Wave of Fossil Fuel Dislike amongst the Young

Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young.  The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.

No industry for old men: Why ‘Big Oil’ needs to woo younger, female workforce

Energy industry’s lack of appeal for women and the young remains a major cause for concern.

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Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s main concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young.  The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.

No industry for old men: Why ‘Big Oil’ needs to woo younger, female workforce

WPC 2017

Energy industry’s lack of appeal for women and the young remains a major cause for concern.

By Gaurav Sharma in Istanbul, Turkey

Updated on July 14, 2017 20:22 BST

It may not be as pressing an issue for the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) as the crude oil price slump, but had you asked around the oil and gas industry’s recently concluded triennial jamboree held in Istanbul, Turkey, plenty of high profile people would point to a lack of female executives as a major concern.

Furthermore, equally concerning is the perceived loss of the industry’s appeal for young professionals choosing a career pathway. To his credit, Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, which has been organising the congress since 1933, acknowledged the problem in his very first quip of the event.

“Oil and gas will play a role in the energy mix for decades to come. Yet, at the same time the number of people joining the energy industry is declining.”

Much more needs to be done when it comes addressing the gender balance in the business, he added. “We are committed to changing this, as well as showcasing the talent of female industry executives to inspire.”

That’s all well and good; but a cursory look around the WPC plenary halls, auditoriums and corridors by your correspondent found an overwhelming number of delegates of the male and middle-aged variety, regardless of which country they were travelling from.

Of course, there was a young professionals’ floor and youth congress, and events such as a youth night and a ‘Women in Energy’ breakfast.

Despite being well-intentioned objectives aimed at promoting dialogue, to many participants interviewed by IBTimes UK they seemed to be perfunctory box-ticking exercises being conducted because a mega industry event of the WPC’s size could not possibly, not have them. The previous Congress in Doha (2011) and Moscow (2014) had the very same events.

Hope is that the hard work in attracting young recruits and tackling the gender imbalance will finally begin in earnest once WPC’s 6,000-odd delegates, 500 CEOs, 50 Ministers and heads of state go home and ponder about it.

For that to happen, it is worth getting a deeper understanding of the problem first, according to Deborah Byers, US Oil & Gas Practice leader at global consultancy EY. A recent polling exercise in the US by Byers’ colleagues found that most of the younger generation perceive oil and gas jobs as a bit too blue collar and dangerous.

“That’s generation Z – or post-Millennials – typically born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s to you and me. We also find a disconnect between what oil and gas executives think young people want from a career and what they actually want. There’s a general lack of awareness about the industry and the careers that power it, and a substantial gender gap.”

When EY asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as a whole, prioritised salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%) and on-the-job happiness (37%).”

However, oil and gas executives polled expected the leading career drivers for young people to be salary (72%), technology (43%), good work-life balance (38%), and the opportunity to try new roles (28%). The study also found that only 24% of women in the 16-35 age group find oil and gas jobs appealing, while 54% of men in the same age range find them appealing.

The findings were based on a survey of 1,204 US consumers and 109 industry executives conducted earlier this year. In the wider scheme of things, the consultancy’s findings offer only a glimpse into the thinking of female and young people hunting career prospects. However, what it also does is flag up the enormity of the task ahead.

“In an era of lower for longer, some say lower forever oil prices, the industry has a call to action to solve this perception problem for the sake of their future workforce and their success,” Byers concludes.

Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, says the industry must improve its appeal to younger recruits and female aspirants.Gaurav Sharma / IB Times UK

Paradoxically, Eithne Treanor, a seasoned energy sector broadcaster and conference moderator based in Dubai, feels it’s the low price environment that is putting people off.

“Oil and gas companies aren’t in hiring mode in any case to begin with, as opportunities from geology to engineering, management to on-site operations dwindle. Furthermore, young people and suitable female candidates ask themselves should I really choose a future in an industry that’s in decline or at least appears to be.”

While the oil price environment is a relatively recent development, Treanor said the industry’s problem of attracting fewer qualified female professionals and its lack of appeal to youngsters also has to do with historical reputational problems.

“The industry has been quite poor at engaging with young people, something I feel it is attempting to rectify. When the idea is to catch them young, leaving it till they are at university is a bit too late; I’d say go all the way lower to junior school.

“For example – a programme started by a science professor in Lebanon called ‘The Young Engineer’ has been running for 10 years and piques the interest of kids when they are 5-6 years old.”

Specifically on the subject of attracting female talent, Trainer said: “Look around the WPC, majority of the panel discussions and deliberations have mostly male speakers. The lack of diversity is visible. Some women have risen through the industry ranks and have become role models, and are indeed here, but there are not that many.”

Positive discrimination is needed, she added, including perhaps an introduction of the Norwegian model of mandatory quotas for women to be on corporate boards and in positions of authority.

iStock

Time is running out, and the industry needs to act fast, according Aleek Datta, Managing Director at consultancy Accenture.

“In 2011, around $590bn (£455bn) was spent on petrotechnical workforce development, which rose to a commendable $760bn in 2014. However, oil price slump hit and spending on talent fell to $570bn in 2015, and has been in decline ever since.

“If we assume oil demand will increase, yet spending on talent continues at its current level, the global industry will have 30% deficit of petrotechnical professionals as early as 2020.

“The oil and gas industry is losing the fight for top millennial talent, as young professionals prefer other industries, like the technology industry. Only 2% of US graduates, according our research, consider oil and gas as a primary career choice.”

To some it might seem counterintuitive to invest in attracting and training young professionals and wooing more women to the industry when the oil price is down, but the risk of not doing so could be even more dire.

 

$1 billion project of Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park

Of all the achievements that Dubai could claim to have realised since or after the formation of the United Arab Emirates, is this semi-loony $1 billion project of Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park that is not really such a loony one.  It may however seem so at first glance but at a closer look, the city has dramatically changed since dredging of what is called its “creek”, that is a finger of the Gulf sea water coming into the desert shore land.  What followed after that is a succession of more and more amazing developments as decidedly helped by the unprecedentedly ginormous inflow of petrodollars and the accompanying expatriates to service them. 

It would be interesting to follow up on the current Qatar crisis as intimated in our Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region and its direct effect on such a project.

Of all the achievements that Dubai could claim to have realised since or after the formation of the United Arab Emirates, is this semi-loony $1 billion project of Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park that is not really such a loony one.  It may however seem so at first glance but at a closer look, the city has dramatically changed since dredging of what is called its “creek”, that is a finger of the Gulf sea water coming into the desert shore land.  What followed after that is a succession of more and more amazing developments as decidedly helped by the unprecedentedly ginormous inflow of petrodollars and the accompanying expatriates to service them. 
It would be interesting to follow up on the current Qatar crisis as intimated in our Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region and its direct effect on such a project.
We feature this article of India Times written by Anjali Bisaria and published on July 8, 2017. 

Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park Costs $1 Billion & Is As Big As 28 American Football Fields

When it comes to building the world’s ‘firsts’ buildings, hotels, or artificial islands, trust Dubai to be ahead of the game, all the damn time!

For Dubai is now home to the globe’s first largest indoor theme park – IMG Worlds of Adventure. Sprawled across 1.5 million square feet with a capacity to hold 30,000 visitors at a time, the $1 billion theme park threw open its doors on August 31, 2016, reports The Independent.  

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

The size of the theme park equals 28 American football fields which also houses a 12-screen cinema complex with IMAX screen. Its opulence is Dubai’s yet another promise of becoming the country’s entertainment capital.

And by 2019, IMG Worlds of Adventures is expected to see a rise in its revenues by 78% to $837 million!

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

The park is divided into four zones – MARVEL, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, and IMG Boulevard. There are 22 rides and attractions including the Velociraptor roller-coaster that speeds up to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds.

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

Apart from this, visitors can check out 25 shops and 28 restaurants and bars with prices soaring through the sky. Imagine buying a pen worth 115,000 dirhams, i.e., $31,300!

A land that also sees soaring temperatures, this indoor theme park is both a respite and a delight.

 ANJALI BISARIA

JULY 08, 2017

Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region

The “Qatar vs GCC + Egypt” crisis carries on at not only the expense of Qatar but to also all concerned such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.  We elaborated on this last aspect in our Latest Diplomatic Crisis impacts Dubai City http://www.mena-forum.com/36806-2/ where we anticipated significant losses for Dubai, Riyadh and Manama alike.  Life carrying on unabated, there must surely be drawbacks for everyone during and after this semi-political upheaval between the parties.  The impacts of the Qatar crisis on the rest of the MENA region have yet to be measured and accounted for. 

Following is a Chatham House conference of Qatar’ Foreign Affairs Minister’s response to the 13 points demand of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

The “Qatar vs GCC + Egypt” crisis carries on at not only the expense of Qatar but to also all concerned such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.  We elaborated on this last aspect in our Latest Diplomatic Crisis impacts Dubai City  where we anticipated significant losses for Dubai, Riyadh and Manama alike.  Life carrying on unabated, there must surely be drawbacks for everyone during and after this semi-political upheaval between the parties.  The Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region have yet to be measured and accounted for. 
Following is a Chatham House conference of Qatar’ Foreign Affairs Minister’s response to the 13 points demand of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds

The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

https://youtu.be/8ksR1C8B2HA

05 July 2017

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar
Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House

Overview

The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

More information at The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds

The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Play 0:00 / 1:09:37 Fullscreen Mute Share 05 July 2017 HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House 01:09:37 Overview The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More information at The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds

Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050

As put by Bloomberg in an article by Jeanna Smialek dated April 10, 2015 where she said : “ Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050 . In the world 15 years from now, the U.S. will be far less dominant, several emerging markets will catapult into prominence, and some of the largest European economies will be slipping behind.” [ . . . ]

As put by Bloomberg in an article by Jeanna Smialek dated April 10, 2015 where she said: ” Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050. In the world 15 years from now, the U.S. will be far less dominant, several emerging markets will catapult into prominence, and some of the largest European economies will be slipping behind.”

A new economic order by 2030 / 2050 ?

Last week an article on the same subject and written by Lianna Brinded, Markets Editor, Business Insider and published in collaboration with Business Insider on Thursday 9 February 2017 by the WEF goes like below.

 

A prediction: the world’s most powerful economies in 2030

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world’s largest professional-services firms, just released its predictions for the most powerful economies in the world by 2030.

The report, titled “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).

PPP is used by macroeconomists to determine the economic productivity and standards of living among countries across a certain time period.

While PwC’s findings show some of the same countries right near the top of the list in 13 years, they also have numerous economies slipping or rising massively by 2030 [ . . . ]

The PwC Report Key findings

This report sets out our latest long-term global growth projections to 2050 for 32 of the largest economies in the world, accounting for around 85% of world GDP.

Key results of our analysis (as summarised also in the accompanying video) include:

  • The world economy could more than double in size by 2050, far outstripping population growth, due to continued technology-driven productivity improvements
  • Emerging markets (E7) could grow around twice as fast as advanced economies (G7) on average
  • As a result, six of the seven largest economies in the world are projected to be emerging economies in 2050 led by China (1st), India (2nd) and Indonesia (4th)
  • The US could be down to third place in the global GDP rankings while the EU27’s share of world GDP could fall below 10% by 2050
  • UK could be down to 10th place by 2050, France out of the top 10 and Italy out of the top 20 as they are overtaken by faster growing emerging economies like Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam respectively
  • But emerging economies need to enhance their institutions and their infrastructure significantly if they are to realise their long-term growth potential.

Explore the World in 2050

View the infographics below for highlights of our GDP projections and explore the results further using our interactive data tool.

Further details are provided in our summary reportfull report and slide pack.

 

Tweet this: PwC #World2050 report projects China and India to be the two largest economies in the world by 2050

Key projections

 

Challenges for policymakers

Our analysis also identifies a number of key challenges for policy-makers, including:

  • Avoid a slide back into protectionism, which history suggests would be bad for global growth in the long run
  • Ensuring that the potential benefits of globalisation are shared more equally across society
  • Developing new green technologies to ensure that long-term global growth is environmentally sustainable

Please download our full report for more in-depth analysis of these policy issues.

Opportunities for business – winning in emerging markets

Our report, which can be downloaded in full below, also considers the opportunities for business:

  • As emerging markets mature, they will become less attractive as low cost manufacturing bases but more attractive as consumer and business-to-business (B2B) markets
  • But international companies need strategies that are flexible enough to adapt to local customer preferences and rapidly evolving local market dynamics
  • Since emerging markets can be volatile, international investors also need to be patient enough to ride out the short-term economic and political cycles in these countries

Please also take a look at the research of our Growth Markets Centre for detailed examples of how companies can succeed in emerging markets.

 

The Construction of Tall Buildings Industry in the GCC

In our previous article on Architecture of Tall Buildings published on April 13, 2015, we elaborated on this segment of the construction of tall buildings industry in the GCC and its evolution. Far from questioning the ‘raison d’etre’ or the real need for such structures, we would like to make here as close to reality a statement of what has been achieved on the ground last year. Indeed, in 2016, a record of 128 buildings were completed worldwide, according to the the Chicago-based council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s Year in Review: Tall Trends of 2016. It says : While Africa has yet to see a 200-meter-plus completion since 1973, the Middle East ended the year, for the second time, with nine such completions. This continues a steady trend of completions in the region, but pales in comparison to its all-time high of 23 in 2011, a spike that was attributed to a global post-recession recovery in tall building construction. 2016 was the first year since 2006 that the Middle East has not seen the completion of a supertall (300-plus-meter) building, but one should be wary of assuming that this is indicative of a regional swing away from the supertall height threshold. Optimistic projections show as many as [ . . . ]

In our previous article on Architecture of Tall Buildings published on April 13, 2015,  we elaborated on this segment of the construction of tall buildings industry in the GCC and its evolution.  Far from questioning the ‘raison d’etre’ or the real need for such structures, we would like to make here as close to reality a statement of what has been achieved on the ground last year.

Abraj Quartier-Commercial Towers picture (Credit to UDC) is featured above.

Indeed, in 2016, a record of 128 buildings were completed worldwide, according to the the Chicago-based council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s Year in Review: Tall Trends of 2016.

It says :

Dubai’s twisting Cayan Tower named among world’s best new skyscrapers

While Africa has yet to see a 200-meter-plus completion since 1973, the Middle East ended the year, for the second time, with nine such completions. This continues a steady trend of completions in the region, but pales in comparison to its all-time high of 23 in 2011, a spike that was attributed to a global post-recession recovery in tall building construction. 2016 was the first year since 2006 that the Middle East has not seen the completion of a supertall (300-plus-meter) building, but one should be wary of assuming that this is indicative of a regional swing away from the supertall height threshold. Optimistic projections show as many as nine supertall buildings completing in the Middle East in 2017.

In an unusual turn, the United Arab Emirates did not have the greatest number of completions in the region for the year. That accomplishment belongs to Qatar, which saw four towers completed in 2016. The UAE followed with just two completions, and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain tied with one completion each. The tallest building to complete in 2016 in the Middle East is Regent Emirates Pearl, a 255-meter tower in Abu Dhabi that twists along its height at a rate of approximately 0.481 degrees per floor. The tower was featured in the online version of the CTBUH Tall Buildings in Numbers study.

Consequent to the reduction in petro-Dollars revenues, a certain slowdown has been noticeable in the region’s construction industry dynamics.  Qatar nevertheless led last year the region in building tall towers. The report states that in 2016 that country has managed and for the first time to lead the region by completing four tall buildings.

This report however mentioned that in a decade no “super tall” buildings (300m+) did come to be built anywhere in the region.

Worldwide, China led with 84 projects of tall buildings completed closely followed by the USA follows with seven and South Korea with six.  Indonesia is fourth with five buildings and the Philippines and Qatar coming up with four towers each are fifth.

This slowdown in the MENA where last year no ‘super-tall’ towers as per the local media were produced, was commented by the CTBUH as this doesn’t mean the era of tall towers is over for the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi’s Burj Mohammed bin Rashid named best tall building in Middle East and Africa

Speaking to the National, a UAE daily, earlier this month, one financial expert explained this state of affairs.

“Previously, this region hadn’t been quite so sensitive as to whether numbers stacked up. It’s been a case of build it and they will come, but as liquidity tightened the numbers needed to work.”

And that :

“One should be wary of assuming that this is indicative of a regional swing away from the super-tall height threshold. Optimistic projections show as many as nine super-tall buildings completing in the Middle East in 2017.”

Santiago Calatrava’s Dubai Creek Harbour World’s tallest observation tower project

Relevance of Elitist Higher Education in the Middle East

An article written by Lisa Anderson and published on University World News of January 20, 2017 elaborates on today’s situation of the higher education and poses the question of the relevance of elitist higher education in the Middle East’s Arab World. The MENA region with the Arab world within it has been throughout the years at the forefront of an international movement of universities mainly from the US and the UK branching out into the Middle East. With the advent of oil and its ensuing ginormous revenues, countries of the GCC’s followed suit. Even, French education establishments would not be left behind with the settlement of HEC Paris in Doha. Most countries however are feeling these days the pinch especially after the drop in oil price related revenues, as reported in the cost of the US education institutions in Qatar. Moreover, the last factor to perhaps influence one way or another this globalisation of the higher education, would as most would have guessed is the new US president who seems to be quite particular about US work and expertise vanishing overseas.
So do foreign universities just serve the global elite?

An article written by Lisa Anderson and published on University World News Issue No:443 on January 20th, 2017 elaborates on today situation of the higher education and poses the question of the relevance of elitist higher education in the Middle East’s Arab World.

The MENA region with the Arab world within it has been throughout the years at the forefront of an international movement of universities mainly from the US and the UK branching out into the Middle East.

Historically, Lebanon and Egypt spearheaded this move early on in the 20th century.  With the advent of oil and its ensuing ginormous revenues, countries of the GCC’s followed suit as described on our previous article titled New Universities of the MENA.  Even, French education establishments would not be left behind with the settlement of HEC Paris in Doha.

Most countries however are feeling these days the pinch especially after the drop in oil price related revenues, as reported in the cost of the US education institutions in Qatar.  Moreover, the last factor to perhaps influence one way or another this globalisation of the higher education, would as most would have guessed is the new US president who seems to be quite particular about US work and expertise vanishing overseas.

 

Do foreign universities just serve the global elite?

 

American universities in the Arab world have long enjoyed a good-humoured debate about whether they are in or of the city in which they are located. The American University in Cairo is in the minority; most – the American Universities of Beirut, Sharjah, Kuwait and Iraq, for example – are of their place.

It is not just an American question, although most non-American universities have settled on being in their cities, like the German University in Cairo, while international branch campuses often duck the issue, using a space (NYU Abu Dhabi), colon (Northwestern University: Qatar campus) or an entirely different preposition (Texas A&M University at Qatar).

Beneath the light-hearted terminological dispute is a serious question: what is the place of universities with such explicit international affiliations in the Arab world today?

Where they come from

The oldest of these institutions reflects a missionary impulse: the American University of Beirut began in 1866 as the Syrian Protestant College. Before it was established in 1919, the trustees of the American University in Cairo, or AUC, briefly called it Cairo Christian University. By the time AUC opened, however, the explicitly religious purpose of these universities was already giving way to a secular, if paternalistic, commitment to promoting education for moral character and enlightened citizenship.

The middle of the 20th century saw the establishment of national universities across the Arab world to produce the administrative cadres of new and ambitious states. Private tertiary education was virtually unknown except in Lebanon, and free public higher education became a pillar of the developmental states of the region.

Like the states themselves, however, government universities soon grew inefficient, underfunded and ineffective, failing to meet the needs of the fast growing population. (Ultimately, youth unemployment would be higher in the Arab states than anywhere else in the world, estimated today at more than 30%.)

Private higher education

In confronting this challenge, as in so much else, governments in the region turned to the private sector: 70% of the approximately 600 universities in the region today were established after 1990, and about 40% of those are private, accounting for about 30% of the region’s university enrolments.

And, in the era of neoliberal globalisation, the private sector turned to the world. Thus, many of the private universities in the Arab world advertise themselves as attached to, modelled on, or otherwise associated with international establishments.

In the United Arab Emirates alone, there are nearly 40 institutions that bear names that are identifiably American, European or Australian. Some are cleverly marketed vocational schools and training institutes, but a substantial number are genuine efforts to provide a reasonably good undergraduate education, often drawing on the American liberal arts tradition.

Some aspire to support serious graduate and research programmes, as their efforts to win international – often American – accreditation attests.

Similarly, the establishment of branch campuses, particularly in the Gulf – from the outposts of Carnegie Mellon University’s engineering programmes and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar’s Education City, to New York University’s branch campus in Abu Dhabi, for example – and ambitious initiatives like Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology seem to be promising signs of investment in bringing international faculty, curricula, pedagogy and governance practices to education and research in the region.

What they do

Yet, the extent to which these universities could play the catalytic role envisioned for them was always an open question. Obviously, they will never meet the regional demand for literally millions of new university places. Yet, as models for local universities, whether public or private, they often represent technology transfer at its most inauspicious since the barriers to widespread adoption of the purposes, policies, practices and products of these universities are virtually insurmountable.

To start with, the language of instruction in international universities (even the region’s German universities) is English, which both ensures they can recruit distinguished international faculty and restricts their local student applicant pool dramatically. These international faculties, whose reputations rest on the assessments of academic peers around the world, naturally publish their research in English, limiting its exposure in the region.

They strive to meet the specialised standards of their disciplines and fields, selecting research questions and methods with an eye toward academic tastes and techniques, as measured in all-important citation indexes and impact factors, rather than harder-to-measure social value or public consequence.

The universities in turn reward these well-published faculties because their work contributes to raising institutional rankings – and high rankings draw funding, applications, government approvals and international esteem. In the self-contained system of global higher education, it all makes sense.

What they do not do

But from the regional perspective, this also means a chasm between the international institutions introduced to improve higher education in the Arab world and the societies they were supposed to benefit.

In fact, the audience for these universities – their applicants, the visitors to their on-campus art exhibitions and musical performances, the employers of their graduates, their alumni and donors – is a cosmopolitan elite quite distant from the communities outside their walls, more comfortable in New York or London than downtown Cairo or suburban Beirut.

Indeed, because they are often intended to anchor new development – technology hubs, new residential areas, cultural centres – some of these university campuses are closer to the nearest international airport than they are to the urban centres whose names they bear.

And, today, this isolation is exacerbated by the collapse of the popular uprisings of 2011 throughout the Arab world in brutal restorations and vicious civil wars. After all, few host governments want their foreign guests in harm’s way, while among the universities themselves there is little appetite for risk-taking.

Thus, from Cairo to Beirut, Doha to Dubai, universities increasingly look past the region to a global horizon that seems both more promising and less perilous.

Some of the long-established institutions still note their regional foundations: the American University of Beirut declares among its purposes “to serve the peoples of the Middle East and beyond”. The American University in Cairo is “dedicated to making significant contributions to Egypt and the international community […]”. The American University of Sharjah, one of the Emirates’ oldest international universities, is “grounded in the culture of the Gulf region”.

But many others are far less securely anchored in their locale. The American University of Iraq prepares its students for “a modern, pluralistic society and a global environment”. NYU Abu Dhabi equips its students “for the challenges and opportunities of our interconnected world”. The American University of Kuwait simply “enriches society”.

There is much to be said for providing the best possible education for the global elite to whom we entrust our future. But, as our bewilderment about the Arab world today suggests, that education will be incomplete if it is not grounded in – or born of, or even aimed at – the cities and communities where its institutions are located.

Lisa Anderson is former president of the American University in Cairo and senior research fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi.  E-mail: la8@columbia.edu. This article was first published in the current edition of  International Higher Education.

Global Clean Energy Investments at $287.5 billion

As per reliable sources, declining solar equipment prices, and a slowdown in major markets such as China led to an 18% dropping in 2016 to a Global Clean Energy Investments at $287.5 billion.  Although a smaller market than the United States, China or Japan, the Indian solar energy sector is in the middle of unprecedented growth, fed by rapidly declining tariffs, improved technology and a global oversupply of photovoltaic panels and other material, made mainly in China per Soumya Sarkar  in her India’s solar dream rests on Chinese imports on 17 August 2016. India is nevertheless expanding as the fastest among those major nations. With over 300 million houses in India, over 300 days of sunshine, and an ambitious target of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2020, there should have been a solar revolution in Indian homes. Yet, the situation on the ground is quite different as reported by Juhi Chaudhary , author of our proposed article, reproduced here below. The above trends would of course be relevant to the MENA region due if only to all Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) flow of remittances from [. . .]

As per reliable sources, declining solar equipment prices, and a slowdown in major markets such as China led to an 18% dropping in 2016 to a Global Clean Energy Investments at $287.5 billion.  Although a smaller market than the United States, China or Japan, the Indian solar energy sector is in the middle of unprecedented growth, fed by rapidly declining tariffs, improved technology and a global oversupply of photovoltaic panels and other material, made mainly in China per Soumya Sarkar  in her India’s solar dream rests on Chinese imports on 17 August 2016.

India is nevertheless expanding as the fastest among those major nations. With over 300 million houses in India, over 300 days of sunshine, and an ambitious target of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2020, there should have been a solar revolution in Indian homes. Yet, the situation on the ground is quite different as reported by Juhi Chaudhary , author of our proposed article, reproduced here below.

The above trends would of course be relevant to the MENA region due if only to all Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) flow of remittances from the GCC countries somehow helping in the process described in this article.

 

Best of 2016: Big Delhi push to rooftop solar

Solar panels installed on Indira Paryavaran Bhawan in New Delhi. (Image by Central Public Works Department, Government of India)

 

India’s capital has a new target to generate a gigawatt of solar power by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025 through rooftop installations, with the government announcing a slew of incentives.

 

Delhi may be the next big solar city, if the government of India’s National Capital Territory has its latest wish fulfilled. It has set a target of generating 1 GW of solar power a day through rooftop installations by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025. That’s far higher than targets set by states many times the size of Delhi.

“Making Delhi a solar city is on our 70-point agenda,” says Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s Chief Minister. “This policy which is very progressive will help in providing clean and green energy. Rooftop solar systems offer sustainable energy, environmental benefits, low gestation period and minimum transmission and distribution losses.”

Delhi has a peak power demand of 6.5 GW a day. Quite often, this cannot be met, and people face power cuts in temperatures that cross 40 degrees Celsius. There is enough power in the national grid, but transmission and distribution (T&D) lines are too antiquated to meet peak demand.

Decentralised power generation through rooftop solar installations would take care of T&D problems, and bring down Delhi’s huge carbon footprint.

To turn this dream into reality, the government has proposed tax breaks; 30% subsidy on capital investment; making it mandatory for government and commercial buildings to deploy rooftop solar panels; and for distribution companies to meet at least 75% of their solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) within Delhi.

Individual households can put up their own rooftop panels. They will get an incentive depending on the amount of power they generate. Those who do not want to make the investment can get a firm to install the solar panels free of cost, and then buy the power from the firm.

New electricity meters have to be installed for the scheme to work, meters that turn one way when the utility is selling power to you, and the other way when you are generation excess power and selling it to the utility. The cost and relative scarcity of these ‘net’ meters has been a big obstacle in the rollout of solar power generation at the household level.

In its new policy, the government has tried to solve this by grouping multiple homes, factories or offices under one ‘net’ meter. This should be of greatest help to large consumers with multiple buildings and electricity connections. It may also help avoid arguments about who owns the terrace in a shared building. The efficacy of this group net metering scheme will be keenly watched.

On top of being able to sell power back to the utility, for the next three years there is an incentive of Rs 2 (3 US cents) per additional unit generated. Aruna Kumarankandath of the Renewable Energy Programme in the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says, “This is a step in the right direction. So far 18 states have drafted solar policy and Delhi has the best additional generation based incentive to boost rooftop solar.”

Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General of CSE, however warns, “The kind of money they have allocated for subsidies will take care of only 100 MW.” That is 10% of the 2020 target.

Challenges ahead

One big problem is that residents do not want to block up terrace space with solar panels. Terraces have clotheslines and water tanks; they are places where people exercise in the morning and party in the evening.

Now the government has amended the building by-laws so that you can erect a frame on your terrace and then put the panels on the frame, without the tax inspector coming and telling you that your house is higher so you have to pay more property tax.

Plus, you do not even need approval from the municipal corporation to put solar panels on your terrace.

Though the government is silent on this, it still makes sense to check if your building can take the extra weight.

Other challenges remain. A solar panel generating one kilowatt per hour costs Rs 1 lakh (USD 1,500) and takes up around 100 sq. feet. To make money in the long run, one ideally needs to generate in megawatts, but most do not have the space, even if specialised firms take care of the investment. Still, every little will help reduce electricity bills, not to talk of the environment.

Ashutosh Dixit, CEO of URJA – the apex body of around 2,500 resident welfare associations (RWA) in Delhi – welcomes the move. Five RWAs have already installed rooftop solar panels in their offices, he says. But he is worried about solar panels adding to the weight on the building. “The safety issue also needs to be looked into as Delhi gets lots of storms and these panels can easily fly off and injure someone.”

Pujarini Sen, campaigner in environmental NGO Greenpeace, calls the move “a trailblazing step towards fulfilling India’s global climate commitments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious national solar targets, and overall sustainable development. If the entire country moves in this direction, then the long overdue energy revolution in India will be achieved soon.”

As a first step, it will help if the average resident knows where to go and buy a solar panel.