Posted on March 12, 2019

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world’s leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Paris EUROPLACE and Finance Innovation, to support the growth of Qatar’s booming digital industry.

Paris EUROPLACE is responsible for promoting and developing the Paris financial marketplace. Finance Innovation was launched by the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance in 2007 to stimulate the Paris financial centre, and encompasses 480 member organisations and companies.

The agreements aim to support the development of the digital industry in Qatar, the exchange of expertise in innovation trends, cross-promoting start-ups in France and Qatar, as well as developing appropriate incentive packages to attract international and local companies operating in the digital and technology industry to establish a long-term presence in Qatar. The signing ceremonies were attended by H.E. Sheikh Ali bin Jassem Al Thani, Ambassador for the State of Qatar to France, Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO, QFC Authority, Sheikha Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director, Business Development, QFC Authority, as well as other QFC officials and high-level executives of Paris EUROPLACE and Finance Innovation.

Additionally, QFC officials addressed the audience of the [email protected] Summit, which is a Qatar Foundation Initiative. The event gathered 800 French, European and international stakeholders, among them political decision makers, social entrepreneurs, innovators, NGOs and students, to discuss and collaborate on actionable and innovative solutions in education, and was sponsored by the QFC. The QFC’s attending delegation was led by Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority who provided a keynote speech at the WISE Summit reception, and included Sheikha Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director of Business Development, QFC Authority – who provided the keynote speech to a UNESCO panel titled “A Future of Work For All”, which was held in Station F - the world’s largest business incubator.

On his part, H.E Ambassador Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al-Thani, made a special reference to the Strategic Dialogue declaration of intent which has been signed earlier this month in Doha between the State of Qatar and France. He stressed that signing this MOU, between QFC and Paris EUROPLACE and Finance Innovation, is in line with the letter and spirit of the said Agreement, and considered that signing the MOU is a testimony to the strategic relations between the State of Qatar and France. H.E the Ambassador talked also about the importance of the MOU, in consolidating the strategic relations between the State of Qatar and France.

He expressed his confidence that signing the MOU will further improve the economic relations between the two countries. He added that relations between our two countries will see further progress in the near future not only in the economic field but in other fields as well and especially in culture. In this regard, H.E Al-Thani said that we will soon celebrate the Qatar-France cultural year 2020 where the two countries will hold and share various cultural activities. He concluded by saying that these cultural activities will send a clear message that relations between Qatar and France are not limited to economic interests but much deeper and more diversified.

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Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority said: “The digitalisation of the economy is a key component of Qatar’s ambitious national initiatives and the Qatar Financial Centre’s mandate, both of which aim to enable further economic diversification. We are confident that by partnering with Paris EUROPLACE and Finance Innovation we can jointly contribute towards the continued success of the digital industry in Qatar. We have also recently announced our new strategy which emphasises key sectors including the digital industry, and these new partnerships follow agreements with key local stakeholders including the Ministry of Transport and Communication as well as the Communication Regulatory Authority.”

Sheikha Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director, Business Development QFC Authority said: “Our agreements with Paris EUROPLACE and Finance Innovation are yet another indication of the Qatar Financial Centre’s commitment to the important European and French markets. By leveraging the expertise of these institutions, particularly in the FinTech industry, we are confident that we can contribute significantly to the growth of the sector in Qatar.”

Arnaud de Bresson, CEO, Paris EUROPLACE expressed: “The Paris financial center and its stakeholders have developed close relations with Qatar financial market players since more than 10 years. The signature of the MOU is an important step to accelerate our cooperation in different sectors such as investment banking, infrastructure financing, asset management but also, in financial innovation, based on a strong support to the Fintechs, particularly in the most innovative fields, Blockchain, AI, new payment solutions…”

Joelle Durieux, CEO, Finance Innovation said: “We are excited about our partnership with QFC and the ample opportunities it will provide to our local startups. Doha is one of the fastest growing FinTech markets and Qatar Financial Centre Authority has paved the way for SMEs to develop and test their products within an internationally-recognised regulatory framework and a robust financial ecosystem. This will ultimately allow French startups to expand their presence into the MENA region and explore further prospects for growth.”

Omran Al-Kuwari, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Foundation International, said: “WISE is a response to the necessity of revitalizing education and providing a global platform for the development of new ideas and solutions. It has evolved into a thriving global, multi-sectoral community, which continues to generate fruitful dialogue and productive partnerships.” Stavros Yiannouka, CEO, WISE, said: “We believe that our ideas about the future matter in education. Through these ideas we can proactively address the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace. And we need to seize this moment to rethink what it means to be human.”

Qatar’s digital infrastructure has already achieved significant international rankings including the first globally in Internet Penetration in 2017, as well as ninth globally in ICT adoption according to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2018, as well as many others. Qatar also recently pledged USD $50 million to Kuwait’s investment fund in technology and digital economy across the region, reiterating its continued commitment to developing the digital industry. The QFC’s new MoU agreements are amongst several initiatives to have been launched to spur the growth of the digital industry in Qatar, such as agreements with the Ministry of Transport and Communications, as well as the Communications Regulatory Authority.

The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction that allows registered companies to enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double taxation avoidance agreement network with 70+ countries.

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