Doha Bank recently hosted an interactive virtual client conference titled “Qatar economic development and opportunities”.
The speakers included. Khalid Abdulla al-Mana, executive director (Business Finance), Qatar Development Bank, Rashid Ali al-Mansoori, CEO, Qatar Stock Exchange, Yousuf Mohamed al- Jaida, CEO, QFC Authority and Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad bin J. al- Thani, director, Public Health, Ministry of Public Health.
In his welcome and introductory note Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank said, “According to an IMF report in April, Qatar economy is expected to grow by 2.4% in 2021.The banking sector witnessed a lending growth of more than 5% in the first four months of this year. Qatar’s fiscal 2021 had earmarked QR194.7bn for spending. This year Qatar has come out with ambitious expansion plans on the LNG segment.
“In April, Qatar Cabinet had announced support to private sector, which was closed to Covid-19 precautionary measures. Qatar’s trade surplus had tripled year-on-year in April 2021.The promising investment sectors in Qatar include fintech, advanced manufacturing sector, healthcare, logistics and education. The PPP law and Investment law will provide opportunities.”
Al-Mana said, “As a key contributor to the nation’s economic diversification, QDB continues to play a critical role in maintaining the strength of SMEs in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic. These efforts are bolstered to great effect due to the tremendous support of the government and QDB’s flexible and meticulous response strategy, in addition to the rapid digital transformation process we are continuing to undergo.
“These factors were positively reflected in a significant increase witnessed at the level of financing, export and advisory, and educational services, as well as the localisation of supply chains and the development of the creative energies of Qatari entrepreneurs. It is this resilience, which has truly enabled us to transform the challenges into opportunities and continue supporting the development and prosperity of the Qatari economy.”
Al-Mansouri stated that the Qatar Stock Exchange was part of the country's delegation to the St. Petersburg International Economic forum. QSE held a number of important meetings and signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation with the Moscow Exchange, as an important step toward strengthening cooperation between the two countries' capital markets and an indication of the dynamism that the Qatar Stock Exchange possesses.
QSE is working on a variety of fronts to promote its market and elevate it to the ranks of advanced international stock exchanges.
Al-Mansouri commended Dr. Seetharaman, the CEO of Doha Bank, for his introductory remarks. He also praised the speakers' keynote speeches, as well as the valuable and important contributions made by many seminar participants, who focused on the Qatar economy's resilience, the effectiveness of the government's policy responses and sustainable development initiatives, and the pandemic's ongoing effects on the global economy.
Al-Mansouri added that despite the pandemic's persistence, QSE continued to implement its ambitious policy of strengthening its infrastructure, providing more services to investors, and launching the Venture Market, in which a family business became the first to be listed and transformed into a public shareholding company whose shares are now traded in the market.
Highlighting the increasingly diverse range of opportunities available for foreign firms in Qatar’s business landscape as a result of the ongoing economic diversification, QFC’s al-Jaida said: “Following the Covid-19 disruption, Qatar’s economy is coming back on the right recovery path, thanks to the timely response from the government as well as the private sector institutions in adequately handling the shockwaves of the pandemic. The current growth prospects stem from the early stimulus measures that were taken to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on businesses in Qatar.
“The country’s economy is set to witness further key developments revolving around important milestones, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the awarding of the North Field South (NFS) contracts, the commencement of the North Field Expansion for boosting LNG export volumes, and further expansion of the Hamad International Airport (HIA) airport, which will serve as important catalysts for long-term stability.”
Al-Jaida continued: “Qatar’s continuous and timely economic reforms, coupled with the opening of more sectors for foreign investors as well as the relaxing of foreign ownership, are some of the key steps taken, that adds to the attractiveness of the country’s market to businesses and investors from different parts of the world, especially from South Asian and Far East Asian countries, including India, China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and others.
As these reforms continue, Qatar offers a range of other facilities for foreign businesses wishing to enter the country’s market. These include, among others, free zones, and other facilitation centres such as the QFC, which offers unmatched benefits for foreign investors. QFC saw a considerable growth of over 63% in the number of companies registered on its platform in 2020 compared to 2019, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the reforms as well as the incentive programmes on offer.”
Sheikh Dr Mohamed said that to minimise the negative impacts of the pandemic, the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar has implemented proactive preventive strategies to mitigate transmission and focused on emergency preparedness and response governance, timeliness and rigor of measures.
These, he said, are in addition to a robust health care sector response to Covid-19 with adequate supply and distribution of vaccines.
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