Posted on March 20, 2018

Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session on “New World Order and Changing Business Model” on 19th March 2018 at JW Marriot Hotel, Kuwait. The event was well attended by leading Corporates who were keen to hear about potential business opportunities from Qatar – Kuwait bilateral relationships.

Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave the keynote address. He said “According to IMF Jan 2018 Outlook, the advanced economies expected to grow by 2.3% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019 respectively. The emerging and developing economies expected to grow by 4.9% in 2018 and 5% in 2019 respectively. The Fed meeting is going to happen this week. The US Federal Reserve is expected to series of interest rate hikes this year, hoping to get out in front of an expected pickup in inflation. This month Japan led 11 countries to sign an ambitious new Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite US withdrawal. Earlier President Donald Trump’s announced that the US will raise tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. ”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on the future trends impacting digital space and sustainable development. He said “The Fourth Industrial Revolution combines advanced technologies in innovative ways, dramatically reshaping the way people live, work and relate to one another. Various industries are getting redefined, the health sector can be reimagined, the work space is undergoing changes, robotics and artificial intelligence are going to play important roles and the customer will be more empowered in the digital environment. Fintech, internet of things, block chain and artificial intelligence are some of the major technological developments. Robotics, enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning, is proving to be a game changer that can bring unique operational efficiencies to the financial services industry. Accelerating digital ecosystem development could lead to cashless economies.

Banks and the financial regulators should address the trade-off between convenience and security when it comes to digital banking. From compliance perspective banks and the regulators have to deal with questions arising from digital banking. To protect customers, thwart organised criminals, and ensure financial stability, prudential and conduct regulators, and legislators, need to ensure that regulation is future-proofed for the digital age. Doha Bank also believes in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which into force from beginning of 2016 after adoption of the same at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. Doha Bank Group as part of its corporate social responsibility will demonstrate fair, open, efficient and consistent business practices to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on Kuwait economy and Qatar – Kuwait Bilateral relationships. He said “According to IMF Oct 2017, Kuwait economy expected to grow by 4.1 % in 2018. Kuwait’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged in Dec 2017, citing the need to boost economic growth, despite a 0.25 percentage point rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Kuwait state budget for the year ending on March 31, 2019 projects spending at 20 billion dinars and revenues at 15 billion dinars. The allocation in budget will be covering the development of infrastructure, road networks, building the new airport and power generation.

Kuwait has unveiled a new plan to transform the country into a regional financial and cultural hub by 2035 through 164 strategic development programs. Kuwait’s economic reforms improved its position within the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2018 (DB 2018) to 96. Qatar – Kuwait bilateral trade was at $2.7bn in 2016. The size of investment between both countries is $7bn in different sectors. The number of Kuwaiti companies fully-owned by Kuwaiti investors in Qatar reached 132 companies by the end of 2017. Qatar Budget for 2018 has allocated health, education and transportation reached QR83.5 billion or 41% of total expenditure.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman provide details on Qatar Exchange traded fund (QETF). He said “Doha Bank as Founder, has collaborated with Amwal Asset Management which is one of the most reputable asset management companies in Qatar as the Fund Manager on the QETF investment offering. The QETF will be an open-ended investment fund that will replicate the performance of the QE Index, which is comprised of the top 20 holdings in the index based on Market Cap & average daily traded value. The ETF will be a liquid, tradable and transparent fund listed on Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) and open to retail as well as institutional investors, both local and foreign. Hence it is a bigger opportunity for Kuwait investors.”

Mr. Fadi Haddad, President Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting co spoke on “Market opportunities in project space”

Mr. Massoud Antoun, Managing Partner SLM & Partners spoke on “Challenges and opportunities in global trade”

Mr. Fahmi Alghussein, Chief Executive Officer, Amwal gave insight on “Qatar Exchange traded fund”

The Vote of Thanks was given by Mr. Loai Fadel Mukamis, Country Manager of Kuwait.