Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tony Blair's company 'to make £27m advising Kuwait on how to govern itself'

Tony Blair's company 'to make £27m advising Kuwait on how to govern itself'

By Nabila Ramdani and Tim Shipman
Mail Online
Last updated at 3:51 AM on 14th December 2010

The former prime minister’s consultancy firm has been ­advising the Gulf monarchy how to govern itself.

Such a payout would indicate that estimates of Mr Blair’s earnings since he left Downing Street – ­usually put in the £20million to £40million range – could be well below the mark.

Cultivated friendship: Tony Blair with the Emir of Kuwait in 2007

Kuwaiti sources familiar with the deal say Mr Blair’s firm stands to earn more than 12million dinars, the equivalent of £27million.

A spokesman for Mr Blair last night dismissed the claims as exaggerated but said a team from Tony Blair Associates will be working with the Kuwaitis for ‘several years’.

The extent of the former premier’s ties to Kuwait led to claims he is cashing in on the contacts he ­cultivated in government and as a Middle East peace envoy, a post which grants him access to Gulf leaders with whom he has developed financial ties.

The claims were also met with ­dismay among relatives of Britain’s war dead, who accused Mr Blair of profiting from his decision to invade Iraq – a war popular with the Kuwaiti Royal Family since it saw the end of Saddam Hussein, who invaded their country in 1990.

Kuwait was the first client of Tony Blair Associates, the London-based firm set up by Mr Blair in 2009 to recommend ‘political and economic trends and governmental reform’.

The firm was contracted to produce ‘Kuwait Vision 2035’, a report into the kingdom’s political and economic future which was delivered earlier this year.

But since then Mr Blair and his consultants have been helping to implement the report’s findings, while training a team of ‘super mandarin, British-style’ civil servants to run the country.

A government source in Kuwait said ‘at the moment they have gone over the 12million dinar mark’ for ‘on-going consultancy work related to the report’.

‘Mr Blair got the work because of his high international profile and vast experience of government,’ the source said. ‘The fact that he helped defeat Saddam Hussein’s Iraq didn’t harm his bid either.

‘He is regularly over here nowadays, as are his staff. In turn his Kuwaiti trainees have been invited to London. They will be shown around Whitehall and pick up tips learnt from Mr Blair’s time running the UK.’

During his visits to Kuwait, it is claimed Mr Blair and his wife Cherie have used – for free – the £2,000-a-night Royal Suite at the Sheraton Hotel.

Big spender: Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Saba has earmarked £45bn for new development projects

Mr Blair has gone out of his way to cultivate the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Al-Sabah, who made a state visit to Britain to meet the Queen in 2007, just before Mr Blair left Downing Street.

The Emir has moved to implement some of Mr Blair’s 2,000 recommendations. He has earmarked £45billion for 250 projects to be started over the next four years alone, including a new business hub called Silk City, a new harbour, railway and metro system.

There is also the suggestion a street might be named after Mr Blair.

There is concern in Kuwait about how Mr Blair separates his envoy work and his private business interests. He also represents the investment bank JP Morgan in the country.

‘One minute he’s earning massive profits for TBA or JP Morgan, and then he’s offering to end wars in the Middle East,’ said another source.

The extent of Mr Blair’s income is unclear since he uses a web of companies and partnerships to conduct his business.

His firm’s report has faced criticism in Kuwait, where education minister Moudhi Al-Humoud called it ‘negative’ and ‘vague’.

And Ahmad Saeid , a Kuwaiti analyst, said: ‘I’m sure I’m not the only person in Kuwait who hopes that our government’s definition of “good governance” is not the same as Tony Blair’s.’

A spokesman for Mr Blair last night dismissed the claims, saying: ‘The fees are nowhere remotely near that sum and they were in respect of a full-time team of people hired for the project over several years.

‘The work done is all a matter of public record and has been reported extensively in Kuwait and elsewhere.’

He did not respond to questions about whether Mr Blair or his staff had shown Kuwaiti officials around Whitehall.

A Kuwaiti spokesman confirmed that Mr Blair’s consultancy work was ‘on going’. He said payments were confidential.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338368/Tony-Blairs-company-make-27m-advising-Kuwait-govern-itself.html#ixzz185bTI9jS

- - -

There was a job ad recently on LinkedIn.com.  Check out the reply-to e-mail address:

Delivery Expert
Government leadership position
A Gulf state
Minimum 1-year contract, to start asap

The Gulf state has a new vision. It will provide the foundation for future development, maximising the potential of its people, its wealth and its rich heritage. Fundamental to its success will be the continued development of a world-class team operating at the heart of the government and built upon international best practice. The Delivery Expert will have a leadership role in the drive to deliver the country’s top reform priorities and act as a key advisor on delivery. The successful appointee will lead government peers, and develop and nurture an existing delivery team in focusing relentlessly on the delivery of services to citizens. Critical to this role is building and maintaining relationships with peers in ministries and earning the trust and respect of key senior stakeholders, including high-ranking executives and Cabinet ministers. The Delivery Expert will work together with colleagues in strategy, communication, and policy functions who together comprise a recently established elite entity operating at the heart of government. Main accountabilities: Perform a leadership role in embedding the culture and practice of delivery, including setting objectives and targets, improving operations and methodologies, and affirming global best practice project and performance management in the priority reform areas Coach and mentor the existing delivery team and other colleagues on best practice excellence in delivery topics, to truly embed a culture of performance management Build and manage key stakeholder relationships at senior levels Update and advise on the priority reform areas, such as progress against targets, emerging issues, and recommendations on the way forward Challenge government entities on reform progress in a manner that is data-driven, honest and constructive (DG:  Yo, good luck with that.)

Who we're looking for You will have the following qualities: A motivating and inspiring leader, able to operate in a charismatic, persistent, and approachable manner A strong track record and proven expertise in delivery, gained from a senior role in a government delivery body or top-tier consultancy, and in possession of the full suite of core delivery skills and methods Strong, persuasive and focused oral and written communications skills with the ability to quickly construct logical arguments with brevity and possess excellent influencing and persuading skills Superior ability to identify and focus on highest value activities and to encourage others to do the same Willingness to coach and mentor peers Ability to challenge stakeholders appropriately and to be challenged in return. Comfortable and experienced with resolving conflicts effectively Proven ability to operate in a multicultural and fluid environment, preferably with extensive experience in the
Gulf or Middle East Spoken and written fluency in English is a must. Spoken and written fluency in Arabic is advantageous

About the role The role is a great opportunity for you to join and have a central role in a recently established delivery body, operating at the heart of government alongside complementary professional functions of strategy, policy, communications and information. The unit’s purpose is to ensure delivery of the government's priority reform areas, working with ministries and departments to drive successful reform implementation. The unit will be responsible for setting and monitoring interim reform targets, helping ministries and departments address bottlenecks and solve problems, providing regular updates to on progress, and embedding a performance management culture throughout the government.

What's on offer Excellent tax free package

Application process

Interested applicants should send a CV and cover letter detailing your suitability and likely availability to recruitment@tonyblairoffice-advisory.org no later than Friday 10th December.

- - -

Hey - so looks like they are recruiting more people to govern the country.  I wonder how many CSA employees applied.  (that was mean)  Fassssssssscinating!

I can't believe the yanks aren't in on this.  Well, okay, we had our chance.  Americans have been trying to govern Kuwait since 1991....


Chirp said...

What a bunch of bullcrap seriously.
Even if his report/plan was good, it will probably be filed and forgotten to collect dust. But seriously, that "report" he wrote was nothing new, and could have been written by someone who has a little knowledge of the area+a little political science back ground.

Why do we need a consultant to tell us how to govern ourselves? Yes I know we are not doing a wonderful job at it, but seriously "lets bring a white man from abroad to teach us"?? I thought we were so over that ages ago.

Watch all those projects take 10+ years to be completed due to corruption, and once they are completed they will be done with such bad quality, cuz the people that were given the "tasreeh" to build them decided to use the lowest quality tools needed and take the rest of the money as pocket money. We have many examples of those structures in Kuwait.

Spend that money on bettering the education system, you need educated people to run your country. Then we can work our way from there.

On a completely other note, since you put a disclaimer a while ago about kuwaiti weddings, do you wanna come 2 mine :p

Desert Girl said...

I agree, Chirp.

Kuwait is full of old reports.

I think it was almost 50 years ago that Kuwait gained independence from Great Britain and now this?

Why should Kuwait pay for knowledge that is attainable by listening with an open mind to different perspectives? It doesn't seem like a lot of that is happening right now, does it?

Root cause: INSECURITY

The money could be so better used for other things (and don't get me started on my personal wish list).

I would LOVE to go to your wedding? When is it? Write to me. :)