International engagement at Web Summit Qatar as second day wraps up

27 February 2024

Web Summit Qatar 2024 entered its second day, with no shortage of exciting announcements, discussions and new partnerships. Running for four days, the event marks the summit’s debut in the Middle East and Africa.

The summit’s organizing committee announced that 15,453 attendees from 118 countries have gathered at the event. A whopping 1,043 startups from 81 countries are presenting their innovations, joined by 401 high-profile investors, 148 partners, and 380 speakers, 30% of whom are women. Of the total startups, 10 percent hail from Qatar, while 20 percent come from Africa and 50 percent from the wider MENA region.

Sheikh Jassim bin Mansour bin Jabor Al Thani, Director of the Government Communications Office and Chairman of the Web Summit Qatar 2024 Organising Committee, said: “Hosting Web Summit Qatar signifies a milestone in our nation’s ongoing journey to forge the future, showcasing Qatar’s growing status as a place where people, ideas and inspiration come together to envision the next digital revolution.”

He added: “The tremendous turnout in attendees and ticket purchases demonstrates the high demand for such events in the region, as well as Qatar’s potential as a hub for SMEs and innovators. More so, on its very first day, we set several new records in Web Summit history, including the biggest startup participation in a first-year edition, the largest presence of startups from Africa, and more.”

For her part, Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher said: “Over the last few years, we noticed a growing presence from the Middle East at our events. Dynamic founders, investors and entrepreneurs from the region were contributing to our events in such a meaningful way, we knew that it was time for us to bring an event here. Web Summit Qatar represents a brand-new opportunity to connect a new generation of entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers.”

The event’s second day featured a special address by HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, in which she called for an immediate end to the war on Gaza, as well as an end to the obstruction of desperately needed aid delivery.

HM said: “Difficulty in understanding the conflict arises from incomplete narratives and differing starting points. Echo chambers reinforce individual convictions, hindering a comprehensive understanding. The war in Gaza has prompted a reevaluation of long-held beliefs, challenging the black-and-white perspective and uncomfortable truths may lead to a deeper understanding and growth. While stories can dehumanize, they can also empower by fostering empathy and connection. Gazans, through social media, have become unintentional spokespeople, humanizing their struggles.”

Among the key speakers of the day was HE Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. During his discussion, HE Al Thawadi highlighted Qatar’s capacity to host major global events as a testament to the legacy of the FIFA World Cup and the human legacy it left in Qatar and globally.

HE added: “We sent people, en masse, to every event that you can imagine, whether it was the 2018 Russia World Cup, the 2014 Brazil World Cup, the Olympics [or] the Champions League, to immerse not just as observers, but as actual workforce. So, by the time we got to 2022, we had a workforce and a nation that understood what it takes to host major events. From day one, I have always said that the one element of legacy that will always be the most impactful is human legacy.”

In addition, big names like Meta, 500 Global, Warner Music Group and Tubi Media Group took the stage, revealing their companies’ latest innovations and discussing trending topics in technology. Local speakers also led various sessions, sharing their experience and insights on their subject-matter expertise and on building a vibrant tech ecosystem in Qatar. This included the Qatar Investment Authority’s CIO of the Americas Mohammed Al Sowaidi, who discussed Qatar’s recent announcement to invest USD 1 billion in international and regional venture capital funds, which was declared on the summit’s opening night.

Speaking during a session on the role of Middle Eastern funds in the global economy, Al Sowaidi said: “The engagement of various sovereign wealth funds and government entities in the venture funds industry affirms the value of venture capital in the MENA region and showcases the potential to build scalable businesses here.”

The second day also saw the signing of significant Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between global tech leaders and Qatar-based entities, aimed at boosting innovation and entrepreneurship. These included agreements between Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Saudi-based Raed Ventures, QDB and Global Ventures.

HE Dr Ahmed Al Sayed Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Faisal Al Thani, CEO of Qatar Free Zones, signed two memorandums of understanding with tangible AI and digitalization leader ZE-KI, American biotech company Gingko Bioworks. Nasser Al Taweel, Deputy CEO of Qatar Financial Center, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with financial infrastructure solutions provider Partior.

Furthermore, Ooredoo signed an MoU with Microsoft to develop and co-design state-of-the-art hybrid multi-Cloud environment, and another agreement with Cisco. The high-profile agreements show the success of Web Summit Qatar 2024 in catalyzing new partnerships between international tech giants and local entities.

Qatar’s highly anticipated inaugural edition kicked off on Monday with an opening ceremony that saw the participation of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher, Co-founder and CEO of Replit Amjad Masad, and renowned TV presenter Trevor Noah.

With two days remaining, the event is on track in bringing together the brightest minds to forge new digital frontiers and strengthen Qatar’s knowledge-based economy, as part of its national vision for 2030 and beyond.

Interested parties can view the Web Summit Qatar 2024 agenda, speakers list and key discussion topics at: