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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Synergistic Opportunities Prevail Between Qatar and Australia in Food Security


Doha Bank hosted an event on 4th August 2017 at Shangri- La Hotel, Sydney on the topic “Qatar – A sustainable performer “. The event was well attended by leading Corporates and Bankers in Australia who were keen to hear more about Qatar and to explore further business opportunities with Doha Bank.

Mr. Hilton Wood, Chief Representative Officer, Doha Bank Australia gave the welcome address. At the keynote address, Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on global economies. He said “According to IMF July 2017 Outlook, economic activity in both advanced economies and emerging and developing economies is forecast to accelerate in 2017, to 2 percent and 4.6 percent respectively, with global growth projected to be 3.5 percent. Current global growth prospects are encouraging, though the pace of growth is still weaker than desirable. Structural impediments continue to hold back a stronger recovery. Globalisation and technological change will contribute to driving economic growth and raising living standards across the globe.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy. He said “Qatar economy is expected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2017 and will have a fiscal deficit of 7.7 percent in 2017. The Nominal GDP of close to 30% comes from Mining and Quarrying (Mainly Hydrocarbon) and remaining from Non-Hydrocarbon sectors.Net foreign currency liability of all banks (QAR 120Bn) in Qatar is more than 135% of QCB reserves. QCB reserves are more than 6 times of volatile non-resident deposit outflow (QAR14Bn) during Jun’17.Qatar has a reserve of $340 billion including assets of its Sovereign Wealth Fund. Qatar’s reserves are more than 200% of its GDP. Qatar Central Bank 3Month QIBOR which had risen sharply in June 2017 was mostly a ‘knee jerk’ reaction. With improving liquidity, interbank rates are coming down. QARUSD 6 Month Forward points have normalized after initial reactions in Jun’17, reflecting improved market confidence & sentiments. Rebound in Doha Stock market index and Qatar Sovereign bond prices reflect improving market confidence in Qatari Economy.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on key reforms in Qatar. He said “Qatar ranked 18th in ‘the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17’ and stands second in the region. A new law for Public Private Partnership (PPP) businesses in Qatar should provide an additional level of comfort to the private sector and foreign investors. In Feb 2017, Qatar issued a new law on arbitration (the “Arbitration Law”), inspired by the UNCITRAL Model Law (the “Model Law”), an international template for law on arbitration. The Arbitration Law is a positive step towards support of the arbitration process. A law governing the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is aimed at simplifying procedures for foreign investors. In terms of food security, Qatar now have many local companies that are supporting the country and it can develop these businesses further and boost its food production to provide both locally and internationally. Qatar Budget 2017 has allocated for key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure QR87.1bn (US$23.9bn) which is made up made up of nearly 44% of the total expenditure in the 2017.Transportation and infrastructure projects, which represented a main pillar of enhancing sustainable development, have been allocated QR42bn. (US$11.51bn).The accomplishment of the New Orbit Highway will facilitate the world cup infrastructure works as per schedule.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar – Australia Bilateral relationships. He said “Australian economy is expected to grow by more than 3 percent in 2017. Australian dollar has strengthened by more than 10 percent against the US dollar. Qatar – Australia trade exceeded A$1.6bn in 2016. There are growing relationships between both countries in aviation, education, trade and defence. The major Australian export to Qatar was livestocks. Australian company Leighton was instrumental in constructing the equestrian complex in Qatar. Qatar plans to airlift 4000 cows. It would take as many as 60 flights to deliver the cattle, which were bought in Australia and the US. Hassad Australia, a subsidiary of Hassad Foods, a company owned by the Qatar government, had owned land spread across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. Hassad Australia through its partnership with Widam Food, will provide the local market with more than 340,000 head of Australian sheep over the course of three months, starting in June. Hassad has developed a renewable strategic inventory that includes various important products. Qatar economy is opening up on account of current scenario which will give enormous opportunities for Australian companies to participate in Qatar’s development, particularly food security. On the whole synergistic opportunities prevail between Qatar and Australia in food security.”

Following the keynote address by Dr. R. Seetharaman, there was a Q&A session, which the audience was very active in, stimulating further conversations and opportunities between Australia and Qatar. Mr. Frank Hamer, Head of International Banking, Doha Bank gave the Vote of thanks which concluded the event.

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