ENGIE is a global energy player and an expert operator in the three businesses of electricity, natural gas and energy services. The Group develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: access to sustainable energy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, security of supply and the rational use of resources. ENGIE today invites us to Meet Youssef Chraïbi, MOM at ENGIE. We would like to believe that Youssef is a very representative member of the MENA originated youth that are emerging in numbers these days.
Here is below extract of this interesting article and in case of its appreciation, let us wish this young man all the best in his present and forthcoming endeavours.
An IT and technology enthusiast ever since he was a boy, Youssef Chraïbi has followed his passion through his studies and then in his varied professional experiences. He has proved himself to be highly versatile, taking on posts in a number of different divisions and departments, with responsibilities on both a national and international level. Currently he is meeting a new challenge, running the ENGIE Group start-up, NextFlex. Read about his career to date.
When you are open-minded, change is always an opportunity
Trained in electrical engineering, Youssef began his career in computing before becoming an energy contract specialist and then into a start-up intrapreneur. To put it another way, he’s multi-talented!
Youssef describes himself as a “greedy learner”. Insatiably inquisitive, he was interested in everything, especially if it was related to his main passion: energy. His appetite for knowledge took him to the National Institute for Applied Sciences in Lyon, and then briefly to Alstom. Youssef then took advantage of an academic exchange with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, to complete his studies, specializing in renewable energies. But to understand how his career then developed, you have to go back a few years.
A born analyst
By age 11, Youssef, already a confirmed geek, was developing his first app. “I designed a program to calculate the sale price of a slice of cake based on the cost of the ingredients. This allowed us to show enough profit to buy prizes for participants in games.” The ease with which Youssef could cope with software issues explains why he chose to join Gaz de France’s Major Infrastructures division once he had completed his doctorate. He took charge of the management of a portfolio of customer applications and coordinated a team of ten tech specialists. He found out all about the many facets of the energy industry, particularly the gas sector, through the prism of information technology. Among the fifteen or so customer applications for which he was responsible, he maintained the application monitoring the levels of LNG terminals which governs the movements of methane tankers. “It was a job I really liked, particularly because there was a very rich human component, with many different people involved.” After working in applications for two years, Youssef was given the chance to go below the surface to explore the lower depths. For a long time he had wanted to get up close and personal with servers and data centers. The Infrastructures and Production department gave him the chance. It was at a time when a new logistical organization was being implemented. Youssef was given a free hand to physically determine the servers needing to be deployed and the resources required to manage them. He specified the infrastructures that were indispensable for the operation of Group applications, not only for specialist operations but also for the software systems used for office applications, HR, payroll, etc. “It did take me away from energy as such, but as I knew the industry I could determine the critical points more easily.” He started out alone, but within twelve months he was heading a team of fifteen.
Return to energy
By 2010, Youssef had built up a solid reputation as a project manager in information systems, but he had a radical change of business and of entity. No more IT! He was now in charge of the Supply Management team for France, as part of the Energy Management business unit. “What I really love is change and learning a new business! It’s like opening a new book!” His role consisted in operational management of framework contracts for energy supply, and monitoring them on a day-to-day basis. And when Energy France became Energy Europe, Youssef was on the front line! Three entities merged and he took charge of a department spread over France and Belgium. There were more team-members; management took on an international dimension; the stakes were on a different scale. Youssef implemented a new organization and new systems.
Now part of NextFlex, Youssef is facing a new challenge. This in-house start-up is one of the first four projects in the incubation program launched by the ENGIE Group to explore new energy markets. The offer consists in promoting flexibility on the electricity market. “Unlike gas, which can be stored, the electricity market is always balanced. Production must precisely match consumption at a given moment. NextFlex supplies solutions, offering flexibility to heavy consumers.” Users such as manufacturers, hospitals and shopping centers, who are paid a fee in compensation, sign contracts undertaking to reduce part of their electricity consumption when necessary, generally for a period of several hours. NextFlex attaches a value to this flexibility in dealings with such players as RTE (the French power grid operator). Youssef and his two colleagues do everything. “We have to identify customers, perform tests, define tailored contractual agreements, run the system on a day-to-day basis, maintain relations with RTE and with our technology partners in the United Kingdom, and so on. I also handle customer service and support.” To develop this new business he is able to call upon Group resources, particularly those of ENGIE Ineo and ENGIE Cofely, which both operate throughout France.
Youssef is very much a people person. “I used to manage a department of 40 people. It was my role to drive them always to do better, to ensure that each person could progress at his or her level.” His team-playing spirit owes a lot to playing volleyball. “In football and basketball, there’s room for individual brilliance, but in volleyball it’s all team-work.” In Grenoble, where he is now based, Youssef has discovered a new hobby: capoeira. His many professional and personal projects include developing NextFlex, of course, but also expressing himself through his photographs, having a rich family life and investing himself in education programs. “Education is the key to the development of a society.” He also teaches junior high students about energy through the ENGIE internal network, and he is working on an educational project with a school in Grenoble.
“I like the start-up mode very much. It encourages autonomy, accountability and a search for different modes of management.”
After the US elections back in November of last year, it is the turn to the French ones next May. Emmanuel Macron, a young independent centrist has created some wages whilst on a short visit to Algiers last week. That country over the years with its capital city Algiers became one of the obligatory corridors for a French Presidential candidate. This week, in London, the other pre-election campaign stop-off for the French highest magistrate’s investiture, the 39 year old hopeful gathered the French diaspora and told them he wanted “banks, talents, researchers, academics” to move across the Channel once the Brexit is completed and that his ‘programmes’ would include all of them expats back home. Meanwhile most European observers regard the French poll as the most critical of all European elections for the future of the EU whereas most influential Algerian media appeared to have approved, appreciating that stance of his, seemingly helping to free them from the present ruling elite continuously dwelling on that ‘colonial’ past.
The Conversation in an article written by Itay Lotem, post-doctoral Fellow in French Language and Culture, University of Westminster, UK and published on February 22, 2017 in which he reviewed Macron’s political stance on the controversial issue of today’s France relation to its heavy handed colonial past hang-ups of today. This article is reproduced below with thanks to the author and courtesy to ‘The Conversation’.
Emmanuel Macron has suddenly found himself as the new poster boy of Europe’s beleaguered political centre. The insiders’ outsider, if you like. From Marseille to London thousands have been flocking to hear this insurgent presidential candidate for the French speak.
But just as pundits began to accept the bid from the former investment banker and minister of economy during the first half of François Hollande’s presidency, a new controversy about the interpretation of colonial history has tested Macron’s electoral appeal, and demonstrated that France’s colonial ghosts are alive and kicking.
On February 15, in an interview with the TV channel Echorouk News during a visit to Algeria, Macron followed protocol and spoke about his desire to “build a bridge” between France and its former colony. But in doing so, he addressed the subject of colonialism. He backtracked on a previous comment about the “richness” of colonial Algeria to brandish colonialism a “crime against humanity”.
Losing no time, a choir of commentators from the right interjected to castigate Macron for his “shameful” lack of patriotism. François Fillon, the candidate for the centre-right Les Républicains, sensed an opportunity to divert attention from his own scandals to brandish Macron’s words as “hateful” of France, and demonstrating that he had “no spinal cord”.
To dramatise things further, Macron was on his way to the southeastern France, an area where there is substantial support for the right-wing Front National, led by Marine Le Pen. The region has a large concentration of pieds-noirs, or former European settlers from Algeria, who still nurture a sense of resentment over French “abandonment” of its colony. As scenes of a demonstration of pied-noir activists in the town of Carpentras reached the press, this latest spat turned into a full-on controversy and Macron suffered in the polls.
Macron’s visit to Toulon on February 19 was disrupted.
This chain of events reflects Macron’s volatile position as the centrist in this election campaign. The former-socialist-turned-independent has succeeded in detaching his public image from his record as a minister in the Hollande government. His forward-looking attitude stands in sharp contrast to the projects of political nostalgia of Le Pen and Fillon. He has succeeded in attracting a truly diverse coalition of voters from left and right alike.
This success, however, is fragile. Recent polls show that only 33% of voters who consider voting for Macron are sure they will do so on election day, while his centrist position has attracted comments on Twitter such as: “Trying to be everywhere, he ends up being nowhere.” In this context, remarks about colonial history seemed to be a way for Macron to appeal to a younger, left-leaning electorate by talking about social issues beyond his normal focus on economic reform.
At first glance, Macron’s initial comments align with condemnation of colonial history that has become a marker of France’s political left in recent years. In 2005, the then left-wing opposition belatedly united to oppose a government bill, initiated by pied-noir associations, which ordered schools to stress the “positive role” of France’s “overseas presence”. The law was eventually dropped but the debate that emerged created new political fronts.
The right wing UMP (which has since changed its name to Les Républicains) ignored its history as the party of Charles de Gaulle, the president who had signed the 1962 Evian Agreements and retreated from Algeria to support the law. At the same time, the socialists skirted over their party’s historical support of colonialism and the Algerian War to portray themselves as a party of inherent anti-colonialists.
This same dynamic continued in 2012. Shortly after winning the presidency, Hollande organised a state visit to Algeria, in which he expressed his regrets over the “profoundly unjust and brutal” colonial system. Left-wing reactions to his speech back in France celebrated him as a part of the “left without complexes or compromises on the subject of the country’s colonial past”. Meanwhile, the same right-wing politicians who had initiated the 2005 law deplored his act of “repentance”.
A loaded term
Even Macron’s use of the term “crime against humanity”, which many observers denounced as inappropriate, goes back to a series of legislative actions to re-define France’s colonial past, most notably the 2001 law brought forward by the socialist Christiane Taubira that defined transatlantic slavery as a crime against humanity. In this context, it is unsurprising that France’s current minister for families, Laurence Rossignol, declared that Macron’s words were a way to “declare his affiliation to the left” by stressing his “anticolonial” credentials.
Macron’s reaction to the controversy suggests he had not intended to take a stand on a decidedly anti-colonial platform. On February 18, in Toulon, another pied-noir centre in southeastern France, he paraphrased an old speech of De Gaulle in Algeria as he backtracked and apologised to those offended by his first analogy: “je vous ai compris” (I understood you).
Macron’s foray into the politics of memory was ill-conceived at best. Over the last decade, the debate about colonialism has exacerbated the polarisation of French politics and left no space for a search of any middle ground. In entering this quagmire, Macron was destined to be pulled into a barren debate about a “balance sheet” of colonialism where politicians express political allegiances by addressing France’s historical past as simply “good” or bad”.
Nonetheless, there might be another reason for Macron’s initial stance: his age. Unlike most voices in these loud fights about colonial history, Macron is too young to have experienced any of the events of decolonisation and its aftermath first-hand. He grew up in a society that engaged with the memory of colonialism rather than with its actual violence. As such, he is comfortable speaking about “facing up to history”, thinking that colonialism truly is consigned to the past. This could be the position of a true centrist in 21st century France.
Face aux multiples défis économiques, sociétaux, environnementaux, nous aurons besoin de nouveaux leaders. Gerald Karsenti explique en quoi ces derniers seront différents.
Plongés au cœur de la 4ème révolution industrielle, avec des startups bousculant l’ordre établi dans tous les secteurs d’activités, nous avons tous un devoir de remise en cause.
Face à la déferlante d’innovations, entreprises et gouvernements doivent s’adapter. Des leaders d’un nouveau genre émergent peu à peu pour accompagner ces mutations profondes. Je les ai appelés les “leaders du troisième type”.
En quoi sont-ils différents de leurs prédécesseurs ?
Avant toute autre chose, ils ne sont plus narcissiques, du moins pas dans la forme dominante. Les leaders aux commandes un peu partout depuis des décennies présentent certes des qualités indéniables qui font d’eux de prime abord des leaders naturels, mais leur égo bien souvent démesuré et non maîtrisé les amène presque toujours à sombrer tôt ou tard dans l’excès.
Le monde d’aujourd’hui n’est plus adapté pour ce type de profil. La caractéristique narcissique ne doit pas pour autant disparaître, elle doit être complétée par d’autres attributs pour former un ensemble plus équilibré.
Un leader “du troisième type”
Le leader de demain – du troisième type – sera donc différent. Aux qualités que l’on retrouve chez tous les narcissiques dominants, comme la capacité à définir une vision, le courage ou la persévérance, vont s’ajouter des attributs supplémentaires que nous pouvons regrouper en sept catégories :
– Une approche créative, en créant un environnement propice à l’innovation, en misant sur l’intelligence émotionnelle et la curiosité.
– Une exemplarité irréprochable, en devenant source d’inspiration et valeur d’exemple pour les autres.
– Une certaine dose d’humilité, en étant accessible, empathique, à l’écoute des autres.
– Un véritable esprit collaboratif, en créant une réelle cohésion entre les équipes et en rassemblant les talents autour de projets collectifs.
– Une capacité à déléguer, en faisant confiance, en sachant s’entourer.
– Une aptitude à donner du sens, en répondant à la question fondamentale du “pourquoi”.
– Une démarche centrée sur les clients et l’humain, en redonnant corps à ce qui est vraiment fondamental.
In fine, le leader de demain possède plusieurs formes d’intelligence. Il sait gérer son égo, n’est pas centré sur lui-même et porte un projet collectif et inspirant, car porteur de sens. Il est à l’écoute des autres. Il sait qu’il ne sait rien ! Il a besoin des autres et de leurs compétences.
Sans âge ni sexe
Sa devise pourrait être : “pour réussir il faut disposer des bons talents aux bons postes pour accomplir les bonnes actions aux bons moments”.
Il intègre la diversité sous toutes ces formes et fait de la parité un objectif primordial. Il est digital par nature et porte une responsabilité sociétale. Agile, il prend le meilleur des deux mondes, il garde les bons côtés du narcissisme et se dote de nouveaux attributs pour devenir… un leader augmenté.
Les leaders du troisième type n’ont pas d’âge. Il peut s’agir de fondateurs de startups d’à peine la trente ans, ou de dirigeants plus aguerris.
Les leaders du troisième type sont aussi bien féminins que masculins, les femmes trouvant dans ce monde fondé sur la créativité un espace plus équitable.
Les leaders du troisième type ne sont pas parfaits. Ils sont juste différents, porteurs d’une autre démarche, tournés vers le futur.
Et bonne nouvelle, tout le monde est potentiellement capable de devenir par étape un leader du troisième type et de partager ainsi… une part de rêve !
A propos de l’auteur
*Gerald Karsenti est l’auteur de plusieurs ouvrages, dont le dernier publié “Leaders du 3ème type : Pour redonner du sens à notre engagement”, aux éditions Eyrolles. Cette tribune en est inspirée. Vice-président en charge des ventes pour la région Europe, Moyen-Orient et Afrique au sein de Hewlett Packard Enterprise et président de la filiale française, il est également professeur affilié à HEC Paris depuis dix ans et anime un blog.
I find it difficult to write about my subject for the week so I will start where I feel more comfortable; in ancient history. In 279 BC King Pyrrhus of Epirus won the second of two victories against the ascendant Roman Empire, this was impressive except that Plutarch records that he had lost his friends, commanders and so many of his men that his country was all but destroyed. The term, ` Pyrrhic Victory ’ is an expression that loosely means that you might have won something but it has gained you nothing or that everyone has lost. This is very is much an expression that comes to mind when thinking of the First World War.
Friday was the anniversary of the start of the battle of the Somme, infamous as being the bloodiest day in British history. It is said that the opening barrage was heard in London, which sounds incredible, but possible given that much of southern of England was quiet and agrarian. Royalty and heads of state paid their respects yesterday to young men sent to their deaths by royalty and heads of state. Millions of people are still horrified and saddened by the awful unnecessarily prolonged suffering of `men’ still likely to be at school today.
I saw the old film version of the book `All Quiet on the Western front,’ last night, it mirrors the experiences of a German soldier but it could have been written by any soldier at all. Life in the home` countries was never the same again but the brunt was borne by young men.
Bataille de la Somme : Monument britannique de Thiepval.
I suppose everyone has their own way of remembering the past but I am most struck by the village monuments across Britain (and everywhere else). They contain mostly names, not lengthy diatribes because what mattered most were names. Many men did not have graves and so there was nowhere to record their deaths but there is more to the monuments. The stone names were so important because most young men could never have children to carry on their names in living form. It is sad today that we usually cannot put a face to the name on the stone but perhaps we could slow our steps as we pass and see the once hopeful young people beyond the cold, faded lettering.
I should add that even for soldiers old enough to have children there is a sense in which the stone writing is a sad reflection of the fact that they will not be making their mark in the world.
The world where a great number of these soldiers come from were as elaborated on by :
What is in it for Algeria’s local authorities as part of a decentralized development …
The establishment of a framework for decentralized cooperation between local authorities of Algeria and France started in 1999 in Algiers. On May 25 and 26th, 2016, Mayors & Local Authorities of Algeria & France met in Algiers following on the previous one meeting held in Paris in 2004.
The purpose of this initiative is to review and possibly consolidate decentralized partnerships within the framework of twinning operations between towns of both countries, and most importantly to foster a true dynamic of collaboration at local level. The two days according to the organizers are arranged around four thematic workshops: Participative Democracy, Change Leverage, Large Cities Management and Sustainable Development, and will address the thorny issues of the management of local affairs, taxation and territorial development.
The objective of this contribution follows on an important chapter of a collectively undertaken work book under my direction in 2004 (1). It was on the future of the country, where the new missions of the Algerian local authorities were assessed. Today the importance of these local authorities and their contribution to the development of the whole country at a time when the central government is faced with the realization of the transition from a rentier economy to an economy away from oil in the context of globalization cannot be more emphasised.
Efficient land use management
1.1. At first, draw up an inventory
In the Algerian system, local authorities have essentially constituted entities assisted by a State which, besides its own prerogatives, was intent on being the sole manager of the country’s economy. Local officials were therefore implementers only of centrally decided policies or by implementing measures and programmes adopted through arbitration hearings by the central planning body for annual budgets and plans. Thus in addition to the highly directional guidance that allocated programmes, the different municipalities and governorates were under close supervision by the central government through the Ministry of Interior. The State took over virtually all social policies and intervened heavily also in land use management and urban planning. Guidelines were thus given to the governorates, for the sale of social housing land and the entire housing policy was almost completely entrusted to these governorates. This situation has led to a dis-empowerment of the central authority distracting issues which are the governors with their sub-governorates and city councils who were directly confronting the citizens discontent, driven by housing needs, quality of life, employment and other. The anarchy that ensued, is now reflected in the growth and disordered extensions of our cities, including the biggest of them, will only increase if we continue to accept that local authorities are still left to themselves for answer, under duress, to the social demand for space to build.
1.2. Responsible local authorities
In the new economic and political conditions, there is an urgent need to return to the roles and responsibilities of the different levels of government in the country’s territories. In parallel to the new role of animation and regulation of social and economic life of the country that are the state’s goals, it is in accordance with the principles of democracy and decentralisation, to give back to the local administration all the prerogatives and the means of action of a fully responsible local authority.
1.3. The obligations of the State in view of responsible decentralization
In the decentralization process, the modern State must ensure the granting to local authorities, of all the prerogatives and all the means that will enable them to fully achieve their respective territories management responsibilities while safeguarding the unity and political national strategies. These must, in the general interest, transcend local circumstances. Besides overhauling the status of local government, it goes without saying that the new powers that will result for the local authority can be exercised only if accompanied by a reform of local finance. Each local authority must therefore have its own budget and full autonomy of its use, so that citizens can judge the capacity of the municipal administration to manage their territory and improve their living conditions. At the same time, the state must protect its core mission of guarantor of all that constitutes the interests of the national community (cohesion and social justice, safeguarding of public assets, equal opportunities for the development of all citizens, etc…). The autonomy of local management can be exercised in compliance with the policies and strategies being implemented by the state, both to regulate and guide economic and social development, as well as to help organize an equitable development and exercise good management of all components of the national space.
2 Local government service delivery business and wealth creation
2.1. How to improve public reception
The seat of the municipality is the first landmark for the citizen in his judgment of the republic. It is obvious that the state of disrepair of the building, the lack of maintenance of open space, holding officials, bad reception, as is often the case, can only project a negative image as perception of the State. In everyday practice, whether for a birth certificate or any other document, the citizen could be tossed from service to service. When this type of attitude becomes repetitive, it generates a form of divorce between citizens and the State accompanied very often with a loss of confidence. In this case, the rehabilitation of the authority and credibility of the State would mean a profound change in public reception centres. To achieve this objective, action should focus on three essential elements are: the man, the means of work and home environment. Regarding the first element, attendants at the reception desk should be selected based on rigorous criteria that refer to loyalty, the listening availability, quality and speed in execution of a service. These officials, whose material situation must necessarily be improved, should feel involved in the battle that the State will have to carry out against injustice and the lack of consideration given to public service. There is therefore need for specific training of such personnel who must learn to listen, to communicate, to convince, to treat others with courtesy, etc. The second aspect relates to the working conditions of the officials of the municipality, so as to allow them put up with the drudgery of manual labour, its routine nature, the weariness that takes shape over the exercise of the chore often under public pressure. In this case, the computerization of services and improved comfort takes the form of a priority action, the purpose of which will be the birth of a friendly host conducive to serenity in human relations. The third point of concern is the success of projecting a positive image, that of a rigorous State in the management of public affairs, respectful of its population and anxious to serve it better. This image needs to find its translation in the inventory, treatment of outdoor spaces, cleanliness services, the reception and orientation of the public, holding the staff and all the elements that allow citizens to measure the degree of consideration that it be granted. This policy takes the nature of an investment for the creation of a friendly environment that facilitates the reconciliation of the State and the citizen and predisposes them to commit to any partnerships of multifaceted nature, the purpose of which would be greater social cohesion.
2.2 How to meet social demand
It should first be considered that the negative effects of driving at sight that characterized the management of our cities were largely offset by the massive use of the state final intervention in the form of definitive municipal plans. Once this support has diminished, only problems would surface, and even if the state is no longer able to fully meet the expressed needs, the claim would be for a better justice in the distribution of resources and in the fairness of social welfare. But how can we be fair and just when our knowledge of the environment in which we act is necessarily subjective and intuitive to understand:
What drives the anxiety and distress of youth;
What do people endure in public transportation or when they go to fetch water, collect wood for heating in rural areas;
What are the concerns of parents when sending their children to school, often far from their homes in rural areas and especially in mountainous, steppe or Saharan regions;
What do the elderly, the disabled and those under distress endure.
The non-exhaustive inventory of citizens’ everyday gloom, gives all its strategic significance to the scientific knowledge of the social environment on which we must act, to move towards the ideal of both economic efficiency through better management and social cohesion. To do this, we must first have the humility to recognize our limitations in this area and consider that “social X-ray” is the first element of a sustainable action that tends towards this goal. This requires giving primacy to case studies and surveys to establish a true “social mapping” which will bring out the specificity in the nature of the problems of each district, urban, rural and every city or centre of life. Thus we will know how to geographically distribute application for employment, poverty, poor living conditions, populations at risk etc., and that we can have knowledge and data for the implementation of all appropriate strategies. All actions above mentioned would nevertheless, imply rule of law, democratization of society for participatory and civic society therefore restructuring of the party system and civil society as powerful mobilization network to fit into the framework one as government reorganization around major territorial departments based on economic regionalization (regional socio-economic areas) not to be confused with the avatar of regionalism.
(1) collective – work book under the direction of Professor Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul titled “issues and challenges of Algeria 2004/2009 fronting challenges of globalization” published by Algiers Casbah Editions in May 2004 in 2 volumes and 500 pages with Chouam BOUCHAMA, economics professor, Pr Mohamed TAIBI, Dr Mohamed SABRI, Boutlélis ARAF, Dr Youcef IKHLEF.
TradeArabia back in April 23rd, 2016 published an article titled EU hospitality in the MENA region. Louvre to open 11 new hotels in MENA region this year, including six properties in the GCC.
‘Groupe du Louvre’ is a French company, headquartered in Village 5, La Défense in Nanterre, France has plans of an aggressive expansion programme that will see the European hospitality giant greatly boost its operational footprint in the MENA region to have 95 hotels and over 15,000 guest rooms under its regional portfolio ahead of Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar World Cup 2022.
Louvre Hotels Group said it plans to open several key properties not only in Qatar, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Tunisia this year but also these including :
Golden Tulip MENA
Golden Tulip Oran, Algeria – 110 rooms and suites,
Golden Tulip Taj Sultan Resort Hammamat, Tunisia – 250 rooms, to be launched in Q2
Golden Tulip Sharma Resort, Saudi Arabia – 103 rooms and villas, to be launched in Q2
Royal Tulip Achrafieh, Lebanon – 76 rooms -(for Q2 launch)
Golden Tulip Doha, Qatar – 195 rooms, opening planned in Q2
Golden Tulip Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia – 100 rooms, Q2 launch
Tulip Inn Modon Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – 122 rooms, to be launched in Q3
Golden Tulip Deira City Centre, UAE – 125 rooms, set for Q4 launch
Golden Tulip Jounieh, Lebanon – 60 rooms, to be launched in Q4 and
Royal Tulip Korbus Tunisia- 138 rooms, set for Q4 launch.
Louvre Hotels Group, major player in the international hotel industry, strengthens its position in the Middle East and North Africa by opening 40 economy hotels over the next five years.
A seasoned player in the Middle East region with 60 hotels and over 8,000 rooms, Louvre Hotels Group brings its experience into play to meet the market dynamic and needs. With the support of its shareholder Jin Jiang International, the hotel group continues its development strategy on the low-end and mid-range segments by privileging its Première Classe and Campanile brands, operating a network of over 650 hotels worldwide. The Group’s next step is to open 40 new hotels in the region within the next 5 years.
Since it was launched in 1989, Première Classe has renewed the super-budget hotel sector by adopting a veritable strategy combining low-cost and comfort. The brand delivers the promise of a unique experience: essential comfort, all-you-can-eat breakfast and modern and functional rooms with WiFi access all ensure clients a pleasant stay. Today, Première Classe counts 264 hotels in 6 countries.
Campanile, a historic French brand founded in 1976, counts 375 hotels in 8 European countries and is the fourth largest restaurant network in France. To create the right design match for its brand image, authentic and welcoming, the brand called on French designer Patrick Jouin, while Michelin-starred chef Philippe Renard worked on its restaurant menu. 2016 will be an important year in Campanile’s internationalization strategy; in addition to moving into the Middle East, it will open its first hotel in Shanghai, China in the summer this year.
“By developing Première Classe and Campanile on the Middle East and North African markets where our 4- and 5-star brands are already established, we are meeting a real local need for economy hotels by offering clients uncompromising service quality,” explains Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, President and CEO of Louvre Hotels Group.
The first Première Classe hotel will open its doors in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2018, while the first Campanile hotel locations will be announced in the coming months. These new opportunities dovetail into the Group’s international development strategy, while meeting needs identified by the GCC.
According to the UNWTO, the number of international tourists in the Middle East grew by 3% in 2015 to reach a total of 54 million, consolidating a recovery begun in 2014.
Now that international sanctions have been lifted in Iran, more and more travel will be destined to and from that country. And then maybe not for the gay kind. Iran is one amongst the 79 countries where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. All MENA countries are included in the anti-homosexual list. One of this morning’s news stories on The Daily Beast is Dana Kennedy’s article, Gay Air France Flight Attendants Say No to Iran. According to the article:
Air France recently announced that it will resume thrice-weekly flights to Iran from Paris next week after an eight-year hiatus due to international sanctions.
Problems first arose a week ago, when female flight attendants and female pilots were angered by a memo saying they’d have to wear head scarves when exiting the plane in Tehran. Air France, in a compromise negotiated with the unions, eventually agreed to let female flight attendants opt out of the Iran flights if they wanted—without retribution. 
So if the females can opt-out, so can they reasoned the gay flight attendants, on the bases of life endangerment. The airline has not resolved the dispute with this request. So far more than 15,000 people have signed the petition. Air Frances policy states that if any crew member refuses to fly to any of their destinations, they are subject to salary decreases and being reprimanded. Another source wrote:
So far, Air France has given no indication it plans to meet the petitioners’ demands.
In a written reply to FRANCE 24’s request for comment, the company noted that it already flies to a range of countries that “have restrictive legislation regarding homosexuality”, and that none of these routes have presented a problem in the past.
“The cabin crew profession inherently involves working in countries whose cultures and rules are very different from ours,” the airline’s press office said, adding that “Air France management always strives to ensure that staff members work in the safest environment possible”.
Trade unions have not openly rallied behind the petitioners’ demands, though a spokesperson for France’s Union of Civil Aviation Cabin Crews (UNAC) union told French weekly Le Point that the opt-out clause should apply to all workers, “regardless of gender or sexual orientation”.
Unions say Air France cabin crew who refuse to fly a given route are liable to be officially reprimanded and face a salary cut.
Last week, a spokesperson for the cabin crew branch of France’s National Organisation of Autonomous Unions (UNSA PNC) told FRANCE 24 that refusal to work on a route could “damage staff members’ careers and prevent their promotion”. 
As I am reading these articles, I cannot help but think about what ever happen to the notion of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Is that archaic now days? Or is that just the US Military’s policy? A comment on one of the articles mentioned, that Sexual Orientation is not a written disclosure on passports. So really what is the problem with flying to a destination with a turn around time of several hours to 24 hours? Who needs to know and who cares. Those countries also have strict rules and customs about interacting with members of the opposite sex as well. Hotels and apartment buildings can and will interfere with guests of the opposite sex from visiting one’s room and apartment. Trust my confession as a heterosexual. So instead of wearing their “I’m Gay and Proud of it” lapel button, the gay flight attendants can wear buttons that declare “Really, I am straight” just as a precaution to save their own lives. Otherwise, who would be the wiser for their sexual orientation? I have never seen so many men holding hands together, as I had when I worked in the Middle East. I was forewarned by my former boss that this was not a sign of their homosexuality but just customary for Indian men. Okay, if you say so.
These countries are just as strict with their moral laws for heterosexuals as well. What a precedent it will set if the gay flight crew members refuse to go into anti-homosexual territories. Then the heterosexuals will demand their rights to boycott as well because their freedoms will also be curtailed to various degrees, to be able to rendezvous and mingle with members of the opposite sex. These countries did not just, last week, show up on the earth with their own codes of conduct. Why is it now a matter of concern for airline personnel? I would suggest to homosexuals and heterosexuals alike to just consider it a Fast when you are in these countries for 24 hours. Or change careers if one truly cannot comply with other countries’ culture and customs. Why go into the international travel business as a career in the first place, if one cannot tolerate or respect foreign diverse cultures?
The same boss, previously mentioned, was the project director for the airports in Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi. Upon my arrival he offered me some more good advice, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore”. This will only make sense to you if you are familiar with the children’s story, The Wizard of Oz. So consider OZ as any foreign country with culture and customs different than your own.
It seems to me that these fears are baseless. I don’t know for a fact but my gut instincts tell me that the number of gay flight attendants that have had their heads chopped off after landing in one of these anti-homosexual countries is zero (0). So don’t come out of the closet, I mean the plane, in a flaunty gay manner and you should survive. I think. Moving on, let’s read more about what Air France thinks:
Air France said it has no plans to change policy in this instance. The airline already flies to nearly 20 other countries that have “restrictive legislation relating to homosexuality,” including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and Nigeria, it said in a statement emailed to CNNMoney.
“We have not had any issues in recent years in [these] countries,” it added. “Air France management carries out constant monitoring to ensure that all members of its flight crews can perform their duties in the safest possible conditions.”
Lufthansa (DLAKY) has been flying to Iran for years. A spokesperson for the German carrier told CNNMoney it has never heard about any staff concerns related to homosexual persecution in Iran. 
The late Nat King Cole and his daughter, Natalie Cole sang a little catchy song called, Fly Right. Air France and all other airlines whose staff signed the petition may want to play it on their plane’s intercom and in-flight music choices. I don’t know what it was supposed to mean, but it somehow seems appropriate for this breaking news. It goes like this:
A buzzard took the monkey for a ride in the air
The monkey thought that ev’rything was on the square
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off his back
But the monkey grabbed his neck and said, now, listen, Jack
Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top
Ain’t no use in divin’, what’s the use of jivin’
Straighten up and fly right
Of course, I would change the title of the song to Act Straight and Fly Right.
The Daily Beast, Gay Air France Flight Attendants Say No to Iran by Dana Kennedy
France 24, Middle East section, Air France’s gay stewards join protest of Iran flights by Boris Horvat
CNN, Gay Protest Over Air France Flight to Iran by Alanna Petroff
Le Point (Viviane Forson) a publié le 8 avril 2016 un court texte au titre “Coopération Algérie-France : les chiffres pour comprendre” rappelant l’importance des échanges commerciaux, des accords économiques et diplomatiques, et des liens démographiques entre la France et l’Algérie. Ces deux pays ont ainsi “des liens économiques, politiques et humains très forts malgré de sporadiques montées de tension.”
Voici le texte de l’article du Point:
“Après des années de presque stagnation sous la présidence de Nicolas Sarkozy, une nouvelle dynamique a été impulsée aux relations bilatérales entre la France et l’Algérie. Après la visite de François Hollande à Alger, en décembre 2012, les deux pays ont choisi de se tourner vers l’avenir et de passer à la vitesse supérieure pour un partenariat plus efficient. Loin d’avoir apaisé les passions qui animent leurs relations (on l’a vu lors de la polémique sur la date du 19 mars pour commémorer la fin de la guerre d’Algérie), la visite du Premier ministre Manuel Valls et des membres du gouvernement vient confirmer qu’en dépit des débats houleux, les deux pays ne peuvent cesser d’interagir. Est-ce peut-être dû à la personnalité de François Hollande qui a beaucoup joué sur le rapprochement franco-algérien ? Considéré plus proche des Algériens, rappelons qu’il a effectué son stage de l’ENA à Alger. Il s’y est rendu en 2006 et en 2011 au nom du Parti socialiste. Mais, comme le président de la République, de nombreux Français ont des liens plus ou moins directs avec l’Algérie. Décryptage.
Des liens forts personnels…
7 millions : selon les estimations données pour la première fois par Bernard Emié, l’ambassadeur de France en Algérie en 2015, au moins 7 millions de Français ont un lien avec l’Algérie. Ce sont principalement les rapatriés (harkis, pieds-noirs) et leurs familles, les anciens appelés de la guerre d’Algérie, les immigrés, et les binationaux.
500 entreprises : elles sont 500 entreprises françaises présentes en Algérie, et représentent 40000 emplois directs et 100000 emplois indirects.
10,5 milliards d’euros d’échanges : la France est le deuxième partenaire économique de l’Algérie avec 10,5 milliards d’euros d’échanges en 2014, le pays pourra-t-il reconquérir son rang de premier fournisseur perdu en 2013 au profit de la Chine ?
6,4 milliards d’euros d’exportations : c’est le montant des exportations de la France vers l’Algérie. Le pays est la 3e destination mondiale hors OCDE, la première pour l’ensemble du continent africain en termes d’exportations pour les entreprises françaises.
4e client : la France est le 4e client de l’Algérie avec 4,4 milliards d’euros d’importations.
1er investisseur : hors hydrocarbures, la France est le premier investisseur en Algérie avec 2,15 milliards d’euros en stock d’IDE (Investissement direct étranger).
… et de vie
31 677 : c’est le nombre d’expatriés français qui vivent en Algérie.
440 000 retraités : parmi 1,3 million de retraités percevant une pension de retraite française, 44 % s’expatrient en Afrique, et l’Algérie est le premier pays d’accueil, toutes destinations confondues, avec près de 440 000 retraités. Mais la majorité d’entre eux sont des travailleurs immigrés rentrés pour leurs vieux jours.
740 000 : les personnes originaires d’Algérie et présentes sur le territoire français en janvier 2011 étaient au nombre de 740 000, soit le groupe le plus important d’immigrés.
1 million : ce sont les binationaux franco-algériens sur le territoire français.
422 000 : c’est le nombre de touristes algériens ayant demandé un visa pour la France en 2015.
1000 accords signés : le nombre d’accords et de conventions signés entre les universités algériennes et françaises arrêté en 2015. Un chiffre qui reflète l’importance de la coopération algéro-française dans le domaine de la Recherche.
22 000 étudiants algériens : en 2015, cela représente 90 % des étudiants algériens poursuivant leurs études à l’étranger.”
Current tensions are only transient according to information collected from important personalities of France acknowledged that “Le Monde committed a blunder by posting the photo of the Algerian president on its first page, he who is not concerned and whose name was not mentioned, as opposed to the Algerian Minister of Industry cited in the ‘Panama papers. French Prime Minister’s visit to Algiers on 9 and 10 April would be an opportunity for the interlocutors to review their mutual situations.
These repeatably emphasised that intensification of the cooperation with a realistic approach should be based on a win-win partnership away from any commercialism. The two countries must have a common vision of their future so as to contribute to regional stability that is conditioned by a real co-development. There is no point in obscuring the memory of the common history indispensable for consolidating sustainable relationships between Algeria and France. It is in the context of a ruthless world where a nation that does not move forwards is bound to go backwards, that the future through mutual respect is prepared. As far as I am concerned, I always stressed that Algeria would not be bear to be considered a market only. And it is in this framework that a co-partnership between Algeria and France, must be envisaged far from any prejudice nor spirit of domination.
What is the destination of Algeria’s trade? According to its Customs statistics, Algeria had in 2015 deficit of $13.7 billion due to declining oil prices and the rate of coverage of imports by exports is reduced by 73% vs. 107% in 2014. Although its trade surplus with the EU decreased in 2015 by -95.7% at $457 million YOY in 2014 by 14.8% to $10.7 billion, with streams of $51.1 billion (-27% 2014), the EU remains the largest trading partner of Algeria with a-36,1% reduction, from $40.4 billion to $25.8 billion (i.e. 68.3% of the total of Algerian exports against 64.2% in 2014). Algerian imports from the EU increased from -14.6%, from $29.7 billion to $25.3 billion (i.e. 49.2% of the total imports of Algeria). But the deficit concerns also Asia which in 2015 is the second partner of Algeria, with trade amounting to $14.4 billion (-18.6% YOY). According to official statistics, it covers 23% of imports while it absorbs only 6.8% of its exports, with a trade deficit vis a vis this region, of -$9.3 billion, an increase of 22.6% compared to that of 2014, when the deficit was only $7.6 billion, because of the imbalance in its relations especially with China. Exchanges between the Maghreb countries represent less than 3% of their overall trade and exchanges with the Arab countries (Maghreb Union included) represent $4.8 billion, down from 24.8% to 2014, to be 5.0% of Algerian imports and 5.9% of its exports. Trade relations between Algeria and sub-Saharan African countries are down 19.6% to $ 442, i.e. 0.7% of the imports of Algeria’s and 0.2% of its exports.
Spain in 2015 was the first customer of Algeria, despite a drop of 31.2% of its imports, to $6.6 billion, and Italy its second, with $6.2 billion of imports, down from 25.6% to 2014. France is the third client of Algeria, with an amount of imports at $4.9 billion (a drop of 29.2%). Overall, there is a concentration of demand for Algeria’s: its first three clients represent 46.7% of the total exports in 2015 whilst these were only 39.4% of the total in 2014. France, for the third consecutive year is the second supplier of Algeria, behind China. The Algerian exports to France were $6.744 billion and imports of $6.342 billion. Trade for 2014 between Algeria and France are worth from $13.086 billion. For 2015 France held 10.5% market share, amounting to $5.4 billion, $8.2 billion with China, with 16% of the market; Italy is in third place with $4.8 billion and $3.9 billion for imports from Spain. France remains yet the first non-hydrocarbon investor in Algeria with a stock of FDI estimated by the Embassy of France in Algiers at more than $2.2 billion; the major items of French exports being cereals (20.2% of the total), motor vehicles (12.2%) and pharmaceuticals (11.1%). In return, French imports are made up of 95% of hydrocarbons. According to data from the French Treasury, some 6,000 French companies export to Algeria, 450 creating 40,000 direct employments and 100,000 indirect (1).
What are the prospects? Trade could be intensified in all areas such as agriculture, industry-services, tourism, education not to mention cooperation in the military where Algeria can be an active player as demonstrated by its stabilisation efforts of the region. Intensification of the cooperation between the two countries would be possible – whilst not forgetting the duty of remembrance – only if Algeria and France have a realistic approach to their collaboration in a win-win partnership away from any mercantilism and spirit of domination. The two countries have a common vision of their future. The symbiosis of the contributions of the East and the West, the dialogue of cultures and tolerance are sources of mutual enrichment. The latest events should better make us think, avoiding this confrontation of religions because Islam, Christianity and Judaism contributed enormously to the development of civilization; keeping up this tolerance by condemning any form of extremism. Globalization is a blessing for all humanity, provided it integrates social relationships and not be focused on merchant relationship only, by synchronizing the real and monetary spheres, through their economic and social dynamics. At the time of consolidation of large groupings, the challenges of globalization, the rapprochement between the whole of the Maghreb countries is required for an intensification of cooperation with France and Algeria via Europe to be commensurate with the weight of history that binds us together. The integration of the Maghreb should serve as a bridge between Europe and Africa, the comparative advantages to medium and long terms for the two countries in Africa, the continent of the future and strong potential, subject to regional sous-integrations, the valorization of the knowledge economy and better governance. On the other hand, we must not forget the number of residents of Algerian origin in France, estimated at 4 million, including 2 million of binationals in 2012. Whatever the number, the diaspora is an essential element of the rapprochement between Algeria and France, because it conceals some significant intellectual, economic and financial potential. The promotion of relations between Algeria and its emigrant community should mobilize in various stages of intervention initiative of all concerned parties, namely the Government, diplomatic missions, universities, entrepreneurs and civil society. As noted by Professor Jean-Louis Guigou, delegate of the Ipemed and Adviser to the French President, it must be clear that, in the interest both of the French and the Algerians and more generally the North Africans and Europeans and all South-Mediterranean populations, the boundaries of the common market of tomorrow, future Schengen borders, the borders of the social protection of tomorrow, the boundaries of the environmental requirements of tomorrow, must be South of the Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, South and East of Lebanon of Syria, Jordan and Turkey, passing through a sustainable peace in the Middle East, where Arab and Jewish populations share a history of peaceful coexistence.
In business, sentimentalism is not appreciated for entrepreneurs are driven by the logic of profit only. But the implementation of healthy business, as for the running of a country, is no longer based as in the past on custom relationships between heads of State or Ministers, but must be the result of decentralized networks, including through the involvement of civil society, NGOs and dynamic innovators. It is that is being witnessed worldwide in an evolution of past accumulation based on a purely material vision, characterized by rigid hierarchical organizations to a new mode of accumulation based on the mastery of knowledge, new technologies and flexible organizations networked like a cobweb around the world with global chains segmented production where the investment, in comparative advantages, realizing in sub-segments of these chains.
But we must avoid any vision of pessimism, the situation being different from that of 1986, (debt less than $4 billion and foreign exchange reserves of $143 billion as at January 1st, 2016 with a respite of three years), Algeria can overcome its current difficulties provided its governance is renovated. The success of national and international industrial partnership is not feasible without another type of governance and a coherent vision based on structural reforms (including the rigid labour market) political, social and economic. One should refrain from seeing the external enemy everywhere because reforms depend on all Algerians if we want to benefit from the global comparative advantages. Tactics must fit within the service / strategic objective which is to maximize the social welfare of all Algerians. The purpose of a Government is not to be necessarily popular (short-term populist vision) but to engage into structural reforms which could hoist Algeria to an emerging country in the medium and long term. To do this, the dominance of the bureaucratic approach should leave it to an economic operational approach with social and economic impacts futures. This implies a deep rearrangement of the structures of empowerment. Also, facing the new global changes, Algeria, facing the transition towards a productive economy closely linked to the energy transition, needs above all a managerial and technological accumulation.
In summary, according to the latest international reports, Algeria is a key player for the stability of the region, subject to its deepening of the rule of law and democratization of society in order to achieve sustainable development. The current tensions between Algeria and France are only transient according to information collected from important personalities of France recognizing that “Le Monde” committed a blunder and that we need to move on and undertake together in mutual respect. It is in this framework that must return a win-win partnership between Algeria and France, far from prejudice and spirit of domination.
Paris, 8 April 2016 – Professor, International Expert Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul.
(1) – On the occasion of the visit of the French Premier, Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul gave an interview to the weekly Point Afrique (24/03/2016) and the French weekly L’Express (07/04/2016 Paris) on the prospects for the Algeria-France cooperation highlighting weaknesses but also the important potential of Algeria. This theme was developed by the University Professor who was the guest of honour for Algeria 7 April 2016 in Marseille by the international organization «The Mediterranean Villa» where he has hosted a conference on the theme “the win-win partnership and the dialogue of cultures in the framework of co-operation Algeria/France, factor of stability in the African and Euro-Mediterranean region” in the presence of hundreds of political and economic figures, international experts, the Consul general and of the diplomatic staff of the Consulate-general of Algeria in Marseille.
L’annonce, des réfugiés Syriens à la Sorbonne, effectuée en août 2015, est reprise récemment par des journaux français surpris de la somme engagée par Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri, le procureur général du Qatar et ancien élève de l’université Panthéon-Sorbonne.
C’est, en effet, à cet alumnus, docteur en droit, que Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne doit d’avoir obtenu une aide financière de 600.000 euros par année universitaire, pour une durée pouvant aller jusqu’à trois ans, pour accueillir des réfugiés, de la part de l’émirat comme le rapporte Isabelle Maradan dans EducPros.fr (09 mars 2016).
Selon Maradan, “essentiellement Syriens, les 111 réfugiés ou demandeurs d’asile concernés par le dispositif sont âgés de 18 à 28 ans. Parmi eux, 86 suivent un parcours d’intégration d’un semestre de formation en FLE (français langue étrangère) et 25 avaient un niveau suffisant en anglais, pour intégrer des diplômes passerelles en anglais de niveau master 1, en économie et mathématiques appliquées, ou l’aisance nécessaire en français pour suivre des études dans l’une des composantes de l’université.
67 étudiants ont commencé les cours fin octobre 2015 et 48 étudiants ont débuté leur semaine d’intégration en janvier 2016. Pourquoi Paris 1 a-t-elle besoin de 600.000 euros pour accueillir 111 réfugiés quandl’université de Strasbourg a réussi à offrir des cours de FLE à 75 réfugiés cette année avec 45.000 euros seulement ? “100.000 euros des fonds qataris servent à l’organisation du programme en FLE et à l’accompagnement des étudiants, 250.000 euros sont consacrés aux logements et aux assurances et 250.000 euros permettent de garantir des bourses et la Sécurité sociale aux bénéficiaires”, détaille-t-on du côté de l’université.
“C’est un budget très confortable. Je suis très heureux pour eux”, commente Mathieu Schneider, vice-président de l’université de Strasbourg chargé de la coordination du dispositif porté par l’Unistra. “Mais il ne faut pas tout réduire à une question d’argent, poursuit-il. On ne fait pas forcément mieux en termes de conseil et d’accompagnement avec 600.000 euros qu’avec la motivation des personnels.” Citant l’exemple de sa voisine haut-rhinoise, l’UHA (université de Haute-Alsace), qui accueille une vingtaine de réfugiés, il estime que “chacun, à son échelle, peut faire quelque chose”. L’Unistra a d’ailleurs finalement décidé de renouveler ce dispositif et compte l’étendre à 100 bénéficiaires à la rentrée prochaine, avec un budget voisin de celui de l’an dernier selon EducPros.