Dubai and the chessboard-shaped city

Whatever happened to the Emirate’s weirdest mega-project? Those of you who remember Dubai prior to the financial crash will recall a time when there was a new “mega-project” launched on what seemed like a weekly basis. Chess City was perhaps the strangest of them all. In October 2004 it was announced that a $2.6 billion…

The Smarter Cut

Ermenegildo Zegna, CEO OF Zegna group on the ethos of a classic Italian Brand. Here’s something you may not know. Tom Ford suits are actually made by Zegna. The Italian brand has been making them since 2006 and when the deal was initially struck, Ermenegildo Zegna tellingly described this as collaboration between “the unique creativity…

Has China really bought five percent of Ukraine?

[For Esquire Magazine, November 2013] It appears so. It’s an utterly staggering fact, but it represents an escalation in the ongoing land-grab for food resources. Two Chinese state-owned firms will take over Ukrainian land in the eastern Dniepropetrovsk region and use it to grow crops (and raise pigs) for use back in China. The deal…

How much gold is there in the world?

The truth is, we don’t know. At least, not to any great degree of accuracy, which is odd given how it plays a big part in the global economy. Thomson Reuters GFMS (Gold Fields Mineral Services) produces an annual gold survey that is used by global investors to gauge such things. The GFMS says there…

Why are Gulf States buying land in Africa?

Wealthy Gulf countries and private companies alike have been buying up land in Africa for their own strategic purposes. The driving force behind this move is the need for “food security” in a world where competition for food is increasing as populations grow. The Gulf imports 85 percent of its basic food requirements and accordingly,…