The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) will offer "generous" incentives for those multinational firms wishing to make Doha as a hub for their expansion into the wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and South East Asia regions, said its top official on Monday.
"We have put together a very generous package for those multinationals that want to establish Qatar as the hub location for the Mena and South East Asia regions," the QFC Authority chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIF) annual meeting, which was conducted online this year.
He said the QFC would be looking at providing incentives in terms of covering certain aspects of capital expenditure and rents of those companies (wishing to make Doha their focal point for global expansion).
Highlighting the increasing competition among the financial centres, he said therefore it is imperative for the QFC to come up with its own “niches” within the financial and non-financial sectors in order to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs).
Within financial services, the QFC would be looking at Islamic finance and fintech; while within non-financials; it is eyeing sports, media and digital segments in a big way, he said.
On the broad issue of co-operation among the global financial centres, al-Jaida said the mutual recognition of regulations and policies as well as passporting mechanism would go long way in enabling financial services entities to work freely within the financial centres.
"The ability of the financial centres in creating mutual recognition and passporting mechanism will help financial institutions in those centers to operate freely," he said.
Highlighting the QFC's ongoing talks with Turkey and Malaysia for creating a sort of consortium for Islamic financial activities, under which Turkey would cover Islamic finance needs in Europe, Qatar would serve the greater Mena and Malaysia the Asian markets; he said these could be adopted by other financial centers.
"We believe this initiative (of mutual recognition and passporting) can definitely be a huge positive addition to financial services regionally and globally," al-Jaida said.
Considering that the world is going through a very tough time due to the pandemic, he said the QFIC is committed to working with the relevant stakeholders in Qatar and beyond to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small and medium enterprises or SMEs.
WAIFC members had issued a joint declaration in May 2020, exhibiting their collective commitment to seeking ways to mitigate the outcomes of the pandemic and formed joint international working groups to study the impact of the pandemic.
The four working groups comprising experts from WAIFC-member international financial centres shared preliminary insights during the meeting on how to re-engineer key areas of national economies, including sustainable finance, SME finance, regulation and fintech and innovation, to ignite a lasting and resilient global economic recovery.
"It was essential for our members to meet in the current crisis and confirm that financial centres are part of the solution for economic recovery. We have important contributions to accelerate growth, with a strong focus on accelerating sustainable finance and financial innovation," said Arnaud de Bresson, chairman of WAIFC and chief executive and managing director, Paris Europlace.