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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.
The panel featured Sheikh Ahmed Eid al-Thani, QFIU head; Xolisile Khanyile, chair of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units and director of the Financial Intelligence Centre of South Africa; Jerome Beaumont, executive secretary of Egmont Group; and Riadh al-Fayech, chief Financial Crime Compliance and Governance at QNB. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
PPPs crucial in combating financial crimes: QFIU panel

The Qatar Financial Information Unit (QFIU) has hosted a panel discussion, which tackled the role of private-public partnerships (PPPs) in helping curb financial crimes and illicit funding.The event titled ‘PPP Toward Balancing the Needs of the Public and Private Sectors to Fight Financial Crime’ was held at the Ned Hotel Doha as part of QFIU’s prominent national role in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.The panel featured Sheikh Ahmed Eid al-Thani, QFIU head; Xolisile Khanyile, chair of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units and director of the Financial Intelligence Centre of South Africa; Jerome Beaumont, executive secretary of Egmont Group; and Riadh al-Fayech, chief Financial Crime Compliance and Governance at QNB.During the discussion, Sheikh Ahmed shared QFIU’s experience in PPPs, stressing the importance of this partnership in strengthening the financial crimes combating system.Khanyile, on the other hand, discussed the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force (SAMLIT), while Beaumont highlighted PPPs in International Standards from the perspective of Egmont Group.Al-Fayech elaborated on the advantages of PPPs and stressed that aside from traditional players, such as banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions, more players like telecommunications firms, fintechs, and startups, have joined the fight against financial crimes.In a statement, QFIU noted the significance of the panel discussion, saying it aims at strengthening PPPs against financial crime and provides a forum for the relevant Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) stakeholders, QFIU representatives, supervisory authorities, and the private sector to discuss and share experiences on matters of common concern involving money laundering and terrorism financing.The panel discussion also examined the links between the public and private sectors in terms of accessing Financial intelligence (FININT) to protect the domestic and global economy and financial system, identifying the good practices and challenges in the area of sharing information between the two sectors, and proposing measures to develop effective PPPs.Salem al-Kuwari, director of the Financial Crime Compliance Department at Qatar Central Bank (QCB), delivered a speech underlining QCB’s keenness to promote and maintain effective cooperation between the public and private sectors, and ensure the implementation by the financial institutions of QCB’s instructions in order to improve the reporting process and submit high-quality Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs) to QFIU.

Dr Olga Revina, QUBF chairperson.
Fintech, AI seen to boost Qatar-Ukraine economic ties, says QUBF executive

The Qatar-Ukraine Business Forum (QUBF) is eyeing advanced technology as a key sector to further advance economic ties between the Gulf country and the Eastern European nation, an official has said.“Since its registration in Qatar in 2018, QUBF has been promoting business diplomacy by serving as a reliable source of information for Ukrainian and Qatari companies to establish sustainable partnerships,” QUBF chairperson Dr Olga Revina told Gulf Times Sunday.According to Revina, some of the areas of potential interest for Qatar-Ukraine co-operation are in financial technology (fintech), green technology (greentech), information technology (IT), and artificial intelligence (AI) “where Ukraine has advanced expertise.”Revina also explained that QUBF’s portfolio has accumulated several “attractive projects” to address the needs of Ukraine’s Qatari counterparts to further enhance business development in the tech industry, cultivate a thriving ecosystem, and foster innovative solutions.“QUBF has a well-established collaboration with the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Qatar and united efforts in expanding the forum’s e-digest, the ‘QUBF Overview’, as well as the launching the Ukraine Business Group in Qatar.“Discussions on promising trade prospects between Qatar and Ukraine across the food and agriculture sectors remain on track as a result of Ukraine’s participation in the 10th Qatar International Agricultural Exhibition (AgriteQ 2023)," Revina pointed out.According to Revina, QUBF is currently working on identifying suitable Qatari partners for Ukrainian companies, such as the high-tech slaughterhouse complex, and Halal Meat Company, among others. Even during these challenging times, Ukraine is continuing to supply globally as one of the world’s leading agricultural and food producers.“Acting in line with business priorities, QUBF catalyses its efforts to foster bilateral relations. Despite the current situation in Ukraine, we try to find new niches for developing joint partnerships,” Revina said.Aside from enhancing economic partnerships with Qatar, Revina said that under the umbrella of the QUBF brand programme, ‘Partnership for Prosperity,’ the forum is focusing on promoting Qatar-Ukraine collaboration in the education, scientific, and tech industries.“There are a number of promising proposals from leading Ukrainian educational and scientific institutions, such as Dragomanov Ukrainian State University, Polytechnic University of Ukraine, and the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in the areas of the joint research programme, expertise exchange, and internship, which were discussed on a recent meeting with senior management of the University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST) and representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine.“Facilitating Qatar-Ukraine partnership in the educational sector will be a valuable step in the practical implementation of the strategic agreements signed in the framework of the Joint Commission on Economic, Commercial, and Technical Co-operation between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the State of Qatar,” Revina stressed.Asked about other QUBF milestones and programmes, Revina said: “The latest edition of QUBF Overview reflected the spectrum of business proposals for Qatar-Ukraine co-operation, as well as QUBF’s contribution to various events.“These include serving as keynote speaker at the ‘2nd International Women’s Day Colloquium’ at the CUC Ulster University in Qatar and presenting QUBF activities and current trends to succeed in global business alliances.“Also, QUBF’s founders joined the ‘3rd Katara International Exhibition for Kahraman," where Ambra Simha, a leading Ukrainian brand in the amber industry, showcased its unique artworks. Ambra Simha’s unique creations definitely added exclusivity to the exhibition,” Revina added.

British ambassador John Wilks speaking at the 'This is Wales' festival Saturday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
‘This is Wales’ festival seen to boost Qatar-UK trade, says envoy

The profile of Wales across the world has created a positive impact on its businesses and communities through the promotion of trade and investment, British ambassador Jon Wilks said Saturday.Speaking at the inaugural “This is Wales” festival, which was launched at LuLu Mall at The Pearl Island’s Giardino, the envoy said that the event is seen to further enhance trade relations between Qatar and the UK, as well as to create opportunities for the people of both countries.While LuLu Group and the British embassy here regularly celebrate "UK Week" to showcase British products, Wilks said one of the reasons for the “This is Wales” festival is that “there is just so much excellent produce coming out of the country”.The festival, which concludes Sunday, aims to promote a wide range of Welsh products in Qatar through the LuLu Hypermarket chain as part of the pilot project, “Destination: Middle East”, which is funded by the Welsh government to support in-market retail promotions and on-trade consumer engagement for Welsh food and beverage companies looking to establish a presence in Qatar and the UAE.According to a statement from LuLu, the Middle East has been a market of interest for several years now following successful food and beverage (F&B) trade development visits to the region.“Producers have benefited from the support of an in-market brand ambassador, who has been showcasing the quality of the products to a range of chefs and buyers from the food service sector,” the statement noted.Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, said: “I am delighted to see so many of our wonderful food and drink producers taking part in ‘Destination: Middle East’, which is taking a new approach to developing export trade and builds on the investment we have made over recent years.”“The aim of the project is to increase direct consumer engagement and drive greater awareness of Wales and the quality of our food and drink,” she said. “This project has been a collaboration between our offices in the region, our producers and the export cluster, and working with an in-market partner.”LuLu Hypermarket regional operations manager Simon Alexander said: “We are delighted and honoured to work with the Welsh government to promote Welsh food and drink products to our customers, who are looking for quality and brands they can trust.”“We have welcomed delegations of Welsh food producers to our flagship stores over the recent years, and look forward to building our relationships with producers so that our customers can buy their favourite Welsh brands in our stores in the future,” he said.Anglesey Sea Salt – Halen Mon is one of Wales’ leading brands and is participating in “Destination: Middle East”.“The Welsh government has been outstandingly helpful in supporting Wales’ food and drink exporters,” managing director Alison Lea-Wilson said. “This brand activation campaign in the Middle East is another example of how the Welsh government supports the sector. Without them, we would not be where we are today.”

The cake-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the 'This is Wales' festival. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
LuLu Hypermarket celebrates ‘This is Wales’ festival

LuLu Hypermarket is promoting an array of Welsh food and beverage (F&B) products with the celebration of the ‘This is Wales’ festival, which was launched at LuLu Mall, Giardino, The Pearl Island, Saturday.The event is the first of the ‘This is Wales’ series in Qatar, which was organised as a prelude to the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, and the celebration of the ‘British Week Festival’.The festival, which will run until Sunday (April 28 to 30) aims to promote a wide range of Welsh products in Qatar through the LuLu Hypermarket chain as part of the pilot project ‘Destination: Middle East’, which is funded by the Welsh Government to support in-market retail promotions and on-trade consumer engagement for Welsh F&B companies looking to establish in the UAE and Qatar.A range of Welsh F&B products will be promoted collectively for agreed periods in target supermarkets, high-end hotels, and restaurants, LuLu announced in a statement.Supported by the Welsh Government and the British Embassy in Qatar, Welsh F&B companies have gathered to put Wales on the map, celebrating the quality and uniqueness of Welsh products during a three-day sampling event at Lulu Hypermarket - the leading hypermarket chain in the GCC.“LuLu will provide customers with the unique opportunity to taste and try new products and explore the local interest in listing these on an ongoing basis in Qatar and across the GCC,” the statement noted.British ambassador John Wilks inaugurated the event by leading the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by dignitaries from the Welsh Government, the British embassy, and senior officials from LuLu management, including Shaijan M O, regional director; Shanavas P M, regional manager; and Simon Alexander, retail operations manager.In his speech, Wilks said ‘This Is Wales’ aims to forge partnerships between the Welsh government and Qatar to introduce products from Wales. The ambassador thanked LuLu Group for providing opportunities to showcase a wide range of Welsh products in its outlets operating across the country.“Wales is known for its very high-quality produce, especially the agricultural and organic lines. Wales is a very beautiful country, which is attracting a large number of visitors. People from Qatar can visit to see up close the beauty of the country,” Wilks said, adding that one of the positive aspects of the festival is that it brings together the Welsh community in Qatar under one roof.LuLu Group stated that it is keen to highlight some of the best food items and producers from Wales. Aside from promoting Welsh produce, the festival aims to businesses the opportunity to initiate trade and make connections in the Middle East.During the festival, 12 brands will be available for customers to sample and purchase, including Calon Wen, Cradoc's Savoury Biscuits, Daioni Organic, Halen Môn, Hilltop Honey, Rachel’s Organic, Radnor Preserves, Rhug Estate, Pilgrim’s UK, Stillers, Tan y Castell, and Tŷ Nant.Some of the products listed include Calon Wen Organic Mellow Creamy Cheddar, Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits Chilli and Ginger Crackers, Daioni Salted Caramel Latte, Halen Môn Sea Salt with Roasted Garlic, Hilltop Blossom Honey, Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Rhubarb Yogurt, Radnor Preserves Hand-cut Smoky Campfire Marmalade, Rhug Estate Lamb Leg, Tan Y Castell Bara Brith, and Tŷ Nant Blue Still Water.

Sky Gonzales, head of Marketing & Events at Philippine Business Council – Qatar.
Qatar market ‘ripe’ for Philippine F&B enterprises, says business council official

Opportunities to grow Filipino enterprises specialising in the country’s food and beverages (F&B) sector are aplenty in the Qatari market, an official of the Philippine Business Council – Qatar (PBC-Q) has said.Sky Gonzales, head of Marketing & Events at PBC-Q, lauded the resilience of the Qatari economy, saying it was able to withstand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic owing to strong government support and initiatives.“Most economies worldwide, including Qatar, have been steadily opening up after the Covid-19 pandemic, thus allowing many sectors to flourish, among which are F&B businesses,” Gonzales explained to Gulf Times Wednesday.Gonzales’ statement comes at the heels of the ongoing ‘Filipino Food Month’, which kicked off recently. In an earlier statement, the Philippine embassy announced that it is collaborating with Doha-Based Filipino restaurants “to pay tribute to Filipino chefs and restaurateurs who bring the unique taste of Filipino cuisine to Qatar.”Philippine ambassador Lillibeth Pono enjoined the public to savour and enjoy Filipino cuisine by visiting the participating food establishments: Loming Barako, Pearl of Beirut, Maya’s Kitchen, Cocina de Rose, Maharlika Park Restaurant, Filipino Hot Pack, Gerry’s Grill, FlaminGo, and Deqada.While acknowledging the challenges involved in scaling up restaurants serving Filipino cuisine, Gonzales noted that he believes there are ample opportunities here “to turn around the challenges presented” by maintaining the food’s quality, taste, and presentation.He emphasised that aside from the opportunities to open and scale F&B enterprises, Filipino entrepreneurs are also given the chance to create and generate employment, as well as to stimulate the local economy.Earlier, Ferlita Pabalan, the president of the Doha-based Overseas Filipino Investors & Entrepreneurs Movement (OFIE-M), stated that more Filipino entrepreneurs are succeeding in multiple industries here via the constant support from Qatar and the Philippine embassy.Pabalan lauded the work attitude, creative thinking, focus, and determination of Filipino entrepreneurs in Qatar, which she described as an asset and strength in creating a better business portfolio.Aside from the food industry, Pabalan said she expects Qatar-based Filipino entrepreneurs to become more prominent in the fields of hospitality, trade and industry, health and wellness, manpower and professional services, and financial technology.Similarly, OFIE-M auditor and chairman on Training and Development Jyerex Go Abrasado noted that there have been many opportunities for Filipino entrepreneurs to establish their own companies or startups here due to Qatar’s “flourishing entrepreneurship culture and vibrant business environment.”Abrasado emphasised that Qatar provides strong support to entrepreneurs through various authorities, including Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Digital Incubation Centre (DIC), Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar Business & Incubation Centre (QBIC), and other similar public and private entities, among others.

Members of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar led by its president, Palma Libotte, together with the chef’s team of Cipriani Restaurant, during a recent meeting in Doha, which discussed the chamber's plans for the year.
Knowledge exchange ‘pivotal’ for Qatar SMEs’ growth, says Italian chamber official

Knowledge exchange with international partners will be instrumental in helping entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and MSMEs owners in Qatar grow their brands and access local and international markets, a chamber official has said.Palma Libotte, president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, emphasised that small businesses are fundamental to a country’s economy and could play a key role in leading toward innovation.“The sharing of best practices and knowledge exchange is the first step for any developing SME or MSME, and Italy has a lot of material to offer, particularly in the fashion industry,” Libotte told Gulf Times, adding that the chamber is in talks with the Qatari Businesswomen Association (QBWA) on projects related to fashion and sustainability.Libotte said several members of the chamber’s board of directors, including some stakeholders, recently held a meeting to discuss plans for the year amid the government’s thrust toward Qatar’s next phase of development.“We discussed many topics for future business opportunities between Italy and Qatar, such as the ‘Businesswomen Building a Sustainable Future’, a project in co-operation with QBWA, which would involve a number of women from international business associations, where we shall involve more fashion companies,” Libotte explained.Libotte said: “We believe that women can support the change towards sustainability in Qatar – from sustainable fashion to organic food and eco–friendly interiors, as well as with their lifestyle and actions in everyday life.”She also noted that the Italian chamber plans to organise seminars, webinars, and other activities to exchange information between Qatari entrepreneurs and their international counterparts.Asked how viable and sustainable the fashion business and industry in Qatar is, Libotte said: “Qatar is a small market; therefore, a sustainable designer would have fair chances of success.”She also stressed that Qatar is a “niche” market, saying there could be potential in children’s clothing and cosmetics products, as well as in upcycling Qatari abayas with Italian accessories.Aside from partnerships and collaborations with local organisations like QBWA, Libotte said the Italian chamber could help promote the growth of Qatar’s fashion industry by organising seminars and workshops, as well as trade missions to Italy to help designers find inspiration from Italian artisans and materials.“We can also help connect entrepreneurs from Qatar with Italian SMEs and private labels. Italy’s fashion industry is well-advanced, and our know-how and style are an inimitable asset.“The chamber is now working mainly with SMEs and MSMEs in planning workshops and delegations to Italy to meet entrepreneurs and visit their production sites. It will also help if they attend a fashion show and maybe organise a collateral event. We shall try to import small Italian business models to Qatar. Mentoring, workshops, and on-site visits are very important phases for small companies,” Libotte emphasised.She also stressed that the youth in Qatar are vital to the fashion industry, citing the chamber’s support for an abaya collection project by Qatari designer Fatima al-Ansari and Italian designer Aimee Jade Monti.“This initiative inspired us to work more on the chamber’s mentoring phase. There are many young emerging designers in Qatar, mostly ladies, and they want to make a statement and show their talent.“They are determined, strong-willed, and capable of handling a business. We just want to make sure that they learn a little of the ‘old school’ tricks for a country like Italy, which is a master in this subject,” Libotte further explained.

Dr Mohamed Althaf, director, LuLu Group International.
Industry executive underlines significance of keeping pace with Qatar’s rapid expansion

Qatar’s economic expansion, which is aligned with the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030, remains “on track” as various developments are being witnessed across different communities outside of Doha, a top official of LuLu Group International has said.“The country is continuously growing,” Dr Mohamed Althaf, director, LuLu Group International, told Gulf Times, adding that the hypermarket chain is keeping up with the decentralisation of Doha.He said: “We do not believe that the Qatar market is saturated because, in terms of GDP growth and the overall economic activity that is happening, there is still an expansion that is happening in the market.“All the numbers are there; Qatar has a very healthy surplus in its budget, and aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030, there is a lot of industrial expansion that is happening in Qatar. I believe we really need to keep up with it.”Aside from the diversification efforts aligned with the country’s 2030 national vision, Dr Althaf said industrial expansion and the development of satellite towns and smaller communities outside of Doha follow global trends.“Globally, the trend is that people really want to stay local in everything that they do; that kind of localisation is happening everywhere. Qatar is also expanding in terms of its economic diversification, so it is no longer concentrated in big cities now,” Dr Althaf explained, citing the "20-minute philosophy" wherein people could reach essential facilities, such as healthcare, education, commercial, and public transport, among others, within 20 minutes.Dr Althaf said part of LuLu’s strategy is to keep pace with this development and economic expansion, which is also seen to add value to the company’s footprint and international partners.“Part of LuLu’s strategy is to expand our reach out to our customers. Anyone who wants to shop in LuLu should find us within a reasonable commutable distance. The other thing is that we also need to see the economic expansion of Qatar in many places now. Prior to the FIFA World Cup, the focus is on sports infrastructure. But now, the hydrocarbon industry and all energy-intensive businesses are being given more close attention.“In many areas across Qatar, there is a lot of industrial expansion that is happening and the communities are growing. So, our idea is that we reach out to them and make sure that services are available to everyone,” Dr Althaf further explained.He added: “LuLu has made a statement by opening new stores, such as those in The Pearl Island and in Al Khor, which are two different demographics and very different commercial outcomes in terms of what people will buy and sell. But it doesn’t matter.“As long as we have customers, we will make sure that they all have access to good, quality, and affordable food of their choice. So, as the country expands, we will also continue to grow.”

Doha-based Filipino accountant Jeacim Francis Adaya and his wife, Misty, and daughters Sofia and Zara, show off some of the lettuce from their home-based hydroponics farm.
Qatar residents go green with backyard hydroponics gardening

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Doha-based Filipino accountant Jeacim Francis Adaya started his journey in hydroponics gardening thinking it could be a good bonding activity with his wife, Misty, and daughters Sofia and Zara.But it was in March 2022 after moving to a much larger house that Adaya realised the potential for hydroponics gardening despite a few trials and errors along the way.He explained to Gulf Times the potential of hydroponics gardening in addressing some of the challenges facing modern agriculture, such as limited land availability, water scarcity, and environmental degradation.By sharing information and promoting the use of hydroponics gardening, Adaya hopes to help raise awareness of these issues and encourage more people to adopt sustainable and efficient methods of agriculture.GULF TIMES: Is indoor hydroponics gardening possible if one does not have ample outdoor space?ADAYA: Yes, indoor hydroponics gardening is a great option for people who do not have ample outdoor space, as it allows them to grow plants indoors without soil. Hydroponic systems can be set up in a small space, such as a spare room, closet, or balcony, and can produce a high yield of plants compared to traditional soil-based gardening.With hydroponics, you can grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and you can control the growing conditions, such as light, temperature, and nutrients, to optimise growth and yield. Additionally, indoor hydroponics gardening can be a fun and rewarding hobby, and it can even help reduce your carbon footprint by reducing food transportation and waste.For those who want to get started in hydroponics gardening, what is the initial cost of investment? Kindly provide an overview of the budget for a small, medium, and large garden.The hydroponic method that I am using is called “Kratky Method,” which is simple and adaptable for small home gardens. This passive method of hydroponics only requires a few basic supplies, such as container with lid (I use styro box), styro cups, growing medium (I recommend using cocopeat), nutrient solutions, and seeds.The average cost for a DIY small setup (one box/starter kit), which can produce about eight to 10 lettuce heads (or other vegetables of choice), is QR100 to QR150. A medium setup with around 50 boxes that can produce about 400 to 500 lettuce heads may cost around QR2,000 to QR3,000, while a large garden setup with around 100 boxes for 1,000 lettuce heads would cost about QR5,000 or more.What varieties of vegetables could be grown in this climate through hydroponics gardening?There are many varieties of vegetables that can be grown in an outdoor hydroponic system in Qatar during the cold months (November till the first week of May).Some popular choices include:Leafy greens: Lettuce, spinach, and kale are all good choices for hydroponic gardening in the winter.Herbs: Basil, parsley, and mint are herbs that can be grown in a hydroponic system during the winter.Root vegetables: Carrots, beets, and radishes can all be grown in hydroponic systems during the winter, although they may require a bit more attention than other vegetables.Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes can be grown successfully in hydroponic systems during the winter, as long as they receive enough light and warmth.Peppers: Bell peppers and hot peppers can also be grown in hydroponic systems during the winter, as long as they are provided with sufficient heat and light.It’s important to note that the specific varieties of vegetables you can grow will depend on the conditions in your indoor or outdoor hydroponic system. You’ll need to ensure that your plants are getting enough light, nutrients, and water to thrive, and you may need to adjust these factors depending on the type of plant you are growing.What are the benefits of hydroponics gardening?Hydroponic gardening, which involves growing plants in a soil-free medium and delivering nutrients directly to the roots, has several benefits, including increased productivity and yield, water conservation, no soil-borne diseases, space efficiency, and educational benefits.Overall, hydroponic gardening can have a positive impact on one's professional, social, personal, and family life by promoting sustainability, efficiency, and education.What life lessons can hydroponics gardening teach children and why is it important to pass on the knowledge of hydroponics gardening to the younger generation?Hydroponic gardening can teach children several valuable life lessons, including responsibility, patience, science and environmental awareness, nutrition, and creativity and problem-solving.

Timmy Davis, US ambassador to Qatar.
Envoy highlights key role of US-Qatar SMEs in creating sustainable economy

US ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis has highlighted the significant role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in creating a sustainable economy for both the US and Qatar ahead of a major investment roadshow happening in the US next month.Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the ‘Earth Talk Series’ hosted recently by Msheireb Museums, in partnership with Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, at the Bin Jelmoud House, Davis said the US embassy in Qatar “has been doing a lot of work” on the ‘SelectUSA Investment Summit’ slated in Washington, DC, on May 1-4.Davis said the embassy has been in talks with different private and public entities and organisations in Qatar and the US to raise awareness and promote the SelectUSA Investment Summit among stakeholders, major players, and businesspeople from both countries.“We’re going to get everyone in the same room, including the US Federal Government’s team of experts who will talk about a wide range of topics, such as how to transport a business from the US to Qatar and vice versa.“And we’ve done a lot of work to make sure that the right people show up at SelectUSA to ensure that everyone’s valuable time is used in the best way possible so that we can advance an economic relationship that we think is already ‘roaring’,” Davis explained.To help Qatari companies identify potential investment opportunities in the US, Davis said the embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service team is constantly working with Qatari businessmen and women not only to help identify opportunities but to help educate them in US laws and how US corporations are built.“We have a robust team, and there’s this constant conversation we’re having with experts at the US embassy. If there’s a question from a Qatari entrepreneur, he or she can get the answer tomorrow. We’re not waiting for a once-a-year event; we have a team that’s constantly working on this and constantly available for a conversation about the ins and outs of investment,” he stressed.Davis also underscored the role of SMEs in economic development, saying the US economy is driven by small and medium businesses. He also lauded Qatar’s focus on enhancing its entrepreneurship culture and ecosystem as it diversifies away from its hydrocarbon industry.He described the country’s SMEs as “a foundation that goes beyond energy,” citing the Qatar National Vision 2030’s goal of transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy, and other programmes that focus on agricultural technology and ICT, among others.The ambassador also noted that “the future of the US or Qatar economy” is going to be focused on SMEs, and that partnerships between entrepreneurs have “actually built the foundation for a sustainable economy.”During the ‘Earth Talk Series’, which carried the theme ‘Islam and the Environment’, Davis, who delivered the opening keynote, was joined by Mark Bryant (Abdallah Bryant), senior consultant of the UK-based Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science and EcoIslam, who gave a presentation.“Like Qatar, the US shares global environmental concerns and advocates for innovative and sustainable solutions to halt and reverse the negative impacts of climate change...the US embassy’s local eco-diplomacy initiatives with the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, for example, align with both the US and Qatar’s global mission to protect our planet for current and future generations.“Qatar’s commitment to sustainability and efforts to expand non-hydrocarbon sectors, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, and its actions to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons, will ensure economic prosperity and have cascading effects on the region and around the world,” Davis pointed out.Davis also told Gulf Times that Qatar has been among the leaders in managing climate change, citing the recent launch of the Cadillac Lyriq in Qatar. He said General Motors intends to have an all-electric fleet by 2035.“While the country is an energy producer, Qatar also built solar farms and a carbon capture facility, and so as the world transitions away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, Qatar is trying to be part of that solution and is trying to take the lead, so having electric vehicles here makes sense.“General Motors’ identification of Qatar as a place where electric vehicles would do well is just a signal that the country has already demonstrated that managing climate change is a priority,” Davis added.

Glimpses from the event.
'Protection of the environment is an integral part of Islamic beliefs'

Ahmed Mohamed al-Sada, assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, has called on Muslims to take proactive steps to care for the environment, which is “an important aspect of Islam”. Al-Sada made the call during his keynote speech during the Earth Talk Series, which was hosted by Msheireb Museums in partnership with Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCMQ).Under the theme ‘Islam and the Environment’, the event was held at Bin Jelmoud House where other keynote speeches were delivered by US ambassador Timmy T Davis and Msheireb Museums manager Abdulla al-Naama.The main presentation and talk were delivered by Mark Bryant (Abdallah Bryant), senior consultant of the UK-based Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science and EcoIslam. He delivered a lecture that covered an introduction to Islamic environmental ethics, its practical applications, and its role in addressing the climate crisis.Al-Sada said, “Protection of the environment is an integral part of Islamic beliefs and mankind has the responsibility to safeguard nature. We must take all necessary measures to ensure the preservation and protection of the environment and should pass this value to our coming generations in the best way possible.”Al-Naama highlighted the role of Msheireb Museums in raising awareness of such topics and promoting sustainability among community members. He said, “The Earth Talks series is informative and insightful with the second lecture focusing on introducing Islamic environmental ethics and its practical applications in addressing the climate crisis. It is important to further the conversation around the intersection of religion and the environment and we should all take positive action to create a sustainable future for all.”Bryant delivered a detailed presentation showing how Islam urges people to conserve resources and protect the environment. He said, “These aspects are highlighted in the principles of Islam and the Qur'an. Islam has a very strong environmental ethic and Islam is environmental. Muslims often need to relearn this because it is part of their faith and we need to emphasise this part in our life to save ourselves and the rest of the planet and be good Muslims.”Bryant added, “I am excited to be here at Msheireb Museums in Qatar to exchange thoughts and insights, and I am confident that such talks will help spread our positive messages to the wider community.”Previously held at Qatar National Library, Qatar Foundation, and other venues in Doha, the Earth Talk lectures have drawn a wide range of community members, high-level officials, and educators interested in sustainability.The series fulfills Msheireb Downtown Doha and Msheireb Museums’ commitment to be leaders in sustainability and innovation, and to advance the local conversation on the issues of climate change, ecological challenges and solutions, and corporate social responsibility.Leading intellectuals and policymakers spark discussions on how to make a transformative change in the community for a better sustainable future. The series also invites representatives of NGOs and development agencies to provide on-the-ground perspectives.Msheireb Museums, the cultural and tourist destination in Msheireb Downtown Doha, organises and hosts several educational and awareness programmes, in collaboration with prominent local and international organisations. It plays an integral role in supporting various social, cultural, educational, and art initiatives that give back to the community.

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Italian envoy lauds Qatar’s contributions to regional stability and prosperity

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi has praised Qatar’s efforts in promoting stability and prosperity in the Gulf region, which, he stressed, is making advancements in political, diplomatic and infrastructural integration.“Italy sees the region as strategic for a number of reasons, which include security, economic, political and cultural. And with great interest, we are seeing the region advancing in terms of political and diplomatic integration, as well as infrastructural integration, with new transport infrastructure that is being designed to connect the region further,” Toschi told Gulf Times.According to the ambassador, Italy values the growth in trade being witnessed across the region. This, he emphasised, is empowering the region globally.He said, “And within that, we value the role of Qatar as a regional player – as a force for good that can contribute to regional stability and prosperity. Everything that Qatar does to contribute to regional prosperity, stability and harmony is very valuable to us.“And I think it contributes to avenues that are as different as trade and retail to culture, to education, and to political instability issues, so it is very precious and has a deep impact.”Toschi also underscored Qatar and Italy’s political partnership, which, according to him, has reached the level of a strategic dialogue. “We’re looking forward to the next session of the strategic dialogue when it will be announced by both parties,” he pointed out.He said, “We’re truly looking forward to seeing this new institutional page that is being written by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, to whom I wish to extend my warmest wishes for his new position.”Aside from the political sphere, Toschi said Qatar and Italy have partnerships in defence and security, energy, infrastructure and transport sectors, as well as in retail, education and culture.The ambassador added, “We are proud to have ever more structured bonds in the cultural world, thanks to the engagement of prominent figures, including HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.“We value her contribution very much and we value the Ministry of Culture’s efforts, as well. For us, culture is really a cornerstone of our partnership, so there are lots that both countries do together.”

Jeacim Francis Adaya, head of Training and Education at the Philippine Business Council – Qatar.
Home-based hydroponic gardening seen to open entrepreneurial opportunities

Hydroponic gardening at home may help open entrepreneurial opportunities as demand for fresh produce is steadily increasing, an official of the Philippine Business Council – Qatar (PBC-Q) has said.According to Jeacim Francis Adaya, head of Training & Education at PBC-Q, hydroponics, which grows plants in controlled environments using less water and space, also offers an innovative solution to sustainable agriculture and a promising market for entrepreneurs.“Hydroponic gardening can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable agriculture and food systems. By promoting hydroponic gardening as a viable business model, individuals can inspire and support the development of sustainable businesses and initiatives that promote sustainable development at a larger scale,” Adaya told Gulf Times.He said: “Overall, knowledge of hydroponic gardening can help bring the mindset and practice of sustainability from one’s home to society by promoting sustainable practices, raising awareness, and inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable agriculture and food systems.”Qatar has an abundance of small businesses in the food and beverage (F&B) sector, many of which are promoting healthy living and eating a well-balanced diet, and demand for vegetables could be an opportunity for successful hydroponics garden owners to partner with such enterprises, Adaya pointed out.“Hydroponic farming is a sustainable and efficient method of growing plants without soil, which can yield high-quality produce in a controlled environment. This method of farming has gained popularity in recent years due to its ability to produce fresh vegetables year-round, regardless of climate or season.“In Qatar, where the climate is hot and water is scarce, hydroponic farming can be particularly advantageous. By partnering with small businesses, a hydroponics garden owner can provide them with a consistent and reliable source of fresh produce, while also supporting the local economy,” Adaya explained.But Adaya was quick to point out the importance of learning and educating one’s self of the regulatory requirements and guidelines for the production and distribution of produce in Qatar. “The garden owner will need to ensure that they comply with all relevant laws and regulations in Qatar and obtain any necessary permits or licences before starting their business. Additionally, they will need to consider the logistics of delivering their produce to their small business partners in a timely and efficient manner,” he emphasised.Adaya noted that hydroponic gardening is becoming very popular among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), especially those who want to bring their knowledge and skills in hydroponics back home and start their small businesses. “Hydroponic gardening can be a feasible home business venture for OFWs in Qatar, especially for those who have a passion for gardening and sustainability. With proper planning and execution, hydroponic gardening can offer a viable source of extra income and can be a great way to support a variety of home businesses,” Adaya stressed.The following are some potential home businesses in the Philippines for OFWs that could be supported or augmented by hydroponic gardening, according to Adaya: fresh produce delivery service, nursery or plant shop, landscaping and gardening services, and hydroponic gardening supplies.“Hydroponic gardening can provide a reliable source of fresh and healthy produce that can be sold through a home-based delivery service, catering to the growing demand for locally sourced and sustainable foods. It can enable OFWs to start their own nursery or plant shop in the Philippines, offering a wide range of hydroponically-grown plants and produce to the local community.“Hydroponic gardening can provide OFWs with the knowledge and expertise to offer landscaping and gardening services to residential and commercial clients, catering to the growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly practices,” Adaya said.He added: “With the increasing popularity of hydroponic gardening, there is a growing demand for hydroponic gardening supplies and equipment. OFWs can start a home-based business by selling hydroponic gardening kits, nutrients, and other supplies.“While starting a hydroponic gardening business requires some initial investment and planning, it can be a feasible and rewarding home-based business venture for OFWs in Qatar. With the right combination of knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm, hydroponic gardening can provide a sustainable and profitable source of extra income while supporting a variety of home businesses.”

Naser Karukapadath
Saudi tourism policy sets new travel standards in Gulf region

Saudi Arabia’s recent move to open its doors to more people from the around the world has changed the overall outlook of the tourism industry in the Gulf region, a travel industry professional has said.“The impact is already visible in the market,” said Avens Travel & Tours, Doha, managing director Naser Karukapadath, citing Saudi Arabia’s announcement that all GCC residents can now obtain a Saudi tourist visa regardless of their profession.In a tweet last month, Saudi Minister of Tourism and Chairman of Saudi Tourism Authority Ahmed al-Khateeb stated: “Saudi visa application is now simpler, more convenient and straightforward for residents of GCC States, regardless of their profession. Apply now.”According to Karukapadath, the number of passengers between Qatar and Saudi Arabia “have increased considerably by air and by road.”“With the introduction of flynas, the only Saudi budget carrier operating between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the airfare has become more affordable between Doha and destinations in the kingdom compared to previous years and the seating capacity was also enhanced between the two brotherly countries due to flynas’s daily operation from Doha,” Karukapadath told Gulf Times in a statement.He said there has been an increase in interest in Saudi Arabia as a travel destination since the announcement of the new visa policy.“Majority of the expats living in Qatar couldn’t visit Saudi Arabia due to previous visa regulations. But the number of passengers is increasing due to the new visa regulation, as well as flynas’s 96 hours ‘Stopover Visa’ programme in Saudi Arabia, which is ideal for a short stay in the kingdom,” Karukapadath explained.According to Karukapadath, as a national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Flynas is offering 96 hours visa (stopover visa) for travellers en route to their final destination. Passengers can stay in Saudi Arabia for up to four days at the place of their choice. This is a new addition to the current e-visa to Saudi Arabia, he said.“Since the introduction of the electronic visa, travel agencies in Qatar are providing services to customers through the online application system, which is the most convenient and quickest way to apply for a Saudi tourist visa for Qatar expats.“According to reliable sources, all GCC residents are eligible to apply for a visa irrespective of their profession in the resident permit. Nationals of more than 40 countries are eligible for e-visa, and they will receive their visa copies by email once it is approved by MoFA,” he further explained.Karukapadath said regionally the new policy will create a positive impact due to the increase in the number of intra-GCC travellers as tourists or visitors. This will contribute a good share of revenue to air travel, surface transport, and hospitality businesses, among others, in the region, he noted.He said Saudi Arabia, which is steadily liberalising policies, offers a variety of unexplored destinations, such as Wadi al Bardani in the South West and Wadi Al Disah in the North West, where tourists can enjoy the natural beauty of green valleys in the desert.“Tourists can experience hot and cool weather at the same time as the geography of the country is very unique. Also, the capital city of Riyadh is fully occupied with year-round entertainment activities for tourists and visitors. Those who love history and culture will enjoy places like Al Diriya in Riyadh, Al Ula, and Taif. There is also year-round pilgrimage traffic to Makkah and Madinah,” he said.Karukapadath stressed the importance of creating awareness of Saudi Arabia’s destinations, citing the exhibitions and roadshows organised by the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) in the region and in other countries.“As a promoter, we are planning to organise familiarisation trips for the media, social media bloggers, and community representatives of various nationalities, including potential tour operators in Qatar, to boost the awareness of Saudi’s touristic destinations and enable them to promote traffic there for tourism or pilgrimage,” he added.

Jyerex Go Abrasado, OFIE-M auditor and chairman on Training and Development.
Qatar’s thriving business environment offers opportunities for Filipino entrepreneurs, says industry expert

The State of Qatar’s flourishing entrepreneurship culture and vibrant business environment are presenting a wide range of opportunities for Filipino entrepreneurs to establish their own companies or startups here, an official of the Doha-based Overseas Filipino Investors & Entrepreneurs Movement (OFIE-M) has said.According to OFIE-M auditor and chairman on Training and Development Jyerex Go Abrasado, while Qatar has long been known for its hydrocarbon industry, the country has been making significant strides in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in recent years through the Qatar National Vision 2030.Abrasado has lauded Qatar’s strong government support for entrepreneurs and for building world-class facilities that promote the growth of entrepreneurship, citing Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Digital Incubation Centre (DIC), Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar Business & Incubation Centre (QBIC), and other similar public and private entities, among others.“Aligned with the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030, the country is moving towards becoming a knowledge-based economy, thus entrepreneurship and innovation have been identified as key drivers of economic growth.“These are some of the significant factors that Filipino entrepreneurs, both here and in the Philippines, should carefully consider as there are many business opportunities in Qatar that are waiting to be explored,” Abrasado told Gulf Times Friday.Abrasado, who is also CEO of Business Partners Consulting, which is headquartered at the Sport Accelerator Qatar Business District in the Aspire Zone, stressed the need to raise awareness in the Philippines to promote Qatar’s business and investment climate among Filipino businesses and investors.Earlier this year, a large delegation of companies representing food and beverage (F&B) as well as cosmetics and personal care products from the Philippines was in Qatar for the ‘Outbound Business Matching Mission (OBMM) to GCC countries’, which was organised by the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).During the OBMM, Glenn Penaranda, assistant secretary and officer-in-charge of the DTI Trade Promotions Group, said: “Qatar is a key export market for Philippine F&B, personal healthcare, and related products.”“There is more to Qatar than just employment for Filipinos. There is a growing potential for Filipino entrepreneurs to tap into the Qatari market and benefit from the country's thriving business environment.“Promoting the ‘Made in the Philippines’ trademark here will play a significant role in helping to create new opportunities for Filipino entrepreneurs in Qatar and the region,” Abrasado pointed out.He noted that his company is working closely with the Philippine embassy in Qatar and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the potential benefits of establishing a business in the country, as well as to encourage more overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to consider this option.In an earlier statement to Gulf Times, OFIE-M president Ferlita Pabalan said she envisions Qatar to have expanded completely in the next five years, as well as opening larger areas in other parts of the country for entrepreneurs.“With the continuous support of Qatar and the Philippine embassy, we are seeing more Filipinos who are successful entrepreneurs in multiple industries. Those who already have their businesses will have better strategy and diversity; they have reached their companies’ vision in five years, allowing them to create a better business portfolio going forward,” Pabalan said.She added: “The strength of Filipino entrepreneurs is their attitude towards work. They know what they want. They are creative thinkers, who are focused and determined. They take failure as a positive challenge to do better, and they know how to work as a team to succeed.“In Qatar, Filipino entrepreneurs will become more prominent in the fields of hospitality, food, trade and industry, health and wellness, manpower and professional services, and financial technology.”

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi and Italian Trade Commissioner Paola Lisi during a visit to B&B Italia’s showroom Tuesday at the Doha Design District in Msheireb. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Italian furniture exports to Qatar surge 23.14% to €222.8mn in 2022, says trade official

Italy’s furniture exports to Qatar saw “23.14%” year-on-year growth to reach “€222.8mn” in 2022, according to data from the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) Doha Office.World-class furniture bearing the ‘Made in Italy’ brand “is increasingly appreciated in Qatar,” Italian Trade Commissioner Paola Lisi told Gulf Times on the sidelines of Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi’s visit to B&B Italia’s showroom Tuesday at the Doha Design District in Msheireb.Toschi said Tuesday’s tour of the showroom was part of a series of visits that are being conducted by the embassy in different establishments across Qatar’s new-design district at Msheireb.Lisi reiterated that the increase in exports of the Italian furniture sector to Qatar was “very impressive.” She said: “The main relevant categories of the design industry include furniture and furnishing accessories, in particular, lighting products and ceramic products.”Citing the latest figures by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) for 2022, Lisi said trade volume between Qatar and Italy exceeded “€7bn” and registered a growth of “54.4%.”Lisi said: “The top Italian export industries are represented by the military and defence sectors, machinery and equipment, fashion accessories and footwear, furniture (lighting signs, prefabricated buildings, and healthcare furniture), agri-food, and plastics.”Toschi also said: “Italy had witnessed a record increase in bilateral trade with Qatar and the numbers in the first three months of 2023 are already impressive. We’ve witnessed a huge increase in bilateral trade on yearly basis. The previous year was, of course, affected by the pandemic, but it is still a record year for Italy and we’re looking at a further increase in the numbers going forward.”According to Lisi, the ITA Doha Office and ‘Salone del Mobile.Milano’ have invited several companies from Qatar to join the 61st edition of ‘Salone del Mobile 2023’, a leading international design and furnishing event slated in Milan from April 18-23.She said companies from Qatar visiting the exhibition include Sketch Plus Interior and Design Consultancy, Deco Lusso Interior Design, Dal Architects & Designers, Fosc Studio, JMT Design & Build, and Studio Twelve Interiors.“Salone del Mobile 2023 will again be an unmissable occasion; an opportunity for the entire sector to come together, discuss their particular projects, swap and share ideas and, not least, it will be a chance for the local companies to catch up again with our international community and take stock of the current state of the design industry, along with all of its key players,” Lisi stressed.Speaking about his visit to B&B Italia’s showroom, Toschi said: “We love the idea of a design district, which we believe already complements very well a successful urban space, which is Msheireb; the embassy has had the pleasure of witnessing it blossoming over time.“To have an area that focuses on design, in addition to what is already visible in the buildings and the urban concept of this neighbourhood, is a terrific idea. So, I’d like to commend, in particular, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser as the person who brought this idea forward.”

Saleh bin Hamad al-Sharqi, General Manager, Qatar Chamber
Qatar Chamber reiterates role in enhancing PPP, economic growth

Qatar Chamber will regularly host joint meetings with different stakeholders and major players in the private and public sectors to enhance partnerships aimed at promoting the economic growth strategy of the State, an official has said.The chamber’s general manager, Saleh bin Hamad al-Sharqi, made the statement in the latest issue of Al Moltaqa, citing a joint meeting with different ministries, which studied concerns raised by businessmen in the country and the necessary solutions to these challenges.Al-Sharqi said the joint meeting hosted by Qatar Chamber between different officials from the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Ministry of Labour (MoL), and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) “represented an essential forum to discuss various issues and obstacles facing the private sector and the appropriate solutions.”The meeting has put emphasis on the “real cooperation” between the public and private sectors for the advantage of the national economy, al-Sharqi pointed out and stressed that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has underscored on many occasions the importance of prioritising public-private partnerships.Al-Sharqi said, “The meeting also demonstrated the keenness of these agencies to cooperate and communicate with the chamber in addressing the private sector's issues that are in connection with these institutions. It further highlighted their interest in combating any obstacles that might hinder the private sector’s desired and positive contribution to economic development.”During the meeting, al-Sharqi said the concerned agencies examined the results of the chamber’s survey on issues affecting the private sector, giving them the opportunity to discuss with businessmen the necessary solutions to these different issues, such as businessmen’s visas, the signing of establishment registration, providing facilities to entrepreneurs and start-ups, displaying national products within distribution outlets, and plans to support investment opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).Similarly, the topics also included the recruitment of workers’ procedures for obtaining licences and necessary industrial lands, and QDB’s requirements to provide financing for SMEs.“The chamber will follow up on the outcomes of this meeting with the concerned bodies to reassure that all obstacles are solved in a way that facilitates the private sector and eradicates all hurdles facing its role in the development witnessed by the state,” al-Sharqi said.

Ernest Thomas V Nierras, chairman and CEO of Pythos Technology Philippines.
Electronics manufacturer in Philippines eyes Qatar expansion

An electronics manufacturing company in the Philippines is eyeing several business opportunities in Qatar, as it seeks to expand its operations beyond Southeast Asia.According to Ernest Thomas V Nierras, chairman and CEO of Pythos Technology Philippines, the company is exploring six to seven business opportunities in the fields of electronics, manufacturing, engineering, and technical services.“We want to grow outside of the Philippines; Qatar is closer to Europe, so it could serve as a gateway that we would like to explore,” Nierras told Gulf Times.Nierras noted that the company’s solutions, which include medical-grade masks that deactivate viruses, pathogens, bacteria, and mould, are geared toward the commercial, medical, military, and aerospace industries in the areas of electronics and science and technology.“In that product spectrum, we want to manufacture, assemble, design, and build in different parts of the world. One growth centre that we’re looking at is the Middle East. From there, we can address not only the needs of the Middle East and the Gulf states but also those of Africa and Europe. There’s going to be a quick turnaround time if we do it from here,” said Nierras, who is currently in Qatar.In addition to these plans, Pythos is also looking to venture into the food and beverage (F&B) sector, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), aqua farming, and the fish farm industry, among others, Nierras stressed.“The company has already been in advanced talks with its partners in Qatar, and it is just a matter of identifying the first phase of our expansion outside of the Philippines to this part of the world,” he said.While the company aims to expand its business outside of the Philippines, Nierras emphasised the potential of the country’s technology and manufacturing industries. “Instead of sending Filipinos to work abroad, the Philippines can pioneer in the areas of technology and manufacturing in other countries,” he emphasised.Asked about the company’s potential contribution to Qatar’s food security efforts, Nierras said the technology being utilised by Pythos, particularly in the fish farm industry and desalination, may play a significant role in Qatar’s food security strategy.“With Pythos Technology Philippines looking to expand its business reach and explore new opportunities, our plans may bring growth and development not only for the company but also for the countries and sectors we seek to venture into,” Nierras pointed out.

Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani.
Qatar Chamber highlights role in economic development via Private Sector Forum, says Sheikh Khalifa

Qatar Chamber has emphasised its role as a staunch supporter of the country’s economic development by organising the Private Sector Forum (PSF) held recently in Doha, an official has said.Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani said the PSF, which was held on the sidelines of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), was organised by the chamber, in partnership with the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and Microsoft.Sheikh Khalifa said PSF “constituted a decadal unique occasion” to take action and establish innovative partnerships for the development of the private sector in LDCs and to strengthen its role in addressing existing and future challenges.“The forum provided a very important opportunity for us to emphasise the chamber's tireless efforts in providing all kinds of services to support the private sector and enable it to enhance its contributions to economic activity, in accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030.“It also highlighted the chamber’s keenness to provide all the needed facilitation for private sector companies and institutions with the aim to create the best possibleenvironment for businesses,” he said in the latest edition of Al Moltaqa, the chamber’s economic magazine.Sheikh Khalifa said the three-day forum was characterised by diverse and high-level participation and included several sessions that discussed various topics, which contributed to providing a direct interactive forum between representatives of the private sector, participating delegations, international financial institutions, donor countries, and multilateral organisations, among others.Speaking on Qatar’s hosting of LDC5, Sheikh Khalifa said the initiative has proven Qatar’s capacity to successfully host international conferences, citing the conference as a platform for various stakeholders and the private sector to identify solutions to current world challenges.“The LDC5 reflected Qatar’s important role in supporting least developed countries. Its agenda mainly focused on the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs for the Decade 2022-2031 (DPoA), which manifests a new generation of renewed and strengthened commitments between least developed countries and their development partners, including the private sector, civil society, and governments at all levels,” Sheikh Khalifa said.He added: “There is no doubt that the DPoA, which was endorsed last year, constitutes a clear path to advance development in those countries. It serves as a road map for least-developed countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.“It has further given special significance to the private sector and affirmed the commitment to strengthening partnerships with the private sector in order to makefull use of its innovative capacity, encouraging greater investment in science, technology, and innovation for development.”