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Qatar Has a Stronger Pipeline of FDI Inflows: IPA Qatar CEO

Qatar Has a Stronger Pipeline of FDI Inflows: IPA Qatar CEO

Doha, which saw foreign direct investments (FDI) inflow of QR30bn in 2022, has a stronger pipeline of projects and the country could potentially become hub for the FDI into high growth Central and South Asian and African markets, according to a top official of the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar).

"The (FDI) pipeline is stronger than ever," IPA Qatar chief executive officer Sheikh Ali Alwaleed al-Thani told a panel session at the third Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg.

It is understood that IPA Qatar will sign three memoranda of understanding with Siemens, Emerson, and Luxoft. Google Cloud on Monday officially opened its new Doha cloud region, which will meet the growing demand for cloud services in Qatar and the Middle East.

Doha cloud region is expected to drive increased economic activity and is estimated to contribute a cumulative $18.9bn in higher gross economic output to Qatar’s economy between 2023 and 2030 and support the creation of 25,000 jobs in 2030 alone.

Highlighting that the GCC or Gulf Co-operation Council has been the bright spot, especially when it comes to FDI; he said Qatar last year reported $29.78bn inflows into 135 projects, creating employment around 14,000 jobs.

"What is really interesting to notice is that across the 135 projects, oil and gas make up around 9% and the majority went into business services such as information, communication and technology (ICT), healthcare and different diversified sectors," he said.

Within the business services, software and IT services and financial services followed with each attracting 27% and 12% of the total projects, respectively.

Sheikh Ali said the FIFA World Cup in 2022 had acted as a heavy-lifting for the country's stature in the international markets in terms of recognition, attractiveness and ease of doing business.

"This ($29.78bn FDI) inflows that came into Qatar seek to establish hub for the region and to serve the local economy. Qatar, like any other small country, needs to have outbound approach to FDI. Qatar has a great market but there is an ability to scale it partnerships whether in the buy or sell side," he said.

The IPA Qatar chief said Qatar should be viewed as a launching pad (for FDI) as the country is in the midst of high growth regions such as Central and South Asia, Africa, and Gulf, which itself is a "stable neutral platform for trade and investments".

Investments originating from the US accounted for almost 44% of the total FDI in 2022, with projects valued at $13bn; followed by those from the UK, Italy and France, with each accounting for 21.7% ($6.47bn), 21.2% ($6.32bn) and 11.8% ($3.51bn), respectively.

In 2022, projects from these four countries constituted nearly 98% of total FDI projects recorded,

Sheikh Ali said Qatar's growth story encompasses development of its oil and gas sectors to infrastructure such as airports, ports, road and telecommunications but the next phase is on the development of human capital and the country's policies regarding this has started bearing fruits.

"Businesses come here not just because of energy competitiveness but because of the human capital and that builds on our value proposition," he said.