The Qatari Businessmen Association in cooperation with QFZA, organizes an investment Webinar on "How to Start a Business in Qatar Free Zones"

19 Jan 2021 Virtual meeting

QBA Members attended

The Qatari Businessmen Association, in partnership with Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), organized an investment webinar on “How to Start a business in Qatar Free Zones”, as part of the memorandum of understanding signed between the two entities in February 2020, and included ways of joint cooperation and how to benefit from what both institutions provide in terms of services to the local and foreign investors in order to attract investments and support the economic development of the state.
The webinar was chaired by H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, QBA Chairman, and H.E. Mr. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA.
The webinar was also organized in cooperation with QBA’s partners in France and Germany, MEDEF International, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Qatar, as well as the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ghorfa) in Germany. These institutions invited their members from French and German companies to attend the webinar, with more than 112 companies participated in the event.
From QBA, the webinar was attended by QBA Board member, Mr. Saud Al-Mana, and QBA members, Mr. Omar Al-Fardan, Mr. Nasser Sulaiman Al-Haidar, Mr. Khaled Al-Mannai, Mr. Faisal Al-Mana, Mr. Ihssan Al-Khiyami, Mr. Ali Abdul Reda Mashhadi, Mr. Wassim Al-Dayaa, CEO Dallah Holding Media and Mrs. Sarah Abdullah, QBA Deputy General Manager.
The webinar began with a welcome note from H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, QBA Chairman, in which he welcomed the attendees, stressing that the webinar is an important step in a series of events that QBA is organizing to promote Qatar as a distinct investment destination, adding, “We are seeking today to pave the way for businessmen in France and Germany to establish commercial and investment partnerships in the free zones of Qatar, and to benefit from the services provided by the authority to attract local and foreign investors”.
Sheikh Faisal also indicated that this meeting comes in light of the global pandemic that has cast shadows on the global economy and requires serious cooperation between private sector institutions and businessmen around the world, which leads to know-how transfer that may help all parties overcome challenges better and faster.
Sheikh Faisal also said "The Qatari Businessmen Association seeks, through these Webinars, to establish a network of relations between Qatari businessmen and their counterparts around the world in the service of the national economy, by supporting the state in its efforts to diversify sources of income and attract foreign investment, and benefit from the privileges, incentives and infrastructure developed by the State of Qatar”.
H.E. Mr. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA stated in his welcoming remarks: “The free zones witnessed the joining of several global companies in 2020, including companies in the logistics, emerging tech, and e-mobility sectors. This impetus highlights QFZ as a destination for attracting investment with its advanced infrastructure and a platform for innovation where world-leading companies enter into cross-sector partnerships, creating entirely new value-chains. Such initiatives are contributing to Qatar's growing economic outlook, which is substantiated by the World Bank prediction of 3% growth rate in 2021 – the highest in the GCC.”
The opening remarks were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Terry Martin, an international broadcaster at DW NEWS. The panelists included Mr. Abdullah Al-Misnad, Deputy CEO of QFZA. On the French side, Mr. Regis Monfront, a member of MEDEF International and Deputy General Manager of the Crédit Agricole CIB participated, while the German side was presented on the panel by Mr. Jürgen Hogrefe, member of the board of Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ghorfa) and Chairman of Hogrefe Consulting Company, as well as Mr. Christophe Gaussin, CEO of the French company Gaussin which currently operates in Ras Bufontas Free Zone.

The Panel discussion started with Mr. Martin directing his question to Mr. Abdullah Al-Misnad, Deputy CEO of QFZA, about the advantages offered by the free zones in Qatar compared to other free zones in the region. Mr. Abdullah confirmed that the free zones in Qatar provide many opportunities and competitive advantages for companies seeking to expand regionally and globally, including advanced infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and 100% foreign ownership, in addition to benefiting from tax exemptions and partnership opportunities with major Qatari companies. Al-Misnad also talked about the ease of procedures required to establish a company and the speed of response to the various requirements of foreign companies, and the keenness to secure a fast and efficient path to operations. 
The French side also stated, when asked about the sectors that French companies believe they have potential for establishing their business in the free zones in Qatar, he mentioned that innovative communication technology, smart cities solutions and digitization, petrochemicals in addition to food security, and agricultural. Mr. Regis also spoke about Qatar-French relations, which began in 1971 when Qatar became a strategic partner for France, and this was confirmed by the presence of major French companies and banks in Qatar such as Total, Thales, Societe Generale and other companies that numbered approximately 200 French companies, stating that Qatar is considered to be a major investment hub in the Gulf region.
On his part, Mr. Jürgen Hogrefe also spoke about the German-Qatari relations, as Qatar is a key partner for Germany at all levels, especially at the economic level, which is reflected in the huge Qatari investments in Germany, exceeded 25 billion euros in addition to the number of German companies operating in the Qatari market that have reached to about 300 German companies, including Siemens and Volkswagen.
On his part, Mr. Christophe Gaussin, CEO of Gaussin, spoke about his experience with Qatar Free Zones, saying, “We have received a warm welcome from the Qatari authorities, which helped in developing our experience in establishing and operating businesses in Ras Bufontas as part of the joint G.A.M.E. project between Gaussin and a Qatari local partner.” Mr. Gaussin continued talking about the free zones facilitating the development of the company's regional and global business, so that the company started exporting its products from the Qatari market to New Zealand, adding that its strategic location, in addition to Qatar's strong commitment to the transport and logistics sector – in a most environmentally friendly way - are in the interest of the company's business and supports its development.

Mr. Gaussin also added that the establishment process was very fast since the start of the business last September, the company was able to start manufacturing operations within 6 months from the date of incorporation, noting that business opportunities are ideal as there is advanced infrastructure, and access to the supply chain through logistical offerings in Qatar and seamless entry into local and regional markets. These are key factors that make the free zones an attractive investment destination for several sectors, particularly advanced mobility.
At the end of the Webinar, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani thanked the attendees, inviting everyone to study the investment opportunities and the many advantages offered by Qatar, stressing that the public and private sectors work together to achieve comprehensive sustainable development by 2030, attract foreign investment and advanced technology, and localize high level competitive industries. Confirming that the investment climate is very favorable, and the opportunities are great and available to transform the country into a real economic driver of growth.