Qatar has ‘vital’ first-mover advantage on fintech: QFCA Official

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Qatar Financial Center Authority (QFCA) facility
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According to the top official of the Qatar Financial Center Authority (QFCA), Doha has “significant” first-mover advantage for international organizations, particularly fintech and others, in the digital landscape, in view of the opportunities in the country, whose ICT spending is expected to reach $9 billion by 2024.

While speaking at a webinar, ‘Digital Opportunities in Qatar.’, Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, QFCA CEO remarked, “Due to the pandemic situation, we have seen a spike in demand from technology and digital companies which want to take advantage of the first mover into the market. This is an unsaturated market.”

The webinar was part of QFCA’s “#AccessQatar: QFC Webcast Series” intended to cover the latest trends and developments across several industries and topics including fintech, digital and sports.

“There is no better time than now to invest and tap into this market,” QFCA CEO stated while remarking that the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the necessity and possibility of applying technology by financial organizations to better interact and service clients, including;

  • Contactless payment solutions
  • Remittances that eradicate the need to visit an exchange house
  • Supporting lending to small and medium enterprises and
  • Processing of insurance claims and payments remotely and

Mr. al-Jaida declared that Qatar Central Bank has also officially launched its regulatory sandbox, inviting and accepting firms seeking to safely live-trial their services in the digital payment services space.

“We will be focusing on fintech and this is a crucial area of growth post-pandemic,” al-Jaida said, pointing to specific segments as cybersecurity, cloud computing and block-chain based technologies and artificial intelligence.

“We believe in the digital sector, which is one of the most promising catalysts for our economy,” he said while mentioning that adding the digital solutions have become integral to all sectors during the pandemic.

The QFC official said Qatar’s ICT spending is expected to continue growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.2% to touch $9 billion by 2024.

He said there has also been a pick-up in digital sports, which is a new area in Qatar, especially in the backdrop of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “There will be opportunities in digital sports marketing and media as well as digital venue management services,” he said, stressing that sport, along with media, digital and financial services would continue to be its focus areas in the future.