The Qatar Financial Center (QFC) has put in place a new strategy for 2019 and beyond which focuses on specific markets and sectors that have great potential for future growth. “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 Qatar well into the future,” QFC said in its annual report for 2018 which was released yesterday. The QFC’s New Emerging Belt Initiative (NEBI) — a new economic corridor focusing Kuwait, Oman, India, Pakistan and Turkey with a combined economy of more than $2.1tn — is the latest step from Qatar in attracting more foreign direct investments and it aims to position Qatar as the most promising hub for firms to set up to operate in and out of Qatar via key strategic alliances.
The year 2019 saw QFC ecosystem having a total of 612 licensed firms, which comprised 92 regulated and 520 non-regulated entities with permitted activities being single family offices (1), investment clubs (1), classification and legal services (2 each), special purpose companies (13), management offices (21), holding companies (22) and professional services (89). Highlighting that 2018 was a year of remarkable success; it said the QFC leveraged many significant partnerships with local and international stakeholders to further drive Qatar’s economic development in key industries targeted by its new strategy. The QFC also continued to connect with new markets forging new partnerships, hosting events and attracting new businesses from around the world.
“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,” HE the Finance Minister and QFC chairman Ali Sherif al-Emadi said. By navigating a complex geopolitical climate, there exists opportunities to not only survive, but also to thrive. Qatar and the QFC have undoubtedly flourished in 2018, despite all odds, and this success did not occur in a vacuum, the report said. Understanding that businesses expanding abroad want to operate as fast as possible; and that’s why it consistently strive to ensure that set-up experience is smooth and efficient; the QFC said “in 2018, we reduced our average process time to 1.3 working days.” The QFC has as many as 12 American non-regulated firms, France (10), Canada (8), Jordan and India (7 each), Pakistan (6), Switzerland (5), Italy (3) and the UK (2).
Stressing that it is seeking to amend its immigration regulations; the report said the proposed amendment 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 that allows most expat workers to leave the country without an exit permit. To ensure more efficient processes for signing of documents, the QFC has implemented an electronic signature capability in addition to the automation of its commercial contracts, resulting in greater operational efficiencies and ease of doing business.
Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times, Bloomberg