The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has organised a line-up of engaging virtual events spanning across three days, including the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC).
The diverse engagements witnessed a record attendance of over 1,000 attendees, in addition to the participation of all 17 International Financial Centres members, the QFC said in a statement.
Marking the first time ever Qatar hosted the WAIFC AGM, the full-fledged comprehensive programme consisted of three webinars and a forum, which showcased Qatar’s strategic role in driving economic recovery post Covid-19 in the region and beyond. It also leveraged the country’s state-of-the-art technology eco-system and the QFC’s innovative digital landscape, which provided a dynamic platform to senior officials and high-level experts from over 25 countries to engage in thought-provoking discussions.
QFC chief marketing officer Sarah al-Dorani said, “We are pleased to have hosted this AGM for the first time since gaining our membership last year. This is a momentous occasion for the QFC, as we continue to complement Qatar’s strategic role in accelerating economic growth, especially during these challenging times.
“Hosting this event virtually enabled us to overcome the current global travel restrictions and provided participants with an optimum networking and engaging digital experience. We hope that this will be one of many events that we will host with the WAIFC, both virtually and in Qatar.”
Representing a diversified programme pertaining to economic, business and entrepreneurship themes, the first day kicked-off with two key webinars, including a "Getting to Know Qatar" segment that introduced the high-level guests to Qatar’s bourgeoning business ecosystem and exhibited the country’s rising fintech landscape with interactive activities run by the Qatar FinTech Hub and SkipCash, a leading Qatari fintech firm.
The webinar featured QFC CEO and board member Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, al-Dorani, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) business intelligence manager Georges Fouad Salem, QFC Financial Sector Office managing director Henk J Hoogendoorn, and SkipCash co-founder and managing director Mohamed Aldelaimi.
The second webinar, titled "Economic Recovery from the Pandemic", set the stage for renowned speakers from WAIFC’s member international financial centres to identify how to re-engineer key areas of national economies, including sustainable finance, SME finance, regulations, fintech and innovation, to ignite a lasting and resilient global economic recovery.
A "WAIFC Technology and Innovation Forum" focused on technology and digital innovation as catalysts to economic recovery was also hosted by the QFC, in collaboration with Moscow International Financial Centre and the WAIFC. The forum gave the floor to senior representatives of the international financial centres and renowned experts who engaged in informative and thought-provoking discussions.
They also shed light on the criticality of cross-industry collaborations and innovative technology-based solutions in addressing the challenges post Covid-19 and the role of their organisations in this regard.
The forum was joined by al-Jaida, alongside Arnaud de Bresson, CEO and managing director, Paris Europlace, and chairman of WAIFC; Alexander Voloshin, CEO, Moscow International Finance Centre; Wayne Evans, managing director, International Trade and Investment, TheCityUK; and Jennifer Reynolds, president & CEO, Toronto Finance International.
Concluding the three-day programme, the QFC tapped into one of the current most trending global economic developments – the rise of central bank digital currency (CBDC). Co-hosted with PwC Switzerland, the final webinar, titled "Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): Key Developments and Relevance in the Post Covid-19 Monetary Environment", highlighted how the accelerated digitisation of commerce, trade, government, health care, and financial services is reshaping the monetary environment.
It also tackled the benefits and implications of CBDC on the global economy. The discussion was led by Jiazhong Wang, vice president, Financial Services Asia Market, Financial Sector Office, QFC; Klaus Loeber, head of the Oversight Division, European Central Bank; Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings professor in Law and expert on Financial Regulation, University of Hong Kong; Dr Antonios Koumbarakis, head, Strategic Regulatory & Sustainability Services, Legal, PwC Switzerland; and Dr Jochen Biedermann, managing director, WAIFC.
The QFC, which joined WAIFC in August 2019 in an effort to work with international financial centres to further promote sustainable business growth globally and facilitate greater cooperation and exchange of best practices with WAIFC members, is an onshore jurisdiction that allows registered companies to enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double taxation avoidance agreement network with 81 countries.