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Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa

QATAR - Finance

Making an impact

CEO, Qatar Development Bank (QDB)

Bio

In addition to his role as the CEO of QDB, Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Elan, a member of the Board of Directors at Qatar Science Technology Park, and Chairman of Qatar Business Incubator Center and the Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development. Al-Khalifa was previously QDB’s Executive Director of Strategy & Business Development for three years. Prior to joining QDB, he was a business development manager with Qatar Shell, and, before that, held technical and managerial positions at Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation. He holds an MBA from Qatar University, a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from University of California, and has several specialized diplomas from Harvard and INSEAD.

How do you assess QDB’s contribution to the growth of the private sector and SME development in Qatar during your 20-year history? Since our establishment in 1997, we have been […]

How do you assess QDB’s contribution to the growth of the private sector and SME development in Qatar during your 20-year history?

Since our establishment in 1997, we have been at the forefront of these efforts. We have worked with thousands of Qatari entrepreneurs and enterprises, we have provided investment and guidance to brand-new start-ups and well-established corporations, and have built a reputation for identifying promising investment opportunities. Today, QDB is the centerpiece of achieving Qatar National Vision 2030. To promote the private sector, we locally extend wide-ranging financial and non-financial support to entrepreneurs across a myriad of industries—the development organization runs a series of initiatives to promote an entrepreneurial spirit in the citizenry to create private start-ups on an ongoing basis. Our development schemes, such as the eco-friendly Jahiz I and Jahiz II initiatives, have empowered local SMEs that are operating across a diverse range of industries, including chemicals, electronics, plastics, and wood materials as well as food and beverages.

Since the bank diversified its focus and raised its capital in 2008, have you aligned your financing strategy with the Qatar National Vision 2030?

At QDB, we hold our national priorities central to all of our endeavors. We segmented the private sector along categories that are most vital for Qatar’s diversification agenda, and we assist these sectors through both financial and non-financial services as well as providing other development-related assistance on behalf of the government. Currently, the seven sectors we focus on are projected to have an overall positive impact on the social and economic standard of living in Qatar: agriculture, education, fisheries, healthcare, industrial sector, livestock, and tourism.

What has been the impact of the Al Dhameen program in the private sector’s growth?

Al Dhameen Program—our partial loan guarantee scheme—is at the forefront of our private-sector development strategy. In doing so, Al Dhameen encourages banks to finance SMEs by covering a part of the risk. The partner banks consider the financing application according to their own lending policies and, when they feel the need for a guarantee, will apply to QDB and advise the client accordingly. Both existing companies as well as qualifying start-ups are eligible for assistance under the Al Dhameen program. Al Dhameen has contributed to an ever-evolving Qatari private sector, with USD100 million worth of guarantees made available to over 110 SMEs in 2016.

How does the MA’AN initiative to support entrepreneurs represent the importance of human capital development for the overall economic growth of the country?

To understand this initiative, it is important to remember His Highness the Amir’s address at the 45th session of the Advisory Council, when he said, “Qatar deserves the best from its children.“ This has been the impetus for trilateral partnership between QDB, Qatar Chamber, and Qatar University as well as the driving force behind our joint initiative, MA’AN. Through this program, we seek to provide the youth of Qatar a platform to develop its creative entrepreneurial ideas, empower local entrepreneurs, and provide financial and technical support, as well as assist entrepreneurs at Qatar University to go global. Every great company starts with an idea, but ideas need nurturing and support to flourish. This is why QDB is highly keen on fostering creative ideas and enabling individuals to turn their ambitions into real projects.

What is your outlook for the year ahead?

To date, we are heartened by the achievements of Qatari SMEs. Moving forward, our success will lie in our ability to embrace the fast pace of development in the world of technology, strengthen our connectivity with one another and the markets around us, and truly immerse ourselves in the digital age. In the days to come, embracing its national responsibility, QDB will continue to empower the nation’s citizens to tap into the latest wave of economic globalization and evolve Qatar’s economy as outlined in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2017-2022.

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