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Quest Means Business
Major Averages Mostly Flat After Inflation Report; I.M.F. Chief Says Recovery Is Slowing Down And More Risk In 2022; Novak Djokovic Back In Court As Tournament Draw Nears; Lawmakers Blast Boris Johnson Over Deepening Scandal; Revisiting One Of Our "Voices Of The Crisis"; Anghami Has 73 Million Streaming Users Worldwide; German Sustainability Pavilion Features Massive Ball Pit. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 12, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: There is an hour to go before the finish of trading on Wall Street. It is midnight here in Dubai and stocks
are rising after investors digested fresh U.S. inflation numbers. The number was horrible by the way. U.S. CPI hit seven percent in line with
expectations, and you can see the way the market has been battling that information, trying to decide which way to move. And as a result, we're
just literally moving up and around the zero mark.
The markets and the main events.
Consequences. The I.M.F. Chief is warning, markets may be too optimistic, and she tells us and investors to lift the hood and have a good look at
Boris Johnson is facing calls to resign from within his own party. He has apologized for breaking COVID rules.
And I'll revisit one of our voices of the crisis. Live music back in Dubai, the voice of the crisis revisited.
We are alive from Expo 2020 in Dubai, midweek, January the 12th. I'm Richard Quest, and yes, I mean business.
Good evening. U.S. inflation has hit its highest level in 40 years, and the head of the I.M.F. tells us tonight, the Federal Reserve can get a handle
on rising prices and is acting appropriately based on the data.
Here is the U.S.'s annual inflation rate as we look over the last 12 months. So last year, it starts out at 1.4 percent. It had reached five
percent in May, and back then, it was being called transitory by the Fed.
Well, by October it was up more than six percent and far from transitory. It was looking sticky.
The I.M.F. Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva explain why Central Banks got it so wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: Nobody made the connection that multiple factors are pushing prices up,
like labor markets have changed; climate shocks have made food more expensive in many places. All of this combined made inflation sticky, and
we are where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Wall Street is tepid on the inflation report, the Dow is up right now, barely, flat most of the day. You can see barely 200 points in either
direction, and the other major averages are up by about three-tenths of a percent.
Matt Egan is with us, and Matt, look, the market is really telling us, it doesn't know what to make of this in the sense that the high number was
expected. They already know that the Fed is going to raise rates. So where does today take us?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Richard, we were expecting a brutal inflation report and that is exactly what we got. You mentioned this in
line, but it is pretty staggering just to think about where all this fits in historically.
The last time we saw consumer prices rise by seven percent annually, Ronald Reagan was in the White House. And you know, some of these price gains have
really been historic. We saw full service meals, fast food, men's apparel, new cars and trucks, all of them rising by the most on record.
Now the market, I don't think has really been shocked by this because they were bracing -- investors were bracing for this kind of a number. I think
that this does put more pressure though on the Federal Reserve to get inflation under control and Chairman Jerome Powell, he was emphatic
yesterday that the Fed is going to do whatever it takes and could even move more aggressively to get inflation under control.
I think, Richard, the question is, whether or not the Fed is so far behind the curve that it ends up needing to raise interest rates either fast -- so
fast, or to such a level that it actually slows the economy down.
QUEST: I was just looking back at those days 1979-1980-1981 inflation gets to inflation percent, at one pointing and therefore rates have to be
brought in much higher to bring it down, though that was the era of Paul Volcker.
Markets are more sophisticated. There are many more tools since then.
But the underlying fundamentals don't change.
EGAN: That's right. I mean, this is the highest inflation since 1982, but it is not nearly as bad as that. I mean, back then, inflation did peak it
more than twice these levels. And yes, the Federal Reserve had to slam the brakes on the economy, raising interest rates to unprecedented levels, so
much so that it caused a really painful recession or double dip recession even.
Now, I don't think that we have to worry about the Fed having to move that high or that aggressively here. But you know, let's remember that, aside
from maybe 18 months or so towards the end of the Trump administration, right before COVID, this economy over the last 12 months, 12 years really
has only really experienced with near zero interest rates.
So the question is, you know, whether or not even one, two, or three percent interest rates is going to be something that the economy and the
financial markets have to adjust to.
QUEST: Matt Egan, thank you.
Now, the Managing Director of the I.M.F., Kristalina Georgieva told me that the world had entered 2022 with more uncertainty, more risk, and more
complexity as the global economic recovery slows down.
GEORGIEVA: We have a more complex policy environment than I anticipated a couple of months with inflation, and that is being much bigger concerns
today than they were a couple of months ago.
QUEST: Let's just stick with the Fed for -- and by the Fed, one could arguably say the E.C.B. or we could say many of the countries facing
I'm frustrated, Managing Director. It was only a few months ago, these very same central bankers, were saying transitory. How could they have got it so
GEORGIEVA: This disconnect between demand and supply is actually more protracted than anybody thought. So we are going to see disruptions all the
way in '22, maybe up to '23, and that is the main factor.
With more waves of the COVID, of course, these disruptions become more serious, and then nobody made the connection that multiple factors are
pushing prices up, like labor markets have changed, climate shocks can make food more expensive in many places. All of this combined made inflation
sticky, and we are where we are.
QUEST: The Fed Chair yesterday, you will have seen basically did a version of I'll do whatever it takes to get rid of inflation. Goldman Sachs talked
about four increases in interest rates in '22. This does not sound -- I mean, we could be looking at, if not literally, stagflation, at least very
low growth with rising rates and inflation.
GEORGIEVA: So you are projecting something that is not entirely out of question. What is positive, though, is that the Fed is acting rather
appropriately. They are accelerating the exits from asset purchases. They are bringing forward rate increases, and they're communicating this quite
If you look at the market reaction to the Fed saying all these things, they are coming. It has been smooth, it has been absorbed by markets to a point
that some of us are saying maybe markets are too optimistic. Maybe markets are not looking under the hood of this inflation problem, because what
worries us is inflation expectations have gone up, rate increases are not yet catching up with this inflation expectations.
So would it be necessary to do more? Maybe. And that is where the track to growth you described is not trivial.
Our assessment is that one we have achieved remarkable recovery. What the U.S. has done, for example, to get to a point that unemployment is under
four percent, GDP is just about at the level it was in 2019. It is a fabulous achievement.
And they pumped into the economy so much money that through '22, we are not too worried about demand being strong in the U.S. and therefore grow at a
reasonably sound level.
QUEST: So listening to -- I was listening very closely to your answer, and I'm not asking you do you think the market is going to fall, but you do
give an indication that the fund is concerned that markets are still not pricing in reality.
GEORGIEVA: So in our baseline, we look at U.S. inflation starting to go down in the second quarter. If that is the case, then obviously the Fed
would moderate what they do to control it.
So, we have to stay focused on how data informs our policy making.
QUEST: And we will have more from the interview with the I.M.F.'s Managing Director tomorrow evening and it will include her dire warning for
countries in heavy debt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGIEVA: If you are in this category, then look at extended maturities of the debt you have now. Look at currency mismatches now. Think of your
defense strategy now, not when your feet are burning, because the problem is already upon you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: That's tomorrow's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
On tonight, still ahead, I'll be joined by New Zealand's former Prime Minister: How Expo 2020 is the right place at the right time to talk about
vaccine inequality as the omicron variant spreads across the globe, and that is the spectacular view of the UAE Pavilion, which is sort of just a
bit over there, turn to the left and move over.
QUEST: The Australian Open draw is supposed to happen a few hours from now and we are waiting to learn whether Novak Djokovic will be allowed to
defend his title.
Australia's Immigration Minister is still considering whether to remove Djokovic from the country after he lied on his COVID travel forms.
The men's number one player is under fire. Now, it is because he sat down for an interview last month even though he knew he had tested positive for
CNN's Phil Black is in Melbourne, Australia.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Some apologies are swift, fulsome, and heartfelt. Novak Djokovic chose a different path.
Opening with, "I want to address the continuing misinformation about my activities."
The world number one tennis player's extraordinary statement tries to explain how and why he tested positive for COVID-19 and then hung out with
lots of people over the following days.
This is the Djokovic timeline.
December 14th, he attends a basketball game in Belgrade. December 16th, hearing about infections at the game, he undergoes a rapid antigen test.
It's negative, he feels good, but cautious. So he sits for a PCR test anyway.
December 17th, another negative result from a rapid test before attending this children's tennis event.
Later that day, Djokovic says he receives the PCR result. It's positive.
December 18, Djokovic cancels all appointments except an interview with French sports publication "L'Equipe" because he says, "I didn't want to let
the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken."
The journalist Djokovic was so concerned about says he was never told about the positive test nor was the photographer. Djokovic now admits he made a
"While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period; on reflection, this was an error of judgment and I accept that I should
have rescheduled this commitment."
BEN ROTHENBERG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: For not alerting this reporter not telling him, hey, by the way, I am positive for her COVID. Do you still
want to do this? We should probably cancel. The guy went uninformed about this and that Djokovic knew and keeping that secret from him, I think it's
pretty, pretty irresponsible.
BLACK (voice over): Then second sort of apology from Djokovic, admitting there was inaccurate information in the Travel Declaration Form submitted
to Australian authorities. That's a potential crime here.
Asked if he has been to any other countries in the previous 14 days, his answer is "no." Social media pictures show he'd been in Serbia and Spain.
"This was submitted by my support team on my behalf. My agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative mistake. This was a human error and
certainly not deliberate."
While Djokovic trains desperately trying to focus on winning, the ball is now in the Australian government's court, as it considers canceling his
visa once again.
Phil Black, CNN, Melbourne, Australia.
QUEST: Here at Expo 2020 in Dubai, the U.N. General Assembly will convene its Global Goals Week, starting on Saturday. It is the first time this
event has held outside of the U.N. headquarters in New York.
Poverty, climate change, and inequality will be addressed, especially vaccine inequality in less wealthy nations.
Helen Clark is with me, virtually, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand. She will be one of the virtual speakers, and she joins me now from
Miss Clark, it is good to always good to talk to you. This meeting of the U.N. and the global goals, it could not happen at a better time, but at the
same time, the situation is deteriorating from vaccine inequality and poverty difference.
HELEN CLARK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: Yes. The situation is dire, and let's face it, while we're all over the virus, the virus is not
done with us. It's going to keep coming in surges and spikes and waves and we have to do the best we can to protect ourselves and the world's
population. So vaccine inequity is absolutely the issue to be focusing on in this Global Goals Week because until we can get that, how do we get back
on track with sustainable development goals and the fight against poverty and hunger and everything else in those goals.
QUEST: But bearing in mind that from day one of pandemic, we were told by the experts, you have to vaccinate the world. No one is safe until everyone
is safe, and yet, first delta, then omicron both came about or certainly omicron, because part of the world was not vaccinated. We haven't learned.
CLARK: No, we haven't learned at all, and it is a complicated picture of the high income countries like yours and mine all over ordering and then
not sharing what we've got. It's a complex picture of Big Pharma, not being prepared to license production around the world at the scale required to
vaccinate the low and low and middle income countries.
This is also draining the chain on the TRIPS waiver discussions, the intellectual property waiver discussions at the W.T.O. We need to fix a lot
of things to get this right.
QUEST: Okay, so how does a virtual meeting of the U.N. in such a fashion without -- I mean, I stand much less experienced than yourself at U.N.
protocols, but I do know that they are long winded, they are full of bureaucracy. How do you actually get something done from those meetings?
CLARK: I think this one is important because it really becomes the first international meeting of scale of the year. Normally, about this time,
you'd be standing in the snow at Davos, and so would I. That's not possible this year to bring the world's great and good together at the World
So this Summit is a first opportunity before you get to the World Health Assembly Executive Board in a couple of weeks' time before you get to the
G-20 Finance Ministers meetings and so on.
So hopefully, this meeting can set the tone with more dynamic interaction and sessions that is possible in what -- you are right -- is the somewhat
stifling protocol oriented kind of session you get in New York at the General Assembly.
QUEST: I don't know how you do so many of them, Miss Clark, and still sort of manage to keep so optimistic or at least keep moving forward.
Helen Clark joining us from New Zealand, where it is a morning. Thank you, ma'am.
Inequality, and so we'll continue with this thought. It is the major issue here at the UAE. A study show that one percent of the country's population
holds more than half of its wealth. I spoke to the CEO of Crescent Enterprises, Badr Jafar about his work to adjust that gap.
BADR JAFAR, CEO, CRESCENT ENTERPRISES: The region's post pandemic or mid pandemic, I should say, performance is as you go across the 20 or so
countries that make up the Middle East and North Africa is as diverse as the 500 million people or so that live in it.
I mean, you just need to look at the incredible scenes that we have today here and the sights and sounds in what is Expo 2020 Dubai, but perhaps the
not so optimistic scenes that we see three to four hours away in places like Lebanon, Sudan, and other parts of the region.
But I'd like to think that we have a shared responsibility to ensure that as in when the tide rises, that we lift as many boats as we can with us.
And that -- and in terms of trends, there are a number of, I think, macro trends that are very positive and that will contribute to that rising tide
QUEST: Such as?
JAFAR: Such as venture capital, that's one. So we've been saying for a long time that the only way we can address as a sort of silver bullet the
youth unemployment crisis and socioeconomic problems that we have and challenges we have across the region is by nurturing small businesses to
create jobs, create opportunities and pursue innovation.
The problem is, no one was investing in small businesses, but I see that changing. Last year, we had a record amount of capital that went to fund
QUEST: But isn't this a relatively small amount bearing in mind, for instance, the number of women who lost their jobs during the pandemic, the
increase in the level of poverty that's come about as a result.
You know, all the really dangerous metrics have gone up quite dramatically.
JAFAR: And which is precisely why we need to create businesses as change agents who can in turn create the solutions both on a social and economic
One of the other trends we're seeing is the ESG bandwagon, if you will, is properly in town, where businesses are aligning with their social and
environmental impact, in addition to their, of course, financial impact as being one and the same in terms of stakeholder returns.
So that I think is a positive trend we have to nurture.
QUEST: And what about the idea of philanthropy? The way in which this is - -
JAFAR: So I've been saying for a while that I think philanthropic capital is the forgotten child of the capitalist system. It's really often regarded
with a high degree of suspicion in many parts of the world and at best seen as a periphery player.
But the reality is Richard, as you probably know, well over a trillion dollars in fact, probably closer to $2 trillion of philanthropic capital is
dispersed every single year. In the U.S. alone, more than $500 billion last year. Closer to home in the Islamic communities or the Islamic world, if
you will, between --
QUEST: Where there is great wealth.
JAFAR: Where there was great alms giving, and of course, large populations, and the aggregates of that means that you have anywhere
between $300 billion to a trillion dollars between zakat, which is compulsory alms giving and sadaqah, which is discretionary alms giving.
This is a huge amount of money even at the lower end of the scale, that's more than the combined annual global humanitarian aid budgets.
But the question is, where is that money going? Is that money getting to its recipient? Is that money generating the intended impact? Well,
unfortunately, with one in three Muslims living below the poverty line, the answer is probably not. But therein lies the opportunity.
QUEST: So what -- okay, so the opportunity, but what then has to happen to realize that opportunity? What are the mechanisms that need to be put in
JAFAR: So this is precisely why I've been really honored to partner with the likes of the University of Cambridge, with great institutions like NYU
Abu Dhabi, and hopefully other institutions around emerging markets, to create platforms to do a number of things -- research, understanding the
past, present, and future philanthropy, convening, having discussions in safe environments around philanthropic giving, and very importantly,
education and training to the next generation to maximize their impact.
QUEST: Badr Jafar on the philanthropy, now still as we continue tonight, Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister is facing one of his biggest
scandals to date. It is costing him the support of a top ally. In a moment.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. You and I have got a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS to get through tonight. We'll be talking about Boris Johnson
facing calls to resign from with his own party after breaching his own COVID rules during England's lockdown.
And a voice of the crisis revisited. Remember all those promises I made, I'll be back I said. Well, I'll check in with the head of entertainment
company here in Dubai to see how the business is recovering.
It is all after these headlines because this is CNN and on this network, the news always comes first.
QUEST (voice-over): A judge in New York today has denied a motion to dismiss a sexual abuse lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew. Virginia
Giuffre is claiming she was 17 years old when Jeffrey Epstein Andrew forced her to have sex with his friends. And that included, the allegation goes,
the prince. Prince Andrew denies the allegations.
NATO's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg says it was, in his words, "not an easy discussion today," with Russia about the situation in Ukraine. The
two sides met in Brussels to try to diffuse tensions over Russia's military buildup near the Ukraine border. They're deadlocked, though, with growing
fears Russia may invade Ukraine.
China's port city of Tianjin is the latest to tighten restrictions to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, about 20 million people are now
under strict lockdown. China is trying to contain the virus before the Beijing games begin, less than a month away.
Twitter users in Nigeria will be able to tweet again at midnight tonight, after the Nigerian government announced it was lifting its ban on Twitter,
saying they had agreed to address legal registration and taxation issues as well as Nigerian laws on prohibited publications.
The British prime minister Boris Johnson has apologized for attending a garden party at Downing Street during Britain's first COVID lockdown. Boris
Johnson, today, acknowledged that he went to the event in May 2020. He insisted he thought it was just a work gathering.
He later conceded that, in retrospect, he should have sent everybody back inside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there would be millions and millions of
people, who simply would not see it that way, people who suffered terribly, people who were forbidden from meeting loved ones at all, inside or
And to them and to this house, I offer my heartfelt apologies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: For context, the restrictions in place when the party was held, people in England could only meet one person outside their household. And
it had to be outdoors, socially distanced.
Nonessential shops were closed and workplace meetings were only allowed when absolutely necessary. Excuse me. In light of the breached rules, the
Scottish Conservative leader has now called on Johnson to resign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUGLAS ROSS, SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE LEADER: (INAUDIBLE) and he said with hindsight, he would have done things differently, which, for me, is an
acceptance from the prime minister that it was wrong and, therefore, I wouldn't want to be in his position. If I am in the position, to, I don't
think he can continue to lead (INAUDIBLE) Conservatives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Even before this scandal, Johnson's favorability rating had fallen to its lowest level in two years, hitting only 20 percent. CNN Bianca
Nobilo with us from London.
Now this is interesting, isn't it, the reality is that Boris Johnson is in more trouble with the hypocrisy than he has been in before.
Would you agree?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I would wholeheartedly agree with that, Richard. And that is because Boris Johnson
is obviously no stranger to scandal. He's had plenty of them. And in fact, the British public has that expectation, that Boris Johnson will always
But this time, it's different, because the public, who he's always been more popular with than his own MPs, are the ones potentially insulted here,
because those actions of attending a party allegedly in the Downing Street garden show contempt for the British public at a time where people were
dying alone in hospital, grieving alone and unable to attend funerals.
So that really sticks. And also, MPs across his party and, at this point, humiliated, some say, embarrassed, feeling ashamed.
Because they're having to try to defend the actions to their constituents and previously in the media and they just find it indefensible.
QUEST: But -- and the other thing, of course, is, it's not just this one party. You've got the cheese and wine that was taking place that we know
about. You've got the various Christmas quizzes that also took place. And you now have this 100 gathering or invitation. So there is a series of
Can he survive this?
NOBILO: The MPs I've been speaking to, mainly earlier in the week, was saying it's likely that no letters will meet that threshold of 15 percent
of Conservative MPs that trigger the leadership contest until May, because they want to see the outcome of the local elections in the U.K.
If the Conservative Party gets hammered, then you can expect all the letters to go in. However, there is so much discontent, it's possible it
could happen earlier but I think what they want to see is the outcome of this investigation to see definitively whether or not the prime minister
broke the rules.
And crucially his reaction to that and then they'll judge and that may be the moment we'll see a leadership contest. But Richard, I would say why
this is sticking is the Labour Party were making inroads with this line, that it's one rule for Boris Johnson and his party and another for the rest
of the country.
We saw that beginning with the Dominic Cummings saga and now this is another gut punch in that direction.
QUEST: The thing that struck me was the number of people who wrote on Twitter and elsewhere, they couldn't go to their loved one's weddings or
funerals; that picture of Her Majesty the Queen, after Prince Phillip passed away. I mean Boris Johnson can't overcome that.
NOBILO: No. And it's precisely because of that visceral nature that you're referring to, I mean, I'm sure you feel it, too. Richard. But when I was
talking about this last night, it's actually hard sometimes, almost not to cry when you think about what people went through.
You might have your own stories. I have my own about what I couldn't do and who I couldn't see at that time. And that's why it's so hard to overcome,
is some of his scandals like the lobbying scandal, for example, it's a bit esoteric. It doesn't necessarily have that cut-through.
This does, because everybody can make that juxtaposition for themselves. What he may have sanctioned or attended a boozy do at Downing Street with
30 people, what couldn't they do, who died without comfort. And that's why this feels different to any other scandal.
QUEST: Bianca, good to see you. Thank you.
As we continue tonight on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, during the pandemic, partying was one activity that couldn't go online. I talk to one of our
"Voice of the Crisis" guests about how COVID changed her entertainment business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIN AL ALAMI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, LA CLE ENTERTAINMENT: We opted to just focus on waiting until the city and the world gets back on its feet and
bring back live entertainment to everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: It is very impressive. That is the UAE pavilion. I haven't managed to get in there yet, there's always a long line outside.
Now, while in Dubai, I fulfilled a promise to visit one of our "Voices of the Crisis." Sherin Al Alami shared her story with us during the height of
the pandemic. The head of an entertainment company, tight COVID restrictions had ground her business to a halt. I wanted to see how things
are going now.
QUEST (voice-over): "Where words fail, music speaks," so wrote Hans Christian Andersen. He could have been talking about Sunday afternoon at
this restaurant along Dubai's Palm Jumeirah waterfront.
The patrons here are enjoying the live Cuban band. The whole experience feels extra special after the long, lonely days of 2020, the gorgeous
music, divine food, the company of friends.
For Sherin Al Alami, the managing director of Dubai's La Cle Entertainment, it's the revival of a business that completely collapsed in the spring of
2020. That's when we last spoke. She was one of our "Voices of the Crisis."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL ALAMI: We have artists from all around the world that come into Dubai, as you know, Dubai is a very buzzing -- has a night life.
So we have to immediately find a solution to send them back to the respective countries. We had a feeling airports and travel would become
restricted. So it was just kind of immediate decision in crisis mode for our team to just send everyone back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: During the pandemic, this is one of the bands you sent home?
AL ALAMI: Yes, exactly, they went home March 2020 and then came back in December.
QUEST: Have you got lots of work for them now?
AL ALAMI: We have four or five shows a week for them. And they do different venues, members' club, restaurants, weddings, hotels, New Year's
parties, so we're quite busy. And we go into the studio often.
QUEST (voice-over): Sherin discovered during that first lockdown that her plans to experiment with continuing the business online would not be a
AL ALAMI: It was a little bit difficult. We're more about experience, about trying musically hearing, connecting with the band, going through a
moment. So it was -- we opted to just focus on waiting until the city and the world gets back on its feet and bring back live entertainment to
QUEST: Now Omicron has arrived.
AL ALAMI: It has.
QUEST: At the Dubai high season, which is the winter months.
How are you managing now?
AL ALAMI: So I won't lie. Last week was a bit stressful over New Year's We bring in a lot of interactional acts from U.K., London, Paris, from
everywhere over this very busy peak season, we supply hotels and restaurants. So it was a bit of a challenge.
But we navigated it, got through it, we didn't -- we supplied all our services to all the hotels and restaurants. We're just being extra careful.
I think that's what we have to do.
We know it's there, we just need to wait and see what happens and see what the government announces and we're ready, I think after this tough two
years, for anything at this point.
QUEST: To some extent, the very business you are in is used to crises: an artist doesn't turn up, a plane is late, the equipment fails. It's not new.
AL ALAMI: No, it's not.
QUEST: But this was a --
AL ALAMI: This was on a giant scale and, yes, it is part of the nature of entertainment. We have a contract one week; we don't have a contract the
next week. We miss a gig; I think that's the beauty and why I love entertainment, it's never the same day.
And you're working with such artistic and beautiful people every day and lovely clients that support us and believe in us as well.
QUEST: Throughout this crisis, what skills did you realize, what depths did you plummet, what did you learn about yourself?
AL ALAMI: Well, I was never a very patient person, I learned that I need to be very patient, less impulsive, just believe in myself. And some things
are completely out of my control.
And if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. And if we're meant to survive the pandemic, we will survive it.
AL ALAMI: Patience is a virtue.
QUEST: One that you didn't --
AL ALAMI: I didn't have it, I really didn't.
QUEST: Are you a kinder, gentler person as a result, do you think?
AL ALAMI: I think I'm -- I will never change. I'll stay who I am. I've always been very nice, I'm a nice business woman. But I think I'm a bit
more tough. Challenging situations, you're just kind of more, you know, matter of fact; this is what's going to happen. Take it or leave it, we
can't; there's no room for too much negotiation.
QUEST (voice-over): Sherin knows that business is risky. After two years of ups and downs, her business become a symbol of resilience. And the value
that we place on the little things we once took for granted, like getting together and enjoying good music -- Richard Quest, CNN, Dubai.
QUEST: And we are still keeping a track and a list of all the promises I made, of "Voices of the Crisis," and when we can, we will be visiting.
Music is about to get a big boost coming up, as Anghami, a streaming service based in Abu Dhabi, launches a new record label with Sony Music and
(INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) music arabia aims to support independent artists in the Middle East. Anghami boasts 73 million users worldwide and has more
than 30 million Arabic and international songs in its catalog.
And Elie Habib is the cofounder and joins me now.
Good to see you, sir. I was going to call you the Arabic Spotify and then you called yourself that essentially.
ELIE HABIB, CO-FOUNDER, ANGHAMI: Well, no, not really. That's when someone want to understand who we are, I mean, we started by broad music to the
region. I mean there was no digital music service when we started, me and Eddie, my partner, when we started Anghami 10 years ago.
It means my tunes, by the way, in Arabic. We started, we wanted really to bring music and we started by building a platform but then realized to
grow, we need to do way more different stuff than others, like Spotify.
So we had to create a payment network, connect over 40 tackles (ph) we connect over 40 tackles (ph) to our platform, which is unique to us. We
have our own artist platform, to distribute music and really reach their fans, including anghami without labels.
And now with investing on Vibe with Sony Music, which is the second time they did that worldwide besides China, is one that really empowered
But do you always have the risk that an Apple Music or a Spotify will steal your clothes?
They only have to do an Arabic division. And suddenly, you've got a much greater threat.
HABIB: Yes, I mean that's -- we're still wearing the emperor's clothes.We have 58 percent of the market share in the region and it will not just in
Arabic; 1 percent of our catalog in is Arabic but that generate close to 50 percent of the streams.
That's quite important but we just don't do just Arabic, we do way more than that. What we've done is not just created something digital but we're
going into physical. We're creating with admine (ph) the biggest hospitality group in the region, lounges, in (INAUDIBLE) in riyahd, in Abu
Dhabi, Dubai and Cairo, to really connect really fast with users. So we're more than just digital music.
QUEST: Let's talk about the changes here. We think about what happened in Saudi in terms of music, concerts, this -- how real and how lasting do you
feel these changes are?
HABIB: Those changes have really catapulted anghami over the past few years. We couldn't readvertise music in Saudi Arabia. We have artists,
really, that don't tell their parents if they actually sing. And they sing it under an alias, of course. We have an artist that sings without showing
her face, right?
That's how things work. Right now, we're working with the Saudi government, with the Abu Dhabi government, creative authority, entertainment authority
with the Egyptian government. So that is changing.
And with the population, you know, the age parameters, we have a lot of young population. All of that are suddenly having now disposable income. It
is changing tremendously.
QUEST: But do you find you have to walk that narrow line?
Because the thing about music is, it is avant-garde, it is at the forefront, it can be reactionary and it can be exactly the sort of thing
that traditionalists don't like.
QUEST: Take The Beatles.
HABIB: Right, but things change.
We're happy to be part of the crisp (sic) of the change that's happening in the Middle East and, right now, when the change is happening, you know,
top to bottom, that is not risky.
When it goes bottom up, right, it's not important (INAUDIBLE) thing it's like everybody right now is participating. The biggest convention of music
worldwide, I mean happened in riyadh a few weeks ago, right, talking Coachella.
If that happens with the support, everybody, close to 800,000 people there, then you understand, it's from the people to the people.
QUEST: And we'll talk more about it, I'm grateful you came along this evening, sir, thank you, sir.
As we continue, jumping straight into a solution. I visit the German pavilion in Dubai for my Expo moment: sustainability, in a unique way.
QUEST: Now here at the Expo, there is one pavilion that stands out above all the rest. Germany's contribution is all about sustainability. Now
you'll be well aware that we are trying to find, every day, something different, something particularly eye-catching. I went to visit.
QUEST: When they said go to Germany and discover 100,000 ideas, this isn't what I thought they meant. But apparently, every one of these balls is
meant to somehow show how we can all make the most of different ideas; that is, if you manage to stand up.
All right, time to get out. Alley oop.
Germany's given a lot of thought into how to get the sustainability message across in a really fun way.
And this place is -- this is called the inner kite (ph). The idea is create energy. It sounds real easy, steer the kite. I'm literally going in
circles. No, no, I finally got it. I'm going the wrong way; 27 percent accuracy.
This sounds so simple, the idea. We keep the ball in the green by moving together, protecting the climate. And here we go. Whoa, whoa, no, no, no,
hang on. I think we're supposed to be nice and gently, weight transfer. Look at that. You know what you're doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the great hall. Our planet is in constant motion and, more than ever before, it's being changed by us.
QUEST (voice-over): A strong message and an impressive way it's presented.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST: Ho, ho! Ho, ho! Yes. This is such fun.
QUEST: I think I'll keep mine as a souvenir. Ah, typical German efficiency.
QUEST: They really did offer it back.
We'll have a "Profitable Moment" after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment": on the program, we were really pleased to bring you the "Voice of the Crisis," the entertainment company
that had to send people home, had to cancel events and is only now getting back on their feet. It was a good story, we were pleased to bring it to
But also tonight, we have Boris Johnson, apologizing for a party where more than 30 people attended. It's not just one party, by the way; you have the
Christmas quizzes, you have the wine and cheese after a press conference.
What's becoming clear is that there were numerous occasions, where the rules of lockdown in England were being broken by the government at Number
10 Downing Street.
And at the same time the rest of the country and the world, people were just battling on, watching their business go down the drain, doing the best
Well, I'm really glad that tonight we were able to show you that La Cle Entertainment is back, the music is playing and that's something we can all
celebrate. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight, I'm Richard Quest in Dubai. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.
See you tomorrow.