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INTERVIEW: Nabil Habayeb
Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO, GE Middle East and Africa, talks about building renewable energy in the region.
July 14, 2012 3:00 by kippreport
Let’s start by looking at trading in 2012. Where are your major focus areas since you trade in so many sectors?
We are in many sectors. To make it simple we look at what the market needs, what’s on the mind of the people, of the stakeholders. We try to see how we address it, which is a different approach to what we used in the past. In the past we used to see, if we had a product, how we could sell it. If we take a look at what’s on the mind of people, I think that this region, the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, the majority of the region has a lot of wealth, both from natural resources like oil and gas, as well as the wealth of young people. There has been investment in the past to monitor the natural wealth of oil and gas, which has created the funds that people were investing in building and re building infrastructure, which is power, water and transportation. After the Arab Spring to address the second wealth of the region, which is the young population, investment is more on the social side, such as education, health, better living, plus making sure that the lives of people are better off, which means 24-hour electricity, clean water, good transportation system and also the creation of jobs and opportunities. So, when you think of all of this and ask what does this mean, we are an oil and gas company, we are a mining company, we are a power company, we are a water company, we are an aviation company, we are a health care company, we are an industrial company. So the focus in all of these sectors is how can we help to build the capabilities in the region. So this is the overall focus. So, if you try to summarize what they have, what the stakeholders’ have in mind, I think you can summarize it in three ways.
1. One is efficiency, not just the environmental efficiency and the departmental efficiency, but the efficiency of a health caresystem, the efficiency of the educational system, the efficiency of how the government works.
2. Second is the security, not just the physical security and social security, but energy security, water security, food security.
3. And the third is capability, which means creating jobs, bringing more IP and R&D into the region, which means [changing] the role of women in the region. We are targeting these areas.
Now let’s look at energy. It seems that since the oil is close to 100, and good times are here, people are not revolting. There is no real thrust on the side of renewables. Even though the Middle East has lots of solar energy we don’t see much coming up in that side. Your key focus is on building renewables. Do you see a lot of that happening?
If you take a look at Algeria, that’s a hydrocarbon-based economy and their focus now is that by 2023, 20 percent of their power is going to come from renewable energy and their investments are concentrated in solar power. It’s great. If you take a look at Saudi Arabia, a big hydrocarbon-based economy, they are talking about approximately 20kw of power to come from renewable energy.