Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

To tweet, or not to tweet? I'm with the Minister for Foreign Trade on that

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, does not have a Twitter account, which I think is an eminently sensible decision.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, does not have a Twitter account, which I think is an eminently sensible decision.

I know a lot of very important people do tweet, and very successfully too. But after a brief dalliance with the little blue bird, I've largely given it up. I just couldn't trust myself not to tweet injudiciously or inappropriately.

So I have forsaken it. It was too time-consuming anyway.

Sheikha Lubna announced her Twitter-less status on a panel at the Sharjah Government Communication Forum held in the emirate's imposing Expo Hall this week. Her revelation drew some surprised gasps from the audience, many of them younger social media types for whom life without Twitter would obviously be intolerable.

I noticed lots of them tweeting Sheikha Lubna's revelation as soon as she made it.

They obviously thought her extrovert, modern persona would have made tweeting a must, but she was adamant.

"It's a personal decision," she insisted, pointing out that her ministry does tweet quite frequently.

Her decision is in contrast to a number of senior members of the ruling families of the UAE. Another panel member, Noura Al Kaabi, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi's free zone twofour54 and herself a prolific tweeter, took the audience through the tweeting styles of various senior figures in the UAE constellation, and fascinating it was too.

Ms Al Kaabi also drew the biggest round of applause of her panel session in response to a question about how government departments should respond to complaints about bad service.

"The customer is always right," she insisted, "even in the public sector". I imagine that was prolifically tweeted too.




The moderator of that session, the TV presenter Turki Al Dakhil, decided to have some fun with one of the panelists, Gordon Johndroe, who was a press spokesman for the United States government under the then president George W Bush.

Mr Al Dakhil posed the question: "Is a spokesman somebody who puts cosmetics on a certain face but those cosmetics are just for show?"

I didn't really understand what he meant, and a look round the hall showed a number of other participants were similarly perplexed.

It must have been some kind of private joke though, because Mr Johndroe had a little snigger before deftly avoiding an answer with a typical bit of spin-doctor finesse.

Cosmetics? A certain face? Whatever could he have meant?




I learn that there is life after a career in the Dubai Financial Services Authority, and quite interesting it can be.

Paul Koster, who took his leave as the chief executive of the DFSA last summer after a four-year span generally reckoned to have been a great success, has retained his connections with Dubai.

Mr Koster's management hallmark was the gentle art of persuasive consensus-building, and he is putting those skills to good use as an adviser to Abdullah Mohammed Saleh, the unassuming governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

That role will probably be less demanding than Mr Koster's other post-DFSA job, as the president of the body in charge of recapitalising Greece's bombed-out banking system.

The Greeks obviously feel that a softly spoken "neutral" like the Dutchman Mr Koster will be better at handling the tense refinancing talks with (mainly German) creditors.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National