Interview: Ali Al Waleed Al Thani
What are the core responsibilities of the IPA, and what agencies does it collaborate with?
ALI AL WALEED AL THANI: The IPA’s goal is to attract investment to Qatar and create growth and prosperity for the country, investors and the entities we represent alike. To achieve this, we support local companies across a variety of sectors seeking to attract investment. We have partnerships with organisations such as the Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI). Each of these institutions has a sector-specific focus that broadly aligns with Qatar National Vision 2030, the country’s long-term development strategy. While the QFZA focuses on logistics, manufacturing and emerging technology, the QFC centres on financial and professional services, the MoCI on onshore investments, and the QSTP on research, development and start-ups. These are some of the areas in which the IPA seeks to support these agencies by attracting investment and promoting their activities.
How can Qatar compete with established regional and international destinations for investment?
AL THANI: Qatar has recently made several changes designed to reform in order to become a more attractive destination for business. This includes the Foreign Investment Law of 2019, which allows up to 100% foreign investment in all sectors. Other initiatives include the launch of single-window services to simplify commercial registration; the establishment of the IPA; the opening up of the real estate sector to foreign investors; the facilitation of the permanent residency application process for real estate investors; and the establishment of the QFZA. The majority of these initiatives were launched between 2017 and 2019, which shows the rapid progress the country is making. Qatar benefits from its geostrategic location between Asia, Africa and Europe. We are geographically agnostic, ready to accept investments from all over the world and benefit from well-developed infrastructure, which includes the Hamad Port, the Hamad International Airport, as well as internal roads and highways. In addition, Qatar benefits from a high human development index and high levels of education.
There are several other benefits investors can leverage, including the country’s various trade links, bilateral investment protection agreements, double taxation agreements and free trade agreements. These are just a few factors that offer Qatar a competitive edge in the economic ecosystem.
In what ways does the IPA seek to enhance the competitiveness of the Qatari brand?
Al THANI: The IPA believes that a brand is not just a logo: it is the narrative on how we position ourselves in a competitive ecosystem. The primary goal is to promote the qualitative advantages to investing in Qatar. The country offers investors many incentives and advantages, such as security, infrastructure and a long-term vision. The message we are trying to send to investors is that we are here to partner with them and take them further. In a small consolidated environment, investors have the ability to meet and engage with several main stakeholders within the economy. We have been very active in engaging with our partners. We have signed several agreements with global organisations such as the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, the Russian Investment Agency and the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Investment Office. We are looking to further expand our reach by engaging with other investment agencies, chambers of commerce and industry associations. These will provide us with guidance on best international practices as well as aid in sourcing different investment opportunities.
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