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Facebook Admits to Spreading Negative Stories About Google; Oil Price Rebound; Gadhafi Speech Awaited; Modern Art Millions; In Focus: Brewing; From Vision to Action

Aired May 13, 2011 - 14:00:00   ET



Facebook as admitted to hiring a PR firm to spread stories that criticize Google after being well and truly caught in the act. Its secret anti-Google campaign has been all over Internet this week after being leaked.

Now Facebook admits it asked a PR firm, Burson-Marsteller to spread stories about an obscure Google service called Social Connections. Facebook wanted Burson to spread the word that this program collected information to post on social network sites, including Facebook.

Now Burson took on the job, but now the cat is out of the bag it has admitted this is really a Facebook request too far. It said the request was not at all standard procedure and should have been declined. Facebook said it only wanted to see if other people shared their concerns about Google's privacy settings.

Now, ultimately the campaign backfired spectacularly on Facebook when one of Burson's e-mails landed on Christopher Seghoian's inbox. He's an Internet privacy researcher and the author of the "Slight Paranoia" blog.

Burson asked him to write an anti-Google article to eventually to go to major-several major political Web sites. When Seghoian asked which company was behind the story Burson wouldn't say. So he refused to write the article and published the e-mails instead.

The man who blew the lid on the campaign, Christopher Seghoian spoke to us, a little before the show, today. And I asked him exactly how he found himself in the middle of this storm?


CHRISTOPHER SEGHOIAN, GRADUATE FELLOW, INDIANA UNIVERSITY: About a week and a half ago Facebook's-or a PR company, now we know they are employed by Facebook-contacted me and asked me to lend my name to an op-ed they were writing that was criticizing Google. What they didn't tell me at the time was that it was Facebook so that has come out in the last couple of days.

FOSTER: So, did you-what sort of questions did you ask of the PR company? I'm sure you wanted to know who was behind this? They don't work on their own, do they?

SEGHOIAN: Well, I actually only asked one question, which was who is paying you? And they wouldn't tell me. You know, I receive PR pitches all the time from companies, but usually they are pitching me to write positive things about their companies and I usually ignore those pitches as a matter of policy. But this was interesting because this was a PR pitch that was trying to get me to say negative things about someone else. And the company who was paying for this effort was sort of hiding in the shadows. So that immediately looked quite suspicious.

FOSTER: So, describe the sort of things that they were telling you. Because many people are calling it a smear campaign against Google. How would you describe it?

SEGHOIAN: So, the company wanted me to say negative things about this particular product that Google is offering. It is a social search feature that shows you things that your friends have publically recommended when you engage in a search. Now, I don't actually think this feature has major privacy problems. And certainly I haven't heard any other colleagues of mine in the privacy community criticizing this.

Now it is fair to say that Google has several major privacy problems on its hands. The company has been surreptitiously collecting the location information of cell phones, it monetizes people's private e-mail, it follows you everywhere you go on the Web and so it is totally legitimate to criticize Google as a privacy offender, likewise with Facebook. But this particular product didn't really seem to be too problematic and so that was one of the reasons why I thought this pitch was quite suspicious.

FOSTER: And you were suspicious of it. You ended up publishing your exchange, didn't you, with the PR company? What-what-what started angering you about this?

SEGHOIAN: So, I published the contents of the e-mails a few minutes after receiving them and after being told they would not reveal who was paying them. Since then there has been quite a bit of press, which really sort of gathered steam once it was revealed that it was Facebook. I initially thought it was Microsoft, because Microsoft is a competitor of Google's and they have actually hired this PR firm in the past.

The thing that actually really offended me about this pitch, though, was that they asked me to sign on to an op-ed, or rather to write an op-ed for them. They offered to help place it in major outlets like "The Washington Post". But then they said that if I was too busy they would be happy to write it for me. And so really they were looking for someone who was willing to lend their name for this attack piece. And that just isn't something that I'll do.

FOSTER: No. And they miscalculated this massively, didn't they? It has backfired on them in a big way. What went through your mind when you heard it was Facebook behind this?

SEGHOIAN: You know there are many companies that criticize Google. And there are many companies that engage in sort of PR warfare. What is interesting here is that in the last six months or so privacy is really turning into an issue on which companies are competing and visibly attacking each other.

Six months ago, Microsoft launched a new version of its web browser that includes anti-tracking technology. They have the first browser to build this in. And Microsoft has been able to visibly compete. They will go out and say our privacy is better than Google's.

Facebook isn't able to do that, though, because their privacy practices are so bad, they would look hypocritical if they criticized Google. And so Facebook really did have to do this from the shadows. And that is what makes this so fascinating and so interesting for people watching the space.

FOSTER: It gives a bit of a dark image to the company though, doesn't it? Facebook, which you know started off as a community sort of set up really?

SEGHOIAN: I mean, I'm not entirely sure if Facebook has had a great image up until now. The company has really sort of built their business model around encouraging and even bullying users into giving up more information. The company has pulled sort of several switcheroos, where people have shared information thinking it was private and then the company has forced them to make it public to the entire world. I don't think that many Facebook users have a positive feeling toward the company. But it is the only player in town and if you want to stay in touch with your friends and family you have to use them. I think this episode really just demonstrates that Facebook is willing to go to any means to stab their competitors in the back.


FOSTER: Well, I can confirm we are still on Facebook at And we have a great article on the whether Facebook's attack exposes its own privacy problems. It's a great read and makes you wonder if any of these tech giants should be pointing their fingers in the first place.

Now some European countries are getting their act together soon than we expected, but others are lagging. Next, the European Commissioner for Economics Olli Rehn will tell us about a two-tiered Europe and how to fix it.


FOSTER: Germany and France are picking up Europe's economic slack it seems. Euro Zone GDP rose a stronger than expected 0.98 percent in the first quarter. German growth was a racy 1.2 percent. In France it was 1 percent. Even debt laden Greece managed to expand. Its economy grew 0.8 of 1 percent in the first three months of this year.

Northern Europe really was in a class of its own, though; racing ahead of the southern states. Spain and Italy advanced at a snail's pace. Portugal's economy saw a sharp contraction.

The European Commission expects Euro Zone growth of 1.6 percent this year. Olli Rehn is the block's commissioner of economic affairs. He told me earlier that Europe is maintaining momentum even though it is operating at two very different speeds.


OLLI REHN, EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER: I think there is no denying that, yes, the recovery is uneven and the Central and Northern Europe are recovery strongly and relatively robustly. While in Southern Europe the countries who have problems with their public finances are seeing clearly slower or even negative growth. That is a course of concern and that is precisely why we are working in order to overcome the current sovereign debt crisis.

FOSTER: It is a source of concern because that is an impossible situation, isn't it, for policy makers? And people in positions like yours to work on a pan-European level, when effectively you have two economies operating at completely different speeds.

REHN: Well politics is always the act of the possible and sometimes the impossible. Therefore, it is now indeed essential that we can contain the ramifications of the sovereign debt crisis in some countries so that we can protect the ongoing recovery and that is facilitated sustainable growth and job creation.

FOSTER: A lot of people in the markets see the authorities as just muddling through and going from month to month with this whole debt crisis. What is your policy? How are you dealing with countries like Greece?

REHN: Concerning Greece we have been able to contain the-contain the contagion effect from the Greek problems over the past year. And in fact, Greece, has already undertaken very formidable measures of fiscal consolidation up to 7 percent of gross domestic product, which is more than 20 billion euros over the past 12 months. But that is not enough and therefore it is essential that Greece will continue its work and at the same time it is essential that Greece will also commit itself to a privatization program and ensure its full implementation in order to reduce its very significant debt burden.

FOSTER: Let's talk about the EU's role here. A year ago the EU got involved in a rescue of the economy there, which simply hasn't worked. Because the country still can't handle its debts and it is going to need more help from the European Union. This has been a failure hasn't it? What is going to change from now?

REHN: It has not been a failure. Greece has -


FOSTER: Why are they coming back to you for more money, then?

REHN: We have to see (ph) that after our review mission, which is not in Athens, together with the ECB and the IMF, has returned and provided its assessment of the implementation of the program, and an updated analysis of its sustainability.

FOSTER: But they should be able to go back to the private markets by now.


REHN: Then we can take a very informed decisions-

FOSTER: -for money, and they can't do that. They are not in a position to do that.

REHN: They should return to the markets according to the program in the course of the early months of next year.

FOSTER: That's not going to happen. You know that is not going to happen.

REHN: Yes, you are right that you are right that it is going to be challenging, of course, and that is why we have the review mission to assess debt sustainability, assess the implementation of economic adjustment. Once we have the review report, in the coming weeks, we can then take very informed decisions.

FOSTER: Will you make a decision based on the fact that it didn't work at what you planned a year ago? You are going to have to do something different this time around?

REHN: Well, no program will work 100 percent, but it is not right to say that the Greek program would be a failure. Greece has undertaken very substantial efforts of fiscal consolidation and structural reform. And we are seeing also positive signs as the first quarter is now in the positive territory in terms of economic growth. So, it is not a failure, but yes, Greece needs to do more. And we need to take probably, further decisions. But we do it after we have a comprehensive review based on our mission in Athens, which is currently there, on the ground.


FOSTER: Olli Rehn, there. More from him in a moment. Let's take a look now, at the markets, though. Most of Europe's major indices closed lower today. It is a similar theme for the week as whole. The FTSE, the DAX, the CAC 40, all sharply lower compared to this time last Friday. But the Europe who has seen a sharp fall of around 3 cents over the course of the week is currently trading at a touch over $1.41 against the dollar.

Turning to the U.S. now, prices are rising at their fastest rate in two and a half years. The consumer price index increased 3.2 percent in the 12 months up to the end of April. Most of that was due to rising energy and food prices. When I spoke with Olli Rehn earlier, he told me that we are seeing a similar pattern here in Europe.


REHN: Our forecast is that headline inflation will be, this year, quite high and clearly higher than expected due to the surge in commodity prices, fuel and food prices. However, we see that this is likely to be temporary, because there is still plenty of slack in the economy. And this should lessen the impact of the commodity prices increases, it should lessen towards the end of the year, and towards turning to 2012. And therefore the core inflation should remain relatively subdued.


FOSTER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) inflation and the subsequent increase in interest rates, which is a problem around the world (ph), is one of the big concerns, really, in the markets. And New York is no exception this week. Currently, down 1.8 percent, down 100 points, just over on this Friday. Finishing the week on a pretty negative note, a very volatile week, of course.

Now up next, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Formula One's most storied team to get its season back on track.


LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLO, CHAIRMAN, FERRARI: I'm sure that we are on the right way to recuperate. I think it will take a little bit of time. But I'm confident on my people.


FOSTER: In a rare interview the Ferrari chairman tells us of his hopes for the rest of the year. Stay with CNN.


FOSTER: Ferrari, Formula One's most successful team is having a disappointing season on the track. But that isn't deterring the team from thinking about taking a stake in the league itself. Went to meet its chairman in Maranello, Italy.


DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): By their own exceptionally high standards it has been a disappointing season for Ferrari so far. Escadera (ph) have been trailing in the wake of Red Bull and McClarren (ph). Their best results so far Fernando Alonso's third place in Turkey. They were hoping for so much more than that.

So, there was plenty to discuss when I met Ferrari's President Luca Montezemolo for a rare interview at the team's headquarters in Maranello.

(On camera): What's gone wrong for Ferrari, at this point?

LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLO, CHAIRMAN, FERRARI: We have been a little bit too conservative in the new project. But also, unfortunately, we have faced something that we have never seen before. That the wind tunnel results has not been confirmed by the track. So this is not an easy problem. Because you have either to change the project, or to change the wind tunnel. So we are in the middle of this.

Having said that, I have-I'm sure, I've pushed a lot my people. I'm sure we are on the right way to recuperate. I think it will take a little bit of time, but I'm confident on my people.

RIDDELL: Are you satisfied with the performance of your current two drivers, Fernando Alonzo and Filipe Massa?

MONTEZEMOLO: I'm very pleased with Alonso. Alonso is very, very strong. He is one of the best drivers I've seen in my career. Very strong in the mind. He is very pushing with the team in a constructive way, but also very close to the team. So, I wanted to have, for a long time, Alonso.

RIDDELL: Many people will be pleased to see Filipe Massa being more competitive this season. Is his future secure at Ferrari?

MONTEZEMOLO: Yes. Yes. He has a contract with us for this year, for next year, so, absolutely, yes. No question about it.

RIDDELL: Ferrari have been the only ever-present team in the history of Formula One. They have been the most successful, too, with a total of 31 drivers and constructors titles. They are well used to fighting for supremacy and they could soon be leading a battle for the very future of the sport.

Ferrari, behind the scenes with the Excore (ph)-News Corp proposed takeover of Formula One. Can you see that going anywhere?

MONTEZEMOLO: Listen, Ferrari is in the same position of the other teams. I think we have to be very pragmatic. At the end of 2012, the contracts of every single team, with an investment funds of CBC, will expire. So we have in front, three alternatives. Or we renew with CBC, or we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as the basketball teams in America did many years ago with big success, create our own company. Like the NBA, just to run, to- the, the, the, races, the TV rights, and so on. And third, to find a different partner.

Ecclestone did a very good job. Having said that, he has already sold out three times of the business. So, he doesn't own the business anymore. So he it is not Ecclestone that will sell. It is CBC. But again, this will be very important, the team decisions. I think that it is important to have alternatives. We will see.

RIDDELL: It is no secret that Ferrari would prefer a different approach in Formula One. And it is clear that Montezemolo thinks much could be done better.

MONTEZEMOLO: Do you agree that we have to change something in Formula One?

RIDDELL (On camera): I think so.

MONTEZEMOLO: Listen, I have to ask the authorization to push a battle for the win to overtake, because if-then also the tracks. The new tracks are terrible. It is impossible to overtake. I can accept one Monte Carlo, once, since 50 years.

RIDDELL: Montezemolo is concerned that the sport is becoming too artificial. And he is also concerned that one day he'll be forced to design new innovations that are useless in his high-performance road cars.

Ferrari have threatened to leave Formula One before. During a dispute with the sport's governing body, the FIA, 25 years ago, they even went to the trouble of building an Indy car to show that they were serious about walking away. Seems that another showdown with the sport's authorities is brewing.


FOSTER: Don Riddell, suffering on assignment, there.

In around a half an hour from now, Piers Morgan will speak to the daughter-turned-son, of Cher, Chaz Bono who is on to promote his new memoir, "Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man." And interview with him and his girlfriend, on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT".


FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster. Let's check in on the headlines this hour.


FOSTER: European finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday. Portugal's bailout will be at the top of the agenda. I spoke to Olli Rehn. He is the European commissioner for economic affairs, and he told me he is concerned about the changing attitudes that member states have as they grow weary of trying to stabilize Europe.


REHN: I am very worried over this kind of divergence in the national debates in Europe, which you described, because there is a political fatigue in the Central and Northern European countries to help some other countries to express solidarity. While there is certain reform fatigue in Southern European countries and Ireland, now it is the task of every responsible politician to build bridges and save the European project and ensure that we can, together, overcome this crisis.

FOSTER: Are you embarrassed with Finland's position on this?

REHN: As I said, I may be a false Fin, but I am confident that Finland will endorse the decision on the Portuguese program next Monday, following the agreement achieved by the likely main coalition partners of the new government in the country. This agreement was achieved two days ago.

FOSTER: So, beyond the decision to review the information that you get from Athens, for example, what is your plan going ahead, on dealing with the debt crisis, the two-speed Europe?

REHN: We have to work in several fronts and we have to see that this is essentially an intertwined combination of a sovereign debt crisis and banking sector fragilities.

You cannot solve one without solving the other. You need to resolve both. And that's why it is essential that the member states of the European Union are conducting programs of fiscal consolidation which are producing results. We have already better figures for this year than last year and the next year's figures will be even better.

And, at the same time, it is essential that the financial repair will be completed through the new round of stress tests and in parallel such kind of remedial plans that will ensure the necessary restructuring and, if needed, recapitalization of the banking sector in -- in Europe so that we can ensure the resilience of the banking sector of the continent.


FOSTER: Well, we've been talking a lot this week about the volatility in all sorts of markets. And a lot of it is being driven by a -- by oil prices this week. And we're going to try to put that into context for you, because we've put together a graph for you.

This is Brent crude. And it's since January. Let's just have a look at where those prices have been going.

You can see a steady rise from January up to this point. And this is when we had the Egyptian revolution and this is where a lot of the problems really started.

So if we get rid of that and continue to look at the oil prices since the Egyptian revolution, you see it rising up there. This first peak is when we had all the events unfolding in Libya. And the peak in oil was at $124 a barrel for Brent crude. After that, we saw the dollar increasing in value and that drove down the price of oil, as you can see.

But again this week, it's up and down. There's all sorts of concern about what's going to happen next.

And John Defterios has more on all of this volatility, because it really is affecting the whole world, this, isn't it, John?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST, "MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST": It's incredible. And there are concerns right now, particularly within the International Energy Agency, that the strong prices that we're seeing and perhaps not enough market coming to the -- oil coming to the market is starting to erode demand, particularly in the United States.

And one person who's watching the demand scenario and the price scenario is the chief exec of Total, Christophe de Margerie.

I sat down with him in Paris this week in his office and asked him what is the key factor behind all the volatility that we're seeing, Max.


CHRISTOPHE DE MARGERIE, CEO, TOTAL: I think today what we have is volatility. And we will be surprised (INAUDIBLE) and demand for this volatility. It's probably linked with the markets' tremendous move on the Eurodollar. And that is what has been, in my opinion, having this impact on commodities and especially oil. This move on oil is not occurring on demand, it's not the prices, it's not Libya, it's the commodity market linked with the exchange markets.

DEFTERIOS: If we take a step back here, in the first half of 2011, and come to the end of 2011, an average $100 for the first time, what's that telling us about demand this year?

DE MARGERIE: In -- in 2008 and the first quarter of 2011 were almost the same -- very close to $100. And -- and for the first time, now we are above $100. In 2008, it was just below $100. And either we see troth year -- I mean cannot be very far off this $100.

DEFTERIOS: There's an assumption made in the market now that OPEC has a spare three million barrels a day of capacity, if not more.

But can they spare capacity to market to reduce the volatility that we have seen?

What's the lesson we've learned in 2011?

DE MARGERIE: That's not anymore the fact that they produce more oil or less oil, which will have an impact on price. What has an impact on price is the message we deliver. The message they deliver is we will do everything -- and we can do it, because we have those extra capacities -- to make sure that the market is fully supplied.

I mean just imagine, I mean, a few years ago, 10, 15 years ago, we would have announced that there is a risk of something happening on Suez Canal, there is a risk of something happening in the Strait of Hormuz, the price of would have been multiplied by four.

Here I'm not willing to be provocative, that's been increasing by $30, which is 10 percent, which is important, which is too much, but that's only 10 percent.

DEFTERIOS: We're roughly at demand of 87, 88 million barrels a day.

Is the hard work getting the next eight million out of the ground and getting it to the market?

We're not thinking long-term enough in terms of strategy and the rise of China and India?

DE MARGERIE: We are long-term. So we have to find a solution where short-term and long-term has a common view and common interest, which is let's make the long-term acceptable in the short-term -- two years, two years, two years, three years, whatever.

For the time being, it's short-term, nobody wants to hear about higher price. That's not good for the economy, it's not good for public opinion feelings. And -- and we have to say what it is. And I -- I don't think it's good to be ineffective. I don't think it's good that people in (INAUDIBLE) countries (INAUDIBLE) and us are considered as being fighting or in (INAUDIBLE).

We are not. We are all willing to go to a better world. We need to make everything working together. We need to represent access to energy and protection of the environment at the same time. We cannot split it in two and those who say we are responsible for the environment and those who say, no, we are responsible for supplying energy.

If we don't find a solution to bring the sub -- the same subject on the table at the same time, then -- then -- then we will have a problem.


DEFTERIOS: Christophe de Margerie sharing his views on the medium- term crisis, and that is getting us from, say, 88 million barrels a day up to 95 or 96. He thinks we're being too short-sighted.

Also interesting out of that interview, I think, Max, is the fact that the International Energy Agency took issue with OPEC. But he actually believes that OPEC has managed the crisis quite well considering what has happened in the Arab world. He thinks it could have been much worse. We had a 30 percent gain and now we're back down again to about a 10 percent gain on the year.

FOSTER: OK, John, thank you very much, indeed, for that.

There's always money in oil, of course, but at the moment, also in the art world, it seems. It's just sold an iconic image of an iconic Hollywood legend and there's still plenty of money left in the modern art business. But the seasoned bidders are cautious. We're at a New York art auction, after the break.


FOSTER: We've got some developments for you coming out of Libya. And we're going to cross straight over to Nima, actually, who's in Tripoli for us, because she can give us an update of the condition of Colonel Gadhafi, I gather?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, it was actually an audio statement this time. The Libyans have been moving very quickly to quash the -- the persistent rumors that Colonel Gadhafi has either been killed or has been wounded and has left Tripoli.

And they didn't give us much notice. A banner came up on state TV and within five minutes, an audio message was being played. It was less than a minute, the message itself. And in it, he said: "I want to tell the -- the crusader aggressors that even if you kill my body, you will never kill me because I will live on in the hearts of the millions of Libyans who support and love me."

He also wanted to send out his condolences to what he said, "the families of the glorious martyrs who will attain everlasting life."

And it's interesting, the Libyans are really fighting these rumors that Gadhafi is either dead or in hiding. And in his statement, he made a point of referring to Babil Aziz's (ph) strike on Thursday to -- to try and date the -- that he was still alive after the strike itself happened.

But the bottom of this audio statement actually isn't that reassuring, it doesn't actually close in their favor that much because even if he is alive, it shows that, at the very least, NATO have driven him into hiding - - Max.


Thank you very much, indeed, for that update.

Now, they are the iconic images that have been reproduced millions of times over, from Andy Warhol's celebrity pop art to Jeff Koons' Pink Panther there. There's still plenty of money left in modern art, so -- so much, in fact, that even the artists themselves are surprised.

This Elizabeth Taylor portrait has just sold for -- for $27 million.

But as Richard Roth now reports, these multi-million dollar sales won't make it a vintage year for the industry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At $15 million.

Thank you, party.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bringing down the hammer on this iconic sculpture by Jeff Koons, the Pink Panther, sold at Sotheby's for nearly $17 million.

Downtown in Manhattan, Koons is still hard at work and greets the news with bemusement.

JEFF KOONS, ARTIST: The sale price of the Pink Panther last night, I thought, was really pretty amazing. And the real value in art is how it kind of creates an alchemy in your everyday life. But the Pink Panther, from the time that it was sold back in the very beginning of 1989 to last night, increased over around 16,000 percent.

ROTH: Despite the big number, the piece actually fetched less than expected. This auction season has generally been marked by caution so far, with some buyers prepared to sit on the sidelines.

Some works, such as this nude by Tom Wesselmann, failed to reach the reserve price and were withdrawn.

NICOLAI FRAHM, ART ADVISER: It's a very selective market. You see that the -- the pieces that are highly in demand that -- that do very well. A good example is the Red Shadow painting by Andy Warhol. We hadn't seen anything like that on the market for -- maybe forever, not in auction, anyway. And everybody wanted this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four million two fifty.

Thank you.

ROTH: This Warhol portrait of Liz Taylor is another highlight of the season, going under the hammer this week. The auction house is optimistic about business this season.

SIMON DE PURY, PHILLIPS DE PURY & COMPANY: So far, it's been very good. The market is strong. It's become a completely global market because you have buyers from all over the world that are participating in these auctions.

ROTH: For Koons, the auctions themselves never affect his work, but he does follow them.

KOONS: You know, I have to, in a way, pinch myself, because I always wanted to participate. And so I wanted to have my works be in a dialogue with other artists such as Dali and Warhol, Picasso, Manet. So to see my works at auction is some form of -- of validation. An artist likes to see his works do well because it helps give us a sense that these pieces won't turn to dust quite as rapidly.

ROTH: Such a fate seems unlikely for Koons, with a vast studio and eager buyers ready to jump through hoops.

Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


FOSTER: Amazing insight into Jeff Koons' world there, a businessman as much as anything else.

Let's have a look at the Dow before we go. This has been a really tough week. There's been commodity price increases and falls all week and also some concern about interest rates rising around the world. And we're ending the week on a negative note, at least at this point, down .69 percent for the Dow.


I'm Max Fuss -- Max Foster in London.

"MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is -- is next.

Have a great weekend.

This is CNN.



I'm Robyn Curnow here at Cape Town's convention center, which recently hosted the World Economic Forum. We'll go later to one of those panels on Africa and the G20, but first, we're going to take you to Kenya, where David McKenzie introduces us to Nairobi's first microbrewery and explains about the business it's brewing.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Being a correspondent can be a taxing job at times, but occasionally a more tasty assignment crops up.

(on camera): So here we are. This is your pride and joy?


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Like sampling beers with Aleem Ladak.

(on camera): So tell me about this.

LADAK: This is our stouts. As I said, it's, you know, a chocolate stout. It's got a --

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Ladak is the managing director and founder of Brew Bistro, Nairobi's first craft brewery and restaurant. After gaining brew master status in Germany and honing his skills with global brewing companies, he came back with a handful of his own recipes and a vision.

LADAK: No one really does premium draft beer here. And that's where I saw the niche.

And I said, you know, why not?

It's a passion that I wanted to do. I've always wanted to do it. I mean, at some point in your life, you've got to take a risk.

So this is where it's all done.

MCKENZIE: It's risky because it's not the norm. The African brewing tradition is mass produced bottled lagers. Brew Bistro takes the opposite approach.

LADAK: It's called a hepavisor (ph).

MCKENZIE: Ladak says his beer, brewed right inside the restaurant, is all about quality, not quantity.

LADAK: It is, as you see, it's quite a compact mini operation.

MCKENZIE: They call their beers the big five, including Rhino Bach (ph), Leopard Koss (ph) and Elephant Stout -- all unpasteurized and straight out of the keg.

LADAK: And for me, there's nothing better than a freshly brewed beer. My -- for my own personal taste, draft or fresh draft will always be better than bottled beer. And I think that, you know, it's any beer that you take, you know, as long as it's brewed correctly.

Last night was a little bit crazy, but I think -- I think we handled it pretty well.

MCKENZIE: The brewery is also a restaurant, where customer service is crucial. Ladak sees his business as part of a larger trend of entrepreneurial enterprises catering to Africa's up and coming urban middle classes.

LADAK: A smile goes a long way, all right?

Thank you very much.

There is definitely a trend to the more niche high end, you know, more specific type of thing, because that's what the consumer wants. And at the end of the day, you have to do what the consumer wants.

The prep here is absolutely amazing and I think you should get the next one out of the produce.

MCKENZIE: That philosophy extends to the kitchen, where executive chef, Ron Guijs, blends classical French cuisine with fresh African produce.

(on camera): If you had said during your training to your -- your master, let's cook some goats in France or wherever it was, what would he have said?

RON GUIJS: He might have slapped me.

LADAK: But at the end of the day, this is more of a passion. So it wasn't really about the scale of investment or the return on investment. You know, it's something that our family has always wanted to do, the brewery and restaurant combination. And, you know, it's -- it's a long- term project.

MCKENZIE: And it's a passion for creating a high end style, an innovative experience that seems to hit the right note with customers.

David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


CURNOW: Will Nairobi's Brew Bistro encourage more local microbreweries?

We're having a discussion on our Facebook page. Please do go to

But now let's take a look at some more numbers.

The continent makes up just over 5 percent of the global beer market. It's growing steadily. Africa's top beer maker, SABMiller, has 30 breweries on the continent and they earn about half a billion dollars from their operations here.

And coming up after the break, how can Africa strengthen its voice on global platforms like the G20?

That's the topic up for discussion here at the World Economic Forum and we listen in, up next.


CURNOW: From vision to action -- that was the theme of this year's World Economic Forum on Africa here in Cape Town. Out of the world's top ten fastest growing economies, most of them are from Africa, which is why business and political leaders here have been brainstorming ways to sustain that growth.

In a special FaceTime, I moderated a panel, a discussion on what the G20 can to do ensure that that potential is turned into sustainable results.


CURNOW: What does Africa want?

What does South Africa want from this?

Do they expect anything from -- from -- from the G20?

PRAVIN GORDHAN, SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER OF FINANCE: They said be less focused on national interests, more focused on global interests and refine areas of cooperation amongst the countries, just as we did during the crisis. And that leaders and other member countries within the G20 find that collective will again to demonstrate to the world that it can rely on the G20 for answers on some of the key -- key questions that the world faces.

CURNOW: I'm going to shift now to some representatives from the private sector.

And let's start with Peter Brabeck.

PETER BRABECK-LETMATHE, CO-CHAIR, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ON AFRICA: I think it is very interesting, if you analyze what has happened in Africa in the last couple of years. We were looking at the 35 high growth countries in Africa and compared them to the 15 countries which were the ones who was growing the lowest. Interesting, like it was mentioned before, it was those countries that received most of aid which was growing the slowest.

I think it is important this message to hammer it back into the G20.

CURNOW: Well, let's shift it to Maria Ramo here.

And you see a lot of capital flows coming through Absa.

Where -- where is it coming from and where is it going?

MARIA RAMO, GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ABSA GROUP: I think we -- what we're starting to see in Africa and you see it also in the theme of this -- of this wave, is the -- the -- the focus on -- on Africa being open for investment. And in order to be open for investment, we need to -- we need to have infrastructure. And we're starting to see -- we're starting to see those investments in infrastructure. But we still lack the capacity to -- to actually action some of the investment that is required in -- in infrastructure.

And it is about financing, but it's about much more than that. It's about the -- the -- the systems that you need to have in place. It's about the legal systems. It's about -- well, it's about sorting out some of the cross-border issues that we still have and need to resolve in -- to -- to facilitate -- to facilitate investment.

MATTHEW KIRK, GROUP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, VODAFONE: Very much as Maria was saying, I welcome enormously the focus on Africa, the focus on investment in Africa and the focus on infrastructure in particular. But I -- I think one of the areas where the G20 could have enormous value is looking at the factors which make a business case for investing in Africa more difficult.

And Maria mentioned some of them. It's things like judicial systems, non-transparent administrative systems, lack of capacity in regulatory bodies, ways to tackle corruption. All these sorts of things increase the risk profile of an investment in Africa against an investment somewhere else.

CURNOW: What are the lessons, perhaps, that the Asian tigers can -- can teach the African lions, as they have been called?

And what -- is it infrastructure?

Is it governance?

What was -- what is the critical things that the Asians did that -- that changed this all from policy into practical implementation?

DHO YOUNG-SHIM, UNWTO ST-EP FEDERATION: First of all, population has to will to fight with poverty.

And how do they do it?

Through education, whatever. They have to have this will.

RAMOS: I have a dream that one day, when input African competitive advantage into Google, it's not going to be diamonds or gold or iron ore, it's going to be the fact that we've got people. And we've got talent on this continent and that we can develop that talent. And that's our competitive advantage.

Equally, if we don't develop and start investing in education, we've got a problem, because we've got a very young population.

BRABECK-LETMATHE: I think Maria was touching now on a point which I think is the most critical one. And this is the education of the people and the preparation of the people in order to be able to absorb investments.

I'll give you a good example. If you built a railway from the east to the west of Africa and this railway is being constructed by foreign workers, you have built a great infrastructure. You don't have, afterwards, the engineers, the people who you need in order to be able to maintain this railway.

So, as long as -- and that's why I come back about this donor -- this donor mentality. As long as you have a donor mentality which does not include the most important thing, which is the transfer of know-how, of knowledge, of -- of technology, you will not have a base in order to build for investment.


CURNOW: The conversation continues online. Please do share with us your thoughts on that panel discussion.

For now, though, let's check what's trending this week.


CURNOW (voice-over): A rebound in the auto industry has encouraged one of the leading platinum producers to restart and expand its mines in South Africa. London suspended mining operations during the global economic slump. Now, demand is rising for the metal, which is used to help pollution from cars.

The company plans to invest about $2 billion over the next four years to boost production.

And the Congo Republic has begun operating a hydropower plant north of the capital, Brazzaville, aimed at fulfilling the country's energy needs. China mostly funded the $370 million power station, which is expected to reduce the country's reliance on energy imports from its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The new plant has 120 megawatt capacity.


CURNOW: OK, that's it for this week's show from Cape Town.

I'm Robyn Curnow.

Thanks so much for watching.

Do remember, you can catch up with all of our stories and much more online at

There's also a link to my Twitter account.

But until next week, goodbye. END