14 Nov 2017 - 0:30
QFC set to emerge as regional financial hub
By Satish Kanady / The Peninsula
The leadership of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority is looking to develop the centre as a hub parallel to key financial centers in the region. With its strategic plan to relocate to Qatar’s upcoming state-of-the-art financial city by early next year, QFCA is set to aggressively pursue global names in its quest to compete with regional bigwigs. By 2022, it will attract more talents and a large number of international companies.
According to market watchers, there are reasons to believe that Qatar will have a competitive edge over some of the neighbouring financial centres. While many of the domestic banks in the neighbouring markets are suffering from increased loan impairments, Qatar banks have some of the cleanest balance sheets in the region.
Meanwhile, the huge number of infrastructure projects set to kick-start in the run up to 2022 FIFA World Cup, it is likely to see international investment banks looking to get closer to the action.
Speaking to the media yesterday, QFC Authority CEO Youssef Al Jaidah said QFC is aiming at doubling the combined size of the assets within the QFC. The financial centre will attract a large number of key international companies, including major global names.
“QFC is looking for forging a new alliance of partners with new countries in the region enabling it to take more prominent role, which will ultimately allow it to develop as a financial hub parallel to top financial centers in the region”, he said. The unprecedented challenges are bringing unexpected opportunities for QFC. A total of 90 new companies have joined QFC after the Arab quartet imposed a blockade on Qatar six months ago.
“This is a 41 percent growth. A large number of Dubai-based companies those used to do businesses with Qatar has joined us after the blockade”, Yusuf Mohamed Al Jaida, CEO of the QFC Authority told media on the sidelines of a business and investment forum here yesterday.
A lot of international companies in Dubai, which have been doing businesses with Qatar are facing difficulties. The economic sanctions imposed Qatar has become a problem for the smooth operations of several companies. The companies have already set up their facilities in Qatar and the numbers are growing. Al Jaida said the QFC will relocate to the upcoming Qatar Financial City by the second quarter of 2018.
Earlier, addressing a special business and investment forum, jointly hosted by the Commercial Department of the US embassy in Qatar and the Qatar Financial centre (QFC) Authority, Al Jaida said,“We are facing challenging times in Qatar and in the region, with the blockade imposed upon us now in its sixth month. However, with unprecedented challenges come unprecedented opportunities. I stand before you today to reiterate that Qatar and the QFC remain open for business.”
“The current situation has only given renewed incentive to our long-term strategy of pursuing economic diversification. If anything, these testing times have brought us closer to our allies such as the US, and have supported us as we push ahead with our goal of diversifying our economy and attracting FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030,” he said.
QFC will continue to work with the US and our partners around the world to showcase the multibillion-dollar investment opportunities available in Qatar.
Al Jaida said throughout the years and for many decades now, Qatar and the US have continued to develop a strong relationship, built upon economic, social, educational and political cooperation.
“Above all, Qatar and the US are friends; and Qatar continues to work closely with public and private sector partners in the US on trade and investment opportunities.”
Delivering the key note address at the Forum, William Grant, Charge d’ Affaires, US Embassy, Qatar said : “The US is committed to our long-standing partnership with Qatar and to growing our bilateral trade and investments. We believe there are boundless opportunities that both our nations can benefit from, both today, and into the future.”