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 Peter Alagos
Peter Alagos
Peter Alagos reports on Business and general news for Gulf Times. He is a Kapampangan journalist with a writing career of almost 30 years. His photographs have been published in several books, including a book on the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption launched by former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos. Peter has also taught journalism in two universities.
Participants of the ‘Female Startup Founders in Qatar – Setting the Benchmark’ panel discussion organised by Startup Grind Doha held recently. From left are Rasha bint Khamis al-Sulaiti of Rawi Al Kotob, Elizabeth Wood of Inspire ME, Shada Bennbaia of Pulsate, Nada Farouk of Turismo, panel moderator Steve Mackie, and Startup Grind Doha chapter director Indica Amarasinghe.
Mena region seen as economic powerhouse in next decade, says Qatar startup founder

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is expected to be among the world’s strongest economies in the next 10 years, according to the founder of a Qatar-based startup.Nada Farouk, CEO of Turismo, made the statement during a panel discussion hosted recently by Startup Grind Doha under the theme ‘Female Startup Founders in Qatar – Setting the Benchmark’.The panel, which was moderated by Steve Mackie, comprised of female entrepreneurs Rasha bint Khamis al-Sulaiti of Rawi Al Kotob, Shada Bennbaia of Pulsate, and Elizabeth Wood of Inspire ME.During the discussion, Farouk also forecasted that the Mena region will produce and attract “the most attractive talents” in technology and business, adding that “the most influential leaders will come from here.”According to Farouk, the region has already made significant strides in the technology sector, adding that several startups from the area had already achieved global recognition.Similarly, Bennbaia noted that the region has the talent, expertise, and resources to start building technologies that could be exported to other parts of the world. She emphasised that instead of waiting for solutions to reach the Mena region from other countries, it has the potential to lead in technology innovation.However, the members of the panel agreed during the discussion that while the startup ecosystem is continuously growing and developing, it also has different sets of challenges that entrepreneurs and major players need to overcome.In Qatar, specifically, the panellists underscored that access to funding and talent acquisition, as well as attracting different types of venture capital, are among the pressing issues that need to be constantly addressed by stakeholders and policymakers in the country.To address these challenges, the panellists also agreed on the importance of fostering collaboration among entrepreneurs, raising awareness within the ecosystem, and actively seeking solutions to create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation.But Bennbaia said she remains optimistic that the market in Qatar serves as an ideal jump-off point for different startups and other entrepreneurial ventures, citing the country’s diverse population and strong government support programmes and initiatives.To further drive the region’s potential to become a technology hub, Bennbaia emphasised that the people’s mindset will play a crucial factor. She noted that there is a growing eagerness in the region to innovate and create solutions that could have a positive impact globally.“I think this is the best time to start a venture, especially here in Qatar. For new businesses, use Qatar as a launch pad. While the market here is not that huge, entrepreneurs can get the needed support in terms of buying their products or building their technology,” she explained.Farouk also stressed the need to take action and proactively acknowledge the challenges by working together with fellow startup owners to help shape and enhance the country’s entrepreneurial landscape.“We can start by actually pushing things forward,” she pointed out.On the sidelines of the panel discussion, Startup Grind Doha chapter director Indica Amarasinghe told Gulf Times that Startup Grind is the world’s largest community of startups, founders, innovators, and creators.“The objective of Startup Grind Doha is to bring the ecosystem together and we will continue to do this by having monthly gatherings where startups can come together, learn from each other, and be inspired. We are currently planning the other sessions for the next few months, which would revolve around topics, such as AI, fintech, sportstech, and cybertech,” he explained.

QSE acting CEO Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi delivering a speech during the launch of QSE's new system. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
QSE launches new electronic trading platform

Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) launched its new, high-performing trading system, which aims to develop the country’s financial market and achieve investment diversification, in a ceremony held Tuesday at QSE’s headquarters in West Bay.Speaking at the event, QSE acting CEO Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi emphasised that the new trading platform provides innovative, robust, and scalable solutions that align with the advanced financial market technologies utilised by London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).Al-Emadi stressed that these technologies encompass trading services, market data, data analytics, and market surveillance, and operate on a unified framework, sharing the same technological infrastructure, data architecture, and software engineering methodology.He described this achievement, which is part of QSE’s strategic plan to transform Doha into a leading regional investment hub, as a cornerstone in its development strategy to assume a prominent position among the world’s advanced exchanges, in line with Qatar’s ambitious economic plans.According to the QSE, the new platform features the deployment of a solution comprising of Millennium Exchange and Millennium Surveillance aimed at enhancing QSE’s overall equity markets infrastructure capabilities.It offers a range of capabilities, including the provision of services to the derivatives market and facilitating Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). With these added functionalities, QSE is now able to offer a broader range of investment opportunities to its stakeholders.The new trading platform is a multi-asset, multi-market, trading platform designed for resiliency, high performance, and ultra-low latency, QSE said, adding that these offer out-of-the-box trading solutions for equity, fixed-income, and derivative instruments on a single robust platform that meets standard trading requirements off-the-shelf, leading to reduced time-to-market and lower implementation risk.It also provides extensive support for a multitude of asset classes including equity, fixed income, and derivatives, as well as supports market maker protection and monitoring combined with a highly deterministic latency profile to support high-frequency quoting.QSE would be able to meet global best practices and standards, launch new services, and reach unparalleled levels of low latency, high throughput, and resiliency. The new platform uses industry-standard FIX messaging and provides features such as real-time portfolio balance checks, new order types, multiple indices, surveillance alerts and market maker monitoring, as well as integrates with the Edaa and trading participants in the equities capital market.This achievement represents a significant leap forward in developing the QSE by establishing the foundations to achieve international recognition in accordance with the best practices and global standards.Al-Emadi also lauded QSE’s partners, saying their collaboration plays a vital role in enhancing market confidence, elevating the performance of available investment services and products, and improving the level of trading surveillance, which helps attract a diverse investor base and provides a trading platform capable of accommodating new investment instruments, including derivatives markets.He noted that both issuers and investors will benefit from the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of the technologies employed in the new trading platform.“The Qatar Stock Exchange is working towards enhancing its liquidity by strengthening the maturity and development of our financial markets, thereby supporting Qatar’s strategy to diversify the national economy.“This includes providing market participants and investors with a wide range of investment opportunities, enabling them to access new and diverse financial instruments to manage risks and capitalize on market movements,” al-Emadi added.QSE IT director Aisha al-Mahmoud, who is also project manager of the new trading system, noted that aside from being a significant milestone in the development of QSE, the new trading system will enable the introduction of new products and services to a new segment of investors and potential participants in derivatives and equity markets.John Walker-Robertson, global head of Cross-Asset & Market Infrastructure, London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), said: “We are proud to collaborate with the Qatar Stock Exchange to successfully implement our state-of-the-art and innovative trading infrastructure. The new infrastructure leverages industry-standard FIX messaging and offers a wide range of features aligned to global best practices and standards.”In her speech at the event, LSEG project director Vidumini Ranasinghe said: “Built on the same technology used by many global capital markets, the new, high-performing trading platform launching today will be a key capability to develop the Qatari financial market.“This enhanced platform will bring greater efficiency. But it will also bring a greater range of scalable, innovative products and services to customers, investors and potential participants in the derivatives and equity markets. This new capability will be a crucial element of Doha’s transformation into a leading investment hub in the region.”QSE concluded Tuesday’s ceremony by honouring all technology service companies, data vendors, and brokerage firms that contributed to the project, thus recognising their valuable efforts and fruitful collaboration in launching the new trading system.It is worth mentioning that LSEG’s technologies are utilised by more than 25 exchanges and financial markets worldwide, including Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Singapore Exchange, and London Stock Exchange.

Wassim Soubra, head of Commercial and Towers of Al Mana Capital Real Estate. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Packed tourism calendar seen to push Qatar’s property market forward

Qatar’s real estate sector remains robust amid a packed tourism calendar for 2023, an official of Al Mana Holding has said.“The future is bright,” AbdulRahman al-Mana, deputy CEO, told Gulf Times Monday on the sidelines of a ceremony, which released the leasing of luxury apartments and offices in the company’s 56-storey, mixed-use Burj AlMan Corniche landmark.He said, “Although Qatar has hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the country continues to push for more tourism-related events, so there would still be a lot of events happening here, so I am confident that these events will push Qatar’s real estate sector forward.”During the event, AlMana Capital Real Estate, the premier property division of Al Mana Holding, provided a preview of the state-of-the-art project, which fuses the Middle East’s rich heritage with today’s technology, quality, and modernity.The special ‘open house’ gathered over 50 corporate professionals who were introduced to the wide range of first-class facilities in the mixed-use luxury development, including modern apartments and unfurnished and fully equipped office space.“With its strategic and prime location along the Corniche, Burj AlMana provides magnificent views and boasts ease of accessibility ensuring seamless connectivity to key hubs,” said Wassim Soubra, head of Commercial and Towers of Al Mana Capital Real Estate.He added: “Its signature architectural design makes Burj AlMana a prestigious address for corporates looking to reflect their standing and ambitions in the market. This impressive development epitomizes the modern, convenient, and aspirational business and lifestyle choices that define 21st-century Qatar.”Inspired by modern Middle Eastern architecture, Burj AlMana has a distinctive facade in a three-dimensional arabesque pattern based on traditional Mashrabiya to create an awe-inspiring, futuristic landmark.The tower comprises exceptional, individually designed one, two, and three-bedroomed apartments with the highest quality finishing and furnished in ultra-modern style. Residents have access to a stunning, indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art gyms, private elevators, and round-the-clock security.Eleven floors – from the 37th to the 48th – are given over to unfurnished offices with stunning city views, while the tower also comprises a range of furnished offices divided between simplexes and duplexes. Tenants and visitors will also benefit from a range of food and beverage operators already committed to Burj AlMana’s retail spaces including Pret-A-Manger, Subway, McDonald's, and Ramen Ninja as well an on-premises supermarket and pharmacy.AbdulRahman al-Mana added: “Burj AlMana is an all-inclusive destination purposely designed to meet the daily needs of our residents and tenants. We anticipate robust demand from discerning businesses and individuals seeking a development that not only caters to their daily needs but also offers a unique and captivating setting.”For over 70 years, Al Mana Holding has supported Qatar’s industrial and real estate development delivering excellence across all aspects of its operations and developments.It has consistently promoted development with a commitment to exploring new opportunities on a national and regional level and the delivery of superior and quality products and services.

Huawei’s panel discussion was held on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the company’s new state-of-the-art office in Doha. Experts joining the discussion were Eman al-Kuwari, director of Digital Innovation Department at MCIT; Fahad Ali al-Kuwari, senior manager of Investor Relations at IPA Qatar; and Kamal Zian, chief cybersecurity and privacy officer at Gulf North Representative Office, Huawei. The discussion’s moderator was Ammar Tobba, VP Public Affairs and Communications, Huawei Middle East Region. 
PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Ties with Huawei, global tech firms to push Qatar’s ICT sector growth, says MCIT official

Partnerships with global technology providers, such as Huawei, can play a key role in enabling the growth and development of Qatar’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, according to Eman al-Kuwari, director of Digital Innovation Department at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).“These partnerships involve collaboration in areas, such as infrastructure development, technology transfer, knowledge sharing, and capacity building,” al-Kuwari said during a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of Huawei’s new state-of-the-art office in Doha.Speaking on future collaboration between the MCIT and Huawei in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, al-Kuwari said the ministry is keen to adopt and benefit from the latest modern technologies to contribute to creating a knowledge-based digital economy.Additionally, MCIT has been promoting the adoption of AI in various sectors, such as healthcare, transportation, education, and smart cities, al-Kuwari further pointed out.“Regarding cloud computing, MCIT has been working on building a robust digital infrastructure to support cloud services and enable the growth of cloud-based solutions. The MCIT is working on advancing cloud technologies and leveraging their benefits for businesses and the public sector,” she explained.Al-Kuwari said MCIT had already collaborated with Huawei on projects related to innovation, adding that the ministry is open to other collaboration projects with companies like Huawei.“I believe Huawei’s involvement can contribute to infrastructure development, innovation, and research, fostering the creation of new products, services, and technologies aligned with digital transformation goals.“Furthermore, partnerships with Huawei facilitate knowledge transfer, skills development, and the establishment of strong networks, ultimately supporting the growth, competitiveness, and technological advancement of the collaborating entities and the wider ecosystem,” she said.On sustainability and green energy, al-Kuwari said the ministry is working through the Tasmu Programme to develop initiatives that serve sustainability, such as the Sustainability Readiness Index, which is an application that is leveraging input on users’ resource consumption and life habits to determine a personalised carbon footprint index. Users are able to retrieve statistics on main drivers and receive tailored recommendations to adjust their actions.Similarly, al-Kuwari said residents and businesses can utilise the P2P Energy Trading Platform to sell any excess energy produced by decentralised solar power generation to others on the grid. The platform is enabled by solar, smart grid, and net metering technology, she also said.Kamal Zian, chief cybersecurity and privacy officer at Gulf North Representative Office, Huawei, who was also part of the panel discussion, said the company is supporting Qatar in terms of ICT talent and the country’s digital ecosystem, as well as in the region and globally.Zian noted that Huawei is keen on aligning with international standards in ICT and technology. This, he said, helps Huawei to set the standard, the quality of service, and the level of security, especially cybersecurity.“Cybersecurity in that regard, for example, is a key pillar of our strategy. All the products or services that we are offering are fully certified from a global perspective and we are also adhering to the best practices for cybersecurity and privacy protection.”

Sheikh Mansoor bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairman of MBK Holding. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Talent and technology seen to shape future of Qatar’s economy

Qatar’s “next generation economy” would be a “talent economy,” which would be vital in pushing the economic development of the country amid advancements in technology and innovation, according to Sheikh Mansoor bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairman of MBK Holding.Sheikh Mansoor was speaking as one of the experts during a panel discussion held on the sidelines of a tech summit organised by the Indian Business and Professionals Council (IBPC Qatar).He described the “talent economy” as “version two” of a knowledge-based economy, which Qatar has been aspiring to attain as part of the objectives and goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.He said: “It’s not the knowledge itself; it’s the talent who are producing the knowledge,” he explained.Sheikh Mansoor further explained that building a complete ecosystem and encouraging more collaboration with local stakeholders and other players is necessary to attract quality talent.Amid the rapid shift in the technology landscape, Sheikh Mansoor noted that adapting immediately to the latest innovations and technologies will help forge a progressive economy to push the country forward.“It is important to be an early adapter of innovation, technology, engineering innovation, and resilience. The early adopters always have the advantage. The key to being an early adapter is quality talent and community,” Sheikh Mansoor emphasised.He said: “It’s really all about quality talent and community, so the more we are into quality talent, the more we are into building the community of that mindset. By shifting our mindset and mentality to that level of innovation and entrepreneurship, the more we can be an early adapter and we can move into the future faster.”Sheikh Mansoor also underlined the pervasive influence of AI and its widespread integration in various sectors of the economy. “Personally, I think AI is going to be everywhere. This is a no-brainer,” he pointed out.However, Sheikh Mansoor emphasised that the decision on the domains in terms of maximising the use of AI should be decided by “the collective of the community,” adding that continuous improvement and constant evolution, and “building a robust, quality talent community” is important.“This is a people game. Therefore, changing the mindset, building the right talent, and having a community to support that change in mindset and this talent is essential,” reiterated Sheikh Mansoor.He also underscored the need for hands-on support from different stakeholders to develop the ecosystem, saying, “We are already starting, and I know different stakeholders in the country are moving into more proactive ecosystem support.”Sheikh Mansoor added: “I don't think that today we can decide what will make the difference for us and to be more’s a collective effort; we should think about what will differentiate us and what will put us on the map.”

Fahad Ali al-Kuwari, senior manager of Investor Relations at the IPA Qatar. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
PPP strategy vital in attracting FDI to Qatar, says IPA Qatar official

Qatar’s strategy in implementing public-private partnerships (PPPs) will play a key role in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the country, according to Fahad Ali al-Kuwari, senior manager of Investor Relations at the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar).Al-Kuwari made the statement during a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of Huawei’s new state-of-the-art office in Doha, which was inaugurated on Tuesday by HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali bin Mohamed al-Mannai.During the panel discussion, al-Kuwari discussed the role of PPPs in generating more FDI inflow into Qatar in light of the rapid development being witnessed in the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector and related industries.Al-Kuwari pointed out that PPPs align the interests of the government, such as building infrastructure and expanding the nation’s capabilities, and with the private sector’s interest to maximise profit.He said Qatar has already established successful PPPs in different sectors, including oil and gas, as well as in banking, among others. But Qatar is also expanding its PPP strategy to include other sectors, such as technology-related industries.Al-Kuwari noted that “27%” of FDI inflows to Qatar was from tech industries, adding that the percentage is expected to grow going forward.“I think tech is going to be foundational in business expansion and in all new emerging sectors...the challenge is how do we, as a state, regulate the foreign direct investment to the country and how do we maintain the relationship with incumbent investors like Huawei and other players of similar size from other geographies. PPP is a very delicate strategy, but if it’s done right, everyone benefits,” he stressed.Through its Invest Qatar brand, IPA Qatar is playing a pivotal role in attracting FDI to the country. In its 2022 Annual Report, IPA Qatar announced that the country’s booming FDI ecosystem witnessed $29.78bn in capital expenditure and more than 13,900 new jobs created across 135 FDI projects last year.The report stated: “Qatar marked substantial success in 2022, achieving $29.78bn in FDI capital expenditure. Backed by the country’s strong and stable economic growth and attractive investment prospects, 135 new FDI projects were recorded, creating 13,972 new jobs in 2022.“This represents almost 25 times the value of FDI projects from the year before and a doubling of jobs created compared to 2021. The new jobs spanned across diverse sectors, including the oil and gas, software, and IT, as well as business services and automotive OEM sectors.”The report further revealed that over 800 new foreign commercial establishments were initiated across the business licensing platforms.HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani, who is also chairman of IPA Qatar, stated in the report: “Last year saw us forge ahead on multiple fronts and across sectors and geographies. It has demonstrated the resilience of the country’s economy, established through a long-term strategy and decades of prudent investments.“This year also offered invaluable opportunities for us to spotlight Qatar’s unceasing potential as an investment destination of choice and to further our engagement with partners and stakeholders worldwide.”Similarly, Sheikh Ali Alwaleed al-Thani, CEO of IPA Qatar, commented: “2022 was a solid steppingstone for IPA Qatar, marked by substantial growth and deepened engagement with the international investment community, that saw us partner with numerous organisations in line with Qatar’s economic diversification efforts.“We continue to improve and develop our services to make the Invest Qatar brand an embodiment of excellence and a long-term partner for investors. Building on last year’s successes, I am confident that we will support prospective investors into Qatar through a growing number of opportunities in 2023 and beyond.”

HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali bin Mohamed al-Mannai listening to a briefing on Huawei's new office in Qatar during an inauguration ceremony held in the presence of senior representatives from IPA Qatar, UDC, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the State of Qatar, and Huawei management team led by Steven Yi, president, Huawei Middle East and Central Asia.
MCIT minister opens Huawei’s new state-of-the-art office in Qatar

HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali bin Mohamed al-Mannai led the opening ceremony of Huawei’s new state-of-the-art office at the UDC Tower in The Pearl Island Tuesday.Huawei’s new 4,000sq m office will house the company’s main Qatar operation team and was designed to help meet the future needs of its growing workforce. The office opening is in line with Huawei’s expansion plans in Qatar and its commitment to supporting the country’s digital transformation, ICT ecosystem, and digital economy.In a statement, Huawei said: “The move reaffirms Huawei’s long-term commitment to Qatar and is a milestone in the company expansion plan targeted at enhancing its presence, activities, offerings, and contributions to the Qatar market to achieve its mandate to play a key role in achieving the country’s digital transformation goals.”During the inauguration ceremony, the minister was joined by senior representatives from Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPA Qatar), United Development Company (UDC), the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the State of Qatar, and Huawei management team led by Steven Yi, president, Huawei Middle East and Central Asia.The minister said, “Huawei is considered as one of our important partners and is among the top leading companies in the field of ICT. I am pleased to welcome Huawei’s new expansion in Qatar. There is no doubt that this will contribute to enhancing digital innovation and creating new digital opportunities in the Qatari market.”Yi said: “Today’s new office opening is a commitment to our future in Qatar. We are proud of our history in the country and Huawei will continue to support Qatar’s digital transformation through its cutting-edge technology solutions.“I look forward to welcoming customers, partners, visitors, and Huawei team members to our new office. I am confident that this expansion will drive further recruitment of elite talent who will take the lead in achieving the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, towards a leading sustainable digital society.”According to Huawei, its new office will host the company’s business operations, including carrier networks, enterprise, consumer, cloud, and digital power. In addition, the office will play a critical role in managing the company’s CSR programmes and initiatives in Qatar, such as Huawei’s flagship programme, ‘Seeds for the Future’, ‘ICT Competition’, and ‘Huawei ICT Academy’.The office also houses an exhibition centre that will function as an executive briefing centre, showcasing many of the company’s products, solutions, and advanced technologies in the ICT industry.With a seafront and Qatar skyline view, Huawei’s new office has broad and open collaborative areas with natural light and beautiful landscapes. Following the curves that were inspired by the ocean waves, spaces were created to hold meetings and demonstrate Huawei’s industry-leading technologies to clients.UDC, the master developer of The Pearl Island and Gewan Island, signed an agreement last year with Huawei to boost smart city characteristics by designing and integrating innovative solutions at The Pearl Island. At Milipol Qatar 2022, UDC extended its partnership with Huawei to deploy its smart campus system at the new UDC development at Gewan Island.Huawei has been operating in the Qatari market since 2003 and currently works with telecom providers Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar, serving approximately 2mn people in the country.Huawei is also actively cultivating local ICT talents to contribute to Qatar’s ICT ecosystem. Huawei expanded its STEM and education initiatives last year through its flagship CSR programme, Seeds for the Future, Huawei ICT Competition, and Huawei ICT Academy to further support the country’s core focus on innovation.

Dr Nizar Kochari (standing), founding president and chair of Qatar Indian Management Association, moderating the discussion during QIMA's 'Leadership Summit' held recently. Joining him are (from left) P Suresh, former commander of the Indian Navy and managing director of Steel and Industrial Forgings; Ibrahim al-Jaidah, Group CEO & chief architect of Arab Engineering Bureau and IJAE; Shrinivas V Dempo, president of the All India Management Association (AIMA) and chairman of Dempo Group of Companies; and Rekha Sethi, director general of AIMA. PICTURE: Thajudheen
‘Huge scope’ to grow Qatar-India ties in energy and technology

Qatar and India share an expansive range of potential partnerships in sectors, such as energy and technology, a subject matter expert stressed during the Qatar Indian Management Association (QIMA)’s recently held ‘Leadership Summit’.“I think there is a huge scope for what Qatar and India can do together. I know you have leadership in the energy sector. We are looking at different technologies now. Qatar itself is looking at different technologies to transcend the future,” said Shrinivas V Dempo, president of the All India Management Association (AIMA) and chairman of Dempo Group of Companies.Dempo addressed the attendees as the guest of honour and discussed the ‘Changing Leadership in a Changing World’. He said the theme of the summit “actually applies in the current context of management leadership.”As an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University, Dempo said he understood the vision of Qatar’s leadership and the reasons why the country developed its educational system by establishing “wonderful institutes” from the US, the UK, and Europe.“This is something that a leadership of the country can do to change the whole perspective. And I think Qatar has done it rightly in the field of education,” he stressed while lauding Qatar’s successful hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.He further said: “I saw the World Cup and it was mind-blowingly well organised. All of you who are Qatar citizens should be proud of your country for what it has done. It has been a phenomenal achievement.“This is my seventh World Cup and I must proudly acknowledge that this was the best one, so I think this is the kind of leadership that one wants to see to face the challenges today.”During the summit, Dempo was joined by other dignitaries, including South African ambassador Ghulam Hoosein Asmal who delivered an inaugural speech. Ibrahim al-Jaidah, Group CEO & chief architect of Arab Engineering Bureau and IJAE, shared valuable insights and advice with young leaders at the event.Rekha Sethi, director general of AIMA, discussed the topic ‘Women in Leadership Roles: Beyond Barriers and Biases’, while P Suresh, former commander of the Indian Navy and managing director of Steel and Industrial Forgings, talked about ‘Navigating the Complexities: Leadership Trials in Manufacturing Industries’.The South African ambassador said: “Both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were inviting leaders; giants worthy of our admiration and praise. There was never any doubt, not even in the minds of the extractors, that what they stood for and what they were going to fight for, or even die for, never, which is why they were able to influence astonishing changes and achieve more inspiring results.”For his part, al-Jaidah emphasised the value of hard work and utilising technology, and the importance of patience and perseverance when working one’s way from the ranks. “Hang around with the leaders. And as you become a leader, put leaders around you. You are as good as the people surrounding you. And there’s nothing like working with somebody that can inspire you,” said al-Jaidah, addressing the youth at the summit.Citing a study done by McKinsey, Sethi said the global GDP in 2025 would be higher than “$12tn” or “11%” if all countries take steps towards gender parity. The same study said that if women have the same participation rate in the workforce as men, the global GDP would rise to “$28tn” or “26%,” she further said.“During the past couple of decades, the movement for gender parity in business leadership has gained great momentum and has been a convergence of policy action and corporate initiative in the push for women's inclusion in leadership roles.“Many governments have introduced quotas for women in corporate roles to jumpstart gender equality in business leadership. As a result, women are becoming more visible from the higher table, and more women are aspiring to become CEOs and chairpersons of different companies,” she emphasised.Meanwhile, Suresh said: “Leaders are influencers. Influencers are not leaders. I am not talking about social media influencers. But as a leader, you influence people. I have seen it. You touch people's lives.“So, you should always be touching them with the good. You will always remember the quality. A leader is someone whom you can depend upon to deliver. Deliverance is a key word in business. Anywhere you deliver, you have leadership quality.”

Industry experts discussing ‘The Post-World Cup Real Estate Sector’ during the Qatar Real Estate Forum, which concluded Monday. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
Private sector vital for sustaining Qatar’s post-World Cup real estate gains

Qatar’s property market benefitted from the successful delivery of the FIFA World Cup 2022, but the ball is now in the court of the private sector to continue the gains of the real estate sector post-tournament, the Qatar Real Estate Forum was told Monday.Engineer Nasser Hassan al-Ansari, chairman of Just Real Estate Company, made this observation during the first session of the day, titled ‘The Post-World Cup Real Estate Sector’.He was joined by other members of the panel, including Omar al-Jaber, director of Shared Services, Qatar Tourism; Ahmad Mohamed Tayeb, chief of investments, Qatari Diar; Jassim Mohamed, director, Personnel Housing and Government Buildings Affairs; and Mohamed al-Asmakh, director of operations, Katara Hospitality.“We have responded to the requirements of the World Cup, and I think the real estate sector was able to respond to all the needs of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Today, the responsibility is on the shoulder of the private sector.“The government has executed and implemented all the infrastructure, and it enacted laws and legislations that are necessary to revitalise the real estate sector... the private sector shall not and should not depend on the government,” al-Ansari stressed.He underscored the need to attract foreign companies and businesses to pump investments into the country’s property market, saying the World Cup has placed Qatar on the world stage, making it a tourism destination and investment haven.“We need to exit from Qatar and promote our real estate products. We need to promote the real estate sector in order to respond to the requirements of the market. We should not rely on the domestic investor.“There are external investors that like to come to Qatar as a destination for their real estate investments. We have the best healthcare, universities, schools, education, and everything is available; that responds to the investor's needs,” explained al-Ansari, who also called on the banking sector to provide the necessary investment funds to enhance the country’s property market.For his part, Mohamed said the Qatari government forged a partnership with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) to provide housing units for fans and other visitors during the World Cup.“The idea was that we will provide these units for the World Cup and would later take hold of them after the tournament so that we can use and distribute them among government employees. There is a great legacy since the beginning; we can assure the investor and that he will not come for a short period, but also to enhance the real estate sector in Qatar,” Mohamed said.According to Tayeb, Qatari Diar’s Lusail Project has “played a great role in responding to the needs of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.” He said Lusail city offered investment opportunities to the private sector before and after the World Cup, citing dedicated lands for education, healthcare, and recreation areas like Al Maha Island and the Lusail Winter Wonderland.Tayeb also stressed that Qatari Diar is maximising its global operations in more than 20 countries to market and promote Qatar as an ideal destination for international companies and investors.He noted that despite a global economic recession, Qatar remains stable: “Our situation is very much better than other countries because the World Cup increased the number of tourists coming to the country, Qatar is focusing on several touristic projects in order to develop this sector, and the state rented more than 45,000 housing units for five years. This is a support for the real estate investor after the World Cup.”On the other hand, al-Jaber said Qatar Tourism (QT) has announced its calendar for the first and second quarter of the year, adding that it will soon announce many activities in its calendar for the summer season.He said there are continuous investments in Qatar’s tourism sector, as well as promotions, especially in the international market through QT’s global offices in 18 countries.Similarly, al-Asmakh said Katara Hospitality is continuously working to provide “the best hotels” and to meet the needs of the local market. He also underscored its role and efforts to attract more tourists to the country.

HE the Ministry of Transport Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti viewing one of the prototypes of EcoTranzit’s electric cars under the VIM brand. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
EcoTranzit launches Qatari-patent EV brand

In a bid to revolutionise the transport sector in the country, EcoTranzit Company has unveiled Qatar’s first electric vehicle (EV) brand under its exclusive intellectual property rights in a ceremony in the presence and patronage of HE the Ministry of Transport Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti.The launch event was graced by HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, HE the Minister of State and chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority Ahmad al-Sayed, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) president Essa bin Hilal al-Kuwari, and Ashghal president Dr Saad Ahmed al-Mohannadi, alongside other dignitaries, governmental representatives, automotive agencies, and relevant entities.The groundbreaking endeavour aligns seamlessly with Qatar National Vision 2030 to transform the transportation sector into an environmentally-conscious and sustainable industry. It exemplifies the prevailing global shift towards curbing carbon emissions emanating from conventional vehicles, which significantly contribute to environmental pollution.During the event, prototypes of EcoTranzit’s electric cars under the VIM brand were unveiled. This noteworthy achievement not only underscores Qatar’s steadfast commitment to curbing carbon emissions but also acknowledges the company’s endeavours in fostering national innovation, empowering the local workforce, and nurturing talent development. By laying the foundation for such industries, these collective efforts will play a pivotal role in driving future localisation.Being at the forefront of the electric vehicle (EV) and sustainable transportation solutions domain, EcoTranzit, a trailblazing Qatari enterprise, has made significant strides in securing intellectual property rights for an extensive array of electric cars and buses, in collaboration with its esteemed international partners.This pivotal move serves as the initial stride in the establishment of a comprehensive industry encompassing both lightweight and heavyweight electric vehicles, proudly bearing the VIM brand. In line with this vision, the company has already commenced investments in assembly plants and preliminary production lines, while laying out strategic plans to further cultivate a semi-integrated industry in the near term.EcoTranzit aims to forge ahead by establishing the inaugural regional centre in collaboration with pertinent authorities, dedicated to the certification of EVs. This esteemed certification centre will diligently verify that electric cars and buses conform to worldwide specifications while upholding Gulf standards, thereby bestowing them with the appropriate accreditation certificates.EcoTranzit’s foray into the realm of eco-conscious transportation solutions stands as a momentous leap forward within the Qatari and Gulf markets. The company presents state-of-the-art technologies and innovative designs tailored for public, private, and commercial transportation needs.EcoTranzit has made substantial investments in EV infrastructure and complementary technological systems to offer holistic solutions for the electric transportation ecosystem. Presently, the company engages in the production of diverse public buses, the assembly of electric cars, as well as the provision, installation, and operation of electric chargers and associated technological solutions.EcoTranzit chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani said: “We are thrilled to embark on this remarkable and vital venture within our beloved nation through the introduction of these innovative electric vehicles. Our paramount objective is to redefine the realm of intelligent mobility by offering environmentally conscious vehicles that seamlessly integrate contemporary design, top-notch specifications, and practical models suitable for diverse applications.”Every vehicle provided by EcoTranzit is equipped with cutting-edge technologies, state-of-the-art batteries boasting intelligent charging systems, and a diverse array of sophisticated information and communication systems.These cars encompass extensive safety measures and intelligent electronic connectivity systems, streamlining the charging process with compatible devices. All vehicles meticulously adhere to global and Gulf standard specifications, ensuring top-notch quality and performance.

Mexico's Deputy Minister of Finance and Public Credit Gabriel Yorio Gonzalez. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Mexico seeks Qatari FDI to drive economic growth, enhance bilateral ties

Mexico is looking to infuse investments from Qatar for large-scale development projects and to strengthen economic partnerships between both nations, Deputy Minister of Finance and Public Credit Gabriel Yorio Gonzalez has said.Gonzalez was in Qatar recently as part of a government delegation from Mexico that is exploring co-operation opportunities in several markets in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and its investment climates.“We can increase our presence and invest more in the GCC region. But, at the same time, we would like to see more Qatari firms in Mexico...probably we will need to work more on increasing that knowledge so we can bring more firms to Mexico.“We had some meetings with our counterparts in the Qatari government. And they are proposing to start increasing the interactions among the chambers and business associations in Mexico and Qatar,” Gonzalez told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview.Citing Mexico’s focus on renewable energy and trade partnerships, Gonzalez said initiatives like the Sonora Plan and the inter-oceanic corridor offer attractive opportunities for Qatari investors to participate in the country’s growth.Gonzalez said the Sonora Plan aims to capitalise on Mexico’s high-quality solar light and abundant solar energy potential. He said the government is building its largest solar park in Northern Mexico, including other aeolian plants in Oaxaca to harness the power of the wind.“Mexico plans to construct multiple solar parks, with one nearing completion and plans for five additional parks. These initiatives will significantly contribute to the region’s electricity generation and offer power supply solutions to Baja California and Baja California Sur,” Gonzalez stated.The deputy finance minister noted that the Sonora Plan also includes the relocation of the supply chain for lithium extraction, which is essential for batteries and electric vehicles.“Some of the other opportunities that we have heard from our counterparts is that we would like to increase connectivity, for example, more flights from Mexico to Qatar, but also potentially to explore trade facilitation agreements, so we can increase our trade or commerce, including all the relations that we can build. Diversifying the economy is always good because you don’t depend only on one source.“Also, transitioning towards more clean energy, sustainability, and environmental justice is important. It is important here as it is important in Mexico. And we have pursued an approach of a sustainable finance approach that we’re developing in Mexico to green our financial sector,” Gonzalez said.On the inter-oceanic corridor of Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Gonzalez said the government is investing in an inter-oceanic train that goes from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.“This is a trade facilitation project. We want to provide an option for all the trade that comes from Asia to the east coast of the US and to provide industrial or manufacturing clusters to the region and the Central American region,” Gonzalez explained.He said Mexico also aims to build desalination facilities in water-stressed areas north of the country. The plan offers Qatari investors an opportunity to contribute to water resource management and alleviate water scarcity issues, Gonzalez pointed out.“One of the issues that we want to address in Mexico is to increase investments in water desalination, so we want to benefit from your expertise and the expertise of the region.“Also, there are already firms in Arab countries that have enough skills to invest in Mexico and to have these investments in Mexican territory. And that’s one of the potential objectives that we can achieve on these kinds of visits,” he emphasised.Gonzalez highlighted the significance of the trade agreement between Mexico, the US, and Canada or T-MEC. As a strategic partner within T-MEC, Gonzalez said Mexico offers a range of opportunities for Qatari businesses seeking to expand their presence in North America.“Mexico has an extensive network of 15 free trade agreements, making the country a gateway to global markets. By establishing a presence in Mexico, Qatari firms would gain access not only to the vast North American market but also to Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Mexico’s strategic location as a trade and logistics hub provides Qatari businesses with opportunities to explore new avenues for growth and enhance their global reach,” Gonzalez added.

HE the Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) Ahmad al-Sayed. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Generative AI seen to push innovation in various sectors, says Google Cloud official

The emergence of generative AI “is an exciting opportunity” for industries, companies, and a wide range of sectors “to reimagine what is possible,” said Adaire Fox-Martin, president, Google Cloud Go-to-Market.Fox-Martin, who spoke at a press conference held on the sidelines of Google Cloud’s opening ceremony for its new Doha cloud region, said AI has been part of Google’s corporate product portfolio “for many years.”Replying to a question from Gulf Times on the impact of AI across different sectors in Qatar, she said generative AI could be categorised into three areas when applied to business outcomes.“I think the three main use cases that we’re seeing emerge right across all industries are changing the customer experience, looking for opportunities to be cost-efficient and effective, and then finally looking at where you can remove some of the drudgery from very content-rich tasks and add the creativity that generative AI allows for that,” Fox-Martin said.HE the Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) Ahmad al-Sayed, who also spoke at the press conference, said the Qatari government will utilise disruptive technology and make it advantageous to businesses.Al-Sayed emphasised that QFZ will also continue to work with its partners, such as Google, along with other authorities in the government and the private sector, to maximise the use of disruptive technologies to push for innovation and transform Qatar’s economy.Google Cloud Qatar general manager Ghassan Kosta also emphasised that the new Doha region that is now part of Google global network, “which covers 37 regions and 112 zones, and also bringing Google Cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.”“Google Cloud brings its advanced infrastructure to address customers’ needs. And as part Qatar National Vision 2030, we have witnessed the efforts of the Qatari government to diversify and transform its economy by deploying tech for the benefit of its citizens. And that’s why we are here. And that’s why we are enabling cloud in Qatar,” Kosta said.According to an earlier statement, the new cloud region will meet the growing demand for cloud services in Qatar and the Middle East region and support Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims to transform the country into a digital economy through innovation and digital transformation.Research commissioned by Google Cloud and conducted by Access Partnership stated that the new Doha cloud region is expected to drive increased economic activity and is estimated to contribute a cumulative $18.9bn in higher gross economic output to Qatar’s economy between 2023 and 2030 and support the creation of 25,000 jobs in 2030 alone.This new cloud region is the latest significant investment made by Google Cloud in Qatar, following the recent opening of a country office and virtual Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Msheireb.The series of investments in infrastructure and resources demonstrates Google Cloud’s continued commitment to playing a pivotal role in advancing Qatar’s digital future and technological capabilities.The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Qatari government have helped enable the growth of the cloud across the government through the adoption of cloud policies, which facilitated Google Cloud's market entry.

Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad al-Thani, USQBC Doha managing director.
USQBC executive highlights growth potential in IT, AI partnerships between Qatar-US firms

Collaboration between Qatari and US companies can provide significant opportunities for growth in areas, such as information technology (IT), cybersecurity, fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital transformation, an official of US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) Doha Office has said.Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad al-Thani, USQBC Doha managing director, said the recently-held Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg has helped influence the exchange of ideas and fostering cooperation between Qatar and the US.“Qatar has made investments in technology and innovation to diversify its economy and increase its competitiveness...during the forum, technological advancements were showcased, knowledge exchange was facilitated, and partnerships in the technology and innovation sectors were fostered,” Sheikha Mayes told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview.Following USQBC’s participation in the forum, Sheikha Mayes highlighted several ways in which the council can support Qatari businesses in expanding their reach and establishing a presence in the US market.She said USQBC can provide valuable intelligence and research on the US market to Qatari businesses. This includes information on industry trends, consumer preferences, regulatory requirements, and market entry strategies.“By leveraging insights gained from the Qatar Economic Forum discussions and presentations, USQBC can help Qatari businesses identify opportunities and make informed decisions when entering the US market,” she said.According to Sheikha Mayes, USQBC actively promotes Qatari businesses in the US market to potential investors, trade partners, and customers. By utilising the outcomes and recommendations of the forum, USQBC showcases Qatar’s investment potential and business opportunities by organising targeted investment seminars, trade missions, or roadshows, which generate exposure and attract the interest of American counterparts.Sheikha Mayes also emphasised that USQBC plays a crucial role in providing market intelligence, facilitating networking opportunities, promoting investment and trade, and granting access to resources and partnerships for Qatari businesses expanding into the US market.“We have been engaged in various partnerships and memorandums of understanding with several government agencies. We work together on developing programmes to further enhance the attraction of business and investment to both countries. Following the forum, several outcomes and discussions will be added to these agreements,” she said.Sheikha Mayes underscored the importance of QEF, saying that it contributes significantly to shaping the business landscape by promoting dialogue and collaboration, showcasing investment opportunities, encouraging economic diversification, innovation and entrepreneurship, enhancing global visibility, and influencing policy formulation, among other things.She said the field of energy and renewable resources, defence and security, technology and innovation, and education and research are among the specific sectors or industries that have significant potential for growth and collaboration between Qatar and the US.“Qatar Economic Forum contributed to the development of these sectors by providing stakeholders with a platform for sharing insights, exchanging ideas, and exploring collaborative opportunities. A forum such as this facilitates networking and matchmaking sessions, showcases success stories and best practices, and fosters dialogue between industry leaders, policymakers, and potential investors.“As the forum highlights opportunities, discusses challenges, and promotes collaboration, it can play an important role in driving growth and fostering partnerships between Qatar and the US in these industries,” she explained.On plans for joint initiatives or programmes to enhance educational and professional development opportunities between Qatar and the US, Sheikha Mayes said USQBC is committed to continuing to support education and professional development.“Since we began working with Georgetown University in Qatar on the accredited internship programme, we have hired and trained several students. This is something we will continue to do. In fact, we may even expand our partnerships to other educational institutions.“It is USQBC’s intention to contribute to economic diversification and job creation by supporting the growth and development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Providing SMEs with resources, networking opportunities, and mentorship programmes can help them gain access to markets, build capacity, and scale their businesses,” she said.

Gulf Times
Qatar banking sector total assets up 0.6% month-on-month to QR1.891tn in April: QNBFS

Qatar banking sector total assets grew 0.6% month-on-month (MoM), down 0.7% so far in 2023, in April to reach QR1.891tn, QNB Financial Services (QNBFS) said in a report on Tuesday.Total loans provided by Qatari banks went down 0.4% MoM to QR1, 249.5bn, while deposits contracted by 0.3% to QR964.2bn in April.According to QNBFS, the country’s private sector pushed the overall credit lower.Loans have edged down by 0.5% in 2023, compared to a growth of 3.3% in 2022. Loans grew by an average 6.7% over the past five years (2018-2022).Loan provisions to gross loans was at 3.7% in both April and March of this year.The deposits slide in April was mainly due to a drop by 1.5% in the private sector. Deposits have gone down by 3.5% in 2023, compared to a growth of 2.6% in 2022. Deposits grew by an average 4% over the past five years (2018-2022), QNBFS said and noted that as deposits moved down by 0.3% in April, the loans to deposits ratio (LDR) declined to 129.6% compared with 129.7% in March.The overall loan book went down 0.4% in April. Domestic private sector loans moved down by 0.6% MoM (+0.2% in 2023) in April. The services segment was the main reason behind the private sector loan drop. Services (contributes nearly 30% to private sector loans) declined by 1.9% MoM (0.4% in 2023), while consumption and others (contributes nearly 20% to private sector loans) moved lower by 0.4% MoM (-1.2% in 2023).However, the real estate segment (contributes nearly 23% to private sector loans) edged up by 0.1% MoM (0.0% in 2023), while general trade (contributes nearly 21% to private sector loans) gained marginally by 0.1% MoM (+1.8% in 2023) in April.Total public sector loans remained flat MoM (-2.3% in 2023). The government segment (represents nearly 28% of public sector loans) declined 1.0% MoM (-11.1% in 2023).However, the government institutions’ segment (represents nearly 67% of public sector loans) loan book increased 0.4% MoM (+2% in 2023), while the semi-government institutions’ segment gained 0.4% MoM (-1.9% in 2023).Outside Qatar loans moved up by 0.4% MoM (0.4% in 2023) in April, QNBFS noted.Private sector deposits declined by 1.5% MoM (-2% in 2023) in April. On the private sector front, the companies and institutions’ segment fell by 3.6% MoM (-7.5% in 2023).However, the consumer segment increased by 0.5% MoM (+3.5% in 2023) in April.Public sector deposits increased by 0.8% MoM (-4.1% in 2023) in April.Looking at segment details, the government segment (represents nearly 30% of public sector deposits) was the main driver with a growth of 4.4% MoM (-4.4% in 2023), while the semi-government institutions’ segment rose by 2% MoM (-18.7% in 2023).However, the government institutions’ segment (represents nearly 58% of public sector deposits) moved lower by 1.1% MoM (-0.4% in 2023) in April.Non-resident deposits shifted from its general downward trend for the second consecutive month and moved up by 0.4% MoM (-5.9% in 2023) in April.Qatar banking sector loan provisions to gross loans was at 3.7% in both April and March.Qatar banking sector liquid assets to total assets was at a higher 31% in April 2023, compared to 30.4% in March.An analyst told Gulf Times, “Higher interest rates could have acted as a deterrent for credit to the private sector with overall loans to the private sector declining by 0.6% in April”.

Wael Badawy, head of Energy Performance Services at Siemens. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
Digitalisation seen to accelerate net zero goals, says expert

Digitalisation will be a key driver of transformation across industries to reach net zero goals, Wael Badawy, head of Energy Performance Services at Siemens, told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a panel discussion at Project Qatar 2023 Tuesday.“Digitalisation and sustainability are very important topics; they go hand-in-hand. You cannot separate digitalisation from sustainability,” he explained.“Given the trends in the market and global challenges towards achieving sustainability, we need to accelerate the momentum to reach net zero. And how we can accelerate this or reduce carbon emissions? The only solution here is digitalisation because it enables sustainability, the Siemens official observed.”Badawy participated in the conference titled ‘New Trends in Qatar’s Construction Sector’ together with Luis Carlos Aranda, country manager, Copasa, and Paraskevoula Ntai, legal counsel, Essa Al Sulaiti Law Firm.Moderated by Craig Richardson, technical director, Parsons, the panel discussion was organised by the chambers of commerce of Italy, the US, France, and Spain, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), German Business Council Qatar (GBCQ), Turkish Businessmen Association (TBA), and German Industry & Commerce Office Qatar (AHK), in collaboration with IFP Qatar.According to Badawy, Qatar “became a role model” for future FIFA World Cup tournaments when it hosted the World Cup last year, which was touted as “the world’s first carbon-neutral World Cup.”“Stadium 974 is an example, but it’s not about how to utilise sustainable or recyclable material, rather, it is about utilising digitalisation. Sustainability is not about the material. It’s about the preservation of the next generation; it's a mindset,” he explained.To successfully host the FIFA World Cup, Badawy said Qatar maximised digitalisation to manage and monitor the movement of people and transportation, including other logistics challenges to reduce carbon emissions.“Ultimately, the tournament in Qatar was one of the lowest carbon emission World Cups in the world. And this is something that Qatar and its people can be proud of; it is something that other countries could emulate.“This is the beauty of digitalisation and sustainability. Both can be replicated and there is scalability. Other countries could imitate what Qatar has accomplished during the World Cup and these achievements could be applied across different sectors and industries,” Badawy pointed out.GCC countries, including Qatar, “are on track” in terms of digitalisation, Badawy emphasised, citing the emergence of sustainable communities in GCC states, as well as smart cities like Lusail and Msheireb.“Building a sustainable community is a vision for the next 50 years; GCC countries are thinking ahead and they are building the right technologies for the next generation, so they are on the right track,” he stressed.

Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan at Project Qatar. PICTURE: Ram Chand
Envoy eyes Qatari delegation at Trade Expo Indonesia 2023

Plans are underway to invite a delegation of companies from Qatar to the 38th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI), Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan told Gulf Times Monday.Hassan was speaking on the sidelines of Project Qatar 2023, which was officially opened Monday by HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani.The ambassador stressed that TEI is Indonesia’s largest trade exhibition, which is backed by the government and the private sector. It will be held from October 18 to 22 at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) – BSD City.“This year is very special for Indonesia and Qatar because we are celebrating the Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture. Currently, the embassy is working hard on following the progress and developments in Qatar to support our bilateral relations,” Hassan pointed out.During Project Qatar, which will run until June 1 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, the embassy of Indonesia will be disseminating information related to the Southeast Asian nation’s economic development and other useful material to promote Indonesia and, at the same time, attract investments from Qatar, Hassan explained.“By sharing vital information about our country, we are hoping to share not only Indonesian products but also to share our experiences with the Qatari market,” the ambassador noted.According to Hassan, the Indonesian embassy has recorded an increase in its food and non-food products to Qatar in 2022.“While we import a lot of oil and gas from Qatar, our food and non-food exports to Qatar, including automobiles, paper and palm oil, among others, increased last year,” Hassan noted.The ambassador also said Indonesia is looking to export its ‘creative industries’ to contribute to the further development of Qatar’s tourism industry.

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi. PICTURE: Peter Alagos
Qatar seen as global hub for Italian construction, home building firms, says envoy

The participation of a large delegation of Italian firms in the 19th edition of Project Qatar underscores the significance of Doha as a global hub, Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi said Monday.“In this year’s edition of Project Qatar, the Italian pavilion has around 13-14 companies participating in the event. We give a solid signal that the construction sector and the home building sector in Italy see Doha as an opportunity,” Toschi told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.The ambassador lauded the concerted efforts made by the Qatari government and other relevant authorities in fostering an environment conducive to growth, not just for Qatar but also on a global scale.Toschi said, “It’s an opportunity for a presence in the domestic market, but also for broader promotion abilities due to the nature of Doha as a global hub. So, I want to recognise the efforts that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as well as Qatari authorities, are making to create this opportunity as a growing one, not only for Qatar, but globally, and Italy will be there also in the future to be part of this.”According to Toschi, Italian companies are keen to explore new markets and are on the lookout for new customers and new opportunities.“Italy is also a global leader, for instance, when it comes to wood and wood furnishing, and the same applies in many of the sectors of housing. I would say that for these companies to be able to access Doha as a global hub, thanks to its network of connections, whether in transport, information, culture and many others, to access Doha is an opportunity.“We present it as such. It goes way beyond the size of the domestic market because from Doha you can access the world. And from Italy, you can access, I would say, some of the best quality in the world,” Toschi further stressed.On trade exchange with Qatar, the ambassador said both countries reached “a new record” in bilateral trade last year, which is valued at “around €8bn”.“This represents a growth on the previous record of over 140% in 2021. So these are already post-pandemic figures. They represent a variety of sectors. But overall, I think they’re the signal of a very healthy, very positive trade relationship, and we want to see it continuing to grow,” Toschi pointed out.He added: “But the growth of our relationship, I would say, has met the challenges of the pandemic and of other challenges that we face, including, for instance, climate change, and our trade relationship reflects that as well.“We are working more and more in exploring the opportunities in the renewable energy sector, as well as exploring opportunities in oil and gas, which remain the core of our relationship in the energy field with Qatar.”

HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani using a high-tech screen to officially open the 19th edition of Project Qatar at DECC Monday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Project Qatar 2023 starts with participation of many companies

HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani officially opened Monday the 19th edition of Project Qatar, which will run until June 1 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).The four-day event, which is being held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, serves as a significant platform for industry professionals and enthusiasts.With the support of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and in partnership with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), Project Qatar 2023 promises to exceed expectations and foster innovative collaborations within the construction sector, the organisers said in a statement.The inauguration ceremony was graced by several distinguished guests and official delegations, including representatives from Ashghal, Qatar Chamber, Qatari Diar, Qatar Navigation and prominent private sector companies.Additionally, the ceremony garnered global attention with the presence of over 30 ambassadors from participating countries and numerous international trade delegations who visited the event.Embracing the principles of Qatar National Vision 2030, this year’s exhibition introduces a dedicated showcase area called ‘Qatar Industries’, aimed at presenting the Qatari industrial sector to an international audience. This initiative aims to expand the reach of local manufacturers and promote their products on a global scale.Haidar Mshaimesh, general manager of IFP Qatar, said: “The construction market in Qatar is gearing up to enter a new era with the aim to achieve the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. This new chapter places emphasis on the development of industrial and social infrastructure projects, integrating cutting-edge technologies and elements of smart cities into construction endeavours."Over the past 19 years, Project Qatar has consistently kept pace with market trends and requirements, establishing a rich history and playing a pivotal role in this field, positioning itself at the forefront of Qatar's new market phase.“Project Qatar will continue to assume a leading role in facilitating commercial exchanges between Qatar and the global community, serving as a direct conduit for the sharing and exchange of products, services, and experiences. The presence of esteemed dignitaries at the inaugural ceremony is a testament to the exhibition's value and prominence.”The exhibition puts a spotlight on Qatar’s remarkable accomplishments in the expansion of the local industries sector over the past few years. With a strong focus on the future of the construction industry in Qatar, Project Qatar 2023 emphasises the pivotal role of technological innovations.The ‘Smart Cities’ pavilion takes centre stage, featuring a range of providers showcasing cutting-edge, multipurpose advanced technologies utilised in construction projects. This platform highlights the transformative potential of these innovations in shaping the future of the construction sector in Qatar.Qatar Industries is sponsoring Suhail Industrial Holding Group, the "largest industrial group in Qatar currently in terms of number of factories and value of investment", the statement noted. The group’s pavilion is the largest in the exhibition and showcases its exceptional capabilities.Qatari Diar, the real estate company established by Qatar Investment Authority, which oversees the implementation of more than 60 projects in 24 countries across five continents with investments valued at $35bn, is participating as an exclusive real estate developer, taking advantage of the occasion to introduce its projects and investment opportunities.On Monday, the event hosted its first conference session, which will be held for four days with each day focusing on a distinct subject. The first day, titled ‘Q Invest’, delved into the various investment prospects within the Qatari construction sector.Tuesday's theme, ‘Q Industry’, will explore topics pertaining to industrial growth and domestic production. Themed ‘Q Tech’, the third day will centre on the significance of smart technology in the construction industry, while the fourth day, titled ‘Q Green’, will tackle environmental concerns, sustainability, and eco-friendly construction practices.Yousef al-Emadi, projects affairs director of Ashgal, delivered an impactful speech during the opening ceremony of the conference. He lauded the exhibition's unwavering dedication to advancing the construction sector, especially in the face of ongoing global challenges.Providing a sneak peek into the construction projects that will be available in Qatar in 2023 and the following year, al-Emadi urged stakeholders, partners, and anyone interested in the industry to take advantage of the abundant opportunities presented by these projects in Qatar.The event has attracted some 325 exhibiting companies, including 120 international companies from 25 countries. Eight of these countries have national pavilions while 200 participating companies are local, representing government and semi-government agencies as well as the most prominent private sector entities.Ashghal is supporting and sponsoring Project Qatar as Strategic Partner while Qatar Tourism is sponsoring the visiting commercial delegations. The exhibition is also supported and sponsored by Qatar Chamber as the Business Community Partner, Qatari Diar (Real Estate Development Partner), Qatar Development Bank (Official Partner), Free Zones Authority (Free Zones Partner), Suhail Industrial Holding Group (Industrial Partner), Al Sraiya Holding Group (Platinum Sponsor), and Midea as (Diamond Sponsor).Notable participants in the exhibition also include Qatar Navigation (Milaha), QTerminals, HBK and Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros Co, who are Silver sponsors. Modern Home Company, the agent of the Hisense brand, is sponsoring ventilation and cooling for the exhibition.The Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting is sponsoring industrial consulting, while Vodafone Qatar is acting as the Exclusive Communications Sponsor. Gulf Crafts is Trademark Sponsor, while the exhibition has several media partners from the print and digital fields.