Gamal Mubarak of the Egyptian National Democratic Party (NDP) poses at the AFP photo studio 26 January 2008 during the World Economic Forum in Davos. This year's Davos event has drawn nearly 30 heads of state or government, more than 110 cabinet ministers and several hundred corporate chiefs.  AFP PHOTO  PIERRE VERDY
Gamal Mubarak was once considered the favourite candidate to replace his father Hosni Mubarak as Egypt's president.

Opponents of Gamal Mubarak ridicule posters



CAIRO // Magdy el Kordy is waging a one-man campaign for Gamal Mubarak's candidacy in next year's presidential elections. Mr el Kordy, 54, a technician, has plastered posters of President Hosni Mubarak's youngest son across working-class areas of the capital and vows to soon bring them to other provinces. He was a member of the leftist al Tagamu party, but was kicked out a few days ago for putting up the posters.

"I can see him completing the process after his father. I was impressed by his visits to shanty areas and his bias towards the class I and most Egyptians belong to," Mr el Kordy said. But Gamal Mubarak, who was once considered the heir apparent to Hosni Mubarak, is seen as an increasingly unpopular choice, even by the ruling party. There is a belief that those who are of Hosni Mubarak's generation are opposed to Gamal succeeding his father. Senior members in the army and the intelligence service do not want a non-military man in office, analysts have said.

The emergence of the Gamal Mubarak posters came after his disappearance from the political scene, especially since the return of Mohammed ElBaradei, 68, the former chief of the UN nuclear agency (IAEA) in February, who is seen by many here as the strongest potential presidential candidate. Mr ElBaradei's supporters, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, have collected more than 350,000 signatures on petitions to amend the Egyptian constitution so independents such as Mr ElBaradei can run in presidential elections.

Some observers say Gamal Mubarak is busy preparing for the upcoming legislative elections at end of this year. Others, such as the opposition figure Abdel Halim Qandil, say that "the succession dream or scenario is in tatters like the absurd, political begging campaign of Gamal's posters". "It seems that President Mubarak couldn't muster the consent and support of the army and intelligence for his son's succession," said Mr Qandil, a spokesman for Kefaya, or Enough, a small opposition group which in 2004 was the first to protest against the inheritance of power by Gamal.

The ruling National Democratic Party denies that it is responsible for Mr el Kordy's posters. "The posters campaign is an individual act. The ruling party has nothing to do with it," Mohammed Kamal, the secretary of training and political education in the NDP, said in a phone interview. "We don't know the guy [el Kordy] and were really surprised to see this. "It doesn't serve any purpose. The party hasn't selected its candidate for presidential elections yet," said Mr Kamel, who is a confidant of Gamal's.

Gamal Mubarak, 46, a millionaire and a former investment banker in London, returned to Egypt a decade ago to become a member of the NDP and was seen by most political observers as Hosni Mubarak's heir. Gamal Mubarak is the secretary general of the NDP's influential policy committee, and is responsible for appointing cabinet members. He is also one of the architects of the liberal economic policies the government has been adopting since 2004.

Hosni Mubarak has been in power since 1981, but his poor health has again intensified the speculation about who will succeed him. Unlike his predecessors, Hosni Mubarak never appointed a vice president, and has not yet said if he will run in next year's presidential elections, which will probably take place in Sept 2011. The NDP will choose its candidate for the presidency in May or June 2011 in a special convention, Mufid Shehab, the minister of state for legal and parliamentary affairs, said Monday in an interview with the private Egyptian television channel ON TV.

Mr Shehab's comments came just few days after Ali Eddin Helal, the chairman of the media committee in the NDP, said during a conference with university students in Alexandria that "the talk about other NDP candidates despite the presence of President Mubarak is rude". The last two weeks saw renewed talk about Hosni Mubarak's health, mainly in foreign media, and drew belated denials from the president's spokesman, Soliman Awaad.

He had his gall bladder and a growth on his intestine removed in March. The opposition leader Ayman Nour, 46, who finished a distant second to Hosni Mubarak in the country's first contested presidential election in 2005, started touring the neighbourhoods where Gamal Mubarak's posters are posted, warning people of the dangers of hereditary power and Gamal's role in Egypt's economic problems, Mr Nour told the National.

"The people are making fun of these posters," he said. He said his party is preparing its own posters that will tell a different story about Gamal. @Email:nmagd@thenational.ae

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UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


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

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
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Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Museum of the Future in numbers
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RIDE ON

Director: Larry Yang

Stars: Jackie Chan, Liu Haocun, Kevin Guo

Rating: 2/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000


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