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Second Edition of Expo Turkey at Doha

The second edition of “Expo turkey” held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) with much excitement in the air. The event coincides with the ongoing Qatar-Turkey Economic Forum, which kicked off on Tuesday making the event more important for both Turkey and Qatar economic cooperation.

The event is hosting more than 150 Turkish companies from the real estate, construction, information, food, machinery, food and health, tourism sectors, participating in the exhibition.

The inauguration witnessed the presence of top business leaders from Qatar and Turkey, senior diplomats and dignitaries and top officials from private industry representatives of both sides, including the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, M Rifat Hisarciklioglu.

The three day event is organised solely by Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MUSIAD) with the aim of promoting Qatar as a gateway for Turkish products to reach 400 million customers in the regional market.

As this is the second year of Expo Turkey, it indicates strengthening of strategic economic ties between Qatar and Turkey. The event gives an opportunity to the business verticals in Qatar and Turkey to communicate and exchange various prospects of expanding business in the region.

Moreover, the event is also expected to prove to be a fruitful platform for Qatari importers to contact Turkish manufacturers and represent them in the local market for quality products at reasonable cost, which will help them in manufacturing better quality of products at reasonable prices and at the same time expand market for Turkish products.

Apart from the exhibition of products by Turkish firms, the event also portrays strong commitment by Turkey and Qatar to streamline practical mechanisms for further developing the economic cooperation and trade exchange. This event further gives an opportunity to explore innovative and promising avenues that will have mutually befitting results for both Turkey and Qatar.

The ongoing blockade has enabled a close connection between Turkey and Qatar as they tend to realise new opportunities of economic cooperation that were otherwise mostly showed by other countries in the region.

The success of the event highly depends on the number of prospects that actually materialise from the bilateral meetings, including Business-to-Business (B2B) events arranged on the sidelines of the event.






Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Mohammed Zuber Shaikh/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

All six GCC countries will experience sharp economic slowdowns in the coming months and throughout 2017, but Qatar is expected to weather the storm better than most, a new report has found.

According to an economic outlook report from BMI Research, next year will mark a “notable divergence in growth” between Qatar, the UAE and the rest of the Gulf states.

Qatar’s economy should improve steadily from 3.1 percent GDP growth this year through 3.6 percent in 2017 to reach 4.1 percent by 2020.

Economic forecast


Economic forecast

That is some way ahead of the predictions for the other GCC states, with the UAE expected to sit around 2.8 percent growth next year and Saudi Arabia at just 1 percent, the BMI figures show.

Lower global oil prices has spurred Gulf governments to lower subsidies on fuel and utilities, also taxing consumer purchasing power.

Though BMI projects oil prices will rise from an average of US$43.50/barrel the year to $54/barrel in 2017, it said demand will remain lackluster going forward.

While Qatar is predicting a budget deficit for the next three years, it is likely to remain some way below the average forecast deficit of 11 percent of GDP for the region.

In a report in June this year, Qatar’s Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS) revised its predictions to estimate a deficit of 7.8 percent of GDP for this year, rising to 7.9 percent next year.

This is some way larger than the 4.8 percent the ministry said at the end of last year that it was expecting.

However, by 2019, this deficit is expected to shrink to 4.2 percent.

In comparison, Saudi Arabia is looking at a deficit of 11.2 percent of GDP for this year, and 6.8 percent in 2017 before falling to 2.4 percent in 2018, international credit rating agency Fitch said earlier this year.

Private sector focus

On the plus side, economic conditions are prompting governments to enact structural and fiscal reform.

According to BMI, officials across the GCC will turn to private investment in infrastructure projects as a “way to lessen the pain of government cuts.”

The report added:

“We expect to see the public-private partnership (PPP) model gain traction in several sectors, including transport and power, after decades in which governments have had a clear preference for funding projects directly.”

In Qatar, the push to strengthen the private sector was first flagged last year by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani when he said businesses should stop being “patrons” of the state and that a more robust private sector should to be established.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) said new rules would be introduced to ease the way for setting up PPPs, to relieve the state of some of its burden.

In a statement at the time, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani said PPPs would create new opportunities in several sectors, including sports, health and education, where there is a plan to build some dozen schools.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani


Qatar\’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani

To make it easier for private businesses to hire the right staff, the Prime Minister said earlier this month that the process of getting work visas would be streamlined.

This would be part of the new five-year national development strategy (2017-2022) which will emphasize private sector development, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani added.


Rendering of redeveloped Musheireb district


Rendering of redeveloped Msheireb district

Farewell, West Bay.

Doha’s under-construction Msheireb district is now aiming to become a new financial and business center for Qatar, with the first firms expected to move in next summer.

The announcement was made yesterday after Qatar Financial Center (QFC) said that all new companies who register with it will work on the site.

That will include both local and international organizations, it added.

Phased move

QFC is a Doha-based onshore business and financial center that has its own legal, regulatory, tax and business rules.

These include allowing firms to be wholly foreign-owned and to repatriate all of their profits.

Currently, existing companies registered with the QFC will not be required to move, the organization said.

But the center’s main office relocation will take place in phases over the next three years starting from summer 2017, QFC’s chief executive said.

Changing West Bay

If all of QRC’s firms opt to move, West Bay is going to become a lot less crowded in the coming years.

Some 300 companies – including banks, law firms, accountancy firms, management consultants and media/PR agencies – are currently registered with QFC, according to its website.

These are based in more than 45 designated premises across Doha, including the two QFC towers in Dafna/West Bay and several other high-profile locations there.

Doha's West Bay

Lesley Walker

Doha\’s West Bay

The West Bay area has become increasingly congested in recent years and parking spaces come at a premium, which can cause problems for visitors to offices in the area.

As a result, Qatar’s authorities have been taking steps to encourage firms to set up in other areas.

For example, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) have moved from their previous West Bay offices to Lusail City, which is still being built.

Doha Metro rendering

Qatar Rail

Doha Metro rendering

And those who shift to downtown will be able to use the Musheireb station, the main stop for the new Doha Metro, to get to the work.

However, the first phase of this is not expected to open to passengers until early 2020.

Additionally, there will be a total of 10,000 underground car parking spaces for the whole Msheireb Downtown Doha site.

Move timeline

The new Msheireb business district will also house non-QFC companies in around 100 buildings.

Rendering of redeveloped Msheireb Doha Downtown

Msheireb Properties

Rendering of redeveloped Msheireb Doha Downtown

The plan for the new downtown area, which is being developed by real estate firm Msheireb Properties, is akin to London’s Canary Wharf. It combines commercial, residential, retail and cultural entities in one complex.

The first companies – newly registered QFC firms – will start moving into the district next summer.

Organizations that are already registered and have offices elsewhere in the country can relocate in phases over the following two to three years.

In a statement, QFC said:

“Following the QFC’s relocation and move of QFC firms, other QFC entities including the Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority, the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Center and the Qatar Finance and Business Academy will relocate as well. Their relocation is expected to be complete in 2019.”

The creation of the new business area is part of Qatar’s economic diversification from its reliance on hydrocarbons, QFC’s chief executive Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida said.

Msheireb development

The old Musheireb neighborhood traditionally housed hundreds of small businesses and shops.

Many of the shopping and residential complexes were demolished several years ago to allow for the total reconstruction and modernization of the district.

It is being built in phases, although some deadlines have been missed.

According to Msheireb Properties CEO Abdullah Hassan al-Mehshadi, work on the first three phases of the development is “80 percent complete.”

He told Gulf Times that the company is working with Qatar Rail on the fourth phase.

Qatar Academy Msheireb Building in Msheireb Downtown Doha project

Msheireb Properties

Qatar Academy Msheireb Building in Msheireb Downtown Doha project

So far, the development houses one school – Qatar Academy Msheireb, which opened its doors last September.

And last summer, Msheireb Properties announced that its first commercial tenant in its Al Baraha district would be the International Center for Sport Security (ICSS), which is also part of the QF stable.


When finished, the entire Downtown Doha project will include shops and a cultural forum that features two art house cinemas and a performing arts theater.

In addition to the 100 commercial and government buildings, Msheireb will have 900 houses and apartments, eventually accommodating a residential population of 2,600 people.

There is also a mosque, a museum and 120,000 square meters of parks and open space.

Rendering of Msheireb's Al Baraha area

Msheireb Properties/Facebook

Rendering of Msheireb’s Al Baraha area

Additionally, there will be four hotels, including a Mandarin Oriental which is set to open this year and a Park Hyatt.

In the heritage quarter, next to the Emiri Diwan, government buildings include the National Archive, four restored houses that comprise Msheireb Museums and Eid prayer ground.

These are across from Al Koot Fort near Souq Waqif and first opened in 2014.