Thursday, February 02, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 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.
Farhan al-Sayed, Qatar-Indonesia Business Council president.
More Qatar-Indonesia delegations, B2B meetings in the pipeline, says business council official

Following the successful working visit of Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan to Qatar recently, more business dialogues and B2B meetings are in the pipeline for the continued enhancement of both countries' economic ties. This was according to Qatar-Indonesia Business Council (QIBC) president Farhan al-Sayed, who recently hosted several delegations from Indonesia eyeing to increase exports from the southeast Asian country to Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region. Al-Sayed told Gulf Times that Dewi Astian, chief, International Relations at Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visited Qatar to coordinate a possible high-level business dialogue and B2B meeting in Doha. He said Astian also proposed to create a mini pavilion during the event to showcase premium Indonesian products like jewellery, clothing, bags, shoes, scarfs, furniture, and coffee, and to promote tourism in more than 10 destinations in Indonesia, including Bali. “Indonesia is a strong and one of the most reliable trade partners of Qatar. The bilateral trade volume of both countries from January to July this year stood at $758mn and is expected to grow further in the coming months. “Qatar receives regular visitors from Indonesia’s public and private sectors, such as ministers, chambers of commerce, business council delegates, and general traders who are able to secure successful deals and partnerships in various fields with different companies in Doha,” al-Sayed explained. Another delegation, which was led by Radhi Darmansyah from the Indonesian province of Aceh, also visited Doha to offer investment opportunities, such as block of exploration in Andaman 1 and in the Strait of Malacca in Aceh. “Currently, Repsol, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and Premier Oil are involved in various projects. Aceh could be the strategic regional hub in southeast Asia for agro-related commodities, fisheries, tourism, halal products, and oil and gas,” al-Sayed said. Al-Sayed also lauded Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan’s successful trade mission to Qatar, which secured potential transactions worth QR5.5mn (23.2bn Indonesian rupiah). In an earlier statement, Hasan said business matching sessions held in Doha during the trade mission helped secure the potential transactions in the following areas: beauty and hospitality products, spices and seasonings, snacks and processed foods, frozen fish, garments, and handicrafts. The minister said 11 Indonesian companies and 42 Qatari businesses participated in the business matching event. Palm oil and its derivatives, paper products, automotive, batteries, food and beverages, home decorations, handicraft products, garments, and beauty products are among Indonesia’s major products, he said. “The trade mission to Qatar managed to record potential transactions worth IDR23.2bn from this business matching initiative. This value has the potential to further increase, considering that the participating businesses are still following up on requests from potential partners who were brought together during the event,” the minister said.

Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani, chief commercial officer at Ooredoo at press conference and Colin Smith, FIFA chief operating officer World Cup and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 managing director.
World Cup transport buses get web connectivity via Ooredoo

Ooredoo is supplying seamless and reliable Internet connectivity to more than 350 FIFA World Cup transport buses, enabling officials, players, and media representatives to stay connected while on the move. This was announced Wednesday by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani, chief commercial officer at Ooredoo at press conference where he was joined by Colin Smith, FIFA chief operating officer World Cup and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 managing director. Sheikh Nasser said Ooredoo will provide its managed Wi-Fi along with mobile broadband to ensure seamless, reliable Internet access, so players, FIFA officials, and media representatives can stay connected even while travelling to and from tournament venues. Ooredoo will provide connectivity for more than 350 buses via mobile broadband, while 300 of these buses will also offer transportation-grade managed Wi-Fi services. These Wi-Fi services will be monitored and managed in real-time utilising systems hosted in the Ooredoo Qatar Data Centre. Sheikh Nasser said, “Our strategic commitment to invest in innovation and to partnering with world-leading technology providers stands us in excellent stead as we step up to provide our state-of-the-art products and services to this phenomenal event. “Players and FIFA officials need to stay connected to ensure the smooth running of the tournament and associated events, and our media partners need to be able to share the event with the world, no matter where they are. We’re proud that our investment in innovation and technology, and our vast experience and expertise, will make sure they can.” Ooredoo, the Official Middle East & Africa Telecommunications Operator of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, will use technology, such as Quick Response codes to ensure fast, easy, and efficient access to Wi-Fi onboard each bus. Powering the buses with mobile broadband and managed Wi-Fi will ensure connectivity for players and FIFA officials, while media representatives will be able to upload files and video content and share broadcasts even when travelling between venues. Ooredoo’s efforts enabled Qatar to become the first country in the world to operate a commercial 5G network in 2018, with the company testing 5G broadband in moving vehicles shortly after. Its ongoing transformation journey is a testament to its commitment to supporting the country as it works to achieve the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, including digital transformation and development into a truly smart nation. Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the press conference, Sheikh Nasser said Ooredoo will continue to announce and roll out more services in the period leading to the World Cup and during the tournament to provide customers with a memorable fan experience. Meanwhile, Smith lauded Ooredoo’s partnership with FIFA and for providing world-class and innovative services during the World Cup, which is slated from November 20 to December 18.

HE Akbar al-Baker, Nasser al-Khater and Badr al-Meer at the press conference
Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism reveal FIFA-related entertainment projects

  * Daily concerts at multiple venues make Qatar home for Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Post Malone, Robbie Williams and many more * MATAR unveils plans for Passenger Overflow Area at DIA & HIA   Qatar Airways Group and Qatar Tourism unveiled Tuesday a series of major events to provide football fans with world-class entertainment, including Qatar Live, which will host more than 60 international artistes throughout the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The FIFA-related entertainment activities were announced by Qatar Tourism Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker during a press conference, where he was joined by Nasser al-Khater, CEO of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and Badr al-Meer, MATAR Chief Operations Officer. The press conference displayed synergy between travel and tourism as Qatar Airways revealed over 10 projects developed with partners, including Qatar Tourism, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), and Qatari Diar. HE al-Baker announced the development of beach clubs, fan zones and theme parks, in addition to hosting Qatar Live, Daydream Music Festival, the Lusail Boulevard brand activation, Qatar Airways Sky House, Winter Wonderland and the naming ceremony for the ;MSC World Europa; cruise ship. He said, “Today, we see the breadth of what can be accomplished when aviation and tourism work together. We are very proud to announce a wide range of world-class live entertainment coming to Qatar to celebrate the most exciting tournament that will take place in the Middle East. We look forward to our locals and tourists alike having the best of the entertainment industry readily available for their enjoyment.” Al-Khater noted, “Qatar is ready to welcome the world and host a unique edition of the FIFA World Cup – the first to take place in the Middle East and Arab world. Fans can expect top-class international football and a vast array of entertainment options. The live acts announced today by Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism are sure to excite fans from everywhere as they prepare to descend on our country for an unforgettable festival of football, fun and entertainment.” Al-Meer added, “MATAR is ready for the much anticipated FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and we look forward to welcoming fans for the mega event. We are introducing exciting activations at Hamad International Airport (HIA) and Doha International Airport (DIA), which will embody the spirit of football and make this truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” * FIFA Onboard Experience The Official Airline Partner for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 sets the stage with a unique onboard cabin experience. Passengers will have much to look forward to when travelling with Qatar Airways during the football season, with a special range of FIFA World Cup-themed products and activations. The football-inspired cabin includes FIFA limited edition amenity kits, souvenir cushions, headphones, dining menus and football jersey-styled loungewear. Young traveller packs and plush toys have been especially curated for the younger fans. The Official Airline of the Journey Qatar Airways Oryx One In-flight Entertainment system will be home to more than 180 football-related titles, including an exclusive interview with FIFA president Gianni Infantino. During FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, passengers can enjoy complimentary livestreaming of World Cup matches and other major sporting events directly from passengers’ personal devices. * Beach Clubs Fans visiting the peninsula can spend time on newly developed beaches. Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism recently inaugurated the family-friendly B12 Beach Club with Ayla Oasis Development, which offers a range of activities, exceptional dining options, premium services and live family entertainment. Doha Sands is one of Qatar’s newest beaches where live music, dancing and dining come together for an unforgettable experience. Locals and tourists can enjoy Doha’s classic food kiosks for a range of culinary options. Named after Doha’s prominent district, West Bay Beach is a public beach shoreline that is set to offer families a range of water sports activities, and accommodate up to 1,500 guests. Sports fans can also enjoy the first-of-its-kind Fuwairit Kite Beach, built on Qatar’s northern coast, the resort offers thrill seekers spaces to relax and unwind after a day’s activities. * Fuwairit Kite Beach Resort Situated on pristine coastline next to a natural lagoon, the resort offers kite surfers an ideal setting to practice their sport. With a total of 50 rooms, the resort offers 40 beach-front rooms, where guests can enjoy various facilities, including a pool, a yoga pavilion, padel courts, an outdoor cinema and a state-of-the-art gym. *Qatar Live Qatar Live, a series of concerts, will engage audiences with performances from Enrique Iglesias, Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Post Malone, J Balvin and Robbie Williams. Alongside these world-renowned artistes, Qatar Live will bring back the Daydream festival with this year’s new stage, the Magic Lantern. Daydream Qatar 2022 will be headlining the biggest DJ lineup seen in the Middle East, with Alesso, Alok, Armin Van Buren, DVLM, John Newmam, Major Lazer, Tiesto and Tinny Trumpet, with many more global artistes to be announced ahead of the tournament. Additionally, the airline and its partners will schedule family theatre circus musical performances, including 'The Enchanted Prince' and 'Pinocchio'. The Qatar Live series has been organised by the international event management company, Alchemy Project. The Coca-Cola Company will be sponsoring Qatar Live allowing attendees to sip on their favourite beverage while enjoying the various shows. Nazli Berberoglu, general manager for the FIFA World Cup 2022 at The Coca-Cola Company, said: “We are extremely happy to partner with Qatar Airways as a sponsor of Qatar Live. Coca-Cola has a long legacy with both sports and music as it allows us to connect with consumers through their shared passions. As a long-standing partner of FIFA, this was a great opportunity for us to celebrate the real magic and shared passion for both music and football through supporting unforgettable local experiences.” Ooredoo executive director (Marketing) Sarah al-Dorani added, "At Ooredoo, our aim is to upgrade our customers’ experience by giving them more. We’re proud to be an Official Partner of Qatar Live 2022, where our customers will access exclusive discounts to exciting events during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We look forward to continuing to provide amazing benefits to our customer base.” * MSC On November 13, Qatar Airways welcomes invited guests to attend the naming ceremony for MSC Cruises’ largest ship, the 'MSC World Europa'. The ship will be docked at the Grand Terminal, Doha Port, throughout the duration of the FIFA World Cup, acting as a floating hotel. The 'MSC World Europa' ship includes six stunning pools and 14 whirlpool baths with views of the ocean, a Balinese-style wellness centre and spa, a beauty salon, a fully equipped gym and 13 dining venues. With a capacity of 2,626 guest cabins, tourists and locals will experience unique accommodation and a multitude of entertainment possibilities. * Qatar Airways Sky House To welcome travellers to the beautiful country, the award-winning airline will soon introduce Qatar Sky House, a pavilion at Al Bidda Park, which will include interactive activities such as face painting, Qverse experience, Swing the World, foosball and the Neymar challenge. For those looking for a moment to sit back and relax, the pavilion will include two lounge areas, a Qatar Airways Privilege Club lounge and a space dedicated to relaxation. * Qatar Airways House At Qatar Airways House located in Hyatt Regency Oryx Hotel, the airline is extending its hospitality to its VIP clients and guests. The national carrier will be delivering live match streaming, conferences, events as well as an introduction to the country’s culture. * Qatar Airways Stadium Activation Football fans will also have the opportunity to visit the Qatar Airways Booth in each of the iconic stadiums and on the scenic Corniche, where they can take part in the events by visiting the fan zones before or after their respective matches or when sightseeing the promenade. Each booth will include virtual football games starring Neymar, face painting, giveaways and more. * Passenger Overflow Area MATAR, Qatar’s company for Airports Operation and Management, announced that it will be extending its hospitality to travellers in need of a resting area before their flights. Qatar Airways will be providing dedicated Passenger Overflow spaces outside of Hamad International Airport and Doha International Airport, at no cost, where football festivities and live entertainment can be enjoyed while also providing storage space for luggage and carry-ons. This space will give fans the opportunity to continue to enjoy the celebrations as they wait to enter the airport where they can experience HIA’s new tranquil and nature-inspired terminal. * Doha International Airport DIA recently reopened enabling 13 regional and international airlines to carry 4,000 additional passengers per hour to Qatar. The DIA terminal will offer passengers retail as well as food and beverage products and services. * Lusail Boulevard In partnership with Qatari Diar, Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism will officially inaugurate the Darb Lusail Festival, which will be held from November 3 to 5, located in the Lusail Boulevard. The three-day festivities will represent the Middle East, Southern Asia and North Africa with headline talents, drone light shows and artistic performances. * Winter Wonderland Additionally, Qatar Airways has recently announced that it will be the Official Airline Partner and the Presenting Partner of Lusail Winter Wonderland, an original world-class entertainment and leisure destination in Qatar that will deliver unforgettable experiences to fun seekers. Lusail Winter Wonderland is a remarkable theme park located on Al Maha Island, in the heart of Qatar's entertainment district, which is set to open to the public in November. This unique theme park will feature more than 50 exhilarating rides and attractions, including the Qatar Airways Forest Train inside the Qatar Airways Festive Forest, the Flume ride Arctic Splash, a giant Ice Slide, The Galleon, the Ooredoo 5G Rollercoaster and the Ain QNB which is a 150ft Ferris Wheel.

HE Akbar al-Baker.
Qatar Airways reduces flights to bring more World Cup fans

Qatar Airways has withdrawn flights from 18 destinations, allowing Hamad International Airport (HIA) to accommodate other airlines flying 2022 FIFA World Cup fans to Qatar, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said Tuesday. HE al-Baker made the statement during a press conference where he was joined by Nasser al-Khater, CEO of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and Badr al-Meer, MATAR Chief Operations Officer. HE al-Baker emphasised that the national carrier’s priority is to give access to all countries participating and bringing in large numbers of passengers for the World Cup, which is slated from November 20 to December 18. “Actually, no. We don’t have any new destinations. But on the contrary, we have reduced and withdrawn from 18 destinations in order to make space at Hamad International Airport for new airlines that will bring fans,” al-Baker said in response to a query. According to al-Meer, about 500 shuttle flights per day are expected to land at Doha International Airport, including charter flights and private jets. “We have two types of flights at Doha International Airport: the shuttle and charter. We have around 500 shuttle flights a day, while for charter, we continue to receive requests for charter flights. The list will be announced after it is finalised,” al-Meer said. On post-World Cup Qatar, HE al-Baker said he is optimistic that the country’s tourism industry will flourish after the tournament. “Qatar is now becoming the favourite of people who want new adventures in the tourism industry,” he said, adding that Qatar “is investing hundreds of millions” in its tourism industry and to promote the country’s various tourist destinations.

(From left) Omar Hussain Alfardan, president & CEO of Alfardan Group; Zohour Omar Alfardan, business development manager at Alfardan Hospitality; Sara Fahad Alfardan, head of Communications and PR at Alfardan Group; and Hussain Ibrahim Alfardan, chairman Alfardan Group. PICTURES: Thajudheen.
Nest opens at Alfardan Tower West Bay

Nest, Qatar’s unique hub for professionals and entrepreneurs to work, meet, and collaborate, opened on Monday at the Mezzanine floor of Alfardan Tower in West Bay. The event was attended by the top management and key officials from Alfardan Group of Companies, including Hussain Ibrahim Alfardan, chairman Alfardan Group, and Omar Hussain Alfardan, president & CEO of Alfardan Group, as well as other members of the Alfardan family. Nest offers a conducive environment for entrepreneurs to express and develop their ideas, Sara Fahad Alfardan, head of Communications and PR at Alfardan Group, told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event. Nest is a new concept in workspace, introduced for the first time in Qatar, according to Alfardan. It offers meeting spaces, an event venue, and a café-restaurant under one roof. In addition, it provides networking and learning opportunities through events, she said. With its tagline, ‘A Space Where Productive Rest and Ideas Merge’, Nest is a safe, comfortable, and welcoming space for professionals, freelancers, students, and creative people, and has the perfect environment to stimulate minds and nourish ideas, Sara Alfardan explained. Sara Fahad Alfardan (extreme right), moderating the panel discussion She noted that Nest’s objective is to become a getaway for individuals looking for a place to rejuvenate and create. It is perfect for business meetings without disturbance, or to work while also enjoying lunch or afternoon coffee, she noted. In her welcome speech at Nest’s launch event, Sara Alfardan said: “Nest started off as an idea three years ago. A passion project, so to speak, put forth by the third generation of the family working in the company. We have all collaborated to make this idea a reality.” “We have various spaces that can be reserved depending on your needs. We have created an ideal place to start something new or to share your passion with an audience. It is also a great space if you simply need to get some work done, unwind, or celebrate a special event. Our selection of healthy and nutritious meals is available to complement a wholesome experience as we believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy soul and mind,” she said. Sara Fahad Alfardan delivering the welcome remarks Sara Alfardan also announced that Nest will be hosting weekly panel discussions and workshops aimed at expanding perspectives via the country’s young minds and thought leaders who inspire growth and spark new ideas on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to self-growth and arts and culture. Among the highlights of the launch event was Nest’s inaugural panel discussion featuring seven young entrepreneurs in Qatar. The discussion, which carried the theme ‘Nestamer: the entrepreneurial journey’, was moderated by Zohour Omar Alfardan, Business Development manager at Alfardan Hospitality. The panelists included Harriet Gyamfuah, founder & PR director at Creative Amplified; Abdullah al-Khenji, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Flare; Joud Ghalayini, research and marketing executive at Karty; Muzammil Khan, founder of Crusoe; Al Jaze al-Suwaidi, founder of Oh Matcha; Valeria Mazzei, founder & creative director of Venus Karma; and Abed Khatab, head of Growth GCC for HeliumDoc (formerly Meddy). Asked about her outlook on Qatar’s entrepreneurship sector, Sara Alfardan said: “Qatar’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is flourishing. It’s encouraging to see more and more startups from young people who also like to share their experiences with others to follow, and we’re happy to provide a well-equipped space to facilitate this interaction.” Sara Alfardan noted that Nest could also be an ideal space for owners of home-based businesses across the country. “That’s why our rates at Nest are very affordable. We want to cater to as many people as possible, such as these home-based businesses, or entrepreneurs who have limited capital,” she added. Nest’s F&B offerings range from coffees and smoothies to breakfast and lunch items, a display counter full of healthy grab-and-go options, and a pizza/manakish section. The menu is specially curated to complement productivity. For bookings, check out Nest on Instagram and Facebook, or through WhatsApp 33494447.

Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Trade mission secures potential deals worth QR5.50mn from Qatar, says Indonesian trade minister

Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan has secured potential transactions worth QR5.5mn (23.2bn Indonesian rupiah) during a recently held trade mission to Qatar. Hasan, who led a high-level business delegation here, was accompanied by the secretary-general of the Ministry of Trade, Suhanto, and the director general of the National Export Development of the Ministry of Trade, Didi Sumedi, as well as several Indonesian companies.   Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan The potential transactions were procured during a business matching session held on Monday in Doha. The transactions were from beauty and hospitality products, spices and seasonings, snacks and processed foods, frozen fish, garments, and handicrafts. Participating in the business matching event were 11 Indonesian companies and 42 Qatari businesses. Indonesia’s major products include palm oil and its derivatives, paper products, automotive, batteries, food and beverages, home decorations, handicraft products, garments, and beauty products. “The trade mission to Qatar managed to record potential transactions worth IDR23.2bn from this business matching initiative. This value has the potential to increase further, considering that the participating businesses are still following up on requests from potential partners who were brought together during the event,” Hasan explained. Furthermore, Hasan emphasised that the recorded value “still has the potential to continue to grow” after participating Indonesian and Qatari companies would make the necessary business follow-ups in the coming period. Prior to the business matching event, the trade minister and his accompanying delegation participated in the Indonesia-Qatar Business Forum, which carried the theme ‘Strengthening Trade, Investment & Economic Partnership between Indonesia & Qatar’. The event was held in the presence of Qatar Chamber first vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari; Saleh bin Majed al-Khulaifi, assistant undersecretary for Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan, as well as other guests. Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event, the ambassador pointed out that the business forum is part of a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening economic and bilateral relations between Qatar and Indonesia. He noted that the embassy is working with relevant authorities to organise business delegations for both Qatari and Indonesian investors for future partnerships and joint projects that would benefit the economy of both countries.

Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani is joined by Berthold Trenkel and Sarah al-Dorani during the launch event held Monday. PICTURE Thajudheen
Free Hayya SIM from Ooredoo to connect fans during World Cup ’22

Ooredoo launched Monday its Hayya SIM, which will allow FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fans and visitors to stay connected during the tournament free of charge. From November 1, the Hayya SIM cards will give visitors to Qatar 2,022 local minutes, 2,022 local SMS and 2,022MB data with the line valid for three days. Visiting fans with a Hayya Card will be able to get a Hayya SIM from one of several dispensing machines that will be available at airports, ports and land borders, as well as in taxis, Metro stations, hotels, official FIFA fan accommodations, fan zones, Ooredoo shops, franchises and dealers, among others. Visitors will also be able to get a Hayya SIM online at the Ooredoo eShop. Dignitaries at the launch event. Supplied picture The Hayya SIM will be available in two formats: a physical SIM card and an eSIM. Visitors subscribing to their Hayya SIM at the Ooredoo eShop can have the SIM delivered to any location of their choice in Qatar, while those opting to use an eSIM will receive it via e-mail. Activation of the Hayya SIM will be quick and efficient. eSIMs will be activated as soon as the customer connects to the Ooredoo network, while physical SIM cards can be activated via the Ooredoo app or at the Ooredoo eShop. At the same time, Ooredoo also announced that all of its prepaid and postpaid customers residing in Qatar will enjoy 2,022 benefits via a deal called the ‘2022 Gift’, which could be activated via the Ooredoo app. Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani, chief commercial officer at Ooredoo, said: “We have promised an unrivalled fan experience during the FIFA World Cup and we are delivering on this promise with the biggest offer in history from any telco ever at a major event. Whether you are residing in or visiting Qatar, as an Ooredoo customer, you will encounter first-hand how we prioritise customer experience.” Sarah al-Dorani, executive director of Marketing at Ooredoo, added: “We are proud as Ooredoo to demonstrate our capabilities as a smart operator and innovative player. As we connect the world to the biggest sporting event, we will also be connecting fans in Qatar to a seamless digital experience with our eSIM and AI technology. “In line with our brand, we continue to ‘Upgrade your World’ by delivering excellence in user journey and offering incredible 2,022 rewards to our existing customer base in Qatar.” Ooredoo is utilising sophisticated Artificial Intelligence technology as part of its digital onboarding process, both to speed up authentication and ensure security. The AI technology enables quick validation of identification details, while Face Capture with Liveness and 3D Face Map enables comparison of selfies with ID photos for quick and easy identification. In his speech, Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel lauded Ooredoo’s efforts, highlighting his appreciation that Qatar’s leading telco is warmly welcoming visitors to Qatar with a seamless connectivity journey from the moment they land. Speaking to Gulf Timeson the sidelines of the event, Sheikh Nasser said that aside from the eSIMs, Ooredoo is expected to be distributing “around 1.5mn to 2mn” physical Hayya SIMs for the promotion. The eSIMs, he also noted, would make it convenient for fans arriving from European and South American countries, while the physical Hayya SIMs would be for those coming from Asia, the Middle East, and Gulf countries. Sheikh Nasser also expressed optimism about the reliability and robustness of Ooredoo’s infrastructure, saying that for the past 12 years the telecommunications company has been preparing for the World Cup and working closely with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) to ensure optimum fan experience and provide 5G services for a seamless journey of visitors during the tournament. Also attending the launch event were senior representatives of a number of organisations involved in 2022 FIFA World Cup, including Ooredoo CEO Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulla al-Thani and high-level representatives and ambassadors from the SC, as well as Ooredoo brand ambassador Mutaz Barshim and popular regional influencers.

From left: Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari, Qatar Chamber first vice chairman; Saleh bin Majed al-Khulaifi, assistant undersecretary for Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; and Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesian Minister of Trade. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar-Indonesia trade volume up 29% y-o-y to $758mn in H1

Qatar and Indonesia trade volume witnessed a 29% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth to reach $758mn in the first seven months of 2022 from $587.6mn, according to Indonesian Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan. Hasan made the statement during the Indonesia-Qatar Business Forum held in Doha yesterday in the presence of Qatar Chamber first vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari; Saleh bin Majed al-Khulaifi, assistant undersecretary for Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; and Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hasan, as well as other guests. The Indonesian minister emphasised the growth of Qatari investments in the Southeast Asian nation, citing QNB, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson, and Nebras Power. He underscored the need to maximise the “good opportunity” to increase trade as Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, while Indonesia, which holds G20 Presidency for the first time, will host the G20 Summit this November. According to Hasan, Indonesia’s top export commodities to Qatar include steel, medical equipment, paper and toilet paper, tableware, food and beverages, plywood, and automotive. Hasan also invited Qatari investors and the business community in Qatar to participate in the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI), which will be held in Jakarta from October 19-23 (offline) and until December 19 (online). During his speech, al-Kuwari lauded the longstanding relations of both countries and encouraged members of the Qatari-Indonesian business sector to forge joint investments in light of the investment incentives being offered by the two nations. Al-Kuwari stressed that Qatar’s business community is keen to strengthen relations with Indonesia and to explore the country’s business climate and the available opportunities there. He described Indonesia as an important gateway to the Southeast Asian region and “a promising market” for many opportunities that would attract Qatari investors. Aside from its rich natural resources, al-Kuwari said Indonesia also hosts many investment opportunities in sectors, such as tourism, real estate development, mining, food security, services, and halal trade. Citing Qatar Chamber figures, al-Kuwari said bilateral trade between Qatar and Indonesia increased by 78% from QR1.8bn in 2016 to QR3.22bn in 2021. He said Qatar has invested in Indonesia’s communications, banking, and trading sectors, while Indonesian companies and their Qatari partners share investments in different sectors in Qatar. Speaking to Gulf Timeson the sidelines of the event, al-Kuwari emphasised the timeliness of the business forum, saying “now is the right time” to increase and explore the investment opportunities of both countries. Similarly, Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hasan told this paper that the embassy will be working to bring and host business delegations from both countries. He said the success of Qatar’s investments in Indonesia will encourage more Qatari investors to explore the country’s investment climate. “We believe the Qatar Investment Authority is already looking into different sectors in Indonesia, including tourism. This business forum is only one of the first steps that we are taking to enhance Indonesia-Qatar economic relations and increase bilateral trade going forward,” he stressed. Al-Khulaifi, in his speech, also encouraged investors from Qatar and Indonesia to build investment partnerships even as both countries witnessed “a remarkable development” over the past years. Citing World Bank data, al-Khulaifi said Qatar’s economy is expected to grow by about 4.9% in 2022, while the International Monetary Fund, on the other hand, estimated Qatar’s non-oil sector is expected to witness growth by about 4.1% compared to the oil and gas sector. The forum was also highlighted by an exhibition by select Indonesian companies specialising in handicrafts, foodstuffs, and other products.

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National Vision 2030 vital in empowering women in Qatar, says QBWA official

Major work is underway to empower women in Qatar as part of the country’s 2030 national vision, an official of the Qatari Businesswomen Association (QBWA) has said. The Qatar National Vision 2030 prioritises women’s right to study, work, and enhance their social status, according to QBWA board member Awatef Mohamed al-Dafa, who noted that one of the goals of the 2030 national vision is to enhance women’s capacities and help them fully participate in the political and economic spheres, mainly in decision-making. “Our country’s legislation prevents discrimination against women when it comes to employment, whether in the public or private sector,” al-Dafa stated in ‘The Business Year: Qatar 2022, World Cup Special Edition’, which was released recently. “I would like to see more women assuming better positions to play a role in the socio-economic growth of our country and achieve the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030,” she emphasised. On raising awareness on the role of women in Qatar, al-Dafa said in the mid-2000s, she helped support underprivileged women and children in the US and the Arab world through fundraising and social work while working with the spouses of Arab ambassadors in the US-based Mosaic Foundation. Similarly, she said QBWA has been assisting women for over a decade through vocational training and professional development to help them contribute to Qatar’s economic growth. “Through QBWA, we have launched many initiatives for female entrepreneurs to develop their skills and advance their businesses,” al-Dafa explained, citing the importance of education. She noted that Qatari women have focused on education to play a bigger role in society over the past two decades. At the postgraduate level, “female students have outnumbered males,” she also said. “Almost 75% of Qatari students registered at Qatar Foundation universities have been women, according to the organisation’s official figures. Thanks to Qatar’s wise leadership, young Qatari women were given an alternative to scholarships abroad by attending international universities right here in Doha. “These efforts have empowered women and given them greater opportunities to join the workforce. We have seen female decision-makers playing a pivotal role in the government sector, female doctors who worked day and night at the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic, and brilliant female engineers in the oil and gas sector, just to name a few,” al-Dafa pointed out. She added: “My message to Qatari women is to stand up for their rights and inspire the new generation of young girls to be future leaders. Thanks to the great leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, women have gained equal opportunities with men and assumed the leadership positions of ministers, ambassadors, directors in both public and private institutions, and entrepreneurs among other roles. Qatari women have also become the region’s first female judges and prosecutors. “I encourage women to never stop learning, educating themselves, and developing their skills. I call upon women’s organisations to support the building of self-confidence in women and to promote the self-development of young girls. I also call upon women to speak up if they face any kind of discrimination whether in the workplace or in society.”    

HE the Minister of Municipality Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie is joined by a panel of experts during Qatar Rail's second town hall and stakeholders meeting held Tuesday under the theme u2018Safe and Effective Crowd Management at Metro Stationsu2019. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Minister says Doha Metro ‘safe, ready’ for influx of World Cup fans

  Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) is “on track” in terms of its readiness and preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to HE the Minister of Municipality Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie. Al-Subaie, who is also Qatar Rail's managing director and CEO, made the statement during the company’s second town hall and stakeholders meeting held Tuesday under the theme ‘Safe and Effective Crowd Management at Metro Stations’. HE the Minister of Municipality Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie speaking during the panel discussion. “This meeting comes less than two months away from the start of the World Cup 2022. Qatar Rail is on track with its readiness and preparations for this event as the Doha Metro is a key component in the integrated transport plan for this global event hosted by the State of Qatar,” al-Subaie said during his speech. Since starting operations in 2019, al-Subaie said the Doha Metro’s state-of-the-art driverless system was specifically designed and built to handle large numbers of passengers and to handle major events, adding that the Doha Metro was tested during several large events held previously. “We have incorporated the lessons learnt from these events in a systematic and controlled way to enhance performance. Also, under our preparations for the tournament, we have developed a ‘station plan’ for each station under our networks. “Hosting any major event requires co-ordination across a broad and complex landscape of stakeholders. Crowd management is the key success for a safe and smooth travel experience and this cannot be achieved without the close co-ordination, joint efforts, and the support of our stakeholders,” he said. Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event, al-Subaie said: “Our focus now is mainly on crowd and event management. It is important for people to feel safe and secure, and we are ready to provide a very distinguished service to them, so we are working closely with international industry leaders and sharing best practices and experiences. We are trying to break all barriers of communication and ensuring that we have visibility for our strategic direction." During the World Cup, al-Subaie also said there would be 110 trains operating 21 hours per day and more than 10,000 staff manning the Doha Metro. He also noted that from three cars, the Red Line is now running with six cars. Aside from al-Subaie, the town hall was also attended by Engineer Yasir Jamal, director-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and chairman of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Executive Committee; Hamad Isa Abdulla, acting assistant undersecretary of Land Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Transport (MoT); and Lieutenant-Colonel Salem al-Naimi, director of Transportation Security Department at the Ministry of Interior (MoI). They were also joined by RKH, the operator of Doha Metro, and key shareholders, including Jean Pierre Farandou, SNCF chairman and CEO; Bernard Tabary, CEO of Keolis Group International; Jean Yves Leclercq, RATP Group CEO; and Hiba Fares, RATP Dev CEO; as well as other senior officials from the MoT, SC, MoI, and Qatar Rail management team and staff. The meeting is one of a series of staff and management town halls and workshops held under Qatar Rail’s readiness programme for the World Cup. It was highlighted by several activities, including a panel discussion on crowd management, management of key risks, emergency preparedness, and crowd control, followed by a presentation on the Role of Operation of Metro Command and Control Centre. RKH is responsible for operating and maintaining Doha Metro and Lusail Tram networks. The company works hand-in-hand with Qatar Rail to ensure safe and effective crowd management at the stations and ensure the delivery of a seamless and safe travel experience during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In July 2022, Qatar Rail organised its first town hall for staff, stakeholders, and consultants meeting under the theme ‘Transport Management for Mega Events’, which included several sessions on the readiness of Doha Metro services for major events, and the main challenges of hosting the upcoming World Cup.

Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani.
FIFA World Cup shines spotlight on Qatar’s robust investment climate

Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup brings a host of benefits, such as drawing more international attention and consolidating the country’s efforts to emerge as a centre for business and investments, as well as for tourism, culture, and peace, according to Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani. He said 2022 will not only be an exceptional year but an unforgettable one for both Qatar and the entire region as it is the first World Cup to be held in an Arab country and in the Middle East. “Long before the official launch of the tournament, Qatar was 100% ready to host the world’s largest sports event. Preparations have lasted for more than a decade,” Sheikh Khalifa stated in the latest edition of Al Moltaqa, the chamber’s economic magazine. After Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the State “has prepared itself well for the world’s largest football show,” said Sheikh Khalifa, citing the building of a series of mega-infrastructure projects, such as world-class roads, bridges, and other infrastructure; the establishment of state-of-the-art sports stadiums and giant sports facilities. Other massive projects include the expansion of the Hamad International Airport and the establishment of hotels and tourism-related facilities, as well as other developments in the field of maritime transport, subways, and electric buses, among others. “We are firmly certain that hosting this mega event will have a positive effect on Qatar’s long-term growth prospects at various levels. The World Cup will not only generate an economic boom for Qatar but it will place the state on the international map and as a global centre for investments and business, especially in light of the attractive legislative, regulatory, and institutional environment, and advanced infrastructure. “It constitutes a huge boost for Qatar’s national economy and will this further benefit several sectors, including hospitality, tourism, and infrastructure before and beyond the tournament,” Sheikh Khalifa explained. He added: “Furthermore, the World Cup will enhance the country’s position on the world sports map as a destination for major sporting events. In this context, we see that the Qatari private sector is well-prepared to make the event a grand success. It certainly will play its role and meet the expectations of the government during and beyond the event. “Qatar Chamber, in turn, will promote Qatar’s economy and its investment climate among visitors to Qatar during the World Cup championship. In conclusion, we are confident that the event will be the most successful edition of the tournament throughout its history in all aspects.”

South Africa Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.
‘Vast opportunities’ await Qatari investors in South Africa’s varied sectors, says SA transport minister

South Africa’s transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, has invited Qatari investors to explore the country’s investment climate, saying many sectors there are rife with opportunities for business and trade. In a statement to Gulf Times, Mbalula said South Africa is eyeing to invite Qatari delegations to accompany HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, whom he met during a working visit to Qatar recently. “Indeed, we have vast opportunities for Qatari businesses to invest in and would like them to visit our country and explore partnerships with local businesses. We are looking for investments in the areas of aviation, maritime, rail, and broader transport infrastructure,” Mbalula pointed out. Asked what other areas in the transport sector are viable for Qatari investments into South Africa, Mbalula said these sectors include aircraft maintenance; repair and overhaul; aerospace manufacturing and other civil aviation operations; and transport infrastructure, including rail, road, maritime, and aviation. On potential projects or joint ventures that Qatar and South Africa could enter into or explore in the field of transportation, as well as in other sectors, Mbalula said: “We are looking at projects in the areas of improving competitiveness and efficiency at our ports; growing the aviation sector in the southern Africa region through collaboration and skills development programmes; human resource development; and innovation and technology.” According to Mbalula, he has invited al-Sulaiti to visit South Africa in the coming period. “I have extended an invitation to His Excellency the Minister of Transport, Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, to visit South Africa – an invitation that he has graciously accepted. We anticipate that this visit will take place before year-end,” Mbalula said. During Mbalula’s working visit here, the South African transport minister held meetings with al-Sulaiti and other ministries, as well as other key organisations and officials in Qatar. “There were no agreements signed during this visit. However, we have three agreements that are under consideration and should be signed as soon as relevant processes are finalised. “These are the memorandum of understanding on transport-related matters and an agreement on co-operation in the field of maritime transport, as well as a memorandum of understanding on mutual recognition of certificates of competence for seafarers,” he explained. He added: “My visit to Qatar is at the invitation of HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti. The objective of the visit is to discuss matters of mutual co-operation and deepen our bilateral relations. “These relations between our respective countries date back to the dawn of democracy in South Africa in 1994. The growing bond between our respective nations was strengthened by the visits to Qatar by successive South African presidents from president Nelson Mandela, president Thabo Mbeki, to President Jacob Zuma.”

Qmunity Kenz co-founders gather at QSTP for Demo Day.
‘Time banking’ gaining traction in Qatar post-QSTP XLR8 programme

Initiatives like the XLR8 programme of Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), member of Qatar Foundation, have been playing an instrumental role in the development and success of many startups in Qatar. One of these startups, Qmunity Kenz, is steadily attracting the attention and interest of the community and, most notably, important players and stakeholders in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, co-founder Leyla Mroueh told Gulf Times. Only recently, QSTP has opened applications for cycle 13 of its XLR8 programme. Applications will remain open until October 8, noted Mroueh, who encouraged interested entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities that the programme offers, including QR150,000 for this year’s winning team and a QR100,000 prize for the second place winner. Gulf Times: What role has QSTP played in the development of Qmunity Kenz? Mroueh: Qmunity Kenz is a grass roots initiative that was established to join the dots between people, ideas, and resources to contribute toward building a more connected, equitable, and sustainable community in Qatar and beyond. At the heart of our mission is our people-powered ‘time bank’ that offers a rewarding and enjoyable way to bring people together to share their skills, resources, and time. QSTP played a valuable role in the development of Qmunity Kenz by helping us refine our thinking through the various modules that the programme covers. Sessions ran for over six months with the programme manager for Acceleration at QSTP, Mohamed Zebian, at the helm and included focused workshops around customer validation, segmentation of our beneficiaries and stakeholders, and exploring models that could be considered for future revenue streams that would support us in being sustainable. The programme also connects you to a mentor, and lucky for us, our mentor, Agata Braja, was an incredible guide with her wealth of knowledge and expertise in user experiences and brand building. We are thrilled to say that she remains a core part of our co-founding team to date. So, having this kind of support, as well as the weekly schedule of after-work sessions that you sandbox in your day to focus on your idea was invaluable. It felt like having access to a ‘mind gym’, with weekly classes, after-work hours, and some flexibility to have a chat during breaks or after sessions with fellow XLR8 attendees, mentors, and QSTP staff. Applying the learnings from the after-work sessions into practice and sharing our findings was encouraged to help us test some of the assumptions we had and to find our early adopters and community champions that we wanted to play a role in the development of the time bank. In our case, we took a very analogue approach to each step of our customer validation process by first, trying to ensure that every step of our process and development was made possible through time-banked hours (from our logo design to our pitch deck development) and second, by inviting people interested in the idea of a community, to gathering ideas related to time banking. People signed up via One of the things that programmes like XLR8 reinforces is the need to be agile, so when sandy weather conditions on the day of our gathering were challenging, we took a last-minute decision to run the session from two houses in a local compound. The results were fantastic and provided the kind of problem-solving and insight that money cannot buy. We welcomed 36 people between the ages of nine and 59 at the gathering in March 2022 where we co-defined our guiding principles and leveraged people’s views on ways that Qmunity Kenz and time banking could purposefully contribute to everyday life for people, families, and communities living and working in Qatar within social, educational, and healthcare settings and beyond. Eighty percent of people who were with us during the journey in March are still with us today. They are listed in our new platform as co-founders. Given the objectives that the website described as a “grass roots initiative,” how can Qmunity Kenz complement QSTP’s efforts in developing Qatar’s startup ecosystem and advancing the growth of the country’s entrepreneurship culture? Whilst the focus on Qatar is mostly on its GDP, financial wealth, and global ranking indices, it’s no secret that the social capital that sits within Qatar is one of the nation’s greatest assets, so we hope that we can make a small contribution to the country’s emerging startup scene by providing a platform that enables startups to access and engage with subject matter experts and end-users from all walks of life, whilst also sharing their own skills. Given how bootstrapped most startups are when they start their respective journeys, it is very common for people to swap and barter skills. However, the chance to connect with everyone – from branding and business experts to health coaches – in a measurable and equitable way has always been trickier as people need to use resources wisely; so hopefully, we can help startups address this matter as one hour of everyone’s time has the same value. Considering QSTP’s commitment to hosting and organising programmes like XLR8, how can Qmunity Kenz help promote this initiative to encourage more entrepreneurs and startups to take advantage of this opportunity? We are still in the early stages of building, so it will be interesting to learn how startups will respond to the idea of time banking. That said, Qmunity Kenz’s time bankers bring a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and listening ears that startups could use to test the waters or shape their ideas. You can plan and think and consider as much as you like but unless you build, test, and measure, it’s impossible to build a product or service. So, we hope time banking will give people who are interested in testing their ideas or building their projects, skills, or a simpler and more manageable way to do that whilst growing their network and mapping the social capital that exists to support them. As an alumnus of XLR8, we very much look forward to giving back to the QSTP programme by contributing a number of time-banked hours to support the next cycle of XLR8 participants in learning more about how they can tap the social capital around them to help them reach their goals. What’s next for Qmunity Kenz and how can people get involved? Research has shown that time banks have a really positive impact on the health and wellness of a community, so we are thrilled to be officially launching the platform to residents during ‘Doha Healthcare Week’ with our first phase pilot platform and English version of the site. The joy of being involved in a grassroots initiative like Qmunity Kenz is that plans and priorities are shaped by the people and community that contribute to them, so at this early stage, we have a number of ‘Qmunity time bankers’ already featured on the platform who are ready to share their skills from health coaches and parenting advice sessions to personal development and coaching activities, and we look forward to welcoming many more community members who are interested in being a part of our sharing economy over the lifespan of this initiative. Depending on Qmunity feedback, some of the areas we may explore include working with our community and partners to develop an Arabic version of the platform. Advocacy and partnership around the use of time banking as a tool to complement existing activities are taking place. This includes exploring ways to integrate time banking into institutional volunteering or within everyday healthcare settings where time banking could be used as a tool for improving health and well-being through nonclinical or medical interventions in line with social prescribing practices that are emerging. Through our positive collaboration and membership of Time Banking UK, we look forward to connecting with other time banks in places like India and the UK that are driving some great work in this space. Supporting Qatar’s diverse thriving student population looking for opportunities to engage within their community is another area that we are exploring in line with our mission, so we are thrilled to be participating in some workshops in the up-and-coming ‘QF EDI Teaching and Learning Forum on October 9th. To find out more about Qmunity Kenz and how you can get involved, visit or e-mail [email protected] For more details about QSTP’s XLR8 programme and to apply for this year’s cycle, visit

Khush Choksy, US Chamber of Commerce senior vice-president for Middle East and International Development.
Post-FIFA Qatar seen to offer more investments for US companies

US companies stand to gain from the massive infrastructure projects Qatar has built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will offer a wide range of investment opportunities once the tournament concludes in December, an official of the US Chamber of Commerce has said. “Qatar-US relations from 2023 onwards will be very strong,” US Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice-President for Middle East and International Development Khush Choksy told Gulf Times. Choksy and US Chamber of Commerce Senior Manager, Middle East Affairs Liz Clark previously held a series of meetings in Doha, particularly with HE the Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari and HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani. The US Chamber also held meetings with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), among others, Choksy said. “Qatar’s investments in building physical and regulatory infrastructure and the logistics to supporting such a large event and managing the influx of people provide a huge opportunity for Qatar to capitalise on all of this and plan for the future,” Choksy explained. Not only will this enhance the sports health industry but it will also open investment opportunities in Qatar’s finance industry, as well as the country’s digital sector, which, according to Choksy, “is a huge area for growth that could serve the region.” He said: “Qatar is able to use its capital to attract companies, provide seed financing for ventures, the relocation of back offices and service facilities, and develop the manufacturing sector, as well. “This is part of Qatar’s strategy to diversify away from the oil and gas industry by enhancing other sectors, such as the digital economy, manufacturing, and logistics, which complements the country’s national strategy for 2030.” He said: “Post-FIFA, Qatar really has an opportunity. During our meetings here, we encouraged Qatar authorities to use the spotlight during the World Cup to showcase these opportunities. Choksy said the chamber is planning to bring a group of American companies here during the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, which is expected to be hosted by Qatar in the first quarter of next year. “We hope that US companies, specifically our member companies, are interested, and I hope that this materialises into a very good opportunity for American businesses,” Choksy noted. On Qatari investments in the US, Choksy added: “Inward investment is part of the US Chamber’s mandate, as well as attracting investment into the US. Qatar Investment Authority is looking at new technologies and they’ve also made infrastructure investments in real estate, as well as a broad array of investments in different American states.” In the energy sector, Choksy said US companies “are very pleased” with the North Field expansion, which he described as “a huge opportunity for continued expansion and growth of Qatar-US ties.”

Qatar Tourism chairman and Qatar Airways Group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker shaking hands with Sahl Dudin, managing director of Ayla Oasis Development, in the presence of other dignitaries and officials.
Qatar Tourism, 'Ayla' forge ties for B12 Beach Club in Doha

* Qatar Tourism, Ayla Oasis Development forge ties for B12 Beach Club in Doha, which will open in October   Qatar Tourism (QT) has forged a partnership with Ayla Oasis Development to introduce B12 Beach Club, a family-friendly seaside destination that offers a range of water and sports activities, exceptional dining options, premium services and entertainment, slated to open next month. Qatar Tourism Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said, “At Qatar Tourism, one of our biggest passions is helping people discover our home country of Qatar. “Partnering with Ayla allows us to continue this work and expand tourism to Qatar. With the B12 Beach Club, Doha adds yet another world-class attraction for international visitors.” Qatar Tourism chairman and Qatar Airways Group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker shaking hands with Sahl Dudin, managing director of Ayla Oasis Development, after the signing ceremony held Sunday. Set to open in October, B12 Beach Club Doha will offer an exclusive experience to Qatar’s World Cup visitors through lively beachy vibes, bohemian interiors, featuring graffiti art by Qatari artists, and various entertainment elements to welcome guests from all age groups for a day-to-night experience. The family-friendly beach club, overlooking 40,000m of premium beachfront, will feature exceptional hospitality and service, all-day dining at the beach deck with various culinary options, an indoor restaurant with a versatile gourmet menu, and water and beach entertainment activities. Sahl Dudin, managing director of Ayla Oasis Development, said: “Our strategic partnership with Qatar Tourism to launch B12 Beach Club Doha in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup gives guests the chance to experience one of Jordan’s premier tourist destinations in the heart of Doha. B12 Beach Club is committed to elevating the guest’s experience by providing bespoke services and unique offerings to the local community, tourists, and visitors.” The opening of the new B12 Beach Club ahead of the much-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup demonstrates Qatar’s readiness to host the world’s biggest football tournament. Fans traveling to Qatar for the tournament are encouraged to include a stop at B12 Beach Club in their itinerary to experience yet another unforgettable adventure during their visit. Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Dudin said: “We feel positive about Qatar’s efforts to transform the country into a tourism destination. This is our first collaboration with Qatar Tourism and we are determined and committed to making this partnership work for the benefit of Qatar. “We are optimistic about the country’s planned tourism strategy and we are already in talks about expanding some of our work, either operating more areas or beaches or bringing our expertise from Ayla in Jordan to Qatar.”

The companyu2019s inaugural entry to Qatar marks a strategic milestone for Hisenseu2019s regional expansion initiatives in the Middle East.
Hisense opens first brand store at Lagoona Mall

Hisense, the global electronics and white goods manufacturer and sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, in partnership with Fifty One East, Qatar’s favourite department store, recently opened its first branded store at Lagoona Mall. The company’s inaugural entry to Qatar marks a strategic milestone for Hisense’s regional expansion initiatives in the Middle East. (Frm left) Jason Ou, president of Hisense Middle East and Africa; Saoud al-Darwish, vice chairman of Darwish Holding; Bader al-Darwish, chairman and managing director of Fifty One East; and Chinese ambassador Zhou Jian. The Hisense brand store opening ceremony was held under the patronage of Chinese ambassador Zhou Jian, who attended the event alongside Bader al-Darwish, chairman and managing director of Fifty One East; Jason Ou, president of Hisense Middle East and Africa; Saoud al-Darwish, vice chairman of Darwish Holding; and other distinguished guests. Hisense is a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 This brand store reflects the strong partnership between the two entities and underlines Fifty One East’s reputation as the partner of choice for international electronics brands. It also demonstrates Hisense’s steady growth in the region and the Qatari market as it strengthens its position as one of the leading brands in the consumer technology sector. Hisense’s brand store, the first in Qatar, provides customers with a home-like experience as it showcases its entire product line-up: top-of-the-range TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and smartphones, as well as its award-winning smart consumer technology ‘Laser TV’, a 100-inch TV screen that brings cinema to the living room. Bader al-Darwish, chairman and managing director of Fifty One East, welcomes the opening of Hisense's branch opening at Lagoona Mall - a first in Qatar. Al-Darwish said, “We are honoured to host the first and exclusive Hisense store in Qatar at Lagoona Mall, the home of some of the world’s most desired brands. This reflects our strong relationship and shared values, and is in line with our expansion strategy to bring the latest international labels to Qatar. We stay committed to offering the best tech brands and high-end services that exceed our customers’ expectations and fulfill their lifestyle aspirations.” Jason Ou, president of Hisense Middle East and Africa, delivering a speech. Ou added: “We are elated to announce the launch of our first brand store in Qatar, in the same year as the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it even more special. Hisense is one of the fastest-growing brands globally as it focuses on delivering best-in-class technology and products that resonate with local demands. Through our brand stores, we want to showcase the innovation and exceptional experience of our technology the moment shoppers step inside. The store provides customers with a home-like experience as it showcases its entire product line-up. “We are also glad to have collaborated with Fifty One East, with their expertise and recognition in the market, as we believe it will be a great start for the Hisense brand store concept in Qatar. Having said that, this is part of our ambitious expansion plan to open Hisense brand stores across the Middle East region.” The Middle East market is enthusiastic about advanced technology, and for Hisense, a brand known for its consumer technology innovations, expansion is just the beginning. The brand will soon launch its smart technology in the region making it extremely accessible for consumers to stay connected with their appliances. Being the year of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Hisense has ambitious plans to elevate its brand awareness across the region. With an innovative product line-up and exciting FIFA campaigns, Hisense is highlighting that it is the “perfect match” for your entertainment, as well as your home. It creates a lifestyle with not only smart but also healthy technology for its end-users.

The participants and winners of the u2018Entrepreneurship World Cupu2019 national qualifiers competition, which was organised by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) in Doha. PICTURE: Thajudheen
QDB announces winners of ‘Entrepreneurship World Cup’ national qualifiers competition

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) announced the winners of the ‘Entrepreneurship World Cup’ national qualifiers competition, which concluded Tuesday at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum in the presence of the most prominent names from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The three winning startups, Sponix Tech,, and Droobi, were presented with prize money of $100,000 during the event, which marks the first time the national qualifiers were held in Qatar under the organisation of QDB. This is the fourth Entrepreneurship World Cup since it was launched in 2019 as the largest entrepreneurship competition of its kind that celebrates prominent entrepreneurial ideas and innovative projects from various fields. The upcoming finals will feature participants from more than 200 countries and the attendance of the most distinguished startups from across the globe. QDB is the national organiser of the competition, in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, and sponsored by QNB, Doha University of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Sports and Youth. The brightest Qatari startups competed for the opportunity to qualify and represent the State of Qatar in the finals of the global competition, which will be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abdulrahman Hesham al-Sowaidi, acting CEO of QDB, opened the event with a speech, in which he pointed out the importance of these national competitions that help support and motivate startups to rise to the highest levels of competitiveness and professionalism. In his speech, Global Entrepreneurship Network founder and president Jonathan Ortmans thanked QDB for organising the event, emphasising his admiration for the emerging projects that took part in the competition with the aim of reaching the final rounds of the competition. Twelve participating companies presented their business ideas before a panel of judges and the audience. The pitches reflected pioneering and innovative ideas that are worth representing Qatar in various fields on a global stage, such as VR and AR technologies, sustainability, and solutions in the fields of SportTech, fintech, smart payment, and HealthTech. At the end of the presentations and judges’ deliberations, QDB recognised the participating partners, sponsors, and judges in appreciation of their outstanding efforts toward making this competition a success. Al-Sowaidi said, “We extend our congratulations to the three winners and wish them a successful journey in the global stages of the competition. We are confident in our entrepreneurs and their ambitious capabilities. “This competition achieved a great turnout in its first edition in our country, a testament to the strength of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, which we always seek to strengthen through many initiatives and programmes in line with our strategy and our country’s national vision. Hence the importance of competitions, such as the Entrepreneurship World Cup lies in its capability to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to come up with innovative solutions.” Heba Ali al-Tamimi, general manager Group Communications at QNB, said: “We would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate the winning teams for their success and contribution to the national development. “As the strategic partner of these National Qualifiers, we are proud to witness the qualification of these start-ups as a testament to the advancement of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar.” The winning startups from Qatar, along with the rest of the winning ventures from across the globe, will attend an intensive virtual boot camp early next year. By the end of the boot camp, the top 100 startups will move on to the global finals, which will be held in Saudi Arabia in March 2023.

South African Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula during a meeting with HE the Minister of Transport  Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti.
South Africa grants more frequencies to Qatar Airways, says SA transport minister

South Africa has granted Qatar Airways’ request to add more frequencies, which will play a key role in Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup from November 20 to December 18. This was announced on Sunday by South African Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula during a meeting with HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti. Both officials discussed Qatar-South Africa co-operation in transportation, civil aviation, and ports, among other topics. During the meeting, Mbalula said both countries have worked together over the last few years to strengthen the footprint of Qatar Airways in the southern Africa region. This led to “progressively increased frequencies” resulting in 28 passenger flights per week and 10 flights for all cargo per week, which, according to Mbalula, “bears testimony to the strong co-operation between our two countries.” “In preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and further increasing the footprint of Qatar Airways, we have received a request to increase these frequencies. I am pleased to inform you, Your Excellency, that we have taken the view to support Qatar Airways’ optimised schedule for the FIFA World Cup and grant the required frequencies to enable you to host a successful World Cup. “However, the implementation of this optimised schedule should be undertaken in a manner that supports our local airlines and contributes to the growth of the industry in the region. The long-term arrangements post the FIFA World Cup in relation to these frequencies are being considered through our internal processes. This process will be finalised through engagements with our respective officials. This request has been on the table since 2016 and I, therefore, commit that this process will be concluded by the end of October 2022,” Mbalula informed his Qatari counterpart. Mbalula also underscored the importance of forging Qatar-South Africa partnerships to spur faster recovery of the transport sector, especially in the field of aviation, which took a huge toll at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Recovery of [the transport] sector, particularly aviation, requires new partnerships that not only enable faster recovery, but also give expression to the new economy premised on creating opportunities for investment, employment, and skills development. “Investments in transport infrastructure in road, rail, aviation, and maritime sectors represent the best opportunity to leapfrog the economic slump we are all struggling to recover from,” Mbalula further explained to al-Sulaiti. Mbalula also said his country “is indeed open for business,” emphasising that South Africa sees Qatar as a strategic partner in economic growth and jobs creation, “but will unlock critical investments that will give practical expression to economic recovery.” “Our economic recovery plans place emphasis on massive investments in rail, road, maritime, and aviation infrastructure. We see aviation as a catalyst that will unlock the potential of the sector as an enabler of economic activity. “The development and growth of South Africa’s aviation sector are anchored on our integrated development that will be delivered through investment in the concept of aerotropolis in our major economic hubs, amongst others. This requires seamless integration of airport infrastructure as a foundation for economic activity delivered through special economic zones and other forms of economic activity,” Mbalula stressed.