggressive portfolio even if they can afford to take risks. “We always advise to work your way up to your risk capacity, that way you experience volatility and get used to it. Given the higher risk capacity for the younger generations, stocks are a favourite,” says Mr Chahwan.

Highlighting the role technology has played in encouraging millennials and Gen Z to invest, he says: “They were often excluded, but with lower account minimums ... a customer with $1,000 [Dh3,672] in their account has their money working for them just as hard as the portfolio of a high get-worth individual.”

The Killer

Director: David Fincher

Stars: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell

Rating: 4/5 

Avatar (2009)

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Rating: 3/5

Need to know

The flights: Flydubai flies from Dubai to Kilimanjaro airport via Dar es Salaam from Dh1,619 return including taxes. The trip takes 8 hours. 

The trek: Make sure that whatever tour company you select to climb Kilimanjaro, that it is a reputable one. The way to climb successfully would be with experienced guides and porters, from a company committed to quality, safety and an ethical approach to the mountain and its staff. Sonia Nazareth booked a VIP package through Safari Africa. The tour works out to $4,775 (Dh17,538) per person, based on a 4-person booking scheme, for 9 nights on the mountain (including one night before and after the trek at Arusha). The price includes all meals, a head guide, an assistant guide for every 2 trekkers, porters to carry the luggage, a cook and kitchen staff, a dining and mess tent, a sleeping tent set up for 2 persons, a chemical toilet and park entrance fees. The tiny ration of heated water provided for our bath in our makeshift private bathroom stall was the greatest luxury. A standard package, also based on a 4-person booking, works out to $3,050 (Dh11,202) per person.

When to go: You can climb Kili at any time of year, but the best months to ascend  are  January-February and September-October.  Also good are July and August, if you’re tolerant of the colder weather that winter brings.

Do not underestimate the importance of kit. Even if you’re travelling at a relatively pleasant time, be geared up for the cold and the rain.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Supy
Started: 2021
Founders: Dani El-Zein, Yazeed bin Busayyis, Ibrahim Bou Ncoula
Based: Dubai
Industry: Food and beverage, tech, hospitality software, Saas
Funding size: Bootstrapped for six months; pre-seed round of $1.5 million; seed round of $8 million
Investors: Beco Capital, Cotu Ventures, Valia Ventures and Global Ventures

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

A Round of Applause

Director: Berkun Oya
Starring: Aslihan Gürbüz, Fatih Artman, Cihat Suvarioglu
Rating: 4/5

Kill Bill Volume 1

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine and Michael Madsen
Rating: 4.5/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

Married Malala

Malala Yousafzai is enjoying married life, her father said.

The 24-year-old married Pakistan cricket executive Asser Malik last year in a small ceremony in the UK.

Ziauddin Yousafzai told The National his daughter was ‘very happy’ with her husband.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5