The Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) has continued to maintain its relationship with its international partners and different global economic institutions through several initiatives, such as various virtual bilateral meetings, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was discussed during the QBA’s recent 32nd board of directors meeting led by its chairman, HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, who also discussed other significant topics and achievements in the presence of QBA first deputy chairman Hussain Alfardan and QBA second deputy chariman Dr Sheikh Khaled bin Thani al-Thani.
Also present during the meeting were QBA members Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser al-Thani, Sherida Saad Jubran al-Kaabi, Saud al-Mana, and Abdul Salam Issa Abu Issa, representing Issa Abu Issa, as well as QBA deputy general manager Sarah Abdullah.
During the board of directors meeting, QBA reviewed its activities in the past year and in the first half of 2020, especially after the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak on the business sector.
QBA lauded the Qatari government’s quick response and proactive initiative, under the directions of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, such as providing a financial incentives package to support the private sector and the economic and financial sectors.
“This resulted in giving it more confidence and reassurance, leading to more stability in the business environment and supporting the private sector to continue its role as a partner in achieving the comprehensive development of the country,” it was stated during the meeting.
The board members also valued the meeting called by HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani at the onset of the pandemic to discuss its economic and commercial impact, its effects on the private sector, and the appropriate solutions.
“This meeting is considered an indication of the government’s efforts to provide the necessary support to the private sector, and to encourage major players and stakeholders to play the role assigned to them,” the QBA said.
The board meeting discussed the recommendations presented by QBA during the recent meeting of ‘The Private Sector Challenges & Obstacles Committee’, wherein QBA is a member since the committee was established in September 15, 2019.
The committee is a government initiative that aims to strengthen public and private sector partnership, and the involvement of the Qatari private sector in the state’s economic development process.
It was formed following the decision of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani last year, and headed by HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari.
QBA said it values the efforts made by the committee to study the obstacles facing the private sector and help it resolve challenges. The board also valued the “remarkable progress” made by the committee in solving these challenges and the full support given to the private sector “to be a true partner in the economic process.”
The board also discussed QBA’s participation in several ministerial committees and its role in developing plans and policies related to the business environment and the private sector.
This includes the ‘2nd National Development Strategy Committee 2018-2022’ with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the ‘Organising Committee of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF)’, also with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
QBA said it recently participated in the technical working team of the ‘Economic Diversity and Financial Sustainability Committee’, in co-operation with Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
The board also reviewed some of the activities that QBA organised this year. With the start of 2020, QBA was honoured by the office visit of HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, which aims to strengthen the communication with the Qatari business community and Qatari businessmen.
Also, as “a very important milestone,” Sheikh Faisal and HE the Minister of State and QFZA chairman Ahmad bin Mohamed al-Sayed signed an MoU for joint co-operation and ways of benefiting from the services provided by the two economic institutions, such as providing services to local and foreign investors to enhance investment and support the economic development of the state.
Despite Covid-19, QBA continued to exercise its work with the same momentum through virtual communication techniques. This stage began with a meeting of QBA members to discuss the implications of this situation, and to review a number of ideas, proposals, and initiatives that would reduce the economic impact of the pandemic on the business sector. Following the meeting, QBA presented an economic study to analyse the main economic indicators, with some urgent proposals submitted to the authorities.
In the same context, QBA prepared more than six economic reports in various sectors, in addition to the Global Competitiveness Report that QBA prepares annually with the World Economic Forum as a primary partner for the WEF in Qatar for 15 consecutive years.
This year, QBA, in partnership with the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (Sesri), continued its role in distributing and collecting data from businessmen and businesswomen, and senior executives in private sector companies.
Other virtual meetings include the Qatar-Turkey Business Council and the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Association (DEIK) to discuss opportunities for economic co-operation during the current global crisis and to consolidate ties with economic institutions to identify and benefit from global experiences and to discuss proposed solutions to support private sector companies.
As a follow-up to the results of this business council, QBA held specialised sectoral meetings, in coordination with its Turkish partner, DEIK, where more than 50 meetings were organised in the health, medicine, and food industries sectors, in cooperation with the Free Zones Authority.
These meetings ensured continuous communication between Qatari businessmen and their counterparts around the world, considering the current crisis and its consequences on the economic environment.
In the same context, QBA held a meeting virtual with the Federation of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), confirming the importance of cooperation between various economic bodies and businessmen despite the pandemic.
It is worth noting that in 2019, QBA received many foreign commercial and economic delegations led by heads of state, foreign ministers, and heads of chambers of commerce and economic organisations from various countries.
These include, but not limited to, the US, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, England, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Jordan, Korea, Cuba, Botswana, Bulgaria, Venezuela, and Greece, as part of its continuous endeavour to enhance co-operation and develop bilateral relations for the Qatari private sector and open new markets for Qatari businessmen.
On the international level, QBA participated in organising many meetings, forums, and foreign trade missions to Japan, China, France, Germany, Malaysia, as well as Austria. The year 2019 started with QBA’s participation in the Qatar-Japan and Qatar-China business forums, which were held on the sidelines of the visit of His Highness the Amir to China and Japan.
QBA participated in a high-level Qatari delegation in the sixth session of the German-Qatari Joint Committee for Commercial, Economic and Technical Cooperation, organised in Berlin in the presence of HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari.
On the sidelines of the event, QBA organised the second meeting of the German-Qatari Joint Task Force. It is worth mentioning that the joint task force aims at establishing a platform for exchanging ideas between business leaders of the two countries, and discussing the obstacles and challenges faced by the Qatari and German business community, and the means to facilitate the entry of investors into the markets of both countries.
As a part of the official delegation, QBA participated in the Qatari-Austrian Business Forum with a high-level delegation from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on the sidelines of the visit of His Highness the Amir to Vienna.
QBA also participated with the Qatari delegation that visited Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, headed by the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the aim of holding several meetings that were organised in co-operation with various parties, among them the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Malaysia.
In mid-2019, QBA participated in the ‘Economists Meeting’ conference, which was organised in Aix-en-Provence, France, in addition to its participation in the delegation that was organised by the Qatari embassy in France, in co-operation with the Qatar-French economic association (Qadran) to the city of Marseille, within the framework of strengthening friendship and cooperation relations with major French cities.
QBA concluded the board meeting by reviewing the upcoming activities as an action plan through which the association seeks to revitalise business so that activities are fully-restored at the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
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