Posted on August 19, 2017

A knowledge sharing session on “Qatar – Land of opportunities” was hosted by Doha Bank on 16th August 2017 at Four Seasons Hotel, Doha, Qatar. H E Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al Thani, Managing Director, Doha Bank was instrumental in organizing this event.

He also honoured the Chief Guest of the event HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank. The speakers at the event include Mr. Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO, Qatar Financial Centre Authority, Mr. Rashid Ali Al – Mansoori, CEO, Qatar Stock Exchange and Mr. Abdul-Aziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO, Qatar Development Bank. The event was well attended by key Qatari dignitaries, eminent local businessman and representatives from various embassies. Dr. R.Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank was the key note speaker and gave the concept note. He said “According to IMF July 2017 Outlook, economic activity in both advanced economies and emerging and developing economies is forecast to accelerate in 2017, to 2 percent and 4.6 percent respectively, with global growth projected to be 3.5 percent. Current global growth prospects are encouraging, though the pace of growth is still weaker than desirable.

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Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy and also showcased the various developments in Qatar since the beginning of the blockade and how Qatar had managed the current situation. He stated “Qatar has a reserve of $340 billion including assets of its Sovereign Wealth Fund, QCB reserves cash and Gold. Together Qatar’s reserves are more than 200% of its GDP. Qatar Banking Asset growth was close to 3% YTD till June 2017. The Overall Lending growth was close to 4% YTD till June 2017.  The deposit growth was close to 6% YTD till June 2017. Qatar’s Net trade surplus for Jun’17 was $3.45Bn.” He also moderated a panel session with the eminent speakers with discussions pertaining to foreign investors, capital market developments, regulatory reforms, Qatar food Security and SME sector.

Mr. Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO, Qatar Financial Centre Authority said “Qatar has proven its resilience, it remains the world’s top LNG exporter and one of the highest rated countries in the Middle East. Additionally reserves and funds exceeding 250% of GDP means Qatar has the tools to defend its economy.” He added: “Qatar is emerging stronger than ever by proving its self-sufficiency, entering new markets and pushing ahead with its diversification strategy.” He continued: “The vast billion dollar infrastructure projects in place in a variety of sectors such as transport, health, education and sports means Qatar will carry on growing and remain to be one of the strongest economies worldwide.”

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Mr. Rashid Ali Al – Mansoori, CEO, Qatar Stock Exchange stated that Qatar Stock market is open for GCC and foreign investors and is offering new products. We also focus on the SME sector. We are working on introducing margin trading and short selling products. ETF will also be an interesting opportunity. We are working on simplifying the process for investors.  The change in tick size of stocks in QSE will have positive impact on certain stocks. The new rules are also set to improve governance and transparency.

Mr. Abdul-Aziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) stated the major challenges faced by SME sector such as access to information, funding and for procurement opportunities. QDB is working on the challenges faced by SME sector and to translate them into opportunities. He also highlighted on the business procurement done in recent years for SME sector. The blockade is giving opportunities on the international front as well apart from the local segment. These developments reveal that Qatar is serious for business and business is as usual. He also highlighted the benefits from home-farming initiative.

In his concluding remarks Dr. R. Seetharaman stated “Qatar is converging as a resilient and sustainable performer.”