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Honoring the Arab Business Leaders of the Year 2010
By Michael Wette,
Partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

The United Arab Emirates have increased their economic importance even more over the last couple of years, which were overshadowed by the global economic crisis. Looking at the global situation nowadays, the importance of revitalizing existing economic synergies and creating new ones is strongly connected to networking across different cultures and religions. Respect is not only the basis for human engagement, but also for economic growth, vitality and innovation.

Mohammed Elmandjra, Chief Executive Officer, Meditel, Morocco,
with Michael Wette

At this year’s Global Arab Business Meeting in Ras Al Khaimah, a jury led by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Horasis proudly nominated three prominent figures to be honored as ‘Arab Business Leaders of the Year 2010’.The tremendous potential of the Arab world in a global context was the dominant topic in this year’s meeting and was also the main criteria in selecting this year’s winners.

All three winners have had outstanding economic as well as social success over the past few years and truly deserve this recognition.

  • Dr. Naif A. Al-Mutawa is the Founder and CEO of Kuwait’s Teshkeel Media Group and creator of the comic book series ‘THE 99’.The company provides positive children’s content with a local focus, such as with THE 99’s proprietary superhero concept, which seeks to improve understanding across different cultures.
  • Dr. Mohamed Elmandjra is the CEO of Meditél in Morocco, the country’s second largest telecom operator and one of its largest companies overall. Due to Dr. Elmandjra’s dedication, the company gained 6 points of market share, reversing years of underperformance. France Télécom recently acquired a 40 percent stake in Meditél and aims to drive the future growth of the company.
  • Dr. Tidu Maini is the Executive Chairman of Qatar Science & Technology Park with the purpose of supporting Qatar as it becomes a ‘post-carbon economy’. Due to the innovative impact of QSTP and especially Dr. Maini’s efforts, companies and institutes from around the world are developing and commercializing their technology in Qatar.

THE 99 is a comic book with Islamic roots that presents cultural and religious values in an entertaining way.The world needs heroes, and the Teshkeel Media Group – or, to be exact, Dr. Al Mutawa – has created 99 of them.The comic aims to entertain children of all cultural backgrounds and challenge established stereotypes in a way they have termed ‘edutainment’. Recently, Forbes named THE 99 one of the top 20 trends sweeping the globe and Dr. Naif became one of the ‘500 Most Influential Muslims in the World’.

Meditél recently acquired its 10 millionth user.The company has 1,000 employees, with more than 12,000 people working indirectly for the company.This year, France Télécom acquired a significant share of the company, and has aggressive plans for future growth. Since Dr. Elmandjra became CEO in 2008, the company’s sales and profitability have consistently reached record levels quarter after quarter, making 2010 the best year in Meditél’s history.

Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) is part of the Qatar Foundation’s Education City, hosting campuses of Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern,Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth and Cornell universities.

His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi discussing investment strategies with business leaders

The Foundation was established in 1995 by His Highness the Emir of Qatar and is chaired by his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, a global figure in human development. QSTP helps entrepreneurs launch start-up technology companies in Qatar by providing funding and training.

QSTP initiates its own projects for research and training plus demonstrating platform technologies, such as the Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre.

Under Al-Mutawa’s unceasing dedication, the Thekseel Media Group became one of the Middle East’s main developers of comic books and magazines. It recently launched THE 99 as an animated TV show.

The company is located in Kuwait with offices in Cairo and New York, and therefore plays a key role in transporting different media as well as culturally specific values across the globe.THE 99 is the first group of superheroes born of an Islamic archetype and has received positive attention from the international media, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

In 2010, Elmandjra was elected President of Royal Moroccan Federation of Taekwondo, one of the country’s largest sports organizations. Shortly afterwards, he was recognized as ‘Sports Manager of the Year’.

In addition to organizing the federation’s governance processes and financials, Elmandjra led the Moroccan team to first place at the Francophone World Cup Taekwondo with 4 gold medals and a silver.They also placed first at the first-ever African Youth Games with 9 gold medals, a silver and a bronze.

Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman, Qatar Science & Technology Park,Qatar - one of the Arab Business Leaders of the Year

Dr. Elmandjra is also founding board member of ANWAR, a nonprofit organization focused on developing high potential Moroccan youth, and he sits on the Board of PlaNet Finance, a microfinance institution.

Maini has 30 years of experience managing technology companies in the defense, electronics, energy and ICT sectors. His extensive experience includes business management in Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East. His previous positions include Senior Vice President of Schlumberger, Inc., Main Board Member of Sema Group plc, Deputy Chairman of GEC Marconi, and Managing Director of GEC Software Systems.

Dr. Maini was Pro Rector of Imperial College London for six years starting in 2001. Dr. Al-Mutawa, who holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, is Clinical Director of the Soor Center, Kuwait’s leading professional resource for a broad range of psychological services. His past work with former prisoners of war in Kuwait as well as with the Survivors of Political Torture unit in New York greatly influenced his career.

These experiences with people who were tortured because of their religious and political beliefs helped him create a vision: find an entertaining way to promote wisdom, mercy and many other positive values inspired by different religions.The result was THE 99 – characters from 99 countries based on 99 virtues.


A native of Morocco,Mr. Elmandjra earned his Ph.D. in bioengineering in the United States. He began his career working for General Electric Medical Systems as a development scientist and quickly rose through the ranks, working for big companies such as ADAC, the world leader in nuclear medicine. Early in his career, he taught at British,American and French universities and authored a dozen scientific papers. He gave several keynote speeches at medical and telecom congresses. Dr. Elmandjra sits on the board of directors of iGlycko, a Silicon Valley biotech startup and Soovox, a software company focused on social networking.

Dr. Maini’s keen interest in research and innovation started back when he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Berkeley, and continued through his time as Pro Rector for Development and Corporate Affairs at the Imperial College London. He is a member of the Qatar Government Committee for small and medium-sized enterprises; the Joint Advisory Board of Texas A&M University at Qatar; Advisory Board of the Grantham Institute of Climate Change at Imperial College, London School of Economics and the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at IISc Bangalore; and the International Advisory Board of the Lightbridge Corporation in the US. Besides investing in Qatar’s future, he is also helping to use this knowledge and background to support the London 2012 Olympic Technology Board as its Chairman. His main achievement is to develop Qatar’s economy by making it an incubator for businesses from all around the globe.

Dr. Al-Mutawa, Dr. Elmandjra and Dr. Maini excel in leadership, global reach and economic performance.Their social commitment and innovative approach on behalf of the Arab world and its people truly make them Arab Business Leaders of The Year 2010.

Scenery in Ras Al Khaimah

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