The presence of Qatari companies in international events is expected to increase by 80% in 2018 through the Qatar Development Bank’s export promotion arm Tasdeer, which helped local firms seal QR500mn worth of deals with foreign businesses last year, a senior QDB official has said.
In 2017, QDB brought more than 500 Qatari companies to over 100 exhibitions abroad, according to QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa, who spoke to reporters recently on the sidelines of a launching event.
Al-Khalifa said QDB, through Tasdeer, will continue to increase the participation of Qatari companies in exhibitions abroad as part of the development bank’s efforts to help achieve a diversified and sustainable economy, and increase the contribution of non-oil economic sectors to Qatar’s GDP.
“For us, that’s a big target but we want to continue to contribute to the non-oil-and-gas sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP,” al-Khalifa told Gulf Times.
“This year, I think the number of exhibitions and participation is going to be 80% higher than last year, so we're expecting that Qatari companies are expanding more and due to the blockade situation, a lot companies have expanded their production capacities.
“We know that these expansions of production capacities will also require access to international markets, so we’re working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Energy and Industry and producing companies to open new markets for them,” he continued.
Al-Khalifa said QDB participated in the ‘Interior Design Furnishing Expo’ held recently in Muscat, Oman. He also noted that aside from putting special focus on the Omani and Kuwaiti market, QDB is keen on tapping the African market as well.
Al-Khalifa said the price of Qatari products is competitive enough to compete in the international market.
“They are already competitive enough in terms of production. The support that we provide to them is by advising them to utilise the new and latest technologies when it comes to production.
“We have food security projects that we support and help but overall, the food and beverage is a sector that we support, especially when it comes to manufacturing that would contribute to food security,” he said.
This year, al-Khalifa said, QDB will focus more on the Moushtarayat conference slated on April 23. He said the event is poised to be a big public procurement conference where QDB will match local demand with local production.
“Last year, there were 2,000 opportunities worth QR2.5bn and QDB managed to secure QR750mn worth of projects that were awarded to SMEs. We're hoping to get the same, if not, a higher number of opportunities and higher value of opportunities offered to SMEs,” he said.
In terms of funding provided by QDB, al-Khalifa said: “Until 2018, we have seen that the number of applications have reached 400 times the number of applications that we received before the blockade, so the post blockade had a significant factor on companies that were applying for support from QDB in terms of loans or market info or access, or other QDB support that we provide.”