HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani will address the opening session of the four-day Web Summit Qatar 2024 on February 26 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
He will be joined by other key speakers, including Emmy-winning South African comedian Trevor Noah, Bollywood actress and singer Nora Fatehi, WPP CEO Mark Read, Whoop CEO Will Ahmed, astronaut and Deep Space Initiative founder Sara Sabry, Replit co-founder and CEO Amjad Masad.
This was announced by Sheikh Jassim bin Mansour bin Jabor alThani, the chairman of Web Summit Qatar 2024 Organising Committee, in the presence of Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher at a press conference Thursday.
For the first time, Qatar will be hosting Web Summit, the world’s largest technology conference, wherein the Prime Minister will take the centre stage to discuss Qatar’s growing tech ecosystem, and how technological developments can be used for the benefit of all humanity across the globe.
According to Sheikh Jassim, 12,000 participants are expected to attend the summit but the Organising Committee is anticipating that the numbers would exceed “20,000” by the end of the event, which is Web Summit’s fi rst soldout edition in the region.
The event, running until February 29, will welcome the largest and most globally diverse cohort of startups to ever gather in the region – more than 1,000 startups from 80 countries, alongside over 500 investors and LPs from around the world seeking investment opportunities in the region. The startups and partnership programmes sold out four weeks before the event.
The top themes during the summit are entrepreneurship, venture capital, Artifi cial Intelligence, energy, advertising and marketing, space exploration, and fi ntech, while a wide range of topics will be discussed by a distinguished panel of speakers and industry experts at the event. Maher emphasised that the Web Summit comes out of a tradition of supporting and elevating startups that are representative of what is new and most exciting in the world of technology. She noted that the event will witness the participation of more than 1,000 startups, which is twice the number that was expected.
“In fact, of those start-ups, 50% or around 500 will be attending from the broader Middle East, 10% are attending from Qatar, 30% are women-founded start-ups, and 10% are what we consider impact start-ups, that is, start-ups with a focus on improving the world and the lives of those around us. And about one-fifth or 20% of those start-ups are coming from Africa,” Maher explained, adding that gender diversity and representation “is tremendously important to us,” especially in the summit’s Women in Tech programme.
She said, “The technology sector as a whole has historically been dominated more by male participants, and yet we recognise the incredible opportunity that technology affords women to participate in the economy and society, and to address very real needs across our commercial, economic, and social interests. Women in Tech is a flagship initiative of Web Summit.”
Maher added: “We’re very much committed to this programme as a way of addressing improving gender ratio and participation in all of our events. And our Women in Tech programme this year is incredibly well attended. We have strong participation from across Qatar, the Middle East, and internationally, and in fact that programme, where we offer incentives for tickets for female participants in technology, sold out.”
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