Qatar has been witnessing positive developments among startups that are focusing on the sports sector, an official of the Investment and Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) has said.
Speaking to Oxford Business Group (OBG) on the opportunities that Qatar has gained as the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, IPA Qatar CEO Sheikh Ali al-Waleed al-Thani emphasised that prior to the tournament, which will be held in the latter part of the year, the country had already proven its capability to host large international events.
He also noted that the Qatari government implemented a series of mega-infrastructure projects, such as sports stadia and the expansion of the Hamad International Airport, as well as the development of hotels and tourism-related facilities.
“The upcoming football tournament will undoubtedly help draw more international attention to Qatar and will consolidate the country’s longstanding efforts to become a centre for sports, tourism, and culture.
“There has also been significant progress related to entrepreneurial and startups involved in sports. We remain confident that hosting the event will have a positive effect on Qatar’s long-term economic growth prospects,” said Sheikh Ali in OBG’s ‘The Report: Qatar 2022’.
In sectors that have the most potential to support growing levels of foreign investment, Sheikh Ali pointed out that the pandemic hastened digital transformation in economies worldwide.
“Qatar is no exception, and this shift has been aided by pre-existing efforts and investments made by the government in this area in recent years. These factors have supported several areas of growth, key among them is ICT. The industry’s development is gaining traction and attracting both local and foreign investors, especially in emerging segments, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, cybersecurity, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.
“Another promising area is the domestic food and agro-processing industry. We have seen remarkable development in this area in recent years, which bolstered Qatar’s self-sufficiency in food and, in turn, minimised the country’s reliance on imported food,” Sheikh Ali said.
According to Sheikh Ali, the healthcare sector is also attracting significant international interest, supported by Qatar’s advanced healthcare infrastructure. Building on this, he stressed that there are opportunities for expansion in promising segments, such as medical tourism.
“Similarly, the logistics sector continues to perform at international standards. We have one of the largest seaports and busiest airports in the region. These two facilities have proven to be a key driver of growth for the local logistics industry and the broader economy.
“Moreover, Qatar is making strides in advanced manufacturing through the use of technology to increase productivity and sustainability. The value proposition of companies operating in this space is very attractive, thus presenting notable opportunities for investment,” Sheikh Ali stated.