Despite the ongoing blockade, Qatar has not only proved its resilience as a robust and vibrant economy, but has successfully reversed the economic impact of the unjust siege into opportunities. The country, with ambitious development strategies, is now emerging as a gateway to $2.1 trillion regional market, noted a top official of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), yesterday.
Qatar, over the last one and a-half year after the siege, has been able to transform the challenges into opportunities by introducing a series of economic and other reforms, and has come under the spotlight of global companies and investors.
“We are focusing on the few markets in the nearby such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, India, Pakistan and some other countries in the Southeast Asia region. If you quantify those markets, which are nearly four hours away from Doha, it constitutes a very big economic block.
And we firmly believe that Doha-based companies can serve these markets better,” Yousuf Al Jaida, CEO and Board Member at QFC, told The Peninsula on the sidelines of the Qatar Business Law Forum, organised by LexisNexis, a leading firm in the MENA region.
Al Jaida added: “We are incentivizing multinationals to establish in Qatar to tap the business opportunities in those markets.
We have strategic geographical location, good connectivity, better infrastructure and logistics facilities, so we believe that there is a very good business proposition here.”
He also noted that the five emerging markets—Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan and Qatar— have a total population of over 400 million generating a combined GDP of about $2.1 trillion and contributing about $1.13 trillion of trade providing huge opportunities of business, trade and investment.
Al Jaida highlighted that attracting FDI has become a priority, reality and a way to move forward, and Qatar is becoming more and more suitable and attractive destination for investors and businesses.
Citing robust macro-economic data such as GDP growth, bank deposits, steady growth in trade and improved balance of payment position, performance of the capital market, he said that Qatar remains resilient through the blockade.
Commenting on Qatar emerging as regional financial hub, he said: “It’s progressing very well.
Currently we are putting together our governance structure for the incentive proposal. We intend to work with our colleagues at the Ministry of Finance and the Free Zone Authority, and many companies are expected to start operations from 2019.”
Al Jaida, speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Qatar Business Climate and the Role of the QFC Platform’, also highlighted that Qatar, after the blockade, has emerged stronger, and have established access to new markets, achieved self-sufficiency in many essential and strategic goods and services, including food security.
It has introduced more reforms and better legal system, witnessed significant jump in the ease of doing business, and also introduced encouraging changes in the immigration laws to create a more business and investment friendly environment.
Other panelists included Sheikh Thani bin Ali Al Thani, Founder of Thani Bin Ali Al Thani Law Firm, who provided a detailed overview on foreign investment laws and regulations; and Dr Yassin El Shazly, Legal Counsel at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
He highlighted various reforms introduced to create a better investment climate in Qatar. Dr Yassin also spoke briefly about some of the upcoming laws, including the most awaited law related to Public-Private Partnership. The discussion was moderated by Mubarak Al Sulaiti, Chairman of Al Sulaiti Law Firm.