The government's efforts to promote fintech and food security have played a significant role in attracting US foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Qatar, according to an official of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC).
“There is a lot happening now in the country; there’s great focus on certain sectors, and technology is one of them, as well as fintech, manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, and food security, among other fields that the country and the government are bullish about.
“The council takes an active part in these efforts, and we do as much as we can to put the spotlight on such sectors, and give companies the support they need,” USQBC managing director Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad bin Mohamed bin Jabr al-Thani told Gulf Times in an interview.
Conversely, Sheikha Mayes pointed out that many Qatari companies are also eyeing several sectors in the US market, such as real estate and food and beverage (F&B), which are considered ideal investments prospects to expand their businesses outside Qatar.
“For the past years, real estate is one sector that Qataris are very much interested in the US market. There are a lot of major Qatari players who are heavily invested in America’s property market.
“Also, there has been a lot of focus on technology in the previous years. Recently, the council observed that there is much interest in the F&B segment. And we’re delighted to see a lot of Qatari businesses wanting to expand to the US market,” Sheikha Mayes stressed.
She said, “I can see that a lot of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are eager to penetrate the US market, and this observation was made even before the opening of the USQBC office in Doha.
“This is one of the reasons why we wanted to have an office here because of the great interest from the Qatari market and among businesses here. The fact that they have the courage to expand to the US, which is a huge and competitive market, is a major development.”
Speaking on the government's efforts to put SMEs in big-ticket projects in the Qatari market and beyond, Sheikha Mayes said USQBC “believes and supports” this initiative “because SMEs are the backbone of the economy and the future of the country.”
To help SMEs accomplish their role in economic development and to help them enter the US market, Sheikha Mayes noted that USQBC regularly organises initiatives that would help promote the growth of Qatar’s SME sector.
“One example is the council’s recently-held webinar with one of our partners – Qatar Development Bank. The event basically targets US companies eager to gain more insight on the Qatari investment market.
“The whole idea is to support SMEs and promote local products, as well as to help them develop and expand to newer and larger markets. We’re always looking to do this with our partners or through key players that we work with,” she said.