We leveraged many significant partnerships with local and international stakeholders to further drive Qatar’s economic development in key industries targeted by our new strategy. We also continued to connect with new markets - forging new partnerships, hosting events and attracting new businesses from around the world.
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has had an impressive year in 2018. By establishing a flexible and attractive business environment for companies looking to expand to Qatar and beyond, the QFC has continued to support the increasing economic diversification of our great nation.
Qatar’s economy has firmly proven once again its strength and resilience, which is reflected across the improved international rankings and ratings as a result of H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar’s wise and forward-thinking economic policies.
2018 was another successful year for Qatar Financial Centre as it continued to expand and support Qatar’s diversification efforts. The platform grew considerably, attracting new firms, forging partnerships and providing valuable services for its members. The level of interest in QFC’s offering is at a record high and leading firms from around the world are considering it as both their entry point to Qatar’s market and as a hub for regional business.
Qatar’s economy is proving its resilience and attractiveness to investors, with the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Report once again ranking it as the second-most competitive place to do business in the Middle East region. Business environment reforms enacted in recent years are starting to show a positive impact and this is a context in which QFC registered firms are well placed to thrive.
Soon the QFC will migrate to Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar’s high-tech and award-winning urban redevelopment project. This will provide a first-class working environment for employees in QFC firms and facilitate collaboration with their partners and interaction with their clients. This will help to reaffirm QFC’s status as a leading financial hub.
Looking forward, I am confident that QFC’s new strategy will deliver good results, including its focus on key business clusters, such as sports services, digital businesses, media and fintech. At the same time, it has deepened its engagement with its core business through the launch of a dedicated Financial Sector Office.
I congratulate QFC’s management and staff for their dedication and achievement in 2018, and I am confident that the Centre will flourish in 2019 and beyond, serving as a core contributor to Qatar’s growth.
H.E. Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Chairman and Minister of Finance
The QFC Authority’s Growth Report provides a unique opportunity to recognise and assess the accomplishments achieved in the previous year, which are too-numerous and far-reaching to list in their entirety.
The past year’s great success was driven by the commitment, dedication and tremendous hard work of all. Because of this, the QFC was able to once again rise above challenges and excel beyond expectations.
I am confident that 2018 will come to be seen as the year that Qatar, and the QFC, have proven their true resiliency.
Far from being an impediment, the ongoing geopolitical climate has in fact acted as a catalyst for the continued economic growth and prosperity of the State of Qatar.
Across all industries, local and international indicators point to Qatar’s remarkable stability, with improved ratings reflecting ongoing international confidence in our nation’s economy. That comes alongside the 2018 United Nations report that noted a 27% increase in FDI inflows to Qatar between 2016 and 2017. These figures are undeniable proof of Qatar’s economic strength and why it is certainly one of the world’s most dynamic economies.
The past year has seen Qatar take significant steps towards further bolstering its existing economic relations. His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar announced a €10 billion investment in Germany over the next five years in the automobile, IT and banking sectors, bringing Qatar’s total investment to €35 billion. This is but one example of the wise and forward-thinking government policies that have undoubtedly lead to the economic resilience of our beloved nation.
Similarly, the QFC has also seen considerable growth in 2018 and we are proud to now have over 600 firms registered on our platform – which is a 31% increase from the previous year. Mirroring state-level efforts, we also took an increasingly proactive approach in connecting with vital markets around the world. To this end we successfully organised a number of international roadshows and events that took us to markets like Germany, Spain, France, Indonesia and China, all important markets for Qatar and the QFC.
The QFC acknowledges the importance of working closely with stakeholders and as such has inked partnerships with the likes of Aspire Zone Foundation, B-Hive, the International Labour Organization, and many others. These partnerships aim to leverage the knowledge and expertise of these institutions to further drive economic diversification in Qatar.
To further strengthen our existing partnerships, as well as pave the way for new areas of cooperation, we welcomed countless high-profile delegations from Georgia, France, Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, Malaysia, Pakistan, China, Mexico, as well as the United States of America.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2019, the QFC’s new strategic focus on key industries such as digital, media, sports and financial services, as well as specific markets including Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, India and Pakistan will pave the way to our continued success. These markets are a central aspect of our New Emerging Belt Initiative (NEBI), which are valued at over USD $2.1 trillion. These sectors and markets have been selected as our new areas of focus due to Qatar’s already-established international standing in these fields and markets, as well as their tremendous potential for future growth.
We are all very proud of the work that everyone at the QFC has done over the last year. Your efforts have not only driven the growth of the QFC, but also the economy of Qatar as a whole. As we look ahead, I am confident that 2019 will be another outstanding year for us and I look forward to celebrating many more milestones in the coming months.
We are proud to now have over 600 firms registered on our platform – which is a 31% increase from the previous year.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaidah, Chief Executive Officer & Board Member
By navigating a complex geopolitical climate, there exists opportunities to not only survive, but also to thrive. The State of Qatar and the Qatar Financial Centre have undoubtedly flourished in 2018, despite all odds, and this success did not occur in a vacuum.
Instead, by partnering with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, locally and internationally, the QFC has taken significant steps in supporting the growth of the local economy.
We also continue to reaffirm our commitment to the growth of our firms and have organised a number of networking events that aim to provide opportunities for firms registered on our platform to engage with one another, and thus develop the unique business community to which they belong.
To recognise our business community for their achievements & inspire competitiveness.
The proposed amendments to our Immigration Regulations intend to remove the obligation of the QFC Employer to provide a multiple exit visa to their Employees which results in alignment with the amendment to the residency law in the State which allows most expat workers to leave the country without an exit visa.
We continue to support the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee in respect of our mandate to support future scheduled assessments of our regime.
We have progressed the development of an internal compliance, training and testing framework incorporating updated training modules on topics including Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, and Anti-Bribery and Corruption.
Following the enactment of our new Netting Regulations in 2017, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) recognised us as an effective netting regime and published a positive legal opinion to its members.
This is a significant milestone for Qatar’s financial market infrastructure and our world-class legal framework. This initiative will allow financial institutions and corporates in our business community and in the State of Qatar, to confidently manage their risk exposure through our platform.
To ensure more efficient processes for signing of documents, we have implemented an electronic signature capability in addition to the automation of our commercial contracts, resulting in greater operational efficiencies and ease of doing business.
Emerging and anticipated trends from a regulatory perspective include amendments to incorporate our FinTech initiative, Islamic Finance, Aircraft Financing, Asset Management and Captive and Asset Finance frameworks.
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The below data expands fully on the reach, effectiveness and success of our 2018 campaigns.
we also expanded our reach to a larger number of countries and industries. The top countries being the US, Germany, France, UK, Turkey, India, Korea and the GCC.
increase in total impressions.
increase in total engagement.
increase in total followers.
Our CSR and Social Investment strategy; ‘United for Good’ underscores our long-term commitment to our ethical, social, and environmental responsibilities. With special emphasis on encouraging Financial Literacy within the local community and across all age groups, we place high importance on the following two key pillars.
Supporting and initiating a number of activities to encourage financial literacy among the youth.
We activated key partnerships with local and international stakeholders to teach financial literary to over 1,200 primary school students.
We partnered up with Hasalty, Qatar’s first ever financial literacy mobile app which is designed to teach children about the importance of financial management.
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We worked closely with the CFA Society of Doha to launch the first edition of the CFA Research Challenge Doha, an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.
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We initiated a financial education programme specifically for youth with hearing impairments through which we have helped graduate over 17 students with relevant skill-sets and knowledge to seek better working opportunities.
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Initiatives that encourage our staff and clients to give back to and support the local community. Busmah (arabic for Hand-Print) is an employee community engagement and volunteering programme, in which everyone is encouraged to volunteer in monthly initiatives that demonstrate goodwill and impart valuable knowledge to the community.
To mark World Autism Awareness Day, our volunteers visited the Mind Institute, an independent special needs centre for children and adults struggling with physical, mental and social challenges, and also wore blue ribbons to raise awareness of Autism as part of the international “Light it Up Blue” campaign.
We partnered up with Save the Dream and the International Centre for Sports Security to launch Qatar’s first football game for the blind. 150 students from 6 schools took part in the event, and high-profile participants included former French ambassador to Qatar Eric Chevallier, Qatar Sports Club and former Inter Milan player Luis Jimenez, and many others.
Our employees and their families visited Ehsan Elderly Centre, where they read stories to the elderly residents and shared Garangao gifts. The evening's celebrations instilled a sense of family belonging, as it stimulated and uplifted the spirits of all those gathered.
Employees from across our organisation visited Hamad General Hospital’s Children Ward to engage with children who had undergone long-term hospital treatment due to severe illness.
Our volunteers also eagerly contributed to the creation of a greener, healthier community by planting the first seeds in the organic gardens of Msheireb Downtown Doha in observance of World Planting Day.
We invited all members of the community, and families of all ages to Qatar's first charity treasure hunt. All ticket proceeds will contribute toward purchasing schools supplies and gifts for children at the Qatar Orphan Foundation 'Dreama'.
By focusing on the media, digital, sports and financial services sectors, the latter including an emphasis on Islamic Finance and Fintech, and new markets such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan and India, we can ensure the development of our platform, as well as the State of Qatar well into the future.