Posted on September 30, 2018

Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing event at Four Season’s Hotel on 26 September, 2018 entitles “Qatar’s Resilience Post Blockade- A Year on”. The session witnessed participation from H.E. Sh. Fahad Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al Thani, Chairman and H.E Sheikh Abdul Rehman bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al Thani, Managing Director of Doha Bank.

The Chief Guest of the event was HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank. The event was also attended by Leading Qatari executives and Diplomats from various embassies.

Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave the key note. In his keynote he spoke about the Global Economy. He said: “IMF projects the global growth for 2018 and 2019 at 3.9 percent, as forecasted in the July 2018 WEO. Monetary policy normalization in advanced economies is assumed to proceed in a well communicated, steady manner. Advanced economy growth is expected to remain above trend at 2.4 percent in 2018 before easing to 2.2 percent in 2019. The forecast for 2018 is lower largely reflecting greater-than-expected growth moderations in the euro area and Japan. Trade war tensions continue to hit markets and oil prices have surged this year.”

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Dr.R.Seetharamanadded: “As per IMF, Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow 2.6% this year and then average 2.7% during 2019-23, bolstered by Doha’s moves to increase liquefied natural gas production capacity by about 30%.” He also said that 2018 budget assumes the same conservative oil price of $45/barrel as used for the 2017 budget. The monetary and fiscal policy was aligned. He highlighted that Qatar National Vision focuses on four pillars, namely 1) Human Development 2) Social Development 3) Economic Development and 4) Environmental Development. In recent times Qatar’s long-term issuer ratings have been changed from negative to stable by Moody’s Investors Service, which affirmed the long-term issuer and foreign-currency senior unsecured debt ratings at Aa3. According to Moody’s assessment, Qatar can withstand the economic, financial, and diplomatic boycott by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt in its current form, or with possible further restrictions, for an extended period of time without a material deterioration of the sovereign’s credit profile.” He also spoke on the reforms implemented in Qatar like 1) Qatar’s New Investment Law 2) Qatar’s Permanent Residency 3) Qatar’s Food Security and 4) Qatar’s Metro Rail project and key developments such as Qatar Sovereign Bond issuance and stated that Qatar has demonstrated remarkable resilience post blockade.

Dr. R. Seetharaman also moderated the Panel comprising of the Speakers Mr. Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO of Qatar Financial Centre, Mr.Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi, CEO of Manateq, Mr. Saleh Majid Al Khulaifi, Acting Executive Director of Qatar Development Bank, Mr. Rashid Al – Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange and Mr. Mubarak Al Sahuty, Executive Director, Commercial Relations Department, Hassad Food.

Mr. Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority, stated: “The event provided a thought-provoking platform to discuss some of the key opportunities and challenges facing Qatar in light of the blockade. Challenges create new opportunities, and in facing these challenges, Qatar and the Qatar Financial Centre have become more resilient and more self-sufficient. A testament to this is the QFC’s incredible growth in spite of regional challenges, in fact, 2017 was the fastest growth period in our 13-year history. We have also seen a remarkable 69 percent increase in new firms during the first six months of this year. Economic resiliency is the cornerstone of the various pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and the QFC is fully committed to achieving the goals of this vision.”

Mr. Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi, CEO of Manateq spoke on reforms undertaken in Free Zones operating in Logistic parks and Industrial zones, and mentioned the incentives offered to operate in these zones. The permits were issued in three working days, financing was offered by local banks, exemption of rent during 2018 and 2019 and reduction of rent by 50% per meter were some of the initiatives taken to attract companies to relocate their existing locations.

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Mr. Rashid Al – Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) spoke on the increasing volumes and turnover on the exchange post the reforms executed. He also said the Qatari Market Index is one of the best performing indices globally with YTD returns of 15%. He also gave insight on future initiatives from QSE. Mr. Mubarak Al Sahuty, Executive Director from Hassad Food said, Qatar post blockade has managed to increase the cultivated land to reach 8,000 tons of vegetables production per year. Hassad established a New Marketing and Agri-Services Co. “Mahaseel”. The aim for Mahaseel is to 1) Support the private agriculture sector to contribute to the country’s self-sufficiency and 2) ease the burden on local farmers to increase their production.

Mr. Saleh Majid Al Khulaifi, and Acting Executive Director of Qatar Development Bank said:“The financial sector can help SME’s to support Qatar’s economic growth”. He called for working on research and development pertaining to various SME sectors,which could contribute to Qatar’s growth.”