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HE Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani

QATAR - Economy

In the Know

Chairman, Al Faisal Holding and the QBA

Bio

HE Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani is one of Qatar’s most successful businessmen and has built Al Faisal Holding into one of Qatar’s largest privately held diversified groups with operations across local, regional, and international markets. He is also the Chairman of the Qatar Businessmen Association, and a Member of the Board in Qatar University, Business College of DePaul University (US), and the American School of Doha. He is Chairman of Al Faisal Holding and the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA).

“Qatar will be a role model for economic and structural development.“

What are some of the positive achievements of the Qatari Businessmen Association?

The main achievement of QBA is creating a platform or a think tank with the aim of exchanging ideas, concerns, and raise suggestions between Qatari businessmen and entrepreneurs. We act together for the benefit of developing the private sector’s role in the economy and to contribute further to the growth of Qatar’s economy, bridging business relations between Qatari businessmen and their international counterparts. We partner with similar business associations and chambers of commerce worldwide and open new markets for Qatari investors by highlighting business trends and opportunities abroad. At the same time, we receive foreign business delegations to showcase the opportunities which Doha offers. We have hosted more than 750 delegations and have organized and participated in over 200 conferences so far.

How do you assess the Qatari Businessmen Association’s role in connecting the Qatari business community with the world?

Through its various activities, QBA aims to support the business and investment environment by highlighting economic sectors with high growth potential, both in Qatar and abroad. In addition, we sign trade agreements with various regional and international institutions to encourage business cooperation. QBA enjoys excellent relations with the international community and continuously receives invitations to participate in business related activities. We take an inclusive approach, opening all of the meetings and events to everyone, not just to our members.

What structural reforms does QBA see as necessary for Qatar to continue to grow?

We receive support from the Ministry of Economy and the Prime Minister to encourage the role of the private sector in Qatar. This happens on many levels, including through regular meetings with business representatives that enable them to discuss and listen to the needs and requirements of private companies and what can be done to enhance the contribution of the private sector in the economy. Reforms and adjustments are made continuously and we are hoping that within a few years Qatar will be a role model for economic and structural development.

How have Al Faisal’s investments in education, especially in its local Stenden University, improved the Holding Group’s operations?

When we started in the early 1960s our business was just a small trading company, but with the development of the country we felt that our duty was to support the development of the education system in Qatar. As we expanded our operations across different sectors, education emerged as an important field. However, we have never regarded our involvement in education as a business or as profit-based. We have established the Gulf English School and Stenden University Qatar, in addition to an agreement with DePaul University to introduce the MBA program in Qatar. We aim to continue to be an active contributor to the enhancement of the education system in Qatar, partnering with renowned institutions which can potentially add value to the education sector.

What role does the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum have in promoting education and Qatar’s national heritage?

The museum is my hobby and passion. Before opening it to the public, I used to have personal collections displayed in the guests meeting hall, and I noticed the increasing interest people showed in the collection. We started receiving many inquiries about the collection and requests to see the artifacts, primarily from highly informed enthusiasts both from Qatar and around the world. I therefore felt an obligation to make access to my collection more widely available, and I decided to open it to the public. The main museum opened in 1998, aiming to preserve and display different collections of arts and heritage artifacts from around the world. Since then it has continuously expanded, offering dedicated research and education facilities in addition to the artifacts. The museum has partnerships with many educational institutions, including the University of London for restoration work on some of the collection.

One of your business strategies is to diversify your industrial manufacturing interests. How is Aamal Company diversifying its industrial base?

Qatar enjoys many characteristics that makes it suitable for being an industrial hub, such as its excellent location, its strong connectivity to major neighboring markets like Iran or India, and its natural resources required as raw materials for various industries. I am confident that in the near future Qatar will be an important, diversified industrial hub. Likewise, our strategy for Aamal is to track Qatar’s rapid economic development to identify sectors which offer investment opportunities for sustainable growth and returns by meeting the increasingly sophisticated needs of the local market. We focus on industrial manufacturing, trading, business services, and property. We believe in building strength through careful diversification and have built a successful track record of delivery against this strategy, often in collaboration with world class partners in their respective markets. We always seek to expand our business operations in line with our strategy, either through joint ventures or organic growth. Our solid foundation and successful track record allows us to be the partner of choice to many regional and international companies, building strong relationships with blue chip companies such as hotel operators, medical and pharmaceutical companies and many others. Our business development team continuously evaluates investment opportunities that will add value to our business model.

What are your expectations surrounding the FIFA World Cup 2022?

I am confident Qatar will host a superb World Cup. I also believe that after the event, Qatar will witness further development and prosperity. For the time being, we are all working to fulfill the requirements related to the infrastructure development plan and World Cup associated projects. However, after 2022 the country will benefit from all this investment and effort, the legacy of which will be a sophisticated and innovative platform which will enable us to be ready to take on new, exciting challenges. We will have advanced infrastructure, the private sector will be stronger and more developed, and there will be more qualified Qatari graduates who will have benefited from the excellent education system and will be looking to apply their knowledge and aspirations to lead the country forward. When it comes to our business, I am very optimistic and excited to continue with our journey. We have several projects in the pipeline and I look forward to all the challenges and achievements the future will bring as we bring them to fruition in the year ahead.

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