Author

Sunday, April 21, 2024 | 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.
Gulf Times
Qatar
Hypermarkets to roll out 'back to school' promotions for vacation returnees

The summer season and the anticipated return of vacationing citizens and residents who arrive in time for the opening of classes provide hypermarkets in Qatar with opportunities to offer a varied range of promotions.Summer in Qatar is when many people go outside the country for vacation but despite the slowdown, hypermarkets have been launching creative promotions to encourage sales.LuLu Hypermarket is currently running its ‘10/15/20/30 Promotion’, which will conclude on August 6. Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, Lulu Hypermarket Qatar marketing manager Mohamed Shihab said the company is working closely with local and international suppliers to ensure that LuLu stores across the country are well-stocked as the promo offers discounts on more than 1,500 food and non-food items.Shihab said the promo offers customers a wide selection of grocery, fresh food, fruits, vegetables, household items, textiles, footwear, health and beauty products, sports goods, home decor, stationery, toys, and electronics, among other quality items available at affordable prices.In an earlier statement, LuLu Hypermarket Qatar announced that the Hot Food and Bakery sections are offering “tailor-made innovative value combo offers” on Arabic, Western, Chinese, South Indian and North Indian cuisine, including a wide selection of other bakery delights.Shihab said LuLu, in collaboration with Kalyan Jewellers, is also running the ‘Win 1.5kg Gold and QR100,000 LuLu Gift Voucher’ promo. Earlier, LuLu also launched its ‘Let’s Connect’ promo followed by the ‘Digitech’ promo, which offered shoppers discounts on smartphones, laptops, tablets, accessories, and a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) products.From August 10, Shihab noted that LuLu will commence its ‘back to school’ promo, which will feature exclusive offers on a variety of stationery items, school bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, and snacks, among others.Despite the drop in Qatar’s population this summer, Shihab said LuLu witnessed a 25% growth in the hypermarket’s e-commerce platform. He added that LuLu is also working closely with a popular local delivery app to ensure online shoppers get their items easily and on time.Similarly, Safari marketing manager Abdul Samad K Y, said the hypermarket has implemented various promotions on various groceries items, including the ‘chicken festival’, as well as the ‘salad festival’, which starts today (August 1). He noted that shoppers are also anticipating the juice, food, and dates festivals, which are coming soon.The current summer trends at Safari, Samad pointed out, include home appliances, such as air conditioners and air coolers. Earlier, he said Safari launched attractive deals and promos on electronic items, such as the PS5 and other game consoles.Samad said Safari will launch its ‘back to school’ promotion on August 15, which will include items like shoes, school bags, and assorted stationeries, as well as electronic items like laptops and tablets.He also said Safari is maximising the use of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, as well as newspaper advertisements to boost the company’s marketing strategy.

Bounty from the sea.
Qatar
Fishing equipment sales soar despite summer slowdown

Even though fewer people in Qatar are fishing during the summer months, beginners and serious hobbyists who are looking to improve their gear are driving sales of fishing accessories, according to residents who frequent different angling spots across the country.The hot and humid weather has not deterred anglers in the country, whether professional or novice, from setting up their gear in preparation for the upcoming months when the weather would be more favourable for fishing, Joseph “Jeff” Cerezo told Gulf Times Sunday.Cerezo, along with Adrian “Migs” Alfaras, have been fishing regularly in various locations in Qatar for the past several years. The adventures of these self-declared veteran fishers are documented in the Facebook group ‘Anglers of Qatar’, which was created by Alfaras.According to Cerezo, the cost of setting-up fishing gear varies. But for beginners “QR500” would be enough for a full set-up. However, some professional anglers would even spend “QR5,000” or as much as “QR8,000 to QR9,000” depending on the set-up and the brand of their gear, he said.“An angler’s set-up depends on the type and size of fish he or she wants to catch. There are different kinds of fishing rods, as well. Reels also have different categories as with the fishing lines and lures,” Cerezo explained.On the other hand, Alfaras has a more conservative and budget-friendly shopping list for would-be anglers. He said “QR150 to QR200” would be enough for a basic set-up, which includes a decent fishing rod, a 30mm fishing line, swivels, hooks, and a sinker.“Starting out does not have to be expensive. A basic set-up, including fresh shrimp for bait, is enough for one to enjoy fishing on the shores of Qatar,” said Alfaras, who noted that he still goes fishing with his fellow anglers in the summer just to get a break from the daily grind.Alfaras said, “I started fishing in the Philippines when I was in Grade 3. Qatar has such beautiful fishing spots and different varieties of fish; and each trip to these locations is always a relaxing experience, which is why fishing has become a very delightful hobby for many people living here. I also document and share my experiences on my YouTube channel ‘MIGS fishing expedition VLOGS’.”Cerezo noted that because the hot weather is challenging some anglers go to deeper waters to catch fish. “Sometimes, those who are fortunate enough to haul in a good catch may even sell the fish to porters waiting along the shoreline. The price of fish would be around 10% cheaper than those being sold in stores,” Cerezo pointed out.He said the Corniche and the Mina District are popular fishing spots within the Doha area. But some anglers also frequent the beaches in Dukhan, Wakra, or Mesaieed and the best time for casting is between 6am and 7pm in these locations, he also said.“Further in the sea, we sometimes catch kingfish, hamour, queenfish, sheri, giant trevally, cobia, and tuna. I usually catch sea breams, but there was a time I was able to catch a queenfish weighing some 6kg,” said Cerezo, who also maintains his YouTube channel ‘Dad with Spice’.

eHaris.com co-founders (from left) Fijo George, Binod Chandran, and Dijin Kumar during Qatar Development Bank’s ‘Business Incubation & Acceleration Demo Day 2023’ held at M7 in Msheireb.
Business
Qatar’s public sector support fosters robust startup ecosystem

Public sector support and world-class facilities have helped foster a robust startup ecosystem in Qatar, according to a Doha-based digital startup.eHaris.com co-founder Binod Chandran told Gulf Times Tuesday that Qatar has actively encouraged diversity and inclusion in its startup ecosystem.He said: “Efforts to involve women entrepreneurs and expatriates have been made to ensure a broad entrepreneurial community, including the announcement of business-friendly regulations and the expansion of multiple free zones like Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), and the new Media City.Chandran lauded Qatar for investing heavily in developing world-class infrastructure, including technology parks, co-working spaces, and incubators. This, he pointed out, helps startups access essential resources and networking opportunities.“Qatar has proactively marketed its startup ecosystem through international media, events, and digital platforms. Effective branding has elevated Qatar’s profile as a startup hub and increased its visibility on the global stage,” he stressed.Chandran said: “eHaris.com is being supported by two, the Digital Incubation Centre (DIC) and Qatar Business Incubation Centre (QBIC), which has helped a lot in our initial days of uncertainty.“The training they provided was invaluable and a lean startup mindset improves the outcome of the startup. Also, the collaboration between Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Ooredoo, and QFC has a lot of value for the community. We are also part of the Digital & Beyond Incubator funded by Ooredoo and run by QDB-QBIC.”Chandran explained that the Qatari government’s multifaceted approach to supporting startups has contributed to a thriving digital startup landscape in the country. By providing financial, infrastructural, educational, and regulatory support, aspiring entrepreneurs have been able to turn their innovative ideas into successful businesses, helping drive economic diversification and technological advancement in Qatar, he emphasised.With sustainability becoming a global priority, Chandran said both the private and public sectors play crucial roles in promoting and supporting eco-friendly innovations in the country.“Tasmu is a perfect example of the vision of Qatar towards smart cities and urban planning. Startups are developing smart city solutions, incorporating IoT technologies, to optimise energy use, enhance transportation systems, and improve overall urban sustainability,” he explained.Chandran said eHaris.com is encouraging collaborations between startups and established businesses to foster an environment of innovation and mutual growth, as well as companies promoting the use of ‘Made in Qatar’ products.“We following the mantra of ‘Developed in Qatar’ for the world. Established businesses can help startups kick-start the sales cycle as early adopters,” he noted, adding that Qatar’s strategic geographical location as a gateway between Europe, Asia, and Africa can be advantageous for startups looking to expand their reach to regional and international markets.Chandran said Qatar’s strategic investment focus is valuable for budding startups and for those looking to scale. Qatar has identified key sectors for development, such as technology, healthcare, energy, and sports. Startups operating in these strategic sectors would have a higher chance of receiving targeted investment and support, he said.As a digital startup, Chandran said eHaris.com, which is co-founded by Fijo George, Dijin Kumar, and Nishi Kurup, is looking to contribute to Qatar’s technology landscape by introducing innovative solutions and leveraging technology advancements.“By addressing unmet needs or challenges in the market, eHaris.com can foster a culture of innovation and serve as a catalyst for other startups to follow suit. eHaris.com won first place during ‘DIC Ideacamp 4th Edition’ and was among the top 10 in the QDB Hackathon 2021. We also participated in MCIT’s CodeCamp with MADA Accessibility Centre, and also in the Ooredoo-QBIC Leanstartup Programme,” Chandran said.

Abdulrahman Hesham al-Suwaidi, QDB CEO. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Business
Qatar has ‘global appeal’ as hub for fintech growth, says QDB executive

The Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) has been witnessing an increase in the number of local and international fintech startups participating in its acceleration and incubation programme, a top official of Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has said.“Since its inception, the Qatar FinTech Hub has graduated 57 fintechs with a cumulative valuation portfolio of startups worth $500mn. We have also managed to successfully localise 26 fintechs from the US, India, Bangladesh, the UK, and more countries.“This goes on to further demonstrate Qatar’s global appeal as a hub for fintech growth and as a launch pad to expand in the neighbouring regions,” QDB CEO Abdulrahman Hesham al-Suwaidi stated during the recent launch of QFTH’s fifth cohort of its incubation and acceleration programme.For the fifth cohort of its incubation and acceleration programme, al-Suwaidi said QFTH received 290 applications, out of which 21 applications were accepted from local and international startups in the fields of payment technology in partnership with Visa, insurance technology with Qatar Insurance Group, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ technology with Mastercard, and collective debt-based crowdfunding with QDB.According to al-Suwaidi, QFTH, which is a subsidiary of QDB, has played a vital role in the growth of the fintech sector in Qatar and has contributed to the development of a group of local companies.He stated that the launch event celebrates the “innovative spirit” and potential of Qatar’s entrepreneurs and partners that have been supporting the incubation and acceleration programme by collaborating with QFTH.“Qatar FinTech Hub programmes have received more than 2,511 fintech applications from 76 countries over the year, and we are proud of our diverse portfolio originating from 22 countries.“While we have new fintechs through our upcoming wave, we also continue supporting the ones that have been part of our programme since its inception. We are pleased and are always standing by our alumni who are leaping into regional and worldwide growth,” al-Suwaidi emphasised.Citing “great examples” like Karty, al-Suwaidi, the Doha-based startup financial solutions provider has secured a partnership with Masraf Al Rayan to strengthen their fintech development.Similarly, Pay2M, which joined QFTH in 2021, has advanced into a new partnership with finance and technology powerhouses while also acquiring the payment service provider license from the Qatar Central Bank (QCB), al-Suwaidi pointed out.Al-Suwaidi emphasised that QFTH “has been a driving force” behind the growth of the country’s fintech industry through its incubation and acceleration programme, with an aim to diversify the economy in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Abdulrahman Hesham al-Suwaidi, QDB CEO. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Business
QFTH launches 5th wave of fintech incubation, acceleration programme

The Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH), a subsidiary of Qatar Development Bank (QDB), has launched the fifth cohort of its incubation and acceleration programme as part of efforts to support fintech startups in their entrepreneurial journey.Through its previous cohorts, QFTH has played a vital role in the growth of the fintech sector in Qatar and has contributed to the development of a group of local companies and graduating over 50 entrepreneurs from its programmes, along with significant private sector investments since its inception in 2020.For the fifth cohort, QFTH received 290 applications, out of which 21 applications were accepted from local and international startups in the fields of payment technology in partnership with Visa, insurance technology with Qatar Insurance Group, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ technology with Mastercard, and collective debt-based crowdfunding with QDB.These companies will begin a 12-week journey of incubation and acceleration, during which they will have the opportunity to develop and grow their businesses with the necessary local support, in addition to receiving support worth $70,000 for each startup.Qualified companies in the fifth cohort will also receive a range of specialised guidance and training services provided by QFTH and its strategic partners, including local and international mentors, along with initial investments ranging from $40,000-100,000 from QDB.Emphasising the importance of supporting Qatar’s fintech industry, QDB CEO Abdulrahman Hesham al-Suwaidi said: “With each new cohort of startups, we offer innovative solutions and opportunities for collaboration with the private sector, aiming to enhance Qatar’s vital role as an effective fintech hub in the region.“Over the next three months, we will be developing and localising approximately 21 startups across four different sectors with the aim of incubating and accelerating their businesses and investing around QR7mn.”Al-Suwaidi said: “The selection of these companies was based on regulatory criteria and licensing mechanisms of the Qatar Central Bank with the aim of providing value-added services to the payments, insurance, and collective debt-based crowdfunding sectors, in direct coordination with the Financial Technology and Innovation Management team at QCB, along with Visa, Mastercard, Qatar Insurance, Microsoft, and Qatar FinTech Hub.”QFTH continues its journey in supporting entrepreneurs and sharing global experiences and expertise with them. It continuously collaborates with key stakeholders in the field, including financial institutions, technology service providers, payment solution networks, academic institutions, and regulatory bodies.QFTH is also forming new partnerships with fintech centres. Recently, QFTH oversaw the signing of a new partnership agreement between Visa and Pay2M, a QFTH graduate and a QCB-licensed payment service provider. Additionally, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Indian firm, ACKO, making it a key client in the insurance technology sector.

With an expected budget of more than “$1.64bn” by 2026, Qatar “has the fastest growth” in cybersecurity spending in the Middle East, the IPA Qatar has said in a report
Business
Qatar expects 12.7% growth in cybersecurity spending by 2026, says IPA Qatar

With an expected budget of more than “$1.64bn” by 2026, Qatar “has the fastest growth” in cybersecurity spending in the Middle East, the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) has said in a report.The agency, in the ‘Securing the Digital Future: Investment Insights and Opportunities’, a joint report with Microsoft and EY-Parthenon, stated that Qatar’s cybersecurity spending is expected to witness a more than “12.7%” increase from “$1.01bn” in 2022 to more than “$1.64bn” in 2026.The report also highlighted that hyper-connected Internet ecosystems and national expenditure on cyberinfrastructure will boost cybersecurity market growth in Qatar and the region.Similarly, the report stated that the Middle East region is witnessing “a region-wide digital paradigm shift,” with a rise in expenditure on cybersecurity, as well as data security, AI, and cloud capabilities.Citing official figures, the report stated that expenditure of the Middle East cybersecurity market would amount to “$44.7bn” by 2027, while end-user spending on data security in the Mena would have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than “22.6%” between 2020 and 2023.Artificial intelligence's (AI) contribution to the Middle East GDP by 2030 is projected to reach “$300bn,” while the Middle East cybersecurity market is expected to witness a “+17.1%” CAGR between 2020 and 2027. Total public cloud spending in the GCC would be “$2.5bn” by 2030, while GCC countries may see a “+10%” increase in the online services index, the report also stated.The report stated that expected growth in Qatar’s emerging technology sub-sectors market revenue between 2022 and 2026 include the following: Internet of Things (IoT) ($614.6mn - $1,822.6mn), big data analytics ($520mn - $820mn), cloud computing ($119mn - $303mn), blockchain ($33.2mn - $253.4mn), and system integration ($176mn - $221mn).Four “promising trends,” such as ‘cross-sectoral digital transformation’, ‘a promising age of digital government services', ‘cloud-first economy’, and ‘emerging technologies and growing youth’, are expected to shape Qatar’s cybersecurity market and drive the growth in 2030 and beyond, the report pointed out.“Qatar is witnessing a rapid increase in digital transformation through strategic partnerships across several sectors, including energy, financial services, tourism, and health, among others, like the collaboration between Tawteen and Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation in the energy sector and the digitalisation of financial services supported by the Qatar Central Bank, Qatar Financial Centre, and Qatar FinTech Hub. Qatar has also successfully delivered a digitally secure FIFA World Cup in 2022 under the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s Cybersecurity Framework.“Derived from NDS, increase in digitisation of government services and offerings, like the Smart Qatar Programme (TASMU) for digital transformation, and ‘Hukoomi’, an e-government service aims to leverage technology to provide better services, and requires sophisticated system integration offerings. Under Tasmu, the Qatari government has intended to invest $1.65bn over the next five years across five priority sectors,” the report stated.It added: “As digital transformation unfolds across the region, the cloud will be a critical enabler of the new platforms, services, and infrastructure that governments and enterprises seek to activate. Organisations are increasingly adopting a multi-cloud strategy, allowing them to leverage cloud computing applications from various suppliers, avoid vendor lock-in, enjoy more competitive pricing, and mitigate outages.“Qatar is increasingly incorporating emerging tech into its core services, leveraging new capabilities unlocked by cloud computing, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The growing young population in the country presents an opportunity for enterprises to provide the robust digital experiences that consumers will increasingly demand.”

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar’s digital transformation boosts demand for cybersecurity professionals

Qatar is witnessing a growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals amid the rapid advancement of modern technologies, which is playing a critical role in the country’s digital transformation efforts, the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) has said in a report.Qatar has seen “dramatic growth” in its digital economy alongside the progress witnessed by its neighbours in the region, IPA Qatar stated in ‘Securing the Digital Future: Investment Insights and Opportunities’, a joint report in collaboration with Microsoft and EY-Parthenon.According to the report, Qatar’s massive investments in digitisation, including digital security, were reflected in the delivery of multi-billion dollar mega projects and the country’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.“Qatar’s commitment to enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity and digital space, including ambitious strategies and policy tools, have shaped a resilient cyber ecosystem and present compelling market opportunities for foreign investors.“The nation provides foreign investors with a valuable and competitive business climate, with a variety of resources. Qatar offers a stable and resilient economy, a vibrant knowledge eco-system, seamless market access and connectivity, and a pro-business climate,” the report stated.The report stated that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) established various initiatives in partnership with Microsoft to meet the rising need for trained and skilled professionals.These initiatives include the MCIT’s launching of the ‘National Skilling Programme’, in collaboration with Microsoft, which aims to train 50,000 people across all demographics by 2025. Qatar’s investment in national skilling for cybersecurity is seen to protect the country against threats and spur economic development, the report stated.In March 2022, HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali al-Mannai led the National Skilling Programme’s launch ceremony, which coincided with the opening ceremony of the first-of-its-kind in the region Digital Centre of Excellence at Msheireb Downtown Doha.“The Digital Centre of Excellence is part of the National Skilling Programme, in partnership with Elev8, and expands the joint efforts of the MCIT and Microsoft to create a highly-skilled workforce for a rapidly growing, diversifying, and technologically advanced economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.“The centre is expected to play a key role in building the talent pool that will help accelerate the digital transformation of government institutions and private sector companies in Qatar,” the MCIT earlier stated.Aside from the programme, the report stated that other national skilling initiatives include the ‘Erada Internship Programme’, which supports and accelerates employability through internships, on-the-job training, and digital skilling programme opportunities; the ‘Qatar Digital Government Training Programme’, which strengthens professional capabilities and skills of national cadres and employees in the IT field; ‘Women Technopreneurs’, which empowers young women to innovate, lead, and succeed in an increasingly digital world; and the ‘Imagine Cup’, Microsoft’s premier student technology and innovation competition.“Combined with skilled talent and policy frameworks, Qatar’s cybersecurity capabilities have been enhanced with the establishment of effective infrastructure and technologies.Cloud-enabled technologies that are offered by in-country data centres in Qatar play a crucial role in helping organisations defend against modern cyber threats while meeting regulatory requirements,” the report stated.According to the report, the Microsoft cloud region in Qatar will empower customers across industries with the most trusted and secure cloud platform.“Qatar has reaped extensive benefits from the establishment of Microsoft’s cloud data centre, which contributes to enhancing the nation’s economic diversification goals. Over the next four years, Microsoft and its ecosystem of partners and cloud-using customers are expected to drive investment in the economy, create new jobs, and reduce the emission of atmospheric carbon,” the report stated.

Robert Hall, Doha Festival City general manager.
Business
Qatar businesses play ‘crucial role’ in protecting environment, says DHFC official

Businesses in the country have an important role in environmental protection, especially in implementing programmes that are aligned with Qatar’s national sustainability goals and initiatives, a top official of Doha Festival City (DHFC) has said.Robert Hall, general manager of DHFC, lauded Qatar’s “unwavering commitment” to sustainability and environmental protection, saying the nation’s proactive stance in adopting sustainable practices and prioritising environmental conservation “is truly commendable.”“Qatar’s vision for a greener future also aligns with our own mission at Doha Festival City...We firmly believe that businesses have a crucial role to play in addressing environmental challenges and we are dedicated to being part of the solution,” Hall told Gulf Times in a statement.He said, “We have implemented a wide range of sustainable initiatives throughout our operations to minimise our ecological footprint. From energy-efficient lighting systems and optimised water management to waste reduction and recycling programmes, we continuously strive to integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of our operations.”Hall emphasised the importance of being committed to environmental sustainability and taking proactive measures to minimise any environmental impact. “As a responsible and forward-thinking destination, we prioritise sustainability in all aspects of our operations,” he said.He noted that reducing the carbon footprint by implementing various energy-saving initiatives, such as using energy-efficient lighting systems, smart HVAC controls, and advanced building management systems, will help optimise energy consumption.“By employing these technologies, we aim to minimise energy waste and promote a more sustainable environment,” Hall noted, adding that water conservation is also another “crucial aspect” of the mall’s sustainability efforts, including waste management and recycling.According to Hall, comprehensive waste management practices, including segregation and recycling programmes, as well as taking proactive measures by engaging with mall tenants, are vital efforts in minimising the amount of waste sent to landfills.“Our goal is to maximise recycling and ensure that recyclable materials are diverted from the waste stream. Furthermore, we promote sustainable transportation options to reduce carbon emissions. We encourage the use of public transportation, carpooling, and cycling by providing dedicated bike racks and convenient access to public transit. We also offer electric vehicle charging stations to support the adoption of eco-friendly transportation alternatives,” Hall stressed.Qatar’s focus on harnessing renewable energy was underlined last October after His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani inaugurated the 800MW-peak solar plant in Al Kharsaah.The National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed), on the other hand, also announced its electric vehicle charging strategy, which involves authorities like the General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), Ministry of Transport (MoT), and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).Similarly, Hall said DHFC is undertaking a comprehensive study and exploration of installing solar panels on its expansive car park roofs, which aims to thoroughly evaluate the feasibility and potential impact of harnessing renewable energy on a large scale.“By undertaking this comprehensive study, we are demonstrating our commitment to sustainability and our dedication to making informed decisions for a greener, more sustainable environment. We hope that as this ambitious project progresses, it would bring us closer to a future where clean electricity from solar power becomes a reality and contributes to a brighter, more environmentally responsible establishment,” Hall explained.He added: “Doha Festival City aligns itself with Qatar’s broader vision for sustainable development as outlined in initiatives, such as Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Qatar National Development Strategy. By incorporating sustainable practices, the mall contributes to the country’s overall efforts to achieve environmental and social sustainability.”“Moreover, we actively collaborate with local organisations and governmental bodies, such as Kahramaa, Tarsheed, and Al Daayen Municipality to support environmental initiatives. We participate in community clean-up campaigns, raise awareness about environmental issues, and contribute to local conservation projects. By fostering these partnerships, we aim to amplify the positive impact we can make together.”

Mohamed Suleiman, co-founder of Karty. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
Attracting, retaining talent is a challenge for fintech startups, say industry experts

Owners of financial technology (fintech) startups should find creative ways to attract and retain talent, especially for jobs that entail technical skills and expertise, according to Doha-based fintech experts.Ahmed Isse, co-founder of Dibsy, and Mohamed Suleiman, co-founder of Karty, both pointed out during a recently-held panel discussion on Qatar’s fintech industry that talent acquisition and talent management are among the different challenges being faced by many startups.Among the desired goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 includes the establishment of a strong digital infrastructure. Recent efforts to achieve this include the Qatar Central Bank’s launching of the Qatar FinTech Strategy 2023, which supports diversification and innovation in the country’s financial sector.Both Isse and Suleiman agree that Qatar’s fintech industry is undeniably flourishing. However, the question remains: How can startups in the country attract more talent on a global scale?Suleiman said: “Based on our experience, attracting and retaining talent is challenging. As a startup, it’s difficult to compete with large financial institutions or big banks, particularly considering the high demand for technical expertise worldwide. Therefore, it becomes crucial to customise our offerings to appeal to potential hires.”He said companies can consider providing stock options, thus allowing employees to become part of the company. Another alternative is to assure them of good benefits, which employees can reap if there is a successful exit.“It’s important to recognise that your employees are not solely motivated by a salary; they want to be part of a team and contribute to the company’s success,” Suleiman pointed out.According to Isse, attracting and keeping talent entails some form of investment on the part of the company. “There are challenges within the ecosystem, but I believe that more investments in our ecosystem would attract greater talent to the market,” he noted.Isse said: “A strong ecosystem relies on significant investments that enable us to provide competitive salaries and employee stock options. These factors are crucial in attracting talent, especially in the technical field where remote work and global opportunities are highly sought after.”“When it comes to non-technical roles, investing more in universities and grooming interns can be effective. By teaching them the ropes and exposing them to specific areas, they have the potential to surpass traditional hires over time. Currently, we have three or four interns in our team who have transitioned to full-time positions and now handle certain areas of the company,” Isse added.Suleiman said: “Adopting a more relaxed startup policy can also be advantageous. Instead of enforcing strict formal dress codes, we can allow casual attire. Additionally, flexible working hours can be implemented. Such alternative employment practices can be attractive to individuals, especially in the technical field, who prefer a more relaxed work environment compared to a traditional corporate setting.”

(Used for illustrative purpose only)
Qatar
'App transactions' growing hugely popular in Qatar

The use of digital platforms to send remittances is gaining more traction in Qatar’s expatriate communities, according to officials of Doha-based exchange houses.Speaking to Gulf Times, Dr Zubair Abdulrahman, operations manager of Al Zaman Exchange, and Asraf Kallidumpil, operations manager at Al Jazeera Exchange, both agreed that exchange houses are now offering a wide range of advantages and benefits to their customers through digital platforms.Online platforms and apps have been instrumental in the increase in the number of digital transactions for remittances being sent from Qatar, said Abdulrahman, who noted that Al Zaman Exchange recorded a 15% to 20% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in digital transactions in the first half of 2023.On the other hand, Kallidumpil, emphasised that the convenience being provided by Al Jazeera Exchange’s mobile app to its customers has been helpful in business operations.“Through our mobile app, our customers can use their bank accounts or cash pick-up services to send remittances to their respective home countries in the GCC and other Arab, Asian, and African countries in the convenience of their homes or workplaces,” Kallidumpil explained.“The mobile app, which offers special foreign exchange rates, also helps customers save time and effort to travel to physical branches where there would sometimes be long queues because of high customer footfall,” he also said.Digital transactions “are very helpful,” said Abdulrahman, who explained that going online is not only convenient for the customer but also for the company’s overall business operations.Abdulrahman further explained that digital transactions help increase efficiency in terms of digital marketing, by reducing operational costs, and minimising customer dependence on manpower in physical branches.“The ease of using digital platforms is advantageous to our customers and in terms of operational costs, our app and website help maximise efficiency in the company’s operations, as well,” Abdulrahman emphasised.Similarly, Kallidumpil noted that digital platforms are advantageous to companies because they are cost-efficient. “We are able to save on rent, utilities, and workers’ salaries, among other expenses, which is why we can allocate these savings onto special rates and promos in our mobile app,” he said.Kallidumpil also explained that customer footfall at Al Jazeera Exchange branches varies depending on their location or area and customer demographics. He said customers living within Doha prefer to use digital platforms compared to those living in communities outside the city.“Take for example the Industrial Area, which is mostly inhabited by labourers and workers, we have more customers visiting our physical branch because they prefer to transact business in person rather than using the mobile app.“Some labourers are still apprehensive to use apps, but through our marketing campaign both online or in our physical branches, we are raising awareness on the advantages of using digital platforms like mobile app services,” Kallidumpil stressed.According to Abdulrahman, Al Zaman will be increasing the number of its physical branches across the country to meet growing customer demand. Setting up more physical branches is helping us enrol more customers and to promote our digital marketing strategies in the local market, he said.“If our customers, especially those who are outside Doha, face challenges in digital transactions, it would be easy for them to come to us if we have more physical branches to help them resolve any issue.“We are offering higher exchange rates online because of savings in operational costs due to our digital platforms. We are passing these benefits to our customers, so this helps encourage our customers to go digital,” he said.In the first half of 2023, Abdulrahman said Al Zaman Exchange has recorded a 10% to 15% increase in total remittance volume compared to the same period last year. During Ramadan and the Eid holidays, he said there was also a similar 10% to 15% increase in remittance volume. Also, holidaymakers and the vacation season helped push foreign exchange transactions, he added.Kallidumpil said Al Jazeera Exchange’s remittance volume in H1 2023 was 12% to 15% higher y-o-y, adding that during Ramadan remittance volume was also higher by 10% y-o-y. He also said the vacation season and recent Eid holiday helped push foreign exchange transactions for the following currencies: Saudi riyal, US dollar, euro, Turkish lira, and Jordanian dinar, among others.

Startup Grind Doha chapter director Indica Amarasinghe (standing) introduces the panel of experts during a discussion on the fintech industry in Qatar. From left are Ahmed Isse, co-founder of Dibsy; Mohamed al-Delaimi, founder and managing director of SkipCash; Michael Javier, CEO and founder of CWallet; Mohamed Suleiman, co-founder of Karty; and Steve Mackie, CEO and founder of Business Start Up Qatar. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
Fintech innovation seen to drive safe, enhanced user experience in Qatar

Innovations in financial technology (fintech) will continue to drive better user experience and safe transactions, among other solutions, being offered by tech startups in the local market.This was among the varied topics discussed by a panel of fintech startup founders based in Qatar during Startup Grind Doha Chapter’s regular discussion titled ‘What’s Next for Fintech Startups in Qatar’, which was held recently.Moderated by Business Start Up Qatar CEO and founder Steve Mackie, the panel was composed of Ahmed Isse, co-founder of Dibsy; Mohamed al-Delaimi, founder and managing director of SkipCash; Michael Javier, CEO and founder of CWallet; and Mohamed Suleiman, co-founder of Karty.According to Isse, “one of the biggest trends that happened in Qatar” is one-click payment solutions like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, among others. He noted that Dibsy is also focusing on fraud prevention, citing the use of machine learning to address the issue.Isse also underscored the importance of localisation or the knowledge of the local market, which, according to him, is how home-grown companies can add value as compared to the solutions being offered by their counterparts abroad.“Local companies understand localisation; we might have some similarities with other international start-ups but we focus on what the user wants because the end goal is what the user wants and by focusing on localisation, that’s where we win. Big companies can come and spend as much money as they can but if they don’t understand localisation, that’s where the value is lost,” Isse stressed.On the other hand, al-Delaimi said the general trend in fintech is that most of fintechs rely on existing capabilities, whether it is digital payment as payment gateways or data analytics for customer behaviour.“Some of the use cases currently in the market are ‘buy now, pay later’, crowdfunding, and insurance technology. These are actually built on existing solutions and capabilities provided by other fintechs.“Each fintech technology is going to fulfil certain use cases that provide a good customer experience, so all those fintechs right now are going to target specific user or customer experiences to address their needs and keep them in the same environment,” al-Delaimi explained.He added: “According to recent statistics, in the coming five years, 25% of all payments made in stores would be from wallets, whether it’s from Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.”For his part, Javier emphasised the importance of financial inclusion by empowering customers and giving them the freedom to dictate what they want to do with their money by offering them a wide range of services.“What we can do is to be intimate with our customers...so, it is not the underlying technology that attracts customers but it is in the value and thought process,” Javier explained, adding that aside from localisation, startups and fintechs should also disrupt the market, citing the business models of Grab, Uber, and Airbnb, among others.Suleiman pointed out that while scaling locally or in international markets has its challenges for startups, localisation and understanding the market and the needs of potential customers and businesses is a key factor.“We live in a world that is ‘hyper-personalised’, so it is important to deliver the value that is connected to the needs of your customers, which is why localisation and a better understanding of the market add value,” he explained.Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event, Startup Grind Doha chapter director Indica Amarasinghe said: “The whole objective of Startup Grind is to bring the ecosystem in Qatar together. While this creates an opening for everyone to learn from each other, it also leads to invaluable networking opportunities.He added: “During the panel discussion, there were great insights shared by fintech startups in Qatar. The audience engagement showed the level of interest and confirmed the necessity for events like these. The fact that we had over 90 people attending is a great testament to Startup Grind Doha and also to the startup ecosystem in Qatar.”

Qatar has rapidly established itself as an accessible, stable, and innovative investment destination.
Qatar
Qatar's 'startup ecosystem' among the best in the region

Qatar is among the top 15 in the ‘MENA Ecosystem in Affordable Talent’ and among the top 10 in ‘MENA Ecosystem in Funding’ and ‘MENA Ecosystem in Knowledge’ categories of the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) 2023 edition.According to the Startup Genome website, the GSER 2023 “is a comprehensive analysis of the current state of startup ecosystems worldwide. Now in its 11th year, the GSER provides insights into the world’s leading startup ecosystems, emerging trends, and key challenges facing entrepreneurs.”The report noted that Qatar’s startup ecosystem value, which is a measure of economic impact, calculated as the value of exits and startup valuations from H2 2020-2022, stood at $685mn.Also, Qatar’s startup ecosystem value growth (CAGR), which is calculated based on companies founded in the ecosystem in H2 2018-2020 vs H2 2020-2022, witnessed a 133% increase, the report stated.The report also stated that Qatar scored a 10 in terms of early-stage funding growth, which is based on the number of seed and Series A rounds raised between 2019-2020 vs 2021-2022 and calculated on a scale of one (lowest) to 10 (highest).“Qatar has rapidly established itself as an accessible, stable, and innovative investment destination, a reputation earned through investment in the incubation and acceleration of local and international startups, strategic programming and mentorship, and international partnerships. Qatar Development Bank (QDB) is focused on supporting this growth,” QDB acting CEO Abdulrahman Hesham al-Sowaidi stated in the report.The report stated that Qatar’s successful hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup placed the international spotlight on the country’s commitment to innovation and economic development.“Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the world with the highest per capita in the MENA region. It ranks number one in the world for foreign direct investment growth, according to the FDI Standouts Watchlist 2023 by fDi Intelligence. Qatar achieved a 70% annual growth in FDI projects between 2019 and 2022.“In November 2022, QDB organised the Qatar Entrepreneurship Conference (ROWAD) as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Digital Transformation Summit took place in March 2023 in Doha. At-Home-Doc, a telehealth startup, has raised $6.3mn over four rounds, with the latest being a seed round of $1.9mn in January 2023,” the report stated.The report also highlighted the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s (MOCI) collaboration with QDB and the World Economic Forum in the launching of Qatar’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB).In a report about AMHUB on the Hukoomi website, Mohamed Hassan al-Malki, assistant undersecretary of Industry Affairs at MOCI, highlighted the importance of the AMHUB for leaders of Qatar’s industrial institutions, major national companies, and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).“The industrial sector stands at the forefront of Qatar’s priorities in terms of development, as it represents the main pillar of diversifying the national economy. Moreover, the industrial sector comprises a key element for achieving self-sufficiency in the state, and shaping younger generations’ future, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.“This platform is a collaborative space to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the industrial sector, as well as to exchange visions, ideas, and experiences about the industrial and technological capabilities of our country,” al-Malki stated.The GSER 2023 report also highlighted that the India-Qatar Startup Bridge initiative was launched in June 2022 to connect the startup ecosystems of both countries.“Qatar has also established various programmes to support innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the TASMU Accelerator, XLR8, and the Lean Acceleration Programme from Qatar Business Incubation Centre (QBIC), which has a specific programme to assist startups in manufacturing products in Qatar. Additionally, Microsoft launched a cloud data centre region in Qatar in August 2022,” the report stated.

Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani.
Business
Mega events seen to promote Qatar as premier regional destination

Plans are underway to host other mega-events in the country as Qatar is maximising its exposure in the global limelight following its successful hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to top officials of Qatar Chamber.“Qatar would be focusing on the upcoming period to capitalise on its unprecedented achievements, particularly the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to develop its business environment, improve the investment climate, and promote business activities,” Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani pointed out.On the other hand, Qatar Chamber general manager Saleh bin Hamad al-Sharqi, who lauded the latest edition of Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg (QEF 2023), said: “There is no doubt that the mega events hosted by the State of Qatar are meant to achieve a host of objectives, such as imparting further momentum to the position and reputation of Qatar and its national economy, and promoting it as a leading business and investment hub.”Both officials’ statements were quoted in the latest edition of Al Moltaqa, the chamber’s regular economic magazine, which compiles its various activities and engagements, as well as reports on trade and investment.Citing QEF 2023, Sheikh Khalifa said the forum was instrumental in underlining Qatar’s position as a leading global business hub, as well as the country’s advanced infrastructure and legislation.Sheikh Khalifa said the event was an opportunity to promote the Qatari economy globally by highlighting the incentives being offered to foreign investors. He said Qatar’s world-class facilities not only attract more investments and business to the country, but it also increases investor confidence in the Qatari economy, which stimulates and accelerates economic growth.Al-Sharqi said QEF 2023 was “one of the most prominent events,” which was held recently under the high patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and gathered about 2,000 participants and 32 official delegations worldwide.“This year’s edition of the forum, held with the theme ‘A New Global Growth Story’, highlighted the latest trends in finance, energy, healthcare, and technology, as well as their role in driving future growth.“The forum fostered the exchanging of ideas and viewpoints between experts and emerging voices worldwide to identify the latest economic trends. This global event is part of a series of events hosted recently by the state, the most prominent of which was the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is the best version organised in the history of the tournament to date.”Al-Sharqi added: “The forum will certainly have positive impacts on the national economy in terms of its contribution to enhancing Qatar’s reputation as a leading business and economic hub and highlighting what is being offered by the state, such as world-class infrastructure, leading economic legislation, and a stimulating business environment.“Such events certainly have benefited the Qatari private sector as they offered an opportunity for local companies to exchange expertise, knowledge, and technology with participating companies thereby opening new horizons for more alliances and partnerships for the good of the national economy.”In the wake of “the best World Cup ever,” Qatar has hosted a series of events that attracted the participation of local and international companies, as well as diplomatic missions worldwide.Some of these events include the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival (KIAHF 2023), Project Qatar, and QEF 2023, among others, a host of international and regional sports events, as well as the upcoming 2023 World Horticultural Exposition (Doha Expo 2023).

Michael Javier, CEO and founder of Doha-based fintech firm CWallet, shaking hands with Vesuvio Labs CEO and founder, Kristian Feldborg, who was one of the speakers of the 2023 edition of the Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg.
Business
Industry leader underpins need for strategic partnerships to enhance Qatar’s fintech sector

Forging strategic partnerships between essential stakeholders and major players in the country’s financial technology (fintech) industry would be instrumental in supporting diversification and innovation in Qatar’s financial sector.Michael Javier, CEO and founder of Doha-based fintech firm CWallet, emphasised the need for technology companies in the country to help meet the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030 pillars, which include achieving a knowledge-based economy.“Having a robust fintech landscape in the country will open more avenues for entrepreneurs and opportunities for innovative solutions that would usher in high in-country value,” Javier told Gulf Times Wednesday.Javier also lauded the Qatar Central Bank’s (QCB) ‘Qatar FinTech Strategy 2023’, which was launched earlier in the presence of QCB Governor HE Sheikh Bandar bin Mohamed bin Saoud al-Thani and other officials and dignitaries.A Qatar News Agency (QNA) report on the launch ceremony stated that QCB’s vision for financial technology is based on development, diversification, and increasing the competitiveness of Qatar’s fintech and services sector through pioneer infrastructure, and providing solutions that positively affect customer experience.QNA also reported that Sheikh Bandar said “the strategy is based on a comprehensive study of the financial technology sector globally, as well as the Qatari financial sector’s foundations and the strengths of the national economy, creating a pioneering infrastructure for the financial technology market locally and globally, whilst ensuring the development of a comprehensive system for this sector, starting from the establishment of financial tech companies, all the way to mechanisms to enable them to grow and expand rapidly.”The QCB also granted a licence to CWallet, said Javier, adding that this will help enable the company to develop and deliver online, mobile, and point-of-sale solutions across Qatar and the region.He said the QCB licence allows CWallet to offer consumers and merchants more options in terms of mobile money wallets, peer-2-peer transactions, online, offline, and on-demand payment transactions, marketplace, payment gateway, wallet-as-a-service, and prepaid cards.“In continuation of the efforts to develop and reinforce the financial technology sector (fintech), CWallet Services has been granted a licence to provide digital payment services, bringing the number of companies under QCB’s supervision to eight. #Qatar_Central_Bank #Fintech,” the QCB tweeted.Earlier, Javier signed an agreement in London with Vesuvio Labs CEO and founder, Kristian Feldborg, who was one of the speakers of the 2023 edition of the Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg. Javier said Vesuvio Labs is a startup incubator and seed fund that aims to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the fintech, insurtech, and wealthtech space.“I am thrilled and proud to announce that CWallet is joining our portfolio and that Vesuvio Labs will immediately take over the technical strategy and execution. CWallet was recently licenced by Central Bank of Qatar and we look forward to working with them on their extremely ambitious plans,” Feldborg stated in his LinkedIn account.Javier said, “The overall objective of the partnership with Vesuvio Labs is to bring advance tech, various products, and services using new tech trends and improve the current business ecosystem to serve the local and regional market while making sure it is regulated, sustainable, and in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Gulf Times
Business
Properties sold in May 2023 jump 114.6%, says PSA

The total number of properties sold in the country in May 2023 witnessed a monthly increase of 114.6%, according to figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA).Similarly, the total number of building permits issued stood at 758 in May 2023, recording a monthly increase of 97.9% and an annual increase of 17.5%, the PSA bulletin stated.In the banking sector, the total broad money supply (M2) was recorded at about QR699bn in May 2023, an annual increase of 6.5% compared to May 2022. On the other hand, cash equivalents, including commercial bank deposits, totalled QR955bn in May 2023. The figure has recorded an annual decrease of 1.3% compared to May 2022, when deposits recorded approximately QR967bn.The PSA also recorded a rise in the value of shares traded by 142.1% in May 2023 compared to the previous month.In May 2023, the PSA bulletin stated that the total number of registered new vehicles reached 8,214, which showed a monthly increase of 20.5% and an annual increase of 25.7%.The PSA also reported an increase in the total number of new driver’s licences at a monthly rate of 75.6%, and the total number of registered new vehicles reached 8,214, which showed a monthly increase of 20.5% and an annual increase of 25.7%.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar Chamber chairman.
Business
Qatar Chamber looks to innovation to meet goals of new board

Qatar Chamber is aiming to maximise the use of innovation, an upcoming state-of-the-art headquarters, and an effective communication strategy to fulfil the objectives laid out by its new board of directors.Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani announced these plans in the latest issue of Al Moltaqa, the chamber’s monthly economic newsletter, which featured the elections of its seventh council (2023 – 2028) held during the Second General Assembly Meeting.The newsletter reported that the number of voters reached 17,600 members compared to the 8,000 who participated in the previous elections in 2018. The large turnout of voters reflected “the positive interaction of the members and their eagerness to elect their representatives in the chamber.”Sheikh Khalifa said, “We are confident that the new board will focus on strengthening the chamber’s role in supporting the private sector and protecting its interests, promoting the national economy and investment climate, and highlighting Qatar as a leading global investment destination and hub for business, as well as enhancing the ease of business and attracting foreign investment.”According to Sheikh Khalifa, the chamber’s main strategy aims to enhance the private sector’s competitiveness, accelerate its growth, and increase its contribution to economic development, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, “whose most important pillar is promoting economic diversification and achieving inclusive economic growth.”Sheikh Khalifa said, “These goals will be achieved by updating the chamber’s digital structure, developing new electronic services, and promoting innovation to provide exceptional services to the private sector, in addition to developing communication mechanisms with all partners from ministries, government entities, and stakeholders, and enhancing cooperation with counterpart chambers in different countries around the world.“During the new council, we will work towards the completion of the chamber’s new headquarters in Lusail City, as we are planning to transfer to a sophisticated and modern building that keeps pace with the state’s economic renaissance in the country.”According to Sheikh Khalifa, the chamber will also focus on organising more activities to support the private sector, promoting the national economy, and expanding meetings with various economic and trade sectors to discuss and find solutions to all issues and obstacles facing the private sector.He said, “We will further concentrate on providing information and data on Qatar’s business environment and investment climate and highlighting the business and investment opportunities available in Qatar’s private sector.“There is no doubt that the new board will make the Wise Leadership’s directives among its priorities during the coming period, especially since these directives emphasise the importance of enabling the private sector to play its desired role in development, maintaining Qatar’s position as an attractive investment destination and facilitating a stimulating and competitive business environment.”Sheikh Khalifa also enjoined business owners and companies in Qatar to strengthen cooperation and communication with the chamber to express their views about all issues relating to the private sector.He added: “The chamber’s door is always open for all members to get acquainted with their views and proposals for the development of the private sector and solving all obstacles facing it.”

Yasser Dhouib, CQBF executive director.
Business
Tech, innovation vital in elevating Qatar-Canada ties, says business forum official

Technology and innovation are among the key sectors that will play a vital role in elevating economic relations between Qatar and Canada, an official of the Canadian-Qatari Business Forum (CQBF) has said.In a statement to Gulf Times, CQBF executive director Yasser Dhouib said the forum’s strategic focus is to help tech firms, trading companies, and related businesses from Canada mark their presence here during the ‘Web Summit Qatar’, which is slated on February 26-29, 2024 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).“Qatar is effectively at the forefront of trade and high-tech business and innovation as it will host Web Summit Qatar next year. CQBF will participate in the event as an umbrella group that includes several important Canadian companies. CQBF wants to be involved in Qatar’s digitalisation efforts from a Canadian perspective, which endeavours to foster the exchange of Canadian technological know-how.“Doha is now becoming an ideal destination and an important regional hub for doing business and establishing strategic partnerships with Qatari high-tech companies. It will certainly be the best for Canada’s brand in business and trading technology to flourish,” Dhouib explained.According to its website, Web Summit Qatar joins the roster of international events organised by Web Summit, alongside Web Summit in Lisbon, Web Summit Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Collision in Toronto, and RISE in Hong Kong.Dhouib said CQBF also participated in Collision, which was held recently in Toronto, Canada.“In effect, CQBF aims to get Canadian-Qatari business investments and trading partnerships at the level of already excellent political relationships between the two countries.“CQBF seeks to establish a durable partnership with Collision, which is the ‘Olympics of tech’, in the belief that companies thrive in an interconnected world of opportunities and new ideas for creating wealth and technology for the benefit of the business community,” he said.He said: “Collision is ‘the place to be’ for high-tech companies and business forums, as well as trading partners in North America. The summit comes back this year after the pandemic with important profiles in business and high-tech companies; networking has become absolutely crucial for any business that wants to get an edge in technological trends.”

Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group International.
Business
Qatar’s investment strategy, global partnerships to boost trade, says LuLu top executive

Qatar’s global partnerships and judicious investment strategy are among the vital fundamentals that continue to bring more foreign direct investments (FDI) and boost international trade, Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group International, has said.Despite its geographical size, Dr Althaf said Qatar has proven itself as a reliable trade partner. “As more countries come and start dealing with Qatar, we expect that they will discover how easy it is to do business here,” Dr Althaf explained.He said while Qatar has announced plans to increase its LNG output, the non-hydrocarbon sector will still play a key role in accelerating the growth of the country’s economy.“The Middle East is an exciting region and many tourists come here to shop because there is a favourable tax structure. And today, this matters for a lot of people. Qatar is now focusing on developing its hospitality and tourism sector following the positive impact of the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” Dr Althaf pointed out.He said the success of Qatar’s hosting of the Middle East’s first-ever FIFA World Cup resonated strongly with the international community, which will be vital in pushing the growth of many sectors in the country’s economy.According to Dr Althaf, the World Cup helped open a wide range of opportunities for Qatar’s international partners to explore long-term investment opportunities in the country.Even as the Qatari government spent $220bn in stadiums and related facilities to host the World Cup, Dr Althaf emphasised that the highly-anticipated football tournament gave visitors and tourists a first-hand experience of the country’s culture and heritage.“Visitors coming for the World Cup not only witnessed Qatar’s world-class infrastructure but they also got exposed to the country’s many touristic destinations, so tourism in Qatar is expected to be a big industry moving forward,” he pointed out.During the World Cup, he noted that LuLu Group was also able to do a lot of business diplomacy with its international partners that arrived in the country during the tournament.“A lot of people came to Qatar. We have invited our principals from various countries. They all came and had a taste and feel of what the country had to offer, so we were promoting other countries in Qatar and, at the same time, we were also promoting Qatar to other countries. In terms of that balance, I think we were doing whatever we could do in our humble way. And I see a lot of results in that,” Dr Althaf emphasised.