In collaboration with the International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has launched the Arabic version of the Global Trade Helpdesk (GTH) platform, which aims to simplify exploring potential trade opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in various global markets.
MSMEs face many challenges, especially in searching for trade-led growth opportunities in regional and international markets. The difficulty in accessing sufficient and reliable information on target markets is a key obstacle to their business expansion, which is where the GTH platform aims to fill the gap.
Through this partnership, QDB is offering SMEs a new online portal that complements other research and information tools that the bank provides to the private sector and entrepreneurs through its various programmes tailored towards export development and access to international markets.
GTH receives a lot of support from several prominent international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Chamber of Commerce.
The leading platform integrates trade and business information into a single online portal accessible to all companies and entrepreneurs seeking to trade internationally.
QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa said, “We are pleased to announce this unique partnership and to provide entrepreneurs with a new tool that adds value to the long list of tools and services provided by QDB through its various programmes, departments, and affiliate institutions. The GTH platform will support MSMEs in studying various international markets and effectively seizing available expansion opportunities."
He said, “Through this partnership, we have contributed to the Arabisation of this platform to be available to all Arab companies. This confirms the strategy of the bank and the State of Qatar in providing growth opportunities and opening up regional and international markets for the private sector while supporting the entrepreneurial community with the best knowledge resources not only in Qatar, but in the entire Arab world as well.”
According to Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director, ITC, the launch of the Arabic version of the platform is particularly relevant in the current circumstances, as smaller firms have been particularly vulnerable to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and are pressed to adapt their business strategies.
“SMEs are the foundation of the global economy and ensuring an inclusive recovery depends on our ability to help them effectively engage in the global marketplace. We are keen to work with QDB to ensure that SMEs in the Mena region can also benefit from this new digital platform as we place trade at the centre of the global recovery,” she noted.
GTH will enable entrepreneurs to study and compare the demand for specific products across different global markets and choose the most promising opportunities without incurring the trouble of using conventional, high-cost, and time-consuming methods that may not yield accurate results. In addition, the platform will facilitate exploring details about taxes, tariffs, market access conditions, export and import procedures, and buyers’ information, as well as finding potential business partners.
In its endeavours to build the foundations for a sustainable and integral trade-led growth, the platform focuses on four key activities: developing an interactive online platform integrating comprehensive trade information, building a network of international, regional, and domestic partners to co-ordinate exchanging trade information, enhancing data collection efforts to ensure the provision of comprehensive and updated information, and upgrading the platform’s capabilities towards better and wider dissemination of information to all companies to help them make better-informed decisions.
The launch of the Arabic version of the GTH platform further augments QDB’s integrated export support system for SMEs and entrepreneurs. As part of its 360-degree services, the bank’s TASDEER export development and export promotion programmes enable private enterprises to identify sustainable export opportunities and tap into regional and global markets through exhibitions, match-making, trade missions, and other means.
By the same token, the bank recently obtained the unanimous approval of the GS1 General Assembly to establish a local barcode office for Qatari products, which has been assigned the code 630.
QDB’s export-focused programmes and initiatives are designed to streamline and facilitate SMEs’ growth and expansion globally with confidence.