Investment professionals, financiers, government officials and economists gathered for the Euromoney Qatar Conference on Sunday (May 29) at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Doha to further educate themselves on the ever-changing dynamics of the Qatari economy. This year’s Euromoney Qatar Conference focused on global and Qatari macro outlooks, ESG and climate change, and the digitalization of the country’s financial sector.
Euromoney Conferences, the world’s leading organiser of events for capital markets and investment professionals, offers companies and governments a chance to connect with financial institutions by providing a vast and detailed overview of strategy and finance in a series of workshops, keynotes, interviews, and panel discussions.
The conference opened with a keynote address from Qatar Central Bank Governor Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani, who discussed several measures being implemented by Qatar Central Bank to promote a digital society and a developed financial environment.
“As part of the current upgrade of the payment system software, a fully integrated payment platform will be implemented, with Centralized Infrastructure for nationwide real-time payment network. Qatar Central Bank will set the necessary infrastructure to enable banks to accept contactless payments from the digital wallets, and in this regard, we have worked on designing a new Fintech strategy which we are planning to launch by the 4th quarter of this year,” he said.
Other keynotes included hiveonline CEO and author Sofie Blakstad. She spoke about the recent turmoil in the crypto markets before moving on to a wider discussion on blockchain and in detail, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). She also explored the key benefits of a CBDC for countries like Qatar, as well as their outlook for adoption globally.
A keynote address was given by QNB Group Chief Executive Officer Abdulla Mubarak Al Khalifa. He said Qatar has taken several measures to protect its economy and community in hopes of reducing the impacts of this unparalleled economic shock from the pandemic.
“As a result of its successful proactive strategy, effective management and support provided by the government of the State of Qatar and Qatar Central Bank, our banking sector has grown resilient with higher capital, liquidity, and profitability ratios.”
Khalifa’s address was followed by a keynote interview with Joseph Abraham, the Group Chief Executive Officer at Commercial Bank. He discussed the economic prospects for Qatar in 2022, the importance of ESG in banking and to its customers, while exploring Commercial Bank’s future in digitization.
“We are pleased to be the Exclusive Innovation Partner of the Euromoney Qatar Conference this year. This sponsorship affirms the bank’s commitment towards innovation and digital transformation which supports Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and contributes to the continued development of Qatar’s banking industry,” the GCEO said.
A keynote interview with Jessica Renier, Managing Director of Digital Finance at IIF, walked the audience through the growth and benefits of digital finance.
The opening panel discussion on global and Qatari macro outlooks was chaired by Richard Banks, Consulting Editor at Euromoney Conferences, and hosted speakers including: Alexis Antoniades, Director, Chair of International Economics at Georgetown University – Qatar; Gourang Hemani, Chief Financial Officer at Qatar Islamic Bank; and Akber Khan, Senior Director, Asset Management at Al Rayan Investment.
The day ended with a panel discussing digitising Qatari banking and financial services, which explored the evolution of this sector toward digitization. Speakers on this panel included Adel Al-Malki, General Manager, Group Retail Banking at QNB; Hamed Al-Shaibani, IT Development Manager at Qatar Stock Exchange; Henk Jan Hoogendoorn, Chief of Financial Sector Office at Qatar Financial Centre; Leonie Lethbridge, Executive General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at Commercial Bank; And Saumitra Sehgal, Partner at Roland Berger.
Sponsors of this year’s Euromoney Conference include Senior Lead Sponsor, QNB Group; Innovation Partner, Commercial Bank; Lead Sponsor, Qatar Islamic Bank; Co-Sponsor, Qatar Financial Centre; Exhibitor Sponsor, Investment House; and Associate Partners AHK and The Qatar-Poland Business Council.
Victoria Behn, Director, Middle East and Africa, at Euromoney Conferences said: “Once again, we are delighted with the turnout for The Euromoney Qatar Conference. Strategy and finance in Qatar were deeply explored, uncovering key insights in interesting areas such as ESG and digitization. After an absence of over two years, this event acted as a meeting point for senior government officials, financial institutions, investors, and Qatari companies to convene and network around capital markets and finances.