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Monday, July 15, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal
Santhosh V. Perumal, a postgraduate in Econometrics with an advance qualification in Capital Markets and Financial Services, is Gulf Times' journalist. His coverage areas are debt and equity, hydrocarbons, international trade, environment, banks, insurance and real estate. Previously, he was in New Delhi, India as Senior Finance Correspondent of PTI.
Strong international and regional trade pacts could enhance Qatar's trade flows as Doha is poised to emerge as a logistics hub, PricewaterhouseCoopers has said.
Business
Trade pacts, strong ICT and PPPs to make Qatar a global logistics hub: PwC

Strong international and regional trade pacts could enhance Qatar's trade flows as Doha is poised to emerge as a logistics hub, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global consultant, has said.This, along with continued investment in ICT (information, communication and technology) infrastructure and public private partnerships (PPPs), was outlined by PwC as it chalked the 'future-focus' strategy for Qatar."Setting out strategic bilateral agreements with key trading partners can open new avenues for exports and imports, further integrating Qatar into the global trade ecosystem," PwC said.By refining customs collaboration and cultivating strong trade agreements on both global and regional levels, Qatar can facilitate more fluid trade flows, it said."This strategy will boost efficiency and reliability in international commerce," the report added.Moreover, embracing global initiatives such as the World Trade Organisation and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) common market, it said, Doha can streamline customs procedures, reduce trade barriers, and stimulate economic growth."By creating a balance between global aspirations, regional integration, and local economic development, Qatar can be poised to emerge as a comprehensive logistics hub, serving as a gateway to both global and regional markets," it said.Dwelling deep into the future-focus strategy, PwC said local initiatives such as the expansion of free zones and tailored incentives for specific industries underscore the country’s commitment to attracting businesses and fostering economic growth.Qatar has also been actively cultivating its e-commerce and online platforms to address the evolving needs of its local market, according to the report."Three key areas can further support Qatar’s efforts in attracting more trade flow, regional co-operation, and improving local e-commerce," it said.On ICT and advanced technologies, PwC said this can support Qatar in enhancing its ICT backbone to ensure seamless information flow throughout the supply chain, enabling efficient tracking, documentation, and communication.Automation capabilities can address labour shortages with automatic freight handling, expediting cargo movement, and enhancing overall operational efficiency and cargo volumes.On PPPs, the report said advanced infrastructure projects to create more opportunities for the private sector to both invest and align with their needs. Through attracting private investment, automated cargo handling systems at ports, the government can ease its financial burden, while private entities gain attractive investment opportunities."The collaboration ensures infrastructure aligns with private needs," it said, adding an example of this could be port facilities designed for efficient, bespoke container handling or automated warehouses – all shaped through private sector input during PPP planning."This blend of public oversight and private expertise can help foster efficiency and innovation," it said.

Dr. Hend bint Abdalrahman Mohamed al-Muftah, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to UN-Geneva present Qatar’s instrument of acceptance to WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Qatar
Qatar formally accepts WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies

Qatar has formally accepted an agreement on fisheries subsidies as part of efforts to protection of the maritime ecosystem, and environmental sustainability, the Word Trade Organisation (WTO), announced Wednesday."The depositing today of our instrument of acceptance of the WTO Agreement on fisheries subsidies is a symbol of Qatar’s steadfast engagement towards regulated fishing, the protection of the maritime ecosystem, and environmental sustainability," said Dr Hend bint Abdalrahman Mohamed al-Muftah, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to UN-Geneva after presenting the country's instrument of acceptance to WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala."We hope that this step forward in our collective efforts to protect the planet and the environment for us and next generations will ignite a succession of similar endeavours aimed at consolidating our multilateral objective,” she said.Qatar is the third Gulf Cooperation Council country to accept the agreement. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the other two Gulf countries.Qatar's instrument of acceptance brings to 76 the total number of WTO members that have formally accepted the agreement. Three members from the Middle East have formally accepted the agreement. As many as 34 more formal acceptances are needed for the agreement to come into effect. The agreement will enter into force upon acceptance by two-thirds of the membership."By taking this step, Qatar has shown its support for sustainable fisheries and combatting illegal fishing in the Gulf region. Qatar also has affirmed the WTO's vital role in delivering global public goods — in this case contributing to marine sustainability by curbing subsidies to harmful fishing practices," said Okonjo-Iweala.The swift entry into force of the agreement would bolster both the health of oceans and the livelihoods of the millions of people who depend on them, she said, expressing the hope that the remaining WTO members will follow suit quickly for the benefit of people and oceans.Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the agreement on fisheries subsidies sets new, binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks.In addition, the agreement recognises the needs of developing and least-developed countries and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.The agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to adopting additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the agreement.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty on the US interest rates, the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.4% to 9,716.34 points, recovering from an intraday low of 9,662 points.
Business
Domestic fund lift QSE sentiments as index gains 39 points: M-cap adds QR2.22bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday gained more than 39 points on the back of buying interests, notably in the banks, realty and industrials sectors..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[165545]**Notwithstanding the uncertainty on the US interest rates, the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.4% to 9,716.34 points, recovering from an intraday low of 9,662 points.The domestic institutions stronger buying support lent support to the main market, whose year-to-date losses narrowed to 10.29%.The Arab retail investors turned bullish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation added QR2.22bn or 0.4% to QR561.87bn on account of small cap segments.As much as 50% of the traded constituents extended gains in the main market, which saw some 0.01mn exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan) valued at QR0.03mn trade across two deals.The foreign individuals were seen increasingly into net buying in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The Gulf retail investors’ lower net profit booking had its marginal influence on the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Islamic index was seen gaining slower than the other indices in the main bourse, whose trade turnover grew amidst lower volumes.The Total Return Index rose 0.4%, the All Share Index fell 0.41% and the All Islamic Index by 0.32% in the main market.The banks and financial services sector index gained 0.74%, realty (0.63%), industrials (0.55%), transport (0.24%) and insurance (0.23%); while telecom shrank 1.43% and consumer goods and services 0.87%.Major gainers in the main market included Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Beema, Medicare Group, Widam Food, Barwa, QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank and Gulf International Services.Nevertheless, Inma Holding, QLM, Ooredoo, Zad Holding and Woqod were among the major losers in the main bourse.The domestic institutions’ net buying increased substantially to QR66.13mn compared to QR11.79mn on May 20.The Arab individual investors were net buyers to the tune of QR4.88mn against net sellers of QR2.46mn on Monday.The foreign individuals’ net buying expanded perceptibly to QR2.46mn compared to QR1.53mn the previous day.The Gulf individual investors’ net profit booking eased marginally to QR0.02mn against QR0.55mn on May 20.However, the foreign institutions’ net selling strengthened considerably to QR56.91mn compared to QR27.64mn on Monday.The Qatari individuals turned net sellers to the extent of QR11.28mn against net buyers of QR16.01mn the previous day.The Gulf funds were net profit takers to the tune of QR5.27mn compared with net buyers of QR1.32mn on May 20.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure for the second straight session.Trade volumes in the main market fell 20% to 162.56mn shares, while value was up 2% to QR528.53mn despite 1% lower transactions at 17,732.The venture market saw a 76% contraction in trade volumes to 0.04mn equities, 79% in value to QR0.06mn and 81% in deals to six.

The telecom, transport, consumer goods and banking sectors experienced higher than average.net selling as the 20-stock Qatar Index shed 0.32% to 9,677.17 points on Monday
Business
QSE edges down 31 points on geopolitical concerns; M-cap melts QR2.23bn

Amidst the geopolitical concerns, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Monday fell 31 points on the back of foreign institutions’ profit booking pressure..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[165545]**The telecom, transport, consumer goods and banking sectors experienced higher than average.net selling as the 20-stock Qatar Index shed 0.32% to 9,677.17 points, although it touched an intraday high of 9,725 points.The Arab individual investors turned net sellers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses widened to 10.65%.The Gulf retail investors were seen increasingly bearish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation lost QR2.23bn or 0.4% to QR559.65bn on account of small cap segments.About 57% of traded constituents were in the red in the main market, which saw as many as 3,110 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.01mn trade across five deals.The domestic institutions’ weakened net buying had its influence in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.However, the local retail investors turned bullish in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Islamic index was seen declining slower than the other indices in the main bourse, whose trade turnover volumes were on the rise.The Total Return Index shed 0.32%, the All Share Index fell 0.35% and the All Islamic Index by 0.09% in the main market.The telecom sector index tanked 1.38%, transport (0.76%), consumer goods and services (0.68%), banks and financial services (0.4%) and real estate (0.27%); while insurance gained 0.38% and industrials 0.1%.Major losers in the main market included Inma Holding, Meeza, Salam International Investment, Mekdam Holding, Ooredoo, QNB, Woqod, Qatari Investors Group, Milaha and Gulf Warehousing.Nevertheless, Qatar German Medical Devices, QLM, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding, Doha Insurance, Qamco, QIIB and Widam Food were among the gainers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Al Mahhar Holding saw its shares appreciate in value.The foreign institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR27.64mn compared with net buyers of QR4.51mn on May 19.The Arab individual investors were net sellers to the extent of QR2.46mn against net buyers of QR4.93mn on Sunday.The Gulf individuals’ net profit booking grew marginally to QR0.55mn compared to QR0.34mn the previous day.The domestic institutions’ net buying weakened perceptibly to QR11.79mn against QR13.1mn on May 19.The foreign individuals’ net buying declined markedly to QR1.53mn compared to QR4.51mn on Sunday.However, Qatari individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR16.01mn against net sellers of QR13.56mn the previous day.The Gulf funds were net buyers to the extent of QR1.32mn compared with net profit takers of QR13.61mn May 19.The Arab institutions had no major net exposure against net buyers to the tune of QR0.13mn on Sunday.Trade volumes in the main market soared 41% to 205.09mn shares, value by 45% to QR520.27mn and transactions by 45% to 17,928.The venture market saw a 13% jump in trade volumes to 0.17mn equities, 16% in value to QR0.29mn and 28% in deals to 32.

One of the newest and largest ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, the MSC Virtuosa at Doha Port (file). Qatar, which has embarked on a strategic fusion of tourism and sports and is swiftly establishing itself as a prominent cruise destination, should enhance its global presence with multiple tourism offices worldwide, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Business
Multiple tourism offices worldwide could enhance Qatar's presence and appeal: PwC

Qatar, which has embarked on a strategic fusion of tourism and sports and is swiftly establishing itself as a prominent cruise destination, should enhance its global presence with multiple tourism offices worldwide, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).Following the examples of Spain and Singapore, which have successfully established multiple tourism offices worldwide, and having forged partnerships with celebrities, bloggers, influencers and global entertainment platforms; Qatar could similarly enhance its international presence, PwC said in its latest report."By setting up comparable tourism offices and securing collaborations with celebrities and entertainment entities, Qatar can significantly amplify its global visibility and content outreach," it said.Spain has 33 tourism offices across the world and invested €478mn in 175 tourism sustainability projects across destination types. In the case of Singapore, it has three-year partnership with Warner Bros to spotlight the country and allowed visitors from more than 150 countries visa free short stays.Qatar has become a leading destination for sports and tourism, leveraging strategic investments in top-notch sports facilities – like the FIFA World Cup 2022 stadiums and the Lusail International Circuit – and enhancing its tourism sector offering.Highlighting that Qatar has invested heavily in developing tourism infrastructure to provide visitors with a holistic experience; PwC said it can now develop innovative and sustainable touristic experiences that create a complete visitor experience in Qatar.The Arab country should adopt a comprehensive development strategy that enhances port infrastructure, diversifies excursion options, and promotes year-long cruise activities."Key initiatives (should) include upgrading Doha Port to serve an increasing number of vessels and passengers, offering customised and culturally immersive excursion packages, and organising a continuous calendar of events to attract tourists throughout the year," it said.The 2023-24 season saw 73 cruise ships and hosting more than 378,000 visitors, making 2023-24 one of the largest ever cruise seasons for Qatar Tourism and Mwani Qatar. This marks an increase from the 2022-23 season that witnessed as many as 54 cruise ships and 253,191 passengers.Finding that regional and global diverse tourism strategies involve establishing a global footprint marketing network, diversification of offerings, and a review of tourism policies, it said these insights could be leveraged by Qatar for its future development.Terming that Qatar's strategic fusion of tourism and sports marks a new chapter in Qatar’s journey towards a diversified economy and global prominence, PwC said by synergising these sectors, Qatar can "redefine the global narrative on the power of tourism and sports for national development."Suggesting widened utilisation of Qatar’s sports assets, it said by hosting a wide array of activities beyond traditional sports events, including entertainment, culture, and leisure, Qatar can optimise the utility of its sports infrastructure and offer tourists a diverse experience."This approach takes advantage of Qatar's experience in hosting sporting events and ensures that the country's investment in its sports venues pays off while offering tourists a rich and diverse experience," it said.Urging Doha to target investments in differentiated sports subsectors; PwC said Qatar’s successful track record of investments in sports leagues and teams highlights its ability to add tremendous value to clubs.The country has a large network of world-class state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private sector players that can generate synergies for the country’s investments and acquisitions in the sports sector, it said."Following its model with PSG, Qatar can look to replicate this success across other sports where regional players have not penetrated," it added.Observing that Qatar has accrued invaluable expertise in the field of sports events operations and execution through its successful hosting of global tournaments, such as the Asian Games 2006 and FIFA World Cup 2022, and the Qatar Grand Prix, it said this expertise can be transferred to prospective hosts of future tournaments through the creation of a Centre of Excellence designed to support countries throughout the entire value."By sharing this expertise and knowledge in event management, Qatar will also catalyse improvements across other sectors, elevating tourism by enriching the visitor experience and broadening the country's international appeal," it said.

The domestic institutions were seen net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.05% to 9,707.81 points on Sunday, although it touched an intraday high of 9,750 points
Business
QSE remains flat despite buying in transport and insurance counters; M-cap melts QR1.3bn

The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) on Sunday opened the week on a flat note despite strong buying in the transport and insurance counters..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[165545]**The domestic institutions were seen net buyers as the 20-stock Qatar Index rose 0.05% to 9,707.81 points, although it touched an intraday high of 9,750 points.The Arab individual investors turned net buyers in the main market, whose year-to-date losses were at 10.37%.The foreign retail investors were bullish in the main bourse, whose capitalisation however fell QR1.3bn or 0.23% to QR561.88bn on account of microcap segments.The Arab institutions were seen net buyers in the main market, which saw as many as 3,756 exchange traded funds (sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and Doha Bank) valued at QR0.04mn trade across six deals.The foreign institutions continued to be net buyers but with lesser intensity in the main bourse, which saw no trading of sovereign bonds.The local retail investors’ weakened net selling had its influence in the main market, which saw no trading of treasury bills.The Islamic index was seen gaining faster than the other indices in the main bourse, whose trade turnover grew amidst lower volumes.The Total Return Index was up 0.05%, the All Share Index fell 0.02% and the All Islamic Index by 0.11% in the main market.The transport sector index shot up 1.54% and insurance 0.95%, while consumer goods and services declined 0.6%, real estate (0.36%), banks and financial services (0.15%), industrials (0.08%) and telecom (0.06%).Major gainers in the main market included Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance, Milaha, Qatar German Medical Devices, Inma Holding, United Development Company, Medicare Group, Qatari Investors Group, Qamco, Qatar Insurance and Nakilat.Nevertheless, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution, Ahlibank Qatar, Dlala, QLM, Beema, Woqod, Al Faleh Educational Holding and Barwa were among the losers in the main bourse. In the venture market, Al Mahhar Holding saw its shares depreciate in value.The domestic institutions turned net buyers to the tune of QR13.1mn compared with net sellers of QR1.2mn on May 16.The Arab individual investors were net buyers to the extent of QR4.93mn against net sellers of QR6.67mn last Thursday.The foreign individuals turned net buyers to the tune of QR4.51mn compared with net sellers of QR0.77mn the previous trading day.The Arab institutions were seen net buyers to the extent of QR0.13mn against no major net exposure on May 16.The Qatari individual investors’ net selling declined substantially to QR13.56mn compared to QR38.04mn last Thursday.The Gulf individuals’ net buying weakened perceptibly to QR0.34mn against QR1.72mn the previous trading day.However, the Gulf funds’ net profit booking strengthened noticeably to QR13.61mn compared to QR4.74mn on May 16.The foreign institutions’ net buying shrank considerably to QR4.51mn against QR53.15mn last Thursday.Trade volumes in the main market tanked 16% to 145.44mn shares, value by 25% to QR359.45mn and transactions by 22% to 12,355.The venture market saw a 42% plunge in trade volumes to 0.15mn equities, 43% in value to QR0.25mn and 38% in deals to 25.

The studio is a platform to support local Qatari and global portfolio companies in the development of regulatory-compliant decentralised finance (DeFi) solutions and digital assets built on the Hedera Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) network.
Business
THA partners with QFC to launch $50mn digital assets venture studio in Qatar

The Hashgraph Association (THA), the Swiss-based entity at the forefront of global digital enablement, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) to launch a $50mn Digital Assets Venture Studio on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum 2024The studio is a platform to support local Qatari and global portfolio companies in the development of regulatory-compliant decentralised finance (DeFi) solutions and digital assets built on the Hedera Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) network."This partnership is closely aligned with Qatar’s fintech strategy and is instrumental in advancing our efforts in developing and launching innovative projects that establish the country as a financial and commercial hub by 2030," said QFC Authority chief executive officer Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida.The digital assets venture studio will focus on investments in Hedera-powered Web3 startups and enterprises building bankable DeFi solutions. The programme will span over the next five years (2024-28) with The Hashgraph Association investing $10mn (20%).THA will launch a custom-designed studio to enable local Qatari firms as well as international portfolio companies to build innovative regulatory-compliant structured financial products and secure digital asset solutions, which will include the tokenisation of real-world financial assets, on the Hedera DLT network.The studio will be part of Qatar’s Digital Assets Lab within the QFC Innovation Dome, an initiative launched in December 2023 as part of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 to accelerate research and development within the digital asset space."We are committed to investing and fostering the growth of a vibrant Web3 and DLT/blockchain ecosystem with a special focus on decentralised finance and digital assets in support of Qatar’s Vision 2030 aimed at fostering an innovative regulatory compliant digital economy,” said Kamal Youssefi, President of THA.Earlier this year, THA signed a strategic partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Investment, for a $250mn DeepTech venture studio focused on enabling the convergence of deep technologies such as AI, IoT, Blockchain/DLT, Robotics, and quantum computing."We are excited to launch our Swiss/Qatari government-endorsed digital assets venture studio in Doha that will empower the next generation of Web3 financial entrepreneurs by supporting the launch of structured financial products and tokenised financial solutions, leveraging financial instruments and investment structures such as equity, funds, real estate, and aircraft financing," said Stefan Deiss, co-founder and chief executive officer of THA.

Saad bin Ali al-Kharji, chairman of Qatar Tourism, and Saudi Arabia's Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khateeb at the Qatar Economic Forum  2024. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
Qatar saw more than 2mn visitors in January-April 2024

Qatar, which has strategised efforts to strengthen its tourism industry, has seen more than 2mn visitors in the first four months of this year.The country recorded 4mn visitors in 2023, which showed a 58.4% growth compared to 2022, said Saad bin Ali al-Kharji, chairman of Qatar Tourism, at the Qatar Economic Forum powered by Bloomberg.Discussing the future of tourism in the Gulf region at one of the panel sessions, he underscored the role of tourism in job creation and emphasised the need for continuous infrastructure development to support the rapid growth of sectors such as transportation, agriculture, and construction, which contribute to creating both direct and indirect job opportunities.Emphasising the pivotal role of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in supporting the region's tourism industry growth, he said the tournament contributed "significantly" to portraying the Arabian culture and Gulf heritage to the world, thereby attracting visitors and stimulating interest in the Gulf region's unique culture.This resulted in notable growth in tourism investments, visitor numbers, and the development of new tourist destinations, he said in the presence of Saudi Arabia's Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khateeb.Qatar’s strategic plan calls for tourism to contribute 12% to gross domestic product. According to The World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) report, travel and Tourism is set to contribute an all-time high of QR90.8bn to the Qatari economy (11.3% of the total) and will support more than 334,500 jobs across the country (15.8% of the total workforce).It also said spending by international travellers is expected to increase significantly this year, with forecasts indicating a record spend of QR69.6bn this year, while domestic spend is projected to reach QR12bn.In 2023, the travel and tourism’s GDP contribution grew by 31% to a record-breaking QR81.2bn, representing 10.3% of Qatar’s total economic output, demonstrating the sector’s importance to the national economy.Addressing the resilience of the tourism sector, al-Kharji pointed out its ability to adapt to economic and geopolitical conditions and recover rapidly from crises."Despite challenges, global tourism has rebounded significantly from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with travel levels surpassing 88% of pre-pandemic levels worldwide and exceeding pre-pandemic levels in the Middle East," he added.

Gulf Times
Qatar
'Dispute resolution mechanism on the anvil in Qatar's realty sector to attract FDI', Real Estate Regulatory Authority

Qatar is contemplating a dispute resolution mechanism for the realty sector to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country in a big way as it sees data centres and warehouses as the next phase of infrastructure demand in the country, according to a top official of the country's real estate authority.Addressing the Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg, Khalid Ahmad al-Obaidli, President, Public Authority for Regulating Real Estate, also said over regulation would kill any project and hence the authority views itself as an enabler."We are trying to introduce in 2024 the dispute resolutions mechanism whereby we want the system to be clear for FDIs and international businesses. When they (international investors) come to Doha, they know that they will get world-class standard in terms of infrastructure and the entire ecosystem associated with the real estate. We have a big ambition and we know we will reach there," he told a panel discussion.Stressing on the need for transparency, he said the real estate authority was established in 2023, whose mandate is to ensure information is passed on investors through a digital platform, which could provide access to reliable data for investors/stakeholders for making informed decision.The real estate platform for will provide data in a more accurate and clear manner, which in turn would help improve efficiency. The first phase provided data and information to individuals and investors in general. This data will include occupancy volumes and deals in different regions.The second phase will include electronic linking between government agencies and the third phase will offer full-functioning real estate services.Highlighting that Qatar has already spearheaded major infrastructure development, ahead of hosting the 2022 World Cup; he said "we are now looking to active those real estate infrastructure, attracting the right partners, the right talent and mix it with our national in order for us to improve productivity in the sector."Elaborating on activation, al-Obaidli said it would be "selective" in attracting the right partnerships and the right industries like data centres and warehouses, "just to look where really the next phase of infrastructure demand is and utilise the current infrastructure to cater for the future demand."He said the country is planning to repurpose some of the current infrastructure in view of the changing dynamics in Qatar's growth strategy and it will seek the help of international partners in this regard.Stressing that "over regulation will kill any project", he said it is not what they are planning or intending to do in Qatar."Basically, we started with a public consultation with all the private sector before enforcing any of the laws and take the feedback from the stakeholders to understand their concerns before implementing any regulation," he said, adding the authority should not be seen as a hurdle in the market but an enabler to the market."We are not just a regulator to add a burden for investor, but we are a partner with the private sector and try to overcome all the obstacles in order for businesses to get the right messages and the right processes," he added.

Gulf Times
Qatar
'Unified VISA to augur well for tourism in GCC; Double the Discovery to gain traction'

The 'Double the Discovery', a joint initiative of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, is expected to gain traction and the proposed common GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) visa will augur well for the tourism in the region, according to a top official of Qatar Tourism."We launched a joint programme called Double the Discovery. We are promoting Qatar and Saudi in one campaign and we identified a few markets to launch this campaign," Saad bin Ali al-Kharji, chairman, Qatar Tourism told the Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg.The joint initiative sought to promote tourism in the neighbouring GCC countries, offering international visitors in both countries the chance to explore the rich cultural and historical wonders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in a single trip."This is taking us to the benefits of collaboration. The competition you see in the region now, we see its cumulative efforts," he said.Qatar Airways will serve as the official airline partner of the campaign. Visit Qatar and Visit Saudi will identify the main markets for launching and promoting travel packages through tour operators in each market. Discover Qatar and Discover Saudi are the local DMC partners in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, respectively.The significant growth in tourist numbers in 2023 and hosting 4mn visitors last year demonstrates Qatar’s exceptional tourism offerings across cultural, sports, and recreational activities, as well as top-notch services in transportation, travel, and hospitality sectors.Expressing the hope that by the end of this year, the GCC might see the unified visa, he said it will also contribute to the number of visitors to this region.Asserting that time has come for the region to reap the advantage of tourism sector and its growing prospects, he said Qatar is now working on strategies and drafting regulations to enable the private sector and tourism to grow as the GCC region was the fastest growing segment within tourism after the Covid pandemic.The sector recovered very quickly and the demand has been growing due to good connectivity, according to him.Ahmed al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, Saudi Arabia, said the first step is to make the travel between the GCC countries seamless and then to start working on joint packages and joint flights and joint promotion programmes to put this emerging destination in the global travel map."We started with Qatar, and this is going to be a pilot. Actually, we started with Qatar during the World Cup, where if you get a visa, you can access the two countries and the pilot programme was extremely successful, and we will build on this," he said, adding tourists from China, Europe and India are the prime targets."We have the plans to reach out to these markets and attract them for various reasons," according to him.Highlighting that travel and tourism is very important industry globally, he said the GCC region accounts for 10% market share in the total. The GCC countries have started to invest in this very important industry for the future and to unlock the value, he added.In this regard, he said Saudi Arabia is planning to have 250,000 rooms with global hospitality major Accor planning to double its properties by adding 45 more hotels in the next seven years from the present 41.The country has undertaken capacity enhancement in the King Salman airport to cater to 12mn people and it is also coming with up with new airline Riyadh Air to improve the air connectivity to Saudi Arabia from major tourist cities across the world.Saudi Arabia is investing more than S$800bn in the tourism sector over the next seven years as part of efforts to enhance the sector's contribution to 10% of gross domestic product from the present 4.5%. In the last five years, it added 250,000 jobs in the tourism sector, of which 50% was captured by women.Saudi Arabia's mammoth investment in the tourism sector is through projects such as the Red Sea project, the Diriyah and Qiddiya projects, and other private projects in various regions of the country that contribute to the advancement of the tourism sector.Sébastien Bazin, Group chairman and chief executive officer, Accor said travel and tourism is the second largest industry with its contribution at 11% of total world GDP and 12% of the world jobs."In the next 20 years, the growth (of the tourism sector) will be 5-7% per year due to demographics, emerging middle class and air connectivity," he said, adding "in the next five years, India will change the industry profoundly within India and outside.

Michael Lints, Partner at Golden Gate Ventures and Hussain Abdulla, Senior Advisor at Golden Gate Ventures after the launch of Mena Fund I.
Business
Golden Gate launches $100mn Mena Fund I, first global venture capital fund managed in Qatar

Golden Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund founded by Silicon Valley natives, yesterday launched its first $100mn Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Fund I, led by Qatar’s most prominent families Al Khor Holding, Al Attiya Group, and Sheikh Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani as anchor investors.The fund, which has $20mn in commitments from Qatar’s families, is the first international venture capital fund to be established and managed within Qatar. It was unveiled at the Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg.The fund will focus on powering startups in key sectors such as alternative energy, green technology, B2B Artificial Intelligence, and energy-related deep tech. Supporting innovation in these high-demand areas will complement Qatar’s international leadership in liquefied natural gas and alternative energy, cementing its growing global influence in the energy space as the world picks up the pace on the climate agenda.Other strategic sectors that Mena Fund I will cover include fintech, healthtech, and edtech, which will further Qatar’s economic diversification agenda."The launch of Golden Gate Ventures in Qatar represents a notable progression towards diversifying the venture capital sector. Golden Gate Ventures' expansion into the region, marked by the establishment of their headquarters in Qatar, is poised to nurture a thriving business environment, accelerate entrepreneurship and foster growth within Qatar's startup ecosystem," Qatar Financial Centre Authority chief executive officer Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida said.The $100mn fund backed by the pillars of Qatar’s private business community represents a major step forward in Golden Gate Ventures’ ambitions to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the Mena region.The fund combines the aggregate regional influence of its investors and the deep startup ecosystem development experience of Golden Gate Ventures spanning Silicon Valley and Asia."Mena is emerging as a growing innovation hub, with Qatar rising as a beacon of progress. The combination of a supportive government with progressive economic policies; a strong emphasis on diversification and innovation; a well-educated and diverse population; and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit positions Qatar for remarkable growth," said Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures.By facilitating the emergence of innovative solutions, creating employment opportunities, and supporting the national development agenda, we are contributing to the realization of Qatar's vision 2030 and for a diversified, knowledge-based economy, said a representative of Al Khor Holding."We are delighted to join Golden Gate Ventures Mena Fund I as a limited partner. It is truly exciting to be part of the formation of the venture capital ecosystem in Qatar and the Mena region. We foresee the impact this initiative will have on various economic, technological, educational and cultural aspects of our communities," said Maryam bint Khalid al-Attiyah.”Qatar is at an important point in its development as a global economy and Mena Fund I will supercharge the startup ecosystem, building on the extensive social and financial capital of our investors, as well as our deep experience in building thriving startup ecosystems. We look forward to a long-term partnership that will help put Qatar and the Mena region’s innovations on the global map,” said Michael Lints, Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, who has moved to Qatar to deepen the firm’s Mena commitment.Golden Gate Ventures’ Mena Fund I also announced the launch of its Qatar startup ecosystem primer entitled “Qatar Rising: Where ambition and capital converge”.Positioned as an industry primer, it provides an insightful look at how different factors – its robust economic policy, investment landscape, startup ecosystem, talent pool and cultural influence – have converged in the last decade to position the Gulf state as a progressive global economy.It dives into opportunities in key sectors, namely, climate tech, fintech, retail and healthtech – that will pave the way for Qatar’s rapid expansion over the next two decades. Most importantly, the report outlines why Qatar is the regional hub for any global business.“In line with Qatar's Third National Development Strategy 2024-30, I am excited to work with Golden Gate Ventures to launch the first international venture capital fund in Doha. We aim to support entrepreneurs, attract talent, create jobs, and attract foreign direct investments. I am grateful to our investors who support our strategy,” said Hussain Abdulla, Senior Advisor at Golden Gate Ventures.

Gulf Times
Qatar
QIA to invest in data centres, software linked to AI, tourism and healthcare as it widens investment portfolio

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is focusing on five themes such as AI (artificial investment), climate change, tourism, healthcare and supply chain as it widens its global investment portfolio, according to its chief executive officer Mansoor Ebrahim al-Mahmoud.Addressing a panel session at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF), Powered by Bloomberg, he said the sovereign wealth fund will invest in data centres, data categorisation, software applications linked to AI and chipmakers."We are investing and we are not stopping but winner in these sectors is still not clear for most of the investors," he said.Stressing that AI technology is still in its infancy despite generating a lot of interest; he said some aspects are very clear as it has a business model like data centre and chips.The QIA had announced it would anchor an investment commitment in Ardian Semiconductor, a fund established by French private equity investment company Ardian.Semiconductor and its supply chain remain a key investment area for the QIA across all regions. Notable recent investments by the QIA in this value chain include Kokusai Electric Corporation by taking a minority stake in June 2023.Highlighting that the QIA would continue to deploy money into China as current prices provide an attractive entry point, al-Mahmoud said: "We have an allocation for China and we are focused on consumer related industries."The QIA is focused on five main themes and he said one of them is digitisation and AI. The other trendy investment type is related to climate, he added.The growing middle class segment during the last cycle had led to a lot of wealth being accumulated; he said referring to the potential in the tourism sector.On investment in infrastructure, al-Mahmoud said the needs are large as the sector is becoming important for the fact that the governments are trying to get the private sector involved for more efficiency.Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management said it is investing $10-12bn to build 10.5 gigawatts of renewable energy for Microsoft over the next five years, Bruce Flatt, the investment firm’s chief executive officer, said.The companies had entered into a pact this month, which is slated to contribute to Microsoft’s goal of matching all of its electricity consumption with zero-carbon energy purchases by 2030.Lei Zhang, Founder and Chairman of Hillhouse, said it was open to investments in private credit in Asian markets.Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of Franklin Templeton, discussed investment opportunities in regions benefiting from current economic trends.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar's energy sector performs very well; targets 4% annual growth in non-hydrocarbons until 2030': Al-Kuwari

Qatar, whose energy sector is performing very well, has targeted an annual 4% growth in the non-hydrocarbons sector for the next six years through strategising key sectors as logistics, ICT (information, communication and technology), manufacturing and tourism, according to HE the Finance Minister Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari."Our energy sector is performing very well. We believe LNG will be transit energy for a long time," he told the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF), Powered by Bloomberg."We are going to increase Qatar's (liquefied natural gas or LNG) production by 85% in a phased manner until 2030. We are going to be reaching 142mn tonnes per annum of LNG," he added.In February this year, QatarEnergy, the country's hydrocarbons behemoth, announced that it is proceeding with a new LNG expansion project, the “North Field West” project, to further raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 142mn tonnes per annum.Extensive appraisal drilling and testing have confirmed that productive layers of Qatar’s giant North Field extend towards the west, which allows for developing a new LNG production project in Ras Laffan.Highlighting that the country is embarking on the last phase of its journey toward the 2030 vision, he said the first phase focused on creating national champions such the Qatar Investment Authority and Ooredoo, which helped in building brand for the country.In the second phase, he said Qatar invested more than QR300bn in developing infrastructure for the country, which stood in good stead as it successfully hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup."We are building for Qatar's future. What we are doing is for Qatar. The World Cup was only an event that helped us accelerate," he said, adding “when you have such a mega event, it tells you to accelerate some of your, plans. So much of our infrastructure was accelerated for the World Cup."Post-2022 World Cup, the country moved forward with economic diversification and enabling the private sector, he said, adding the focus was on key sector such as logistics, ICT, manufacturing and tourism."We are going to be using enabling sectors...the financial sector is going to be one of the strong enablers to achieve these goals," he said, targeting to grow the non-hydrocarbon by 4% a year until 2030.He said the country has a well-crafted fiscal framework with different revenue scenarios and has a fixed formula to support the general budget, reduction of debt and investments by Qatar's sovereign wealth as well as enhance the Qatar Central Bank reserves and build a cushion for a future volatility of the market.

Gulf Times
Qatar
GCC willing to take every step possible to be business friendly: Al-Jadaan

The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) has long-term plans and is "willing to take every step possible" for investors to do business in the region, which has become a bright spot in the world, according to Mohamed al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister."We are willing to take every step possible to make it easier for investors to do business in the region, that we are willing to do a lot of structural changes, including actually making it very predictable," he told the Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg.Highlighting that resource richness brings with it the dependence on oil revenues, he said the region is now marching towards a proper sustainable diversified economy that enables the private sector, utilises the demography of young population who are technology savvy and who can be inventors, entrepreneurs and investors of the future.Speaking at a panel “Reshaping Middle East Economies” at the forum in Doha, he asked policy makers to optimise the strategies to curb “economic leakage” and prevent resources or fund from being wasted.Suggesting prudent fiscal policies, he said spending at a time of global inflation results in increased project costs, which would further fuels inflation and “overheat” economy.He said Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product has risen more than 15% since the launch of 2030 vision, which was launched well before the Covid-19 pandemic, and issues like inflation and supply chain disruptions."All of these collective shocks that are facing the world calls us also to reprioritise, to look at what we are doing, and how can we actually optimise what we are doing, optimize our plans,” al-Jadaan said."We are not complacent, we need to push through the momentum of reforming the economy," he said, adding Saudi Arabia has adopted a conservative approach when it comes to oil revenues.On Saudi Arabia’s ability to fund large-scale projects amid lower oil prices, he said the country has been “conservative” in its economic projections.Saudi Arabia closed 2023 with oil revenue higher than projected at the beginning of the year, despite a 20% drop in crude prices and 17% production, he said.“[This] basically tells you that we are not optimists when it comes to projecting and therefore committing our spent to what the revenue is. We are very conservative,” he added.Mohamed Sulaiman al-Jasser, chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group, said resilience is probably now what distinguishes the GCC economies, which is seen by the outside world as one bloc that has cohesive and complementary policies to really be a beacon of economic growth and development not for the region but also beyond."Resilience, I think is very important, and the GCC countries seem to be together moving in that direction and now they are much greater believers in their own abilities, he said.“Our demographics are not talked about enough. Our demographics are probably our greatest asset - even more than oil for the GCC," he said, highlighting the transformative changes in the Gulf since the discovery of oil and the investments in education and human development made by the GCC.

Qatar's inflation-adjusted (real) economy is estimated to have grown 1.2% year-on-year during the third quarter (Q3) of 2023, mainly on faster expansion in the hydrocarbons sector, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority data.
Business
Qatar records 1.2% year-on-year real GDP growth in Q3-2023 as hydrocarbons sector grows faster

Qatar's inflation-adjusted (real) economy is estimated to have grown 1.2% year-on-year during the third quarter (Q3) of 2023, mainly on faster expansion in the hydrocarbons sector, according to the official data.The real gross domestic product (GDP) rose faster at 4% on a quarterly basis during the review period as the non-oil sectors grew much faster than hydrocarbons, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority data.The mining and quarrying sector, under which hydrocarbons fall, is estimated to have grown 2.3% year-on-year and the non-mining and quarrying sector by 0.6% to take the overall real GDP to QR177.33bn during Q3-2023.The agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors grew 1.7% on an annualised basis in Q3-2023, but was down 1.5% quarter-on-quarter.On a quarterly basis, the real GDP (at constant prices) growth during Q3-2023 was on account of a 0.8% rise in the mining sector and 6% in non-mining and quarrying sector.Within the non-hydrocarbons sector, the accommodation and food service segment is estimated to have expanded 13% year-on-year in Q3-2023, followed by transport and storage by 7.1%, manufacturing 1.8%, real estate by 1.5% and wholesale and retail trade 0.5%.Nevertheless, information and communication saw a 17.8% plunge year-on-year, construction 3%, finance and insurance 1.7% and utilities 1% during the review period.On a quarterly basis, the accommodation and food services zoomed 38.2%, utilities 18.5%, wholesale and retail trade 18.1%, finance and insurance 10.7%, construction 8.2%, information and communication 7.6%, transport and storage 5.4% and manufacturing 4.5%; even as realty declined 2.4% during Q3-2023.On a nominal basis (at current prices), Qatar's GDP is estimated to have declined 25.7% on an annualised basis but shot up 6.2% quarter-on-quarter at the end of Q3-2023.The mining and non-mining sectors plummeted 25.7% and 1.7% year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter basis respectively during Q3-2023.On a quarterly basis, both mining and non-mining sectors witnessed 8.7% and 4.6% expansion, leading to a growth in nominal economy during Q3-2023.Within the non-hydrocarbons sector (in nominal terms), there was 13.2% plunge in the manufacturing, 6.9% in construction and 6% in information and communication; whereas finance and insurance saw 20.6% surge, utilities 11.1%, accommodation and food services 8.7%, realty 3.4%, wholesale and retail trade 1.8% and transport and storage 0.3% during Q2-2023.On a quarterly basis in nominal terms, the accommodation and food services segment shot up 37.4%, utilities 17.8%, manufacturing 10.2%, information and communication 8.9%, finance and insurance 8.6% and transport and storage 6.4% during the review period.However, the construction and real estate sectors recorded 5.5% and 4.6% contraction in nominal terms on a quarterly basis during Q3-2023.The import duties, on real terms, are estimated to have declined 10.9% year-on-year but rose 2.6% quarter-on-quarter at the end of Q3-2023.On nominal terms, the import duties reported a 9.8% contraction year-on-year, whereas it shot up 2.4% on a quarterly basis during the review period.

Considerable growth in net earnings of consumer goods and banking sectors helped the listed companies’ total net profits reach QR13.1bn in the first quarter of 2024, according to Qatar Stock Exchange data.
Business
Consumer goods and banks' net earnings growth boost QSE listed firms' net profit to QR13bn in Q1

The considerable growth in net earnings of consumer goods and banking sectors helped the listed companies’ total net profits reach QR13.1bn in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024,.text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[165545]**according to the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) data.The industrials sector was seen bettering its net earnings in Q1-2024, which saw total net profits of the listed companies grow 5.83% against a 10.04% decline the comparable period of 2023.The consumer goods and services sector, which has 11 listed entities, saw a 29.51% year-on-year jump in net profit to QR481.14mn in January-March 2024 compared to a 17.54% dip the year ago period. The sector contributed 3.66% to the overall net profitability in the review period.The banks and financial services sector, which has 13 listed entities, reported a 9.42% year-on-year increase in net profit to QR7.55bn against a 1.47% jump the previous year period. The sector contributed 57.63% of the total net profits of the listed companies in Q1-2024.The banking and financial services and the industrials sectors together contributed more than three-fourth of the total net earnings of the listed companies in the first three months of 2024.The industrials sector, which has 10 listed constituents, saw a marginal 0.11% year-on-year growth in net profit to QR2.38bn in January-March 2024 against a 44.18% decline the year-ago period. The sector contributed 18.17% to the overall net profitability of the listed entities in the review period.The real estate sector, which has four listed entities, saw a 2.17% year-on-year contraction in net earnings to QR413.25mn in Q1-2024 against 10.43% shrinkage the previous-year period. The sector constituted 3.13% of the overall net profitability in the review period.The insurance sector, which has seven listed constituents, reported a 3.37% growth year-on-year to QR377.57mn compared to 79%surge in the comparable period of 2023. The sector contributed 2.98% of the overall net profits of the listed companies in the review period.The transport sector, which has three listed constituents, saw its net earnings grow 1.9% year-on-year to QR835.82mn compared to a 2.61% jump in the corresponding period of 2023. The sector contributed 6.41% to the total net profits in January-March 2024.The telecom sector, which has two listed constituents, saw a 2.83% decline in total net profit to QR1.06bn in January-March 2024 compared to a 40.56% increase the year-ago period. The sector contributed 8.09% of the overall net profits in the review period.

The general and bulk cargo handled through the three ports amounted to 235,432 freight tonnes in April 2024, which surged 69.26% month-on-month but fell 5.78% on a yearly basis in the review period, according to Mwani Qatar.
Business
Qatar ports record brisk cargo and RORO movement month-on-month in April: Mwani Qatar

Qatar's maritime sector witnessed a strong double digit growth in cargoes and vehicle imports (RORO) through its Hamad, Doha and Al Ruwais ports in April this year, according to Mwani Qatar.The general and bulk cargo handled through the three ports amounted to 235,432 freight tonnes in April 2024, which surged 69.26% month-on-month but fell 5.78% on a yearly basis in the review period.Hamad Port – whose multi-use terminal is designed to serve the supply chains for the RORO, grains and livestock – handled as much as 92,400 freight tonnes of bulk and 122,765 freight tonnes of breakbulk in April this year.The three ports had seen a cumulative 602,782 freight tonnes of bulk and break-bulk cargoes in the first four months of this year.The cargo trends through the ports corroborates the Qatar Financial Center's purchasing managers' index, which has maintained that the country's non-oil private sector is in the pink of its health and the 12-month outlook remains bright.The three ports handled 10,432 RORO in April 2024, which registered 74.71% and 29.94% growth month-on-month and year-on-year respectively. Hamad Port alone handled 10,411 units in April this year.QTerminals had set a new industry standard for RORO handling in April 2024 when it recorded the highest number of RORO units from a single vessel in the port's history. The record-breaking RORO handling comprised a diverse array of heavy machinery, chain equipment, and small vehicles, reflecting the port's versatility in handling a wide range of cargo typesQatar's automobile sector has been witnessing stronger sales, notably in heavy equipment, private motorcycles and private vehicles, according to the data of the Planning and Statistics Authority.The three ports had seen a total of 29,632 RORO movements during January-April 2024.As many as 192 ships had called on Qatar's three ports in April 2024, which was lower by 19.33% and 17.24% year-on-year and month-on-month respectively.Hamad Port, whose strategic geographical location offers opportunities to create cargo movement towards the upper Gulf, supporting countries such as Kuwait and Iraq and south towards Oman, saw as many as 117 vessels call (excluding military) on the port in the review period.A total of 839 ships have called on three ports in January-April 2024.The container handling through the three ports stood at 87,005 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) in April 2024. Hamad Port, the largest eco-friendly project in the region and internationally recognised as one of the largest green ports in the world, alone handled 85,715 TEUs of containers handled this April.During the first four months of this year, as many as 438,569 TEUs of containers were handled by the three ports.The container terminals have been designed to address the increasing trade volume, enhancing ease of doing business as well as supporting the achievement of economic diversification, which is one of the most important goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.The building materials traffic through the three ports stood at 23,932 tonnes in April 2024, which plummeted 54.19% and 34.36% on monthly and annualised basis respectively. The three ports had seen a total of 166,817 tonnes of building materials handled in the first four months of this year.The three ports were seen handling 19,573 livestock in April 2024, which showed 83.49% and 72.11% plunge month-on-month and year-on-year respectively.

HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani , along with other participants and attendees during the inaugural session of the  Arab Federation of Capital Markets (AFCM) conference. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Business
Arab Federation of Capital Market conference concludes

The curtains came down on the Arab Federation of Capital Markets (AFCM) conference, one of the largest events for exchanges and financial markets in the Middle East and North Africa or Mena region.Gathering more than 22 AFCM members, which includes chief executive officers of Mena-based stock exchanges, clearing houses and brokerage firms; the two-day conference addressed key challenges concerning sustainability and climate change, the T+0 settlement cycle, risk management, the growth of Islamic capital markets, the place for derivatives in the ecosystem, fintechs and digital assets.The conference attracted more than 250 attendees from Arab exchanges, clearing houses, financial market regulatory bodies, brokerage firms, investment fund managers, consultancy firms and other attendees.Earlier inaugurating the conference, HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani strongly pitched for collaboration among Arab financial market institutions to fortify the investment environment and promote integration.The event saw as many as nine panels discussions and more than 45 local, regional and international speakers to shed light on key themes and critical topics related to capital markets, from sustainability, carbon credits and climate change, IR & ESG practices, to Islamic capital markets and Fintech, to discuss the means of exchanging knowledge and expertise and enhance the opportunities to market listed entities across the region to investors, particularly foreign investors, in an effort to develop and enhance the region’s capital markets.Ahead of the conference, on April 28, ring-the-bell ceremony at Muscat Stock Exchange witnessed the handover of the federation’s presidency from Muscat Stock Exchange to Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE). During the presidency period, the QSE will lead the AFCM throughout the year 2024 and continue the efforts to further develop the federation and enable it to achieve its vision.The AFCM was established in June 1978, under the recommendation of the Arab Central Banks Conference, held under the auspices of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States in Jordan. The headquarters of AFCM is in Beirut, Lebanon.The AFCM is the Arab industry group for 17 exchanges, 8 clearing houses, and multiple affiliate members (financial institutions, brokerage firms and local industry associations) from all around the Arab region (the Gulf Co-operation Council, Levant and Arab African countries).The federation was set up to contribute to the development of regulations and promoting harmonised and proactive legislations, and exchanging viewpoints and providing opportunities for co-operation among members."There is no one-size-fits-all solution given the competing influences but I’m sure the fostering of collaboration characterised by the AFCM will continue to be a source of ideas, innovation, and inspiration for the region," said Abdulaziz Nasser al-Emadi, the acting chief executive officer of QSE and the present president of AFCM.Recognising the changing nature of the financial markets infrastructure sector, he said it means the leadership in the industry must be alive to challenges as well as opportunities whether that be in technology, regulation, the growth of private markets or the most testing economic backdrop seen since the financial crisis.