By Satish Kanady I The Peninsula
Driving the growth of FDI inflows to Qatar remains QFC Authority’s most important mandate, and the QFC will continue to focus on this in 2019 and beyond, Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority stated yesterday.
Delivering the key note address at the inaugural ‘CFA Society Doha Forecast’ event on Tuesday, Al Jaida said Qatar has already seen a significant 27 percent increase in FDI inflows between 2016 and 2017. All indicators point to a continuation of this increase in FDI, despite an overall downturn in FDI in the region, he said.
Citing Bloomberg’s recent report, the QFC Authority CEO said overseas institutional investors were net buyers of about $$2.3bn of shares that were traded on Qatar’s Stock Exchange this year. This is more than triple the foreign flows of some neighboring countries “This is of course due to Qatar’s well-established economic resilience, as well as prudent national fiscal policies that provide a comprehensive framework for foreign investors”, he said.
While the global economic landscape remains as volatile as ever, Qatar’s economy has undoubtedly persevered both international and regional turbulence.
Not only have global agencies upgraded the banking sector’s ratings, but their forecast for 2019 reflects continued confidence in Qatar’s economy Last week, Moody’s noted that Qatar banks will continue to have a stable outlook for 2019.
The report underscored Qatar banks’ improving operating conditions, solid loan performance and strong capital. It showed Qatar’s banking system is stable in all the seven components of credit drivers – one of only two countries in the region to do so.
The 2019 outlook for other financial indicators is also promising. Al Jaida also noted the IMF’s projection that Qatar’s GDP will grow by 2.4 percent in 2018, which according to him, is perhaps the clearest indicator of the versatility of the economy and its robust financial sector.
The QFC Authority CEO said QFC is keen to offer businesses looking to expand to the region and beyond. “QFC has seen excellent growth and we are proud to say that we have over 590 firms registered on our platform today – this is well past the 50 percent mark of our strategic goal of registering 1,000 firms by 2022,” Al Jaida said.
The key note speeches were followed by a panel discussion comprising of industry experts including Akber Khan - Senior Director at Al Rayan Investment LLC, Dr. Alexis Antoniades - Director of International Economics, at Georgetown University in Qatar, Dr. Ataf Ahmed - Head of Asset Management at QINVEST and Henk Jan Hoogendoorn - Managing Director of Financial Sector Office at QFC. The panel discussion was moderated by Umair Siddique — President of CFA Society Doha.