Plans are in the pipeline for the opening of a ‘Doha Fintech Hub’, which resulted from meetings between Swedish financial technology (fintech) institutions and the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
“We are very happy to see fruitful results from our close cooperation with Qatar in this area, having engaged both QDB and QCB in study visits to Swedish fintech institutions and their respective counterparts in Sweden,” Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano told Gulf Times on Tuesday.
“Such a concrete result is the soon-to-be opened Doha Fintech Hub, which was announced after the successful visit of the QDB and QCB delegation to Sweden in October 2017,” she continued.
The QCB and QDB delegation’s trip to Sweden last year was followed up with another visit to the Swedish Central Bank (Riksbank) and Stockholm-based fintech companies last month, Polano said, adding that the Riksbank visit was focused on the regulatory responsibilities of central banks.
“A major focus during the visit to Stockholm was knowledge sharing in financial technology, which is currently a prioritised area for Qatar Central Bank. The QCB has recognised that for financial technology startups to succeed in Qatar, a beneficial regulatory environment is needed,” she further said.
Polano also said the founder and CEO of UBI Global, business innovation expert and Swedish entrepreneur, Ali Amin, was in Qatar last week to discuss with QDB the planned ‘World Incubation Summit’ slated in Doha next year.
“During these discussions between QDB and UBI Global in Sweden, and their continued contacts during the last months, it has been planned that the next ‘World Incubation Summit’, organised by UBI Global and hosted by QDB, shall take place in Doha in October 2019 and includes international speakers, workshops and panel discussions, and tours of local innovation hubs,” Polano said.
“UBI Global’s business idea is to assemble business incubators and accelerators worldwide into a network where members can participate in benchmarking and ranking research and gain best practices to help them grow their startups. Through this innovation community, UBI Global uncovers business opportunities for corporations, governments, and investors such as competitions and events,” the ambassador continued.
Polano also said Swedish exports to Qatar for January to June 2018 (QR343.8mn) “remained largely unchanged” compared to the same period in 2017, while Swedish imports from Qatar is up 137% for the same period.
“Trade between the two countries is increasing steadily and very impressively from Qatar to Sweden. The numbers for Qatar-Sweden bilateral trade are by far the most impressive compared to other countries in the Gulf area, which shows Qatar’s rapid development since the beginning of the blockade, after which, direct trade between Sweden and Qatar has become increasingly important,” Polano emphasised.
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