SMEs to help Qatar diversify away from hydrocarbons, says Chamber official

Peter Alagos

Tuesday، 03 March 2020 12:30 AM

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in economic growth and in the diversification strategy of Qatar, Qatar Chamber director general Saleh bin Hamad al-Sharqi said yesterday during the ‘3rd SMEs Conference’, which concludes today.
Al-Sharqi, who thanked the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the British Embassy in Qatar, and Qatar Development Bank (QDB), underscored the role and importance of SMEs in the development and growth of the economy saying, the sector contributes to productivity and generates job opportunities, which helps curb unemployment and poverty.
Citing statistics from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), al-Sharqi said that around 95% of projects around the world come from SMEs. Also, he said SMEs contribute 45% to the global GDP.
He said the government has put a premium in the development of the country’s SME sector because of its important role in keeping pace with new economic policies and global challenges, as well as its significance in realising the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
“The direction taken by government is also part of the ambitious plan to have more and different sources of income, and take steps towards a viable economy that is not dependent on the hydrocarbons sector anymore, and this is why SMEs play a vital role in achieving the national goals of Qatar,” al-Sharqi pointed out.
According to al-Sharqi, Qatar ranked 22nd globally among 137 countries in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index Report. Also, Qatar was among the top 20 nations in World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business 2020’ list,’ he said.
Al-Sharqi stressed that SMEs and entrepreneurs played a significant role during the June 2017 economic blockade, citing efforts exerted by the state to develop the national industry, to accelerate procedures, and to achieve the self-sufficiency.
At the onset of the blockade, al-Sharqi said Qatar Chamber focused on local industries and the private sector, facilitating procedures for business owners to expedite their work and help them face the challenges of the economic blockade imposed against Qatar.
“This conference is also a good opportunity to talk about the pioneering experiences, such as those in the UK, which has close and distinguished bonds with Qatar,” al-Sharqi stressed.
He noted that the conference represented “an ideal opportunity” for identifying means of developing and promoting SMEs by reviewing the leading British expertise in this field, even as he affirmed that Qatar and the UK “enjoy distinguished co-operation relations at all aspects.”

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