HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, said that the establishment of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) took place under exceptional circumstances experienced by the global energy industry.In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) on the occasion of the 7th GECF Summit in Algeria on February 29-March 2, al-Attiyah said the idea to establish the Forum emerged in response to the challenges faced by this vital sector after the global demand for natural gas increased since it is an important, clean source for industrial production and electricity generation.He added that the Forum was established in 2001 by a group of major gas-producing countries, including Qatar, Algeria, and Russia, as an organisation to co-ordinate and develop the gas industry, enhance co-operation among producing countries and achieve balance in global energy markets through exploring the best ways to ensure the sustainability of global gas supplies, taking into account the significant challenges faced by energy markets during that period.He pointed out that since its establishment, the Forum aimed to co-ordinate among gas-exporting countries to achieve optimal sustainability in the production and utilisation of this important energy source amid price fluctuations and market pressures through the exchange of experiences, opinions, information, and co-ordination among gas-exporting countries in regards to global trends in gas exploration, production, and transportation through both pipeline networks and liquefied natural gas carriers. The goal is to gain a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and the current and expected balance between supply and demand, he said.He emphasised the necessity of enhancing and developing effective channels for dialogue between gas producers and consumers through international and regional energy organisations and forums to ensure stability and reduce undesirable fluctuations in gas markets. Hence, the establishment of the GECF responded to a set of challenges and opportunities in the global energy field, he explained.On a question about his vision for the future of the gas industry, al-Attiyah said that natural gas faces numerous challenges as a fossil fuel source, given the growing awareness of climate change impacts and increasing demands to reduce reliance on fossil energy sources contributing to global warming and shift toward renewable energy sources as a more sustainable alternative.He added that many countries are taking measures to reduce reliance on fossil energy, including imposing carbon taxes and supporting renewable energy projects. However, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, also face challenges such as high infrastructure costs, developing efficient energy storage technologies, and the intermittent nature of production, which is not always available when needed, he said, pointing out that natural gas currently holds a prestigious position among energy sources, surpassing previous perceptions that considered it a "bridge" between the era of total reliance on fossil fuels and the era of renewable energy.Additionally, gas has high flexibility in usage, easily entering various applications, including electricity generation and heating, he explained, adding that gas demonstrates high efficiency in power generation compared to some other sources and is usually a cost-effective alternative, making it an attractive economic option for many industries. Advanced hydrogen production technologies also play a crucial role in enhancing the position of natural gas in the transition toward a more sustainable energy system.Al-Attiyah highlighted natural gas' significant role in the short and medium term global energy field. In the long term, it may be influenced by technological, political, and environmental developments, especially in areas such as emissions legislation and taxes, while the focus on developing renewable energy sources, improving storage and distribution could lead to a reduced reliance on natural gas in some cases in the future.He also pointed out that natural gas will continue providing a large portion of the global energy in the long term, with countries possessing significant gas reserves playing a crucial role in supplying energy to the world. The future of natural gas will depend on the ability of countries to develop new technologies to reduce carbon emissions.Al-Attiyah believed that the Summit confirms the central role of member states in the global energy system, as they possess the largest share of natural gas resources and production. It also highlights the ability of members to meet the global need for modern, reliable and sustainable energy, especially given the growing share of natural gas in the global energy field due to its positive environmental contributions in mitigating climate change.Natural gas plays a vital role in climate change mitigation efforts since it is less environmentally impactful compared to other fossil fuel sources, al-Attiyah said, explaining that the emissions from its combustion contain lower amounts of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming. This contributes to addressing environmental challenges and supporting efforts to combat climate change.Additionally, technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage open avenues for sustainable uses of natural gas in energy generation and emissions-intensive industries like steel, cement, and chemicals, he added.On the challenges that the Forum members can overcome to become more effective in the energy market, he pointed out that the GECF works to co-ordinate the efforts of exporters and support their vision by emphasising the need for fair pricing that reflects the true cost of natural gas, considering its increasing importance in global energy markets.Al-Attiyah pointed out that the Forum should highlight its balanced vision that places significant emphasis on the interests of both producers and consumers. This approach aims to create an environment that encourages constructive dialogue and enhances relationships among all stakeholders, contributing to the strengthening of co-operation and the establishment of new partnerships.He highlighted the need for member states to strive towards classifying natural gas as an environmentally friendly product in international investment, banking services, and global trade systems, stressing the importance of working with relevant stakeholders to participate in the development of climate action initiatives, especially with the increasing global environmental awareness, and as many countries are revising their energy policies to adopt greater diversity.He said that member countries should also explore new areas of collaboration and develop the Forum's expertise to benefit from the advantages provided by natural gas, such as producing blue hydrogen, reducing routine gas flaring and methane emissions, and developing technologies for carbon capture, use and storage.Dismissing the idea of the Forum transforming into an organisation similar to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), al-Attiyah explained the difference between the oil and the gas industry, in terms of gas pricing, which varies from one market to another, and the different production and transportation methods and the mechanisms behind contracts between producers and consumers compared to oil sales and purchases, which often rely on spot transactions in most markets.He noted that the Forum, with its 12 members and 7 observer countries, holds a significant position on the international level, as these countries collectively possess over 70% of the world's confirmed gas reserves, more than 40% of marketed gas production, around 50% of pipeline exports, and over half of global LNG exports. Some member states are among the world's largest natural gas exporters, such as Qatar and Russia, he pointed out.He added that the establishment of the Forum came as a co-operative effort among the producing countries to enhance the fair value of natural gas in light of its increasing importance as a primary energy source, strengthen co-operation in research, innovation, and technology development related to the natural gas industry, and promote the exchange of experiences and information, as well as co-ordination to improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of natural gas. Al-Attiyah highlighted the Forum's effective role in co-ordinating efforts among exporters, supporting their vision regarding the importance of pricing natural gas fairly to reflect its true production cost.Al-Attiyah stressed that the analysis of future demand for oil and gas should be comprehensive, considering all factors that may affect energy markets. This enables informed and thoughtful investment decisions in this sector.
Qatar Chamber first vice-chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari held a meeting with National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) president David Hamod at the chamber’s headquarters Monday.The meeting focused on strengthening economic and commercial ties between Qatar and the US, including fostering collaboration between Qatari and American businesses and exploring potential investment opportunities for Qatari and US firms.Speaking at the meeting, al-Kuwari highlighted the strong relationship between Qatar and the US, particularly in the economic and commercial fields. He noted that Qatari investors are eager to learn about opportunities available in the US and expressed their desire to strengthen co-operation with their American counterparts by forging active partnerships and enterprises.For his part, Hamod said the chamber had a lot of activities and meetings last year, emphasising its role in bolstering co-operation between the US and Arab countries.Hamod noted that the chamber has added new electronic services this year, including electronic attestation to facilitate trade and procedures. He clarified that this mechanism has already been implemented with Kuwait and hopes that Qatar would be the second country to adopt this service.Hamod also said there are many sectors and US companies interested in investing in Qatar, particularly in agriculture, logistics, and industry. He invited Qatar Chamber and Qatari investors to visit the US to learn about investment opportunities and meet their American counterparts to explore partnership and mutual investment possibilities.
Qatar Airways is participating in the global travel and trade event, ITB Berlin, from March 5 to 7 with the reveal of its second-generation revolutionary “MetaHuman” – ‘Sama 2.0’.The launch will be held at the remodelled Qatar Airways stand on the opening day of the trade show.Qatar’s national carrier is the first airline in the world to develop a virtual cabin crew. Sama, the world's first AI-powered MetaHuman cabin crew member, will be unveiled in a previously unseen way at this highly anticipated event, spotlighting the future of personalised service and accessibility in air travel.Sama, powered by digital human creator, UneeQ, is primed to create new benchmarks for future AI implementations, showcasing a level of interaction that is as personal as it is functional.The world leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin, which is a major travel and tourism industry event, showcases a range of travel exhibitors from over 180 countries and five continents, providing over 160,000 visitors with information on new products, services and facilities in the tourism industry.Qatar Airways welcomes all guests at ITB to visit its new exhibition pavilion and meet Sama 2.0 – the embodiment of exceptional service and hospitality – at the trade fair in Hall 4.2, stand 102, from March 5 to 7.Sama 2.0 will soon be ready to welcome passengers in Qatar Airways’ digital platform, QVerse, the national airline said in a release.
Ooredoo has signed a strategic partnership with Qatar Airways to develop and co-design a state-of-the-art ‘Hybrid Multi-Cloud’ environment. This cutting-edge solution will bring together the prowess of world-renowned Hyperscalers, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, coupled with the resilience and security of Qatar Airways’ dedicated Private Cloud, powered by global technology providers including Nutanix, F5 and Cisco. Commenting on the partnership at an event Monday, Sheikh Ali bin Jabor bin Mohammad al-Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar, said: “As pioneers in our respective fields, both Ooredoo and Qatar Airways recognise that innovation is about adopting new technologies and reshaping how we connect with the world. Through this collaboration, we are setting a new standard for digital transformations globally.” Reflecting on the joint venture’s potential, Sheikh Ali said: “At Ooredoo, we believe that the future belongs to those who innovate. By joining with Qatar Airways, we are making a bold statement—that together, we are poised to redefine the boundaries of innovation leveraging Hybrid cloud, Analytics and AI, ensuring that Qatar remains a beacon of progress in an ever-evolving digital landscape. “Trust is the foundation of any lasting partnership. With Qatar Airways, we’re not just building a robust digital infrastructure but fostering a bond based on mutual respect and a shared vision for a hyperconnected world.” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer Badr Mohammed al-Meer shared his insights on the strategic partnership, stating: “Qatar Airways is an unparalleled leader in the aviation industry and consistently offers the best-in-class products and services. “Our commitment to technology innovation and adoption has been a key driver for our success and growth. In our partnership with Ooredoo, we are implementing Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure and Platform services by utilising leading technologies." He added, "This partnership allows us to offer unmatched services to our customers, ensuring seamless scalability, top-tier performance, and robust security. We are thrilled to collaborate with industry giants like Microsoft, Google, and Nutanix to build an efficient and secure Cloud Infrastructure.” One of the key elements of this transformation is the unparalleled agility it promises. The Hybrid Multi-Cloud setup will ensure that Qatar Airways has the flexibility to choose where its workloads reside depending on a host of factors, including but not limited to business demands, data security, data sovereignty and latency. By harnessing the expansive capabilities of the Public Cloud, Qatar Airways is poised to accelerate innovation and rapidly deploy new and exciting services to continually improve its customers’ experience, while operating its high-performance workloads that require unmatched speeds, low latency, and iron-clad security in its dedicated Private Cloud environment. Ooredoo will also provide Qatar Airways with a network fabric that enables direct links between the airlines’ premises and both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud platforms. This monumental transformation highlights the shared vision between Qatar Airways and Ooredoo to charter a path of innovation and endless opportunity in today’s digital world. “This partnership reinforces Ooredoo’s commitment to innovating ICT solutions that align with evolving market needs and our relentless drive to partner with the best-in-class technology providers to support our customers’ requirements in a continually changing business environment,” an Ooredoo statement said.
Commercial Bank is introducing Visa Installment Solution (VIS) for its merchant partners in the region. Qatar’s leading bank in innovative digital banking solutions has entered into a partnership with world leader in digital payments – Visa for the purpose.Through this partnership, Commercial Bank becomes the first acquiring bank in the region to offer the installment solution to merchants.VIS is an API-based ecosystem solution that offers an open loop installment solution during purchase, whether at Point-of-Service terminals or online, so credit xardholders can effortlessly divide their expenses into more manageable payments over a period of up to 48 months.For businesses, VIS helps in driving sales and allows them to target customers with pre-approved credit with customized promotions on a local and global scale. Merchants can enable the solution simply by integrating with APIs - there is no need for manual file exchange between different merchants and issuers, and the list of customers availed Installments will be available to issuers through APIs.Aligned with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which seeks to develop a competitive and diversified economy, Commercial Bank places digital transformation at the heart of its five-year strategic plan, integrating advanced solutions like VIS, that ensure a superior banking experience for customers and merchants.Shahnawaz Rasheed, executive general manager and head (Retail Banking) at Commercial Bank, commented, “This collaboration between Commercial Bank and digital payments leader VISA is a testament to our commitment to bring the best service offerings to our valuable merchant partners.“We are thrilled to introduce VISA Installment Solutions, offering our merchants and customers greater flexibility and convenience in managing payments. This innovative offering underscores our commitment to enhance the financial experience for all stakeholders and empower businesses to thrive in today's dynamic market landscape.”Dr Sudheer Nair, assistant general manager and head (Cards and Payments) at Commercial Bank said, “The launch of this first in market installment solution marks a significant milestone in our journey to provide seamless customer experience within the payments industry.“With this new offering, we are not only meeting the evolving needs of our customers but also driving growth opportunities for merchants by facilitating attractive and affordable payment options. We look forward to delivering unparalleled value and convenience through this first in Qatar solution.”Shashank Singh, Visa’s vice-president and general manager (Qatar and Kuwait) noted, “We are excited to collaborate with Commercial Bank to introduce Visa Installment Solutions soon to their merchant partners in the region. Installment plans make purchasing more affordable for consumers thus enabling merchants to remain competitive and grow their business.“This partnership with CB further supports Visa’s purpose of developing a robust digital payments infrastructure to enable frictionless and secure payments for our cardholders in Qatar and the wider region.”Currently live in six countries including the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, Visa is enabling VIS globally with the goal to transform the checkout experience across more than 30 countries in the next five years.
The ongoing visit of the high-level Swiss delegation visit to Qatar will provide the platform and framework for bilateral business relationships to flourish, says delegation head and Switzerland’s Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin.“However, it is important to note that Switzerland works bottom-up. It is ultimately the businesses, which decide where to invest and who to trade with,” noted Parmelin, also the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times in Doha Wednesday.With the Qatar National Vision 2030, the country is pursuing the goal of diversifying its economy and expanding its infrastructure, which opens numerous opportunities for Swiss companies, Parmelin said.“There are several possible fields for an increased co-operation. Swiss companies are traditionally strong in the clean-tech sector, infrastructure sector (such as railways) or the medical sector,” he pointed out.On his current visit to Qatar, which follows a successful one to Saudi Arabia, Parmelin said, “My visit to Qatar, during which I will be accompanied by a large delegation of leading business representatives, aims to evaluate how Swiss companies can potentially contribute to the implementation of QNV 2030 and take further advantage of the solid foundation of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Qatar to create win-win situations for our economies.“For this, I will meet with various ministers, starting with HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani. Then, together with HE the Minister of Finance, Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, I will also open the financial and economic dialogue between the State Secretariat for International Finance, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Qatari Ministry of Finance.“Moreover, at the invitation of HE the Minister of Municipality, Abdullah bin Hamad bin Abdullah al-Attiyah my delegation and I will attend the agricultural and horticultural Expo 2023 Doha, during which I will contribute to an event on innovation in the agri-food sector.Asked whether Switzerland planned to sign new agreements with Qatar, he said ‘No’.“No new agreements are planned to be signed, as there is already a solid foundation of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Qatar. The Vision 2030 offers interesting opportunities for Swiss businesses. It’s important to see these changes first-hand, to get a better feel for the country and also to better understand the current developments.”On the volume of current bilateral trade between Switzerland and Qatar, Parmelin said that in 2022, Qatar was Switzerland’s third most important trading partner in the Middle East, with trade in goods amounting to over $2bn.“The highlight of the bilateral trade is its volume over the years, which has hovered around the $1bn mark, with 2022 representing a large increase. Given the size of both our countries population, this is an impressive trade statistic,” the senior Swiss minister said.A Joint Commission on Financial and Economic Areas was established in 2022 to promote and strengthen bilateral relationship between the two countries in the areas of finance and economy for mutual benefit. The first session of the Joint Commission was held in Switzerland. The second session will be held in Doha Thursday.Parmelin touched upon Switzerland’s renowned tourism capabilities and said, “I can highly recommend Switzerland as a tourist destination. However, Switzerland cannot determine the entry requirements on its own, since a Swiss visa is valid throughout the European “Schengen area”.Asked whether there are plans (for Qatar Airways) to add more destinations or enhance the number of weekly flights, Parmelin said, “This is something that is regulated by the market and the relevant authorities. Qatar Airways can apply for additional slots at any time.”
Nando's, the beloved Afro-Portuguese restaurant group, is thrilled to announce the opening of its 12th Casa in Qatar, located within the vibrant Tawar Mall, gate 4, ground floor. This exciting expansion marks another milestone for Nando's in Qatar, further solidifying its love for the brand and its commitment to providing exceptional dining experiences to its valued customers.In January, Nando's proudly inaugurated its 11th Casa at the Steigenberger Hotel/Avenue Mall on the Old Airport Road, demonstrating the brand's continued growth and popularity within the Qatari market."Welcome to the home of PERi-PERi," proclaims Nando's and Oryx Group for Food Services Managing Director, Sajed Jassim Mohammed Sulaiman, as he invites guests to indulge in Nando’s renowned flame-grilled chicken infused with the signature PERi-PERi sauce. Originating from South Africa, Nando's brings its rich Afro-Portuguese heritage to Qatar, serving the community since 2001. With the opening of our latest Casa, we're excited to offer locals and residents of Qatar a new dining experience, featuring private and Majlis dining for the first time in Nando’s worldwide, exclusive at Tawar Mall.In celebration of these momentous occasions, His Excellency, the South African Ambassador, remarked, "The opening of Nando's 12th Casa at Tawar Mall is a testament to the enduring partnership between two cultures, South Africa and Qatar, bringing the rich flavours of Southern Africa to the people of Qatar."John Sikiotis, CEO: Nando’s Licensed Markets & India also shared his excitement, stating, "We are delighted to bring the Nando's experience to Tawar Mall and continue our journey of spreading joy through our delicious PERi-PERi chicken and unique dining ambiance. This expansion marks another significant step in our commitment to creating memorable experiences for our customers worldwide."Nando's is renowned for its commitment to quality, specializing in fresh, 24-hour marinated, flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken. Each restaurant features a distinctive design, showcasing a unique collection of art, ensuring that no two Nando's locations look alike worldwide.
The world’s biggest mobile phone fair throws open its doors in Barcelona Monday with the sector looking to artificial intelligence to try and reverse declining sales.Phone makers are expected to focus on the unique AI-powered tools of their latest handsets at the four-day Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where 95,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibitors from around the world are awaited for an event that lasts until Thursday.Telecoms operators will use the event to explore how AI can help improve their operations, from boosting security to providing better customer service.AI “is clearly democratising and is now embedded everywhere: in phones, in devices, in networks,” said Thomas Husson, principal analyst at Forrester who sees it reviving innovation in the sector.The event comes as global smartphone shipments declined 3.2% to 1.17bn units in 2023.It was the second consecutive yearly decline, according to the IDC consultancy, as consumers took longer to upgrade their devices due to a lack of innovations, high inflation and economic uncertainties. But shipments rose 8.5% in the fourth quarter to 326.1mn units which suggests “momentum is moving quickly toward recovery”.Google and South Korean giant Samsung have both recently unveiled new flagship handsets with flashy AI-power tools such as advanced photo editing and easier online search which they are expected to highlight.Other smaller handset makers such as China’s Honor are set to unveil new devices at the event.Honor’s new flagship phone features a camera with AI motion-sensing capabilities that can detect and automatically take a picture of a moving object at the best moment.AI had already “kicked off” before the last MWC in 2023 but “a year later we have a much better idea of how operators and the mobile industry can take advantage of it,” said Peter Jarich, head of intelligence at telecoms industry group GSMA, the event organiser. Among the 1,100 speakers who are scheduled are Michael Dell, founder and CEO of the personal computer firm Dell, and Microsoft president Brad Smith.Aside from AI, discussions are expected to focus on the consolidation of the European telecoms market after the EU on Tuesday approved the merger of the Spain operations of French telecoms giant Orange with its Spanish rival Mas Movil.There is also likely to be debate about whether big tech should contribute to the cost of deploying the networks their products rely on, a notion commonly known as “fair share”.The annual congress, which has been held in Barcelona since 2006, initially focused on phones but has since expanded to include all sorts of connected devices such as drones and robots.Among the more eye-catching devices which will be on display is the working model of what US firm Alef Aeronautics says is the world’s first “real” flying car and a lifelike robotic dog by TECNO mobile that can understand voice commands.The event comes just three weeks after Catalonia’s regional government declared a drought emergency in Barcelona and the surrounding area following three years without significant rain.It means tighter water use restrictions will be in place, especially for agriculture.Public fountains in Spain’s second city have long been turned off, while hotels are running awareness campaigns to encourage guests to use less water.
Qatar Chamber recently organised a tour for Qatari businessmen to SANAD Private Members Club in Msheireb Downtown Doha.The delegation, which was headed by Qatar Chamber first vice-chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari, was received by Msheireb Properties CEO Ali bin Mohamed al-Kuwari.During the tour, the delegation was briefed about the services that the club provides to businessmen, including hosting bilateral business meetings and various events that serve the interests of businessmen.The Qatar Chamber official lauded the club’s unique and innovative services for businessmen, saying it is a valuable addition to Qatar’s service sector.He emphasised that Qatar needs such projects to strengthen the service sector targeting businessmen, providing them with all the necessary facilities to support their work.The delegation was also briefed on all sections of the club. Fahd al-Asmar elaborated on the club’s services which enhance the quality of life for visitors to Msheireb Downtown Doha by serving as a destination for entertainment, business, and communication.The club also serves as an added value to the Msheireb ecosystem by supporting various jobs and businesses within it, in addition to directing sustainable initiatives as part of its business values to contribute to achieving Msheireb’s goal as a smart and sustainable city and Qatar National Vision 2030.The Sanad Private Sector Club includes Dar Sanad (The Members’ Lounge), the Aliya Lounge, the Sanad Terrace, the Female Only Lounge, Al Majlis and B2B Meeting, and the Sawa Restaurant.The club also enables its members to connect with 120 clubs worldwide and provides them with the opportunity to invite two additional guests at any time. This offers a private and professional venue to host meetings, conclude deals, and conduct business.
TotalEnergies Qatar has announced the launch of its Al Reyada Energy Seminar 2024, which will run from Monday until February 28 in Doha.This fifth edition themed ‘The Dynamics within the Energy Market’ is designed to explore the rapidly changing global energy landscape.Hosted as part of the ‘Tamkeen’ initiative aimed at human development and knowledge-sharing, the seminar is set to foster dialogue and learning among Qatar's energy sector professionals and university students.For three days, attendees will benefit from lectures and workshops led by seasoned executives and experts from TotalEnergies Professors Association (TPA) and other notable experts in the field.With more than 232 registrations from eight partner companies and key educational institutions, including Qatar University, Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), and the University of Doha for Science and Technology, the seminar is expected to be a collaborative and engaging event.Participants will have the unique opportunity to delve into various aspects of energy, sustainability, environment, and innovation. Furthermore, the seminar offers a platform for students and young professionals to network, collaborate, and exchange insights on the future of energy.
Baladna disclosed Sunday its annual financial results for the year ended on 31st December 2023, Baladna reported strong growth in revenue and net profit compared to the same period last year. Baladna has reported the following:• Baladna achieved a 7% increase in revenues compared to last year, increasing from QR986million to QR1,057million. • Net profit marked a significant increase of 36%, amounting to QR110million which represents a net profit margin of 10%. Earnings per share were recorded at QR0.058• Remarkable growth recorded in both the HORECA and retail channels, contributing to the revenue expansion• Increased market share across most product categories. Overall market share rose to 53.5%, recording 2.5% market share gain over last year• The strong growth reported in net profit is mainly attributed and driven by the following:− Higher sales volumes across HORECA and retail channels, − Strategic and efficient cost controls measures, − Fair value gain on share investments,− Stabilisation of commodity prices,− Focus on operational excellence,During the fourth quarter of 2023, Baladna achieved a revenue of QR284million and net profit of QR45million. This represents a revenue growth of 3% and net profit growth of 80% compared to same quarter last year.During FY 2023, Baladna has re-organized its sales operation to effectively capitalize on market dynamics, with strategic collaboration with its customers. The increase in sales volumes resulted in top-line growth by 7% to QR1.057Billion in 2023. Surpassing the revenue millstone of QR1billion is a remarkable achievement for Baladna. The increase in market value of investment in securities, strategic cost control measures, efficiency improvement in the entire value chain, and the relative stabilization of commodity prices contributed to the FY 2023 net profit achievement.Baladna is continuously assessing opportunities to enhance its product mix by developing and introducing new, innovative products and strategically optimizing its product portfolio. During the year, Baladna has managed to introduce a number of new SKUs to the market including Evaporated Milk and Sterilized Cream which were historically imported to the country. Furthermore, Baladna launched its first domestic production of an international brand and produces spreadable cheese for Bel Group under the brand names of La Vache Qui Rit and Jibnet Abu Al Walad.During FY 2023, Baladna increased its equity stake in Juhayna Food Industries, the largest dairy producer in Egypt to a substantial 15%, which contributed to notable dividends and fair value gain contributions to further strengthen the bottom line of Baladna. Baladna reported positive advancement in its forthcoming Algerian project targeting milk production facilities, anticipating significant shareholder value creation, and marking another milestone in Baladna’s global growth journey. Driven by a commitment to operational efficiency and a firm control on overhead costs, Baladna’s management continues to underscore its primary focus on fortifying Qatar’s food security and self-sufficiency. The company remains resolute in its commitment to its shareholders, striving to create value through superior product delivery, broadening its product range, and emphasizing efficiency across its value chain.Proposed Dividend for 2023Baladna said it is pleased to announce the proposed dividend payment to its shareholders with the strong financial results of the year 2023. The Board of Directors decided to propose QR132 million (QR 0.0695 per share) dividends to the upcoming General Assembly for approval.
The ‘1st Young Entrepreneurs Forum’ recently kicked off at Katara under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Sports and Youth and the Qatar Chamber.The two-day forum, which was organised by the Young Entrepreneurs Club, witnessed a large turnout of male and female entrepreneurs and showcased numerous successful experiences in entrepreneurship, establishing small companies, and transforming creative ideas into projects.The inauguration ceremony was attended by Qatar Chamber acting general manager Ali bu Sherbak al-Mansouri; Young Entrepreneurs Club president Ibrahim Khalid al-Sulaiti; vice-president Abdulrahman Khaled al-Neama, and director of Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Sports and Youth Fawaz Abdullah al-Musaifiri.Speaking at the ceremony, al-Mansouri underscored the chamber’s keenness on supporting entrepreneurs, citing the agreement signed between the chamber and the Young Entrepreneurs Club to enhance cooperation in supporting entrepreneurs.Al-Mansouri expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Sports and Youth for sponsoring the forum, which provided an opportunity for the entrepreneurial community to exchange ideas and experiences.He also emphasised that the chamber plays an essential role in enhancing entrepreneurship, underscoring the importance of small, medium, and micro-enterprises in contributing to the national economy.He said the chamber actively collaborates with relevant authorities in the country to support the growth and sustainability of entrepreneurial businesses, particularly by promoting their projects and enabling them to participate in events and exhibitions organised or sponsored by the chamber.Al-Mansouri also highlighted the chamber's initiatives, events, and conferences aimed at empowering project owners with knowledge and developing their business projects.For his part, al-Sulaiti lauded the strong support provided by HE the Minister of Sports and Youth Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani to empower Qatari youth and support entrepreneurs. He also commended Qatar Chamber for its unwavering support in fostering a conducive business environment.Al-Sulaiti emphasised that the forum is a significant step towards achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030, especially concerning youth and entrepreneurs. He noted that the Young Entrepreneurs Club has organised more than 35 various activities, including workshops, educational seminars, and networking meetings, which have brought together over 1,000 male and female entrepreneurs from various sectors.
Any fears that Qatar’s economy would contract following the FIFA World Cup in late 2022 and the geopolitical upheavals since have been confounded. A comprehensive analysis with positive outlook has been presented by the IMF in February, following a recent study visit by the Fund’s economists.Growth has been steady, holding at 1.6% for 2023, with non-hydrocarbon growth at 1%, from a strong base. Inflation is subdued, down to 2.8% from a high of 5% in 2022. The IMF describes the economy as having ‘normalised’ post-World Cup. While there is considerable potential for unwelcome shocks to the global and regional economy, at this stage Qatar’s growth appears to be on a sustainable path.Qatar’s principal export earnings are from oil and gas, but prudent fiscal management and long-term planning are helping diversification and sustainable growth, according to a new report by the IMFExport earnings are still dominated by oil and gas, especially liquefied natural gas (LNG), of which Qatar is one of the world’s most significant producers. But tourism numbers are up, confirmed by figures from December 2023 and January 2024, just over a year after the World Cup, indicating that a key strategic objective to attract visitors away from the times of a major event is proving effective.The IMF commended the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) for prudent management of public finances. Generally the policy has been counter-cyclical, with times of higher revenues used to pay down debt. There was rising government borrowing and considerable investment in infrastructure in the years leading up to the World Cup. The IMF commended the quality of the infrastructure, much of which should encourage ongoing economic development, rather than being solely to support the World Cup or other events.Both the government and the IMF recognise the need to encourage more private sector-led growth. While it would be tempting to use revenues from relatively strong gas prices to stimulate short-term economic activity, this could inhibit strategic moves to diversify the economy. Accordingly, reducing government debt, keeping public sector wages under control, and prioritising long-term economic development is the correct approach, especially as Qatar has a well-established sovereign wealth fund.The Fund notes that, should recessionary conditions be threatened, there should be flexibility for ‘productive and efficient spending’, together with measures to protect those who are economically vulnerable, without compromising an overall commitment to fiscal prudence. An example given is front-loading some smaller scale investment in community infrastructure projects.Perhaps the only notable downside in the report was the observed over-supply in real estate. This could lead to a further increase in NPLs. Banks are not significantly exposed, and the construction sector may be more affected. The IMF noted that rent levels had stabilised, and commended regulation of the sector and measures such as tourism and mortgages for expats to support demand.As well as diversification of the economy, the IMF paper discusses diversification of the tax base. As and when the economy diversifies, it would make sense to have more sources of revenue, helping to reduce volatility in tax revenues.Qatar has the infrastructure in place to begin levying VAT, but so far the government has held back from doing so. This is out of concern for the impact on cost of living, which is a laudable reason. Over the medium to longer term, however, the issue is likely to return to the agenda. Similarly, there is a zero rate of local corporate income tax and personal income tax. The IMF recommends expanding and diversifying the tax base.Against that, however, subsidies on fuel and food – which amount to a negative VAT – have been mostly withdrawn. The IMF recommends that ‘more can be done’ to eliminate remaining subsidies.On energy consumption, there is a sensible tariff system which imposes a zero levy for use below a certain threshold, with progressively higher marginal rates for higher energy consumption. This encourages energy efficiency.In addition to tourism and related services such as hospitality, Qatar has a strong higher education sector and business incubation hubs, which hold the promise of fostering growth in digital industries, especially artificial intelligence. Key to further economic progress is investment in human capital to support this development.The author is a Qatari banker, with many years of experience in the banking sector in senior positions.
The drilling of more than 20 appraisal wells in the past 10 years using state-of-the-art technologies has confirmed significant increase in North Field (NF) gas reserves, to more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet, said HE the Minister of State for Energy affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.Addressing a press conference at the QatarEnergy headquarters yesterday, al-Kaabi said, “I want to specifically mention the tireless work over the past two decades to evaluate the giant North Field and unlock its potential, especially in sectors that were not covered extensively by previous drilling and evaluation work.”Most recently, QatarEnergy has focused its efforts and attention on determining how far west the North Field extends in order to evaluate the production potential from those areas.“We have continued geological and engineering studies and have drilled a number of appraisal wells in that area.“I am pleased to announce today that, praise be to God, these great efforts have confirmed, through technical tests of the appraisal wells, the extension of the North Field’s productive layers further towards the west, which means the ability to produce significant quantities of gas from this new sector.“Recent studies have shown that the North Field contains huge additional gas quantities in the North Field estimated at 240tn cubic feet, which raises Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760tn cubic feet to more than 2,000tn cubic feet, and the condensates reserves from 70 to more than 80bn barrels, in addition to large quantities of liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, and helium.”Al-Kaabi noted, “These are very important results of great dimensions that will take Qatar’s gas industry to new horizons, as they will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field’s western sector with a production capacity of about 16 MTPY.“As such, Qatar's total LNG production will reach about 142MTPY when this new expansion is completed before the end of this decade. This represents an increase of almost 85% compared to current production levels. With the completion of this project, Qatar’s total hydrocarbon production will exceed 7.25mn barrels of oil equivalent per day.”The minister revealed that QatarEnergy will immediately commence the basic engineering works necessary to ensure that the planned progress is achieved according to the approved schedule for this new project, which will be called the ‘North Field West’.“These expansion project, which we are working to implement, aim to achieve optimal utilisation and management of our natural resources with the aim of contributing to what our wise leadership aspires to in terms of ensuring the economic and social well-being of current future generations of Qatar as articulated by the Qatar National Vision 2030.“At the same time, these projects reaffirm QatarEnergy’s commitment to reinforce its global leadership in the production and supply of LNG and live up to its commitment to provide an economic, safe and reliable energy source, giving priority to environmental sustainability for a more prosperous and brighter future.”Minister al-Kaabi also expressed his sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his wise leadership and guidance, and the unlimited support of Qatar’s energy sector.
QatarEnergy has 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 year (MTPY) before the end of this decade, representing an increase of almost 85% from current production levels.HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, made the announcement during a press conference held at QatarEnergy’s Headquarters in Doha Sunday.Addressing local and international media, Minister al-Kaabi said 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.Al-Kaabi said, “QatarEnergy has focused its efforts and attention on determining how far west the North Field’s productive layers extend in order to evaluate the production potential from those areas. We have continued geological and engineering studies and have drilled a number of appraisal wells in that area.“I am pleased today to announce that, praise be to God, these great efforts have confirmed, through technical tests of the appraisal wells, the extension of the North Field’s productive layers further towards the west, which means the ability to produce significant additional quantities of gas from this new sector.”Minister al-Kaabi also announced the presence of huge additional gas quantities in the North Field estimated at 240tn cubic feet, which raises Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760tn cubic feet to more than 2,000tn cubic feet, and the condensates reserves from 70 to more than 80bn barrels, in addition to large quantities of liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, and helium.Al-Kaabi noted, “These are very important results of great dimensions that will take Qatar’s gas industry to new horizons, as they will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field’s western sector with a production capacity of about 16 MTPY.“As such, Qatar's total LNG production will reach about 142MTPY when this new expansion is completed before the end of this decade. This represents an increase of almost 85% compared to current production levels. With the completion of this project, Qatar’s total hydrocarbon production will exceed 7.25mn barrels of oil equivalent per day.”Al-Kaabi revealed that QatarEnergy will immediately commence the basic engineering works necessary to ensure that the planned progress is achieved according to the approved schedule for this new project, which will be called the ‘North Field West’.He said QatarEnergy continues work to implement various elements of the North Field production expansion projects, including the North Field East project and the North Field South project.“I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to my colleagues the managers and employees at QatarEnergy and in the energy sector in Qatar, women and men, Qataris and expatriates, who work as one family tirelessly and with dedication to advance the energy sector for the benefit of Qatar, QatarEnergy, and our partners. And I would like to say: I am proud of you all.” Minister al-Kaabi concluded his remarks by expressing sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his wise leadership and guidance, and the unlimited support of Qatar’s energy sector.HE The Minister Of State For Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Also The President And CEO Of QatarEnergy, Addressing The Press Conference Sunday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), in partnership with the International Trade Administration (ITA), US Department of Commerce, marked a significant milestone with the successful hosting of its first USQBC SelectUSA event, an exclusive networking opportunity aimed at facilitating US-Qatar business and trade relations and connections. The event, held recently at the Pullman Doha West Bay, brought together community members to engage and support both US and Qatar economic relations. The welcoming remarks by USQBC Managing Director Sheikha Mayes al-Thani set the stage for an evening that emphasised the importance of fostering collaboration and strengthening relations. At the event, US Ambassador Timmy Davis reiterated the United States' strong and enduring relationship with Qatar, highlighting the importance of events like SelectUSA in enhancing economic cooperation. A comprehensive briefing was provided by the commercial office at the US Embassy Doha. The event, which covered many valuable insights on the upcoming SelectUSA event in June 2024, concluded with a vibrant networking reception, providing participants with a platform to connect, exchange ideas, and build meaningful relationships.The USQBC SelectUSA event serves as a precursor to the upcoming SelectUSA Investment Summit 2024, scheduled to take place in Washington DC from June 23 to 26. More than just a summit, this annual event is designed for in-person engagement, facilitating connections between global investors and US economic development organisations.The USQBC is committed to enhancing trade and investment between the US and Qatar. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative events, the council aims to strengthen economic ties and foster growth in key sectors.For more information on the USQBC, visit www.usqbc.org or contact [email protected] to explore membership opportunities.
Mannai Automotive has announced a partnership with BYD, a global leader in new energy solutions.This collaboration is expected to bring about a significant change in Qatar’s automotive industry through eco-friendly and technologically advanced electric vehicles (EVs) for the market’s discerning consumers.BYD is a “comprehensive” solution provider in the new energy sector, blending cutting-edge technology with sustainable practices. The brand has firmly established itself as a leader in world-class electric vehicles (EVs), marked by significant milestones, including the recent production of its 6mn new energy vehicles.BYD has maintained its position as the global leader in new energy vehicle sales for the second consecutive year, achieving remarkable sales of over 3mn vehicles last year, representing a substantial increase of 61.9% compared to 2022.These figures not only underscore BYD’s dominance in the EV market but also highlight its commitment to leading the global change towards a greener automotive future.The distributorship agreement was officially signed by AD Huang, general manager, BYD Middle East and Africa, and Rajesh Krishnan, group general manager, Mannai Automotive, marking a new era of sustainable transportation solutions for Qatar.The meeting of two of the most forward-thinking companies in the automotive world also featured a presentation by Adam Peng, regional sales director, BYD GCC and Levant Region, who discussed BYD’s unique and innovative approach to design.BYD offers an extensive range of electric vehicles, catering to various consumer needs and preferences. Their product lineup includes the stylish and performance-oriented BYD SEAL, the versatile and family-friendly BYD ATTO 3 and the luxurious and sophisticated BYD HAN.The new range also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) which will include the BYD SONG, which offers a sleek design and spacious interior, and the BYD QIN, the perfect balance between power and energy efficiency.Each model in BYD’s lineup is designed to offer an exceptional blend of performance, comfort, and environmental sustainability.Huang emphasised the significance of the collaboration and said, “BYD is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, and our alliance with Mannai is a testament to our shared vision of a greener future. With Mannai’s in-depth market insight and our world-leading innovative technology, we are poised to profoundly transform Qatar’s automotive sector.”Krishnan highlighted the alignment of Mannai’s customer-focused ethos with BYD’s pioneering spirit: “Mannai’s commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences finds a perfect partner in BYD’s premium, reliable, and cutting-edge electric vehicles. This collaboration is more than just a business agreement; it is about shaping Qatar’s greener future in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.Sahar Jamil, brand manager, Mannai, elaborated on the unique attributes of BYD’s impressive lineup, set to launch in Qatar: “The introduction of the BYD Seal, ATTO 3, HAN, QIN Plus Dm-I, and SONG will redefine standards in our nation’s electric vehicle segment. A marvel of engineering, combining aesthetic appeal with performance, these next-generation EVs are the epitome of luxury and efficiency. They symbolize Mannai’s commitment to bringing innovative and premium new vehicle brands to Qatar.”At the heart of BYD’s innovation is its pioneering ‘Blade Battery Technology’, a hallmark of the company’s commitment to creating truly outstanding electric vehicles. This revolutionary technology outperforms traditional lithium-ion and lithium-iron phosphate batteries in safety tests, maintaining chemical stability and low temperatures even under extreme conditions.The Blade Battery’s compact, efficient design increases space utilisation rate by over 50%, further enhancing its superiority on multiple fronts.Mannai’s new partnership is reinforced by BYD’s robust warranty policies, reflecting unmatched confidence in product quality — with an astonishing eight-year warranty on the battery and a remarkable three-year warranty on the vehicle itself.The BYD lineup is due to arrive in Qatar next month marking a significant milestone in Qatar’s journey towards an advanced, sustainable, and luxurious driving future.
QNB Group, the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa, has been recognised as the ‘Best Bank in Service in Qatar’ in Euromoney’s Trade Finance Survey 2024.The ranking represents the views of thousands of customers on their preference for customer service in Qatar, affirming QNB’s position as a pioneer in service standards.Service dimensions evaluated include product and service quality, added value, reliability, and customer satisfaction.Commenting on the accomplishment, senior executive vice president (Group Corporate and Institutional Banking) Khalid Ahmed al-Sada said, “This recognition reflects our customers trust in our services as we continue to digitise our products, services and processes used in every client transaction.“Our excellence in digital services and solutions, has significantly contributed to increasing customer satisfaction with our service and enriching their banking experience.”QNB Group is currently ranked as the most valuable bank brand in the Middle East and Africa.Through its subsidiaries and associate companies, the Group extends to some 28 countries across three continents providing a comprehensive range of advanced products and services.The total number of employees is 30,000 operating through 900 locations, with an ATM network of more than 4,800 machines.
QIIB hosted students from Qatar Academy in two batches as part of their ‘professional day’ at the bank headquarters recently. QIIB’s hosting of the professional day for students comes as part of the bank's implementation of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, which focuses on providing value addition to community through various activities, with education at the forefront. QIIB chief executive officer Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei warmly welcomed the students, noting that Qatar Academy stands as a premier educational institution in the country. He said QIIB is keen to collaborate with Qatar Academy and share its expertise with the students, who through their frequent visits to the bank, have demonstrated enthusiasm for success and excellence, as well as a commitment to serving their community and contributing to their nation’s development. The meeting with the students was attended by Jamal Abdullah al-Jamal, QIIB Deputy CEO; Ali Hamad al-Musaifri, head (Human Resources and Administration) and Khaled Abdul Rahman al-Shaibei, head (Business Development). During his meeting with the students, the CEO provided a historical overview of Islamic banking, tracing its evolution through the years up to its current state globally and, more specifically, in Qatar. He emphasised that Qatar has become a leading force in Islamic banking, actively contributing to the development of Islamic banking products and transactions, while collaborating closely with various stakeholders involved in this field. Al-Shaibei extended his best wishes to the students, encouraging them to pursue their academic and educational aspirations in their chosen disciplines. He underscored the importance of focusing on both theoretical and practical aspects of their studies, and advised them to choose their university specialisations based on their preferences and the demands of the job market. This, he noted, would greatly assist them in their future academic and professional paths. He emphasised, “QIIB will continue its commitment to providing unwavering support to various education-related activities, recognising education as the path to the future. “Islamic banks are required to keep up with advancements in science, technology, and the digital revolution. This compels them to invest in the current generation, extending a helping hand to them for the purpose of embarking on their journey, making innovations and acquiring knowledge that contributes to the deepening of Qatar's progress and prosperity”. As part of the professional day activities, the students conducted a tour of various departments within the bank. They received a detailed explanation about Islamic banking services and products, banking practices and techniques, and related technologies. Additionally, they gained understanding of the importance of technological advancement, cybersecurity, and other specialised areas that hold exceptional significance across various sectors, especially the banking sector. Qatar Academy students raised numerous inquiries related to banking operations, exploring the differences and similarities between traditional and Islamic banking. At the conclusion of the visit, the teachers and students who participated in Qatar Academy's professional day expressed their gratitude and appreciation to QIIB for supporting the students and hosting them annually at its headquarters in order to familiarise them with the skills and expertise related to Islamic banking and working in banks, thus contributing to refining the students' knowledge and broadening their future perspectives.
Some 21 residential projects are expected to be added in Qatar in 2024, with more than 60% in Doha located in Lusail and the rest in Doha, researcher ValuStrat said in a report. This year will see the completion of a “high concentration” of apartments ValuStrat said and noted most under-construction residential buildings are located in Fox Hills, Lusail, and in La Plage South, Doha. According to the researcher, the country’s residential segment will experience an “annual depreciation reflecting a gradual correction” in the sales market, which it said will be reflected on its ValuStrat Price Index (VPI). In the office segment, for 2024, projects in the pipeline are expected to reach 350,000sq m gross leaseable area (GLA), representing an estimated increase of 50% in the forecast. With the majority of the projects being delayed during 2023, oversupply is projected to exceed 2mn sq m GLA, which may continue to put “downward pressure” on the performance of the commercial sector. In the retail segment, ValuStrat noted Shop Qatar, a recurring January event, has elevated mall footfall and consumer engagement around the country. Most of the retail expected to be added during 2024 is developed in conjunction with mixed-use developments such as residential clusters or hospitality. The researcher noted that an upcoming development includes a Souq on Qetaifan Island North in Lusail, projected to be the size of a community mall, spanning around 11,000sq m GLA. As per ValuStrat research, for the year 2024 more than 2,225 keys are expected to be added to the hospitality stock. Qatar’s first Habitas hotel is commencing operations in 2024 in Ras Abrouq, with 42 villas, adventure, retail, and F&B the hotel promotes a stage for art exhibits, concerts, and film screenings. IHG Hotels & Resorts is set to complete its first Velero Hotel Vignette Collection in Lusail, Doha in the first quarter (Q1) 2024. Qatar’s tourism segment will be a major beneficiary of the Expo 2023 Doha, Qatar (International Horticulture Expo 2023-2024) expected to bring in 3mn tourists during the event period. Generally on the local economy, the researcher noted, “As per the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Qatar’s real GDP growth is expected to reduce to 2.2% during 2024 moving towards further adjustment after the World Cup boost. The US Federal Reserve has indicated the possibility of at least three rate cuts in 2024. It is anticipated that the Qatar Central Bank will likely follow suit. “Qatar’s inflation is forecasted to reach 2.3% in 2024, as per the IMF.”