Qatar's digital sector has more promising potential for growth and new investments across several verticals, including artificial intelligence (AI) and fintech, according to the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPAQ).
"Looking ahead, we expect the digital sector to continue playing a vital role in economic development, and that translates into more room for growth and new investment opportunities across various areas, including fintech, AI, education, healthcare, and industry” IPAQ chief executive Sheikh Ali Alwaleed al-Thani told a “Crisis as a Catalyst: Emerging Opportunities in Qatar’s Digital Sector” event organised by the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) in association with Invest Qatar.
IPAQ co-ordinates investment promotions activities under the Invest Qatar brand.
In addition to its strong and resilient economy, the country had set into motion several national initiatives aimed at achieving economic diversification as part of the Qatar Nation Vision 2030, he said.
“While the pandemic has confronted countries and institutions with several key challenges, the crisis is equally creating a multitude of investment opportunities as both countries and businesses continue to transform for the new economy," he said.
The QFC has long recognised the digital sector as one of the most promising growth catalysts for Qatar’s economy in parallel to the government’s targeted investments in Qatar’s digital infrastructure, according to Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, QFC Authority chief executive.
"As Covid-19 continues to highlight the necessity of digital transformation, Qatar will undoubtedly witness an acceleration of opportunities in its digital eco-system for local and international firms to tap into, and the QFC will continue to be a core enabler for those firms to access our lucrative market,” he said.
Qatar has a “significant” first-mover advantage for international firms, especially in fintech and others in the digital landscape, in view of the opportunities in the country, whose ICT spend is expected to reach $9bn by 2024, he said.
Heba Almasri, managing director, Qatar SportsTech, said the QFC provides a stepping stone for numerous startups to establish their business in Qatar and contribute to the development of the sports ecosystem.
"With QFC's transparent regulatory system, we are able to attract quality startups from around the world to expand their business and make Doha their new base. At QST, we are proud to partner with QFC and create opportunities for international companies and further Qatar's vision of transforming itself into an advanced society, capable of achieving sustainable development," she said.
Noor al-Kuwari, senior project lead, TASMU Digital Valley (TDV), said one of the key objectives of TDV is to foster a collaborative environment between local as well as foreign digital ICT (information communication and technology) companies and other key stakeholders of the digital ecosystem to drive digital transformation in Qatar.
"The impact of Covid-19 pandemic has been both immediate and far-reaching and has also resulted in the creation of significant digital opportunities across all sectors of the economy," she added.