Qatar Economic Forum 2024 draws to an end

16 May 2024

The 4th annual Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) concluded today following a successful three-day run at the Katara Towers. Gathering over 2,300 participants representing 50 countries, the forum hosted key discussions on business and investment, globalisation and trade, the energy sector transition and innovation in technology.

The event’s final day featured a thought-provoking exchange among key officials, business leaders and decision-makers.

During a session titled ‘Artificial Intelligence: Regulation & Innovation,’ HE Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed Al Mannai, Minister of Communications & Information Technology, discussed Al Fanar program, a generative Arabic language AI model built on authentic high-quality data. HE said: “We should all collaborate in the Arab world as we sit on a limited amount of data.” In addition, HE revealed plans to grow the data centre capacity in Qatar threefold, within the next five to six years.

In a panel titled ‘Taking Cities to the Next Level,’ HE Eng Khalid Ahmed Al Obaidli, Chairman of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, stated that the goal now is to utilise the country’s advanced infrastructure by attracting the right partners and talent. HE said: “A key initiative we aim to introduce in 2024 is a dispute resolution mechanism. We want the system to be transparent, so foreign direct investors and international businesses coming to Doha know they will get world-class standards in infrastructure and the entire real estate ecosystem.”

Marking Innovation Day, the forum’s closing day also saw Eng Omar Ali Al Ansari, Secretary-General of Qatar Research, Development and Innovation (QRDI) Council, discussing the role of QRDI in harnessing homegrown and global tech innovations. He said: “The Prime Minister, in his opening address, cited the Third National Development Strategy, which anchors the next few years on unleashing the potential of a human-capital-driven economy that leverages R&D, technology, innovation and AI. While delivering to these targets, we will strive to focus our national innovation activities on science and technology which produce responsible innovations that will benefit all humanity.”

In a session titled ‘From the Gulf to the World: The Future of Tourism,’ HE Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, said that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ played a major role in developing the country’s tourism sector, affirming that the country strives to continue building on the tournament’s legacy.

On advancing the tourism sector in both countries, Eng Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Group CEO of Qatar Airways, joined by RwandAir CEO, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, discussed the two airlines’ successful partnership and announced plans to further expand Qatar Airways’ network in Central and Southern Africa. “We want to expand without needing to depend on other airlines in neighbouring countries, so we will do it with our partners by expanding their fleet to cover other destinations,” Al Meer explained.

HE Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, discussed Web Summit, whose Middle East and Africa debut was recently hosted in Qatar. HE pointed out: “Bringing these events, you build upon a great demand that itself will unleash a lot of opportunities, a lot of potential and the capability and ability to be a multiclass host this year.”

Speaking during a Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) and Qatar Financial Centre-sponsored Breakout Session, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Faisal Al Thani, QFZ CEO, announced a new regional distribution hub launched in partnership with FedEx Logistics, the integration of AI into their operations and their newly formed agreement with the German ZEKI Center to establish AI-focused free zones in Qatar.

Powered by Bloomberg and hosted in collaboration with Media City Qatar under the theme ‘A World Remade: Navigating the Year of Uncertainty,’ the QEF 2024 comes in line with Qatar’s goals to attract talent, boost digitalisation and support economic diversification efforts.