Since the beginning of the year, Qatar has demonstrated steady progress towards a strong recovery from the economic downturn brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority
Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business centre in the region, witnessed another year of growth as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease. QFC welcomed 282 new firms to its platform in 2021, reaching 1,284 registered firms as at 31 December and surpassing its target of 1,000 companies by 2022.
The newly registered firms originated from over 60 countries, with a majority coming from India, Lebanon, Jordan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, France, Germany, Turkey, and Qatar. The new firms also represented several sectors, including digital, sports, media, and financial services, QFC’s focus clusters.
With an active agenda, QFC organised over 50 virtual, hybrid and in-person events in 2021, engaging members of business communities in Qatar and other countries to explore mutually beneficial investment opportunities and collaborations and to discuss critical topics that help businesses navigate the global market. Additionally, QFC hosted 18 dignitaries and delegations from different countries worldwide and participated in more than 70 local and international events, such as the International Conference on Islamic Finance (ICIF), 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), and the inaugural Qatar Economic Forum.
As part of its commitment to facilitate knowledge exchange, QFC sponsored the development and publication of the Cambridge Global Islamic FinTech report 2021 and the Global Islamic FinTech report 2021. It also produced Qatar Fintech Report 2021 in collaboration with Invest Qatar and Refinitiv. Collectively, the reports provide insight on the future of Islamic finance in the post-COVID-19 era and how it can impact the development of economies and provide a consolidated view of various efforts in the growing Islamic Fintech ecosystem.
Pursuing its efforts to create a more vibrant business environment that drives business growth and attracts FDI, QFC signed a total of 20 Memoranda of Understanding in 2021. On top of the MoUs signed with Russian firms during the 24th SPIEF, QFC also forged partnerships with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Qatar Central Securities Depository, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar Credit Bureau, Qatar Museums, Ooredoo Qatar, Qatar Development Bank, Qatar Research and Development Institute, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Rwanda Finance, and Labuan International Business and Financial Centre. QFC also welcomed the establishment of the MoJ real estate registration and authentication office at QFC, as well as the French multinational bank Société Générale, the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey’s Finance and Investment Office, and NEBIX LLC, representing QFC’s efforts to creating dynamic business ecosystem with local and regional gateways to varied opportunities.
Internally, QFC has fully digitised its incorporation process in 2021, saving firms and employees time and resources. Digital transformation has been vital for QFC to withstand the adverse effects of the pandemic, and it is resolved to continue adopting new technologies to better support its stakeholders.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority, said: “Since the beginning of the year, Qatar has demonstrated steady progress towards a strong recovery from the economic downturn brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Underpinned by this resilient and stable economy, QFC has likewise shown similar stride as manifested by what we have accomplished this year, particularly in building collaborations to expand business activities in the country and connections with other markets.”
Al-Jaida added: “QFC is committed to promoting robust economic recovery and a more inclusive economy, creating long term value for Qatar. Our efforts to create meaningful collaborations that facilitate foreign direct investment and help firms on our platform grow will remain a priority on our agenda. We will also continue to innovate and leverage emerging technologies to meet prevailing market demands, provide the best service for our firms, and stay on top of the competition.”