The Qatar Economic Forum signals the Gulf nation’s intentions on the world stage.
While the FIFA World Cup is the primary event on Qatar’s calendar this year, The Qatar Economic Forum 2022, held on June 20, 2022 in Doha, was also seen as a key opportunity for the Gulf state to don its Sunday best and lay out its stall for foreign investors. Indeed, the event was somewhat of a who’s who, featuring heads of state, global CEOs, and leading investors.
The event took place against a complex backdrop, however, as the world emerges from COVID-19 strife yet remains mired in uncertainty amidst Russia’s ongoing onslaught in Ukraine. All of this has led to supply chain disruptions, rising inflation, and reductions in spending power across the world. It is in this context that Qatar continues to offer its services as a diplomatic arbiter and center for dialogue.
The three-day event was successful in bringing the world together and shedding light on crucial topics, including challenges in the global energy market, trends in financial markets, the role of technology, and recovery in areas such as tourism. At the heart of many discussions held over the course of the event was the changing nature of globalization and the opportunities it continues to offer to emerging markets. Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) is also now fully established as the buzz-phrase of the moment, leaving CSR in its wake. And the phrase was never far from the lips of speakers for the duration of the event.
The forum was opened by HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who showcased Qatar’s efforts to seek development and achieve sustainable targets. He stated that in the advent of a global economic recession, Qatar is committed to aiding an equal recovery, as well as presenting incentives for the private sector to adapt to changing trends. “We will work on policies to enhance competition and protect consumers and support national products and foreign investment. Especially, we will allow foreign investors to own 100% of the capital of a company. Qatar is responsible as a partner in the global community to face these changes.”
One theme that was present was that of “Africa’s 21st Century Renaissance,” which will, should the hype be believed, unleash the continent’s economic potential. Monica Geingos, the first lady of the Republic of Namibia, stated; “We need to start paying attention to the state of our political systems,” as she laid out a vision for the future of the region.
Qatar itself is no stranger to adversity, having overcome the impact of a regional trade blockade to emerge more self-sufficient. On the back of these experiences, Qatar hopes that playing host to economic forums and great sporting events will cement its status on the world stage as a reliable partner. Beyond the World Cup, which is now only months away, Qatar hopes sports and culture will remain cornerstones of its economy. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, closed the event, declaring that “In Qatar, we are trying to build an environment where the business community benefits but the event is also affordable and accessible to the fans as well.” This followed comments from Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, on Qatar’s preparedness for the tournament; “Everything is done to make this experience special to the people that will come. It is not only a sporting event; it is much more than that. We at FIFA want to be present and shape this impact.”
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