Posted on October 12, 2018

The International Products Exhibition and Conference (IPEC), which kicked off on October 8 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, brought together political and business leaders, government officials, and entrepreneurs from across the region to discuss the dynamics of international growth and trade. Discussions focused on “Shaping the Future of Economic Development” and “Infrastructure in Trade and Economic Development” among other topics.

The 2018 edition of the exhibition was inaugurated by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior. In his opening speech, HE the Prime Minister outlined his government’s efforts to promote sustainable development.

HE Sheikh Abdullah’s remarks were echoed by senior Qatari officials. Addressing reporters, Mr Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Group CEO of Qatar National Bank, said “IPEC 2018 represents a valuable opportunity for policymakers, financiers, industry leaders, SMEs and academics to come together and help shape the future. “As a Platinum Sponsor of the inaugural event, QNB continues to play its part in the development of global trade,” Al Kuwari added, noting that the event “provides a platform that enables investors from around the world to meet with key decision-makers - from across the public and private sectors - who can deliver access to projects and opportunities in Qatar and around the world is essential for our future.”

Qatar Airways CEO Mr Akbar Al Baker, said he was pleased that Qatar Airways was the Platinum Sponsor and Official Airline of IPEC 2018, adding that, “we work tirelessly to support the nation as it forges new – and deepens existing – relationships with its international trading partners. “We are proud to be part of an event which drives those connections and explores future possibilities. The opportunities for global growth are vast and bringing people together to work collaboratively to reach our potential is one of our core responsibilities,” he told participants at IPEC 2018.

The opening panel, which examined promoting sustainable economic growth in collaboration with Qatari partners, brought together H.E. Ali Shareef Al-Emadi, Qatar’s Minister of Finance and H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani, Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce, along with Trade and Commerce Ministers from Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, and the Chairman of Oman’s Chamber of Commerce. The final panel of the day touched on strategies towards supporting Qatar’s economic development. Speaking at the panel, H.E. Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, presented the airline’s vision on how to support economic stability with the growth of both cargo and passenger services, while Hassan Abdulrahman Al-Ibrahim, Acting Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, spoke on the benefits of visa-free access to Qatar and increasing the number of city-wide events to attract more tourists. 

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The panel also examined strategies and initiatives towards accomplishing Qatar’s National Vision 2030, with a focus on opportunities in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022. H.E. Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Group CEO of Qatar National Bank, and Mr Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO of Qatar Financial Centre also participated in the event. Day two of the conference opened with a panel on “The Role of Infrastructure in Determining Import and Export Competitiveness.” The panel was attended by H.E. Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Dr Eng. Saad bin Ahmad Al-Muhannadi, President of the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’, Qatar, H.E. Abdul Karim Grawend, Governor of Bushehr Province, Iran, and H.E. Javed Akbar Bhatti, Additional Secretary (Trade Diplomacy) of the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan.

Addressing participants, H.E. Ahmad bin Mohammed Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman, Free Zones Authority, Qatar, briefed the delegates on the advantages and incentives to register foreign and local companies in the Free Zone. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO, Qatar Development Bank then delivered a keynote on supporting SMEs in accessing large government projects under the Moushtarayat Initiative. Al-Khalifa elaborated on how the program aims to strengthen cooperation between private and public sector companies. Keynotes were then presented by Pat Thaker, Editorial and Regional Director MEA, The Economist, and John Andrews, Author of The World in Conflict, and co-editor of Megachange and The World in 2050.

The final panel of the conference examined strategies and policies to bolster economic investments in Qatar. The panel brought together Salman Mohamed Kaldari, Chairman of Qatari Committee for the Single Window System Management, Khamis Ahmed Al-Mohannadi, Chairman of the Private Sector Development and Support Committee and Representative of the Qatar Businessmen Association, H.E. Eng. Na’el Al Kabariti, Chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, and Dr Boushra Rahmouni Benhida, Vice President of the Moroccan Association of Exporters. The final day of the exhibition concluded with a workshop organized in partnership with Qatar University to discuss global entrepreneurship, economic development and intellectual property protection.

IPEC 2018 seeks to build bridges, find solutions to global challenges, and improve trade, investment, and economic development. The conference created a platform to share best practice and deepen economic relations between Qatar and its partners from participating countries. A large-scale exhibition situated within the conference drew on thought leadership while showcasing innovative public-sector initiatives and private-sector innovations in line with Qatar’s commitment to fostering the fair and open exchange of ideas and opinions and offering opportunities to all.