Looking for top business and investment destinations in the Arab world? Dr. Haitham Al-Salama, Chief Economic Advisor at Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance, highlights in this article the favourable investment climate of Qatar and how QFC’s platform can help companies in their business expansion endeavours in the region.
Having continually been ranked as one of the top economies globally in competitiveness, communications and innovation, Qatar boasts one of the strongest and fastest growing economies in the region and continues to attract international investors and businesses to its shores.
The well-developed, competitive local market and highly developed value chain supports the needs of investors. Its market strength makes it the ideal location for businesses looking to expand to Qatar, the wider region and other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia.
Backed by a coordinated government strategy and strong investments in key economic enablers such as its infrastructure, Qatar’s GDP continues to grow at substantial rates. This growth was well under way before Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030), a long-term blueprint released in 2008 that envisions a “diversified economy in which the private sector plays a prominent role”, includes a project pipeline worth some $200bn that both local and international companies in various economic sectors can benefit from.
In addition, as a market that is not saturated, but instead continuously growing with abundant opportunities in a number of areas, Qatar’s growing market strength makes it an ideal location for businesses and investors.
How the QFC can help propel businesses
The QFC platform is exclusive, offering its own legal, regulatory, tax and business infrastructure, allowing 100% foreign ownership and 100% repatriation of profits and allowing businesses to trade in any currency.
Our competitive tax regime of 10% corporate tax on locally-sourced profits is unmatched and unlike other financial centres in the region, the QFC does not impose an “end date” on this guarantee. We boast a robust and transparent tax regime, and companies set up under the QFC also benefit from Qatar’s extensive Double Taxation Agreements with over 60 countries.
Our firms also benefit from a regulatory environment that conforms to international best practices and features an independent court with judgments enforced in the State of Qatar, regulatory tribunal and dispute-resolution centre.
We offer businesses the right platform to expand locally, regionally and international and we take care of all logistics so that they can focus on growing their business.
The QFC offers many additional benefits, including:
• 100% foreign ownership
• 100% repatriation of profits
• Trading in any currency
• Quick and easy set up
• Firms can conduct business with any business in Qatar in any currency
• We offer a one-stop-shop for businesses including help with set up, immigration, visas and other
• We also offer access to an independent and transparent legal environment based on English common law and an independent Employment Standards Office
• Access to Qatar’s business community, especially now with our expected move to Msheireb Downtown Doha which will serve as a new financial and business capital for Qatar
• Exemption of taxes when applicable or a competitive 10% tax on locally sourced profits
Utilising the QFC platform
The QFC is preparing for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and beyond by providing the necessary legal, regulatory and financial support to local and international firms that are essential to Qatar’s journey towards economic maturity, diversity and sustainability.
The QFC platform can be utilised to support a variety of services that relate to Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ including all types of consulting services, legal services, IT services, marketing and brand management services, PR firms, advertising agencies, recruitment firms, accounting/audit firms to name a few.
The best thing about being a global financial and business centre is that we can welcome a wide array of businesses from various sectors to join our platform. It has also allowed us to put Qatar on the map and reiterate the growing business opportunities available.
How the QFC is adding to Qatar’s diversification goals
At the QFC, our mission is, and has always been, to drive economic development and diversification. We continue to focus on attracting firms that will serve Qatar’s purpose to diversify its economy, in-line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Through our offerings and unique platform, we attract a growing volume of businesses from Qatar and across the world; currently the QFC hosts 461 businesses from a diverse range of sectors. We also successfully enable local companies to expand beyond Qatar and tap into new markets.
We are playing a key part in the QNV 2030 roadmap by helping promote Qatar as a whole, and the vast opportunities there are in this thriving nation. Last year we conducted roadshows across Asia, Europe and the UK and we are seeing a lot of interest from these markets. We are planning more roadshows to continue to show international businesses how they can benefit from Qatar’s multi-billion investment portfolio.
About the Author
Dr. Haitham Al-Salama is Chief Economic Advisor at Qatar Financial Centre and Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance. He has over 15 years experience spanning the fields of healthcare, policy and management within governmental and non-profit organisations. He is a recipient of a number of awards including Oxford University’s Honorary Senior Research Fellowship and the League of Arab States’ 25th Anniversary Distinguished Student Award.