Why are more foreign companies choosing to invest in Qatar?

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Matthew Taylor

Ahead of the inaugural Web Summit Qatar, we sat down with Fahad Ali Al-Kuwari, senior manager of investor relations at Invest Qatar.

Qatar is emerging as a regional powerhouse. While energy is a clear key industry for the country, tourism and advanced manufacturing are on the rise, too. Tech is a rapidly growing industry in the country, with several high-profile partnerships already playing key roles.

To explore all this and more, Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (Invest Qatar) senior manager of investor relations Fahad Ali Al-Kuwari answered some questions about Qatar’s economy, investment opportunities, and the organisation’s plans for the first-ever Web Summit Qatar.  

What is Invest Qatar, and what is its role in supporting Qatar’s development?

Invest Qatar is the national investment promotion agency that is responsible for strengthening Qatar’s position as a global business destination while facilitating investments that enable economic diversification and development.

We work closely with businesses to understand their objectives and connect them with the right stakeholders and resources to support them through the investment process, ensuring their long-term success in Qatar. Our support to businesses includes:

  • Providing information on the business environment, regulatory landscape, sector insights, and investment opportunities.
  • Supporting businesses to get established, including organising site visits and facilitating meetings and introductions.
  • Connecting businesses with key stakeholders and the provision of incentives.

Can you give us some examples of how foreign investment has benefited Qatar in recent years?

Foreign investment plays a pivotal role in realising our economic diversification objectives, contributing not only to capital infusion but also facilitating knowledge transfer, education and overall development.

Economic diversification is a key focus of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which aims to transform the country into an advanced knowledge-based economy.

In what sectors is foreign investment most prominent within Qatar? Is it primarily tech-focused?

Qatar welcomes businesses from across the world to establish and expand their operations in one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing regions globally. Qatar’s long-term vision and significant investment in infrastructure provide a variety of opportunities across sectors, including advanced manufacturing, ICT, technology, sports, logistics and transport, healthcare, real estate and tourism.

The ICT and tech-focused sectors are poised to accelerate the implementation of the country’s ambitious goal to emerge as a central and vital technological hub.

Over the past five years, Qatar’s ICT sector grew by 5.2 percent on average, reaching a staggering growth rate of 11.1 percent in 2022. The sector contributed 2.4 percent to the country’s non-hydrocarbon nominal GDP. The ICT market size reached US$3.1bn in 2022 and is expected to grow by 6.8 percent in the next five years.

What steps has Qatar taken to create a favourable environment for foreign investment and foreign business development?

Qatar is constantly expanding opportunities for international companies looking to establish their presence in or expand their reach into the region. Qatar has invested significantly in its infrastructure and education systems, creating both the highly-qualified talent pool, as well as digital and logistics networks necessary for foreign businesses to grow in the future economy.

These resources, combined with the country’s pro-business regulations, competitive corporate tax rates, no restrictions on profit repatriation and simplified commercial registration services, make it an attractive global business hub. 

What is Qatar’s National Vision 2030, and where does your organisation fit into that?

Launched in 2008, the Qatar National Vision 2030 aims to transform Qatar into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development. The plan’s development goals are divided into four central pillars: human, social, economic and environmental development. The vision defines the long-term goals for the country and provides a framework for national strategies and plans. 

Established in 2019, Invest Qatar works to support all four pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030. While we have a particular focus on the economic pillar – through facilitating investments that support economic diversification – we are also strategically focused on ensuring that these investments support the other three pillars of human, social and environmental development.

What role do you hope the tech industry will play in Qatar’s future development?

The technology industry is a cornerstone in Qatar’s plans to develop a diversified knowledge-based economy. Qatar proudly hosts Microsoft’s global data center region featuring Azure and 365, as well as the GCC and North Africa’s first Google Cloud region. 

Qatar is home to one of the world’s fastest mobile networks, ranks first globally for General Infrastructure in the Global Innovation Index (WIPO 2022) and is first in the Arab World for governance on the Network Readiness Index 2022. Qatar is also ranked in the top 10 globally for ICT adoption.

Qatar’s focus on technology and innovation is further reinforced by partnerships with Emerson and Iberdrola to develop innovation centres to highlight Qatar’s dedication to advancing sectors, such as energy, healthcare and transportation. These initiatives aim to drive research and development, foster collaboration, enhance cybersecurity measures, and provide support for startups.

What are Invest Qatar’s plans for Web Summit Qatar?

Invest Qatar is pleased to participate in the inaugural edition of Web Summit Qatar, the first of its kind in the region, as both a partner and exhibitor. Our Startup Qatar pavilion will serve as a comprehensive hub for Web Summit Qatar attendees to explore opportunities in Qatar’s thriving tech sector, connect with key stakeholders and regulators in Qatar’s business ecosystem, and access services and support, including instant business registration and expert advice for startups.

How can people find out more about Invest Qatar and economic opportunities generally in Qatar?

Our website is the best place to start, providing comprehensive information about Qatar’s business environment and opportunities across sectors, as well as useful information about living in Qatar, including accommodation, schooling and healthcare. 

Augmenting the user experience on our website, we recently unveiled Ai.SHA, an Azure OpenAI GPT-powered chatbot that has been developed in collaboration with Microsoft. This innovative initiative positions Invest Qatar as one of the first investment promotion agencies in the world to adopt advanced AI technology.

Ai.SHA can engage in conversations with our website visitors on topics such as Qatar’s investment ecosystem, setting up a business in Qatar, investment opportunities and much more.

Beyond our informative website, last year we launched the ‘Invest Qatar Gateway’, a groundbreaking digital platform that enables you to:

  • Find companies to partner with.
  • Access business opportunities in the public and private sectors.
  • Find resources to support the growth of your business in Qatar.
  • Connect with the Invest Qatar team to set up your business and facilitate introductions.

As a partner of Web Summit Qatar, we are looking forward to welcoming all summit attendees. We aim to introduce attendees to Qatar’s flourishing tech sector and vibrant startup ecosystem, connecting them with Qatari entities to explore and access opportunities, and supporting them to pursue a successful journey in Qatar. 

For more information, visit the Invest Qatar website. You can also find more information at the Startup Qatar pavilion at Web Summit Qatar.

Main Image of Fahad Ali Al-Kuwari, senior manager of investor relations at Invest Qatar: Web Summit


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