Supplement of private sector qatar
MARCH 2012 www.privatesectorqatar.com/en
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CONTENTS March 2012
Business Growth 30 A HELPING HAND SMEs face a number of challenges as they work on setting up their business. Celine Chami, Partner, Potential highlights these challenges and how entrepreneurs can be trained to be a step ahead.
Business Guru 32 MISSION: POSSIBLE We talk to John Martin St.Valery, Founder, Links Group to know about his journey in the region and his work with foreign companies that want to set up business in Qatar.
Finance 36 PROTECTING YOUR ASSETS With the Euro in trouble, Melissa Forbes, Associate, Taylor Wessing, highlights what businesses can do to guard their business transactions.
Look east News
20 Building Bridges
Get to know about the latest events and happenings in Qatar that will have an impact on SMEs and large enterprises.
An overview of the bilateral economic relations between Qatar and its biggest trading partner, Japan.
24 Changing tides
38 PROMOTING TALENT
Take a look at new launches that make your work life easier. Itâ€™s not like you need an excuse!
Pascal Lamy, DG, WTO, talks to us about the global trading system, protectionism, and its impact on the economy.
Social Development Centre elaborates about how entrepreneurs can benefit from their different programmes.
16 ECONOMIC INSIGHT
28 ACROSS BORDERS
40 BACK TO BASICS
We carry excerpts from a special report from QNB, to take a look at the balance of payments situation for Qatar.
TASDEER has put in place a number of initiatives to promote the exports. We provide an overview of their financial offerings.
Sahar Moussly, Executive Director, Trans Gulf Management gives us tips on how to stay focused and meet our new year resolutions.
Survey 42 A PARADIGM SHIFT
Women have been breaking the glass ceiling and moving up the ladder. However, there is still a lot that can be done says Fiona Elsa Dent, Director, Executive Education, Ashridge Business School.
Innovation 44 LOOK EAST Nie Winter, Professor, Operations and Service Management, IMD, brings to us how Chinese companies have kept up with the changing times and what lessons can we learn from them.
Legal 48 KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Qatar has seen an influx of expatriates moving to the country for work. However, they need to know the rules and regulations governing foreigners in Qatar, says Emma Higham, Senior Associate, Clyde & Co.
Human Resources 50 BUILDING EXPERTISE Ian White, Director, Qatar Skills Academy, highlights the importance of vocational training for the youth of Qatar.
Industry Watch 52 LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE While 2011 was a tough year for business and consumers in the region, 2012 holds some promise of positive growth.
About Town 54 HEALTH AND WEALTH Private Sector Qatar attended the Arab Health Congress and got talking to Berlin Brandenburg to know about their plans for Qatarâ€™s health sector.
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Taking it forward As with any venture, a strong foundation is the basic tenet for success. It is no different for us. We hope you enjoyed the first edition of the English issue of Private Sector and we met your expectations or, rather, we exceeded your expectations. This month we bring you a whole range of interesting topics to mull over and discuss. Qatar has been buzzing with activity with the Qatar Supreme Committee for the 2022 FIFA World Cup announcing the programme manager for the event. This is a clear indication of the upcoming projects and the huge opportunities for both international and local companies alike. Our upcoming issues will be looking closely at these developments which will give you a heads up on how to maximise the opportunities ahead.
CIRCULATION Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 440 9147 OPERATIONS AND DESIGN Operations Director James Rawlins email@example.com +971 4 440 9108 Production Manager James P Tharian firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 440 9146 Art Director Kamil Roxas email@example.com +971 4 440 9112 Head of Design Fahed Sabbagh firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 440 9148 Photographer Cris Mejorada email@example.com +971 4 440 9108 DIGITAL SERVICES www.smeadvisor.com Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy Maagma Web Developers Jerus King Bation Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Louie Alma firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 440 9100 Published by
This month we cover two interesting individuals and their journey so far and bring to our readers a global and a local perspective. Pascal Lamy, Director General, World Trade Organisation, tells us about the global trading system and how the economic uncertainties and protectionism will impact countries. At the same time the founder of the Links Group talks to us about how his company can help foreign companies set up business in Qatar and which sectors offer the most opportunities. Globalisation has led to the melting of borders, with countries becoming highly trade dependent. Qatar has been promoting trade with all major countries and in this issue we provide an overview of Qatar’s bilateral relations with Japan, its largest trading partner. But how can we forget the other big giant – China. China has been at the forefront of innovation, with every other good carrying the “Made in China” tag. What has China done differently? Are there any lessons we can learn? Read our article to find that out and much more. We bring you some interesting insights. In today’s global business village, no organisation is completely immune to the Euro crisis and so we thought that this was the right time to convey some sound advice on how to safeguard your international transactions. Moving to the local scene, we highlight the opportunities that await entrepreneurs in Qatar, with the support and encouragement being provided by various organisations. This is the best time to be an entrepreneur and to take that bold step in your life if you happen to live in Qatar. Talking to the various stakeholders definitely convinced us about that. We have tried our best to give you a 360 degree perspective on all that is happening in the world, the region and the country. We hope you will enjoy the read. Please do let us know your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you.
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advisory Board Ms. Amal Al-Mannai Ms. Al-Mannai is the Executive Director of the Social Development Center (SDC). She is also the Vice Chairperson of AFIF Fund for Small and Medium enterprises and a member of the National Human Rights Committee. Ms. Al-Mannai holds an MBA degree from the College of Business Administration at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She also holds a BSc in Economics from The University of Qatar and an MSc in Public Policy and Management from London University.
Dr. Eulian Roberts Dr. Roberts is the Managing Director of Qatar Science & Technology Park. His sector experience includes biotechnology, environmental technology, energy, healthcare, software and telecommunications. Eulian graduated from Imperial College with a BSc and PhD in 1986, and obtained an MBA three years later.
Abdulaziz N. Al-Khalifa Mr. Al-Khalifa is the Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Control at Qatar Development Bank (QDB). He has over ten years of experience in the banking, oil and gas and the private services sectors working for the QDB, Shell and Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation respectively. Mr. Abdulaziz holds an MBA degree from Qatar University and a bachelor degree in Engineering from California University, USA.
Dr. Hessa Al Jaber Dr. Jaber is the Secretary General of ictQATAR. Prior to this, she was a member of the Strategic ICT Committee, responsible for shaping Qatar's national ICT strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Engineering) from Kuwait University and Master's Degree and PhD in Computer Science from George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Professor Nitham M. Hindi Professor Nitham M. Hindi, is the Dean of College of Business and Economics at Qatar University. He holds a bachelor degree in accounting from the University of Jordan, Master degree from the University of Alabama (USA), and doctorate degree from Mississippi State University (USA) and is a Certified Management Accountant. Dr. Hindi is well published in many referred international journals.
Hamad Al Abdan Al-Marri Eng. Hamad Mohamed Al Abdan joined Enterprise Qatar as Chief Business Operation Officer in December 2011. He held senior executive positions at Al Jazeera Children Channel, Investments House Dubai and Barwa Bank. During his career, he has assisted in the formation of many SMEs, and the execution of fund raising and strategic JVs.
Mr. Al-Emadi is the Deputy CEO, Silatech. Prior to joining Silatech, he has worked for the Barwa Real Estate Group and Qatar Foundation. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from McNeese State University.
Mr. Salman is Executive Assistant, Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He has graduated from Faculty of Arts â€“ English literature in 1998. He also studied Business Administration at the American University in Cairo, 1999.
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Growth and diversification for Qatar economy non-hydrocarbon sector. The oil price assumptions on which Qatar bases its budget tend to be considerably lower than prevailing oil prices. This suggests that unless there is a dramatic drop in oil prices below the conservative scenario assumptions, Qatar’s growth will continue to stay stable. The IMF’s Article IV report on Qatar forecasts robust economic performance over the medium term (2013-16). Qatar’s real GDP growth is expected to average 5.3% for that period exceeding the regional and world levels. The IMF expects the non-hydrocarbon sector to be the main driver of growth, increasing by 9.6% on average during this four year period. There will be little change in oil and gas production over this period, until the Barzan gas project comes on stream in 2016. According to QNB Capital, the strong growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector will be supported by high hydrocarbon prices. This is because strong hydrocarbon revenue tends to boost both government spending and private consumption, reinforcing economic activity in the
The IMF is forecasting that there will be a 24% increase in the nonhydrocarbon component of government revenue over the period. The government aims to fully finance the budget from its non-hydrocarbon revenues by 2020, providing a safety buffer in the event of hydrocarbon price shocks. The IMF’s medium term forecasts suggest that it will make good progress towards this objective. The IMF also forecasts average inflation of 4% to 5% during 201316. Inflation has fallen in recent years mainly due to an oversupply of property, which led to lower rental prices. Additionally, strong economic growth will drive domestic demand and hence prices.
The Qatari authorities acknowledged that the economy could face potential inflationary pressures over the medium term from three channels. Firstly, the expansionary effect of the Barzan gas project that will start in 2012 and be completed by 2015. Secondly, the implementation of major projects in the non-hydrocarbon sector. Thirdly, expansionary government expenditure, including recent salary increases for nationals. The former two channels pose little concern to the authorities as they are growth generating. The impact of the public sector wage increase will depend on how much of the salary increase is spent rather than saved. Most of the inflationary pressure in 2013-16 will come from the non-tradable sector, notwithstanding the excess supply in real estate, which will keep rents depressed. Compared to the overall MENA region and the world, Qatar’s inflation will be below the average and above the average, respectively. The IMF’s overall economic outlook for Qatar is therefore positive with strong growth, moderate inflation and fiscal surpluses which will to continue in the medium term. Consequently, Qatar is going to outperform compared to regional and world averages. This will lead to real GDP growth in Qatar superior to the MENA region by an annual average of 0.6 percentage points and the advanced economies by an annual average of 2.6 percentage points during 2013-16.
Qatar takes an active role in the Internet The Qatar chapter of the Internet Society launched The society is a non-profit and independent organisation that was set up to promote collaboration for equal access to the Internet and to promote the Internet as a platform for education and development.
With two billion users, the Internet continues to prove just how vital a communication tool it is. To ensure that every individual has access to this medium, the Internet Society was set up twenty years ago.
The Qatar chapter of the society is now active. The team will be present at QITCOM 2012, Connect Arab Summit and the Promoting Online Safety and Cyber Ethics in the Middle East Conference in March to provide more information and interact. To achieve its mission, the society facilitates open development of
standards, protocols, administration, and the technical infrastructure of the Internet. It also provides forums for discussion of issues that affect Internet evolution and development. At a policy level, it provides management and coordination for on-strategy initiatives and outreach efforts. It also has taskforces to deal with the various aspects of the Internet. For example, there is ICAAN, which deals with all issues related to the IP address. The Qatar chapter facilitates access to leadership programmes that are offered by the Internet
society to its members to promote access and encourage the young generation. These initiatives include programmes such as the Next Generation Leadership Programme, Fellowship to the Internet Engineering Taskforce, and so forth. The society offers the opportunity to get the latest information about Internet issues, such as security, costs, and the rules and regulations. Membership for this society is free and anyone interested can join. If you would like to know more about the society, please visit www.isoc.qa.
Qatari products benefit from the Arab Health Congress Two pharmaceutical exporters from Qatar were successful in improving their exports by participating at Arab Health Congress which was held in Dubai. The exhibition attracted over 80,000 healthcare professionals. With a regional industry worth USD 80 billion, the participation of Qatari healthcare companies
was critical to make the right connections towards export promotion. Mr. Mansoor Bin Ibrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QDB welcomed the initiative taken by TASDEER to promote Qatari exports and opined that booking of such high amount of orders is evident that the Qatari-made products are competing with the best in the
world. He further said “Supporting Qatari companies to participate in such events is an excellent chance to showcase (Made in Qatar) quality products, we are developing and promoting access to new markets for Qatari enterprises to compete globally.” Mr. Hassan Khalifa Al Mansoori, Executive Director of TASDEER said, “Arab Health is the largest healthcare exhibition and congress in the Middle East and second largest in the world and the participation supported by TASDEER helped both companies to book orders, appoint agents to help further distribution in prospective markets. More importantly they had good exposure to the new technology, machinery being displayed at the exhibition and it was a good learning ground.” In line with its objective, TASDEER intends to step up its support to encourage and promote Qatari products in the global market place.
Partnership to develop digital media Yahoo! and ictQATAR have announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of the digital media and content ecosystem in Qatar. Middle East, Yahoo! will work closely with ictQATAR to cultivate innovation, stimulate online growth and nurture entrepreneurship in line with Qatar’s ICT2015 Strategy. Rich Riley, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Yahoo! Europe Middle
East and Africa, said, “We are very excited to be entering into this strategic partnership with ictQATAR. This is a joint project with common objectives; Qatar has incredible ambitions for growing the ICT sector and Yahoo! is well placed to make those plans a reality to the benefit of Qatar’s business, brands and consumers.” “ictQATAR is committed to developing a vibrant digital content ecosystem in Qatar, with a specific focus on quality Arabic content. Qatar and the Arab world have much to
share, and without question the best way to share our thoughts, ideas and innovations is digitally,” said Ali Al-Khulaifi, ICT Market Development Manager, ictQATAR. “With 70 million people online today in MENA and 50 million more expected to come in the next two to three years makes this one of the fastest growing markets in the world. With all this growth, there is still much to be done to develop the digital ecosystem in MENA and we are keen on collaborating with the region’s
leading initiatives to fuel this development,” said Ahmed Nassef, Vice President and Managing Director, Yahoo! Maktoob, Middle East. In the past two years since Yahoo! acquired Maktoob, the company’s combined reach grew from 30 million users to 56 million in the Middle East and North Africa. Yahoo! has also invested in expanding its regional footprint with fully staffed offices across Dubai, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh and Casablanca, covering editorial, engineering, sales, marketing and customer care.
Save the date!
Green Building Solution
Doha Exhibition Centre
International Wedding Exhibition
Doha Exhibition Centre
City Scape 2012 (Real Estate)
Doha Exhibition Center
Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC),Doha
Connect Arab Summit
Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel
Promoting Online Safety and Cyber Ethics in the Middle East
Multaqa Qatar 2012 (Finance and Business)
Ritz Carlton, Doha
2nd Annual Road Show Planning Design and Construction Middle East
Oryx Rotana Hotel, Doha
Doha Exhibition Center
GCC Europe Forum
Doha Exhibition Center
Qatar Petroleum Occupational Health Conference 2012
Health and Wellness Centre, Doha
Oryx Rotana Hotel, Doha
Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference
26- 29 March
Sixth International Conference on Environmental Mutagens in Human Populations
Light and easy Acer unveils the Aspire Timeline Ultra featuring eight hours of battery life, high performance and a 2-spindle design in an Ultrabook. The new Aspire Timeline Ultra is slimmer and lighter than earlier generations of the Timeline series, which reach a delicate equilibrium between computer lightness and battery life, providing an entire day of computing on a single charge. It features Acer Green Instant On for fast boot and resume, and Acer Always Connect technology, which let users manage their multimedia and data on all their devices at anytime, anywhere. These innovative technologies enable data upload and retrieval anytime, anywhere, and deliver power-saving features as well. Acer Always Connect gets users online faster than conventional connections for better productivity and infotainment enjoyment. Furthermore, it can wake up the Timeline Ultra from a remote
device like a SmartPhone. Access to all documents, music, pictures and video files is fast and always available. With their Facebook, Twitter and Outlook email accounts open, users can see updates instantly upon resuming.
All-in-one DVD writer The ASUS DRW-24B5ST DVD writer is bundled with Cyberlink and Nero. With ASUS-exclusive E-Green and OTS technology, this disc drive consumes less energy and increases the burning rate by auto-detecting the type of disc before adjusting its power requirements to suit the task at hand while E-Hammer and Disc Encryption II features give the users the most secure methods of data protection.
With ASUS Disc Encryption II from Power2Go 7, users can double their backups with security measures like password control and hidden file functions. This way, users can simply
The smarter SmartPhone The innovative new Smart Actions app in the Motorola RAZR lets users create automated tasks and improve battery performance by up to 30%. Users can either take direct control by configuring Smart Actions to set specific rules or wait for prompts based on recurring behaviours. The low battery saver action will pay attention to how much charge your battery has and change settings to conserve whatâ€™s left. At 40% power, it can dim the display and at 30% it can slow down data usage. You pick the points and you choose the changes. Smart Actions can also make changes based on where you are. These locationbased actions are associated with Wi-Fi connections and will only be performed when those networks are detected. Arriving at your office could, for example, prompt putting your ringer on silent and pulling up that productivity app that really gets things done.
lock away any partial files or an entire disc data with just a single password thus safeguarding any important documents left unattended at all times. And with the all new ASUS E-Hammer technology, it can permanently delete data thus saving the hassle of physically destroying the disc.
The perfect shot This camera with one-button sharing allows you to e-mail or upload images on multiple social media channels immediately, including the Kodak Gallery, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Orkut and more. Kodak EasyShare comes in red and black. The 14 megapixel camera, with 5x Optical Zoom and a 2.7 inch bright LCD screen allows you to always take the perfect shot. The Smart Capture Mode automatically adjusts the background and blur reduction settings give clearer and sharper images each time.
The cameraâ€™s recognition feature has been developed further and can now remember up to 20 of your pre-tagged friends, recognising up to five per picture, making sharing even easier. The 27mm wide-angle lens is an excellent feature that allows for maximum coverage. The camera comes with a Lithium-ion battery that takes over 300 shots with flash and 400 without. The video camera allows you to capture moments in excellent quality without having to buy a separate camera.
document feeder that is capable of handling up to 20 sheets, saving valuable time when scanning documents containing multiple pages. Workers can use the P-215 instantly without the need to install additional drivers or software thanks to its unique, built-in CaptureOnTouch Lite software. The P-215 also includes ISIS/TWAIN drivers for Windows users and a TWAIN driver for Mac
users for industry-standard connectivity and use with a variety of imaging applications. The versatile P-215 incorporates a special card feeder slot for scanning thick plastic ID and embossed cards, which is particularly useful for industries, such as insurance and financial services where proof of ID is required when registering new client accounts or closing deals.
On-the-go Canon has launched the image FORMULA P-215, a USB powered scanner for small or home office environments and for professionals who work remotely. The new ultra-compact portable scanner is compatible with both Mac and PC operating systems and supports mobile working with the ability to scan directly to cloud-hosted applications such as GoogleDocs, Evernote and SharePoint. Powered by a single USB cable, the image FORMULA P-215 can scan up to 15 pages per minute and capture both sides of a document in a single pass. The scanner incorporates an automatic
Trading Up QNB provides economic insight on the balance of payments situation in Qatar, and which countries Qatar has been trading with.
(% of GDP) Current balance
Net errors & ommisions
Overall balance (RHS)
30 20 10
-20 -30 20 10 20 11 * 20 12 *
-40 20 07
The balance of payments surpluses represent the increase in Qatar Central Bankâ€™s (QCB) international reserves. These grew almost six-fold from USD 5.3 billion at the end of 2006 to USD 31 billion at the end of 2010. Most of the increase came in 2009-10 when difficulties in international markets meant that more oil and gas export revenue than usual
Balance of payments (2006-12)
The overall balance of payments, which is the sum of the net flows of foreign currency through current and capital accounts, recorded an average surplus equal to 5% of GDP in 2006-10. This was driven by Qatarâ€™s vast export earnings from oil and gas. It was partly offset by imports and non-physical and capital outflows.
Source: QCB, *QNB Capital forecasts
was held as foreign assets, rather than being invested abroad. This trend reversed in 2011, and the reserves fell sharply as capital outflows increased, declining to USD 18 billion by the end of June. This represented about ten months of import cover compared with 17 months at the end of 2010, an extremely healthy ratio relative to the reserves of most other countries. In addition to the QCB reserves, Qatar also has sizable holdings of foreign assets through the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). These serve as an additional implicit reserve. This would only need to be called upon during a period of sustained low oil and gas prices.
The West has maintained its market share in Qatar because of the high demand for capital and luxury goods. The GCC as a whole provides 15% of imports. Almost half come from the UAE, largely because of re-exports from Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, which is the regional trade hub. The GCC’s share has remained fairly constant over the last decade.
Import sources 2010
Gas-related exports (2006-12)
(% of total import)
(USD bn, CAGRs shown)
The majority of Qatar’s imports still come from its economically developed trading partners, particularly the EU and US. Their share has remained relatively steady over the last decade, with the US averaging a 12% share and the EU 35%, led by Germany on 8% and the UK at 6%. This is in contrast with some other GCC countries, where the share of Western imports has declined markedly, as they have been replaced by countries like China (which provided only 5% of Qatar’s imports on average in 2006-10).
60 50 40 29
30 Other GCC
Qatar’s industrialisation programme, harnessing the gas resources of the North Field, has seen gas-related exports more than triple between 2006 and 2010. QNB Capital forecasts that they will increase even further to around USD 74 billion in 2012 as LNG and GTL production are expected to reach full capacity. Although LNG is at the heart of Qatar’s gas industrialisation
Exports The rapid industrialisation in Qatar has delivered 20% annual export growth over the last five years. Earnings from oil exports have been most volatile, because of trends in oil prices and OPEC production targets. Since 2009 gas related exports (including LNG, GTL, condensates and NGL) have been larger than oil exports.
and QNB Capital analysis
Source: IMF, Direction of trade statistics
Imports Growth in imports of consumer goods in the food and manufactured items categories will continue to be strong, well exceeding forecast population growth. Demand for metal imports will also be high, given the scale of ongoing construction projects.
Trade balance There was a significant shift in the structure of Qatar’s balance of trade in 2010, which will likely set the tone for the coming decade. Previously, exports and imports had both been increasing rapidly but maintaining relatively steady shares of GDP. Exports were stronger, leading to an average trade surplus of 27% of GDP in 2006-09. However, the surge in new LNG production capacity in 2010, combined with a fall in imports, boosted the trade surplus sharply to 40% of GDP.
programme, we forecast that by 2012 it will only represent about 55% of total gas-related export earnings. This is largely because of the importance of condensates and NGL. These liquid hydrocarbons are usually extracted from raw gas before it is processed to produce LNG, GTL or pipeline gas for domestic use and export.
Current account Qatar’s current payments are dominated by trade in physical goods, which consistently records a large surplus. The trade surplus averaged 30% of GDP in 2006-10. By contrast, the non-physical balance, which is composed of services, income and current transfer payments, generally records a sizable deficit, averaging 18% of GDP in 2006-10, partly offsetting the trade surplus.
Source: QSA, *QNB Capital forecasts
Non-oil and gas export earnings were volatile in 2006-10 because of global commodity price trends. A sharp increase is forecast in 2011-12, a consequence of both higher prices and also new production facilities. In particular, Qatalum and Q-Chem II will both reach full capacity, boosting aluminium, plastics and chemicals production. Qatar’s exports go all over the world, but Asia remains the most important region. Above all, Japan is the key market for both oil and LNG. The relationship is longstanding, and in the
Qatar’s exports go all over the world, but Asia remains the most important region. Above all, Japan is the key market for both oil and LNG.
External debt (2007-11) (USD bn, CAGRs shown) Public
This is a result of long-term supply agreements with Qatargas and Rasgas for LNG from the various new super trains. Services The services deficit is the most complex of the three components of non-physical payments. It is broken down into travel, transport and other services, with both credits and debits in all three categories. The capital account is dominated by outflows, which are largely related to the investment of surpluses from hydrocarbon exports into foreign assets. These investments are made by the state (mainly through the QIA), companies and
70 60 41%
According to QSA figures, about half of the FDI into Qatar is for the oil and gas sector and a quarter for manufacturing. The UK was the main source of FDI in 2009, representing about a third of the total. Much of this will have been Shell’s investment in Pearl GTL. The US provided about a quarter of FDI and the UAE, Japan and South Korea were also major investors in Qatar. In 2009, Qatar invested a remarkable USD11.6 billion of FDI into other countries. QSA data shows that over half of the outward FDI was in the banking sector, followed by oil and gas, construction and industry. The US was the main recipients of Qatari FDI in 2009. Others included the UAE, UK and Oman. External debt has increased sharply in recent years, at an estimated annual rate of 41% in 2007-10. A sizable part of the debt relates to financing the new
* 11 20
* 10 20
South Korea has only recently become a major export market for Qatar, tripling its share of exports from 5% to 15% between 2008 and 2010. Singapore has long been important, because of its role as a regional hub for oil refining. Similarly, India has long been a key destination for Qatari oil and now also imports LNG. European countries, particularly Belgium, Spain and the UK, and Thailand have only become significant recipients of Qatari exports in recent years.
individuals. As a result, the capital account recorded an average deficit of 8.4% of GDP in 2006-10, despite a rare surplus in 2009. The largest component of the capital account is usually portfolio investment, which includes all standard investments in tradable securities, particularly by the QIA. Qatar is both a major recipient and a source of foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2009 it received USD 8.1 billion of FDI, about 0.7% of the world total that year. This meant that Qatar ranked second in the Middle East region for inward FDI flows, after Saudi Arabia but ahead of Turkey.
1990s more than half of Qatar’s exports went there. Japan’s share has increased in 2011. Qatar stepped in to help after the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, boosting LNG exports to help meet its urgent energy needs.
Source: IMF, *IMF estimates and forecasts, excludes bank debt, and QNB Capital analysis
LNG super trains. The IMF estimates that LNG-related debt, both public and private, totalled USD 19.7 billion in 2009, or 36% of the total external debt that year. Another sizable component of the debt is short-term trade-related financing, which QNB Capital estimates totalled over USD 20 billion in 2010, on the basis of comparison with similarly sized regional economies. FDI in 2010 was more subdued, both into and from Qatar, but it is expected to pick up in both directions in coming years. The major infrastructural development projects in Qatar will attract foreign investment while, at the same time, Qatar’s surging trade surplus will be funnelled into investments abroad.
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Building bridges Qatar-Japan bilateral relations go back four decades, when the State of Qatar was recognised by Japan in 1971. In 1972, diplomatic relations between the two countries were established and the respective embassies were set up in the subsequent years. Since then, the relations between the two countries have gone from strength to strength with Japan being Qatar’s major trading partner. Private Sector Qatar provides an overview of the bilateral economic ties.
he relationship that started at the diplomatic level in May 1972, has grown in coverage and scale, and over the years has expanded to include cooperation in political, economic, education, and science and technology. At present there are 40 Japanese companies based in Doha and there are nearly 1,400 Japanese residents in Qatar, which recorded a seven-fold increase in only six years. To promote economic relations, The Qatar-Japan Joint Economic Committee holds annual meetings at the ministerial level
to discuss topics, such as energy, business environment and investment, among other issues of mutual interest. At the sixth meeting held on October 4th, 2011 in Tokyo, both sides reviewed the achievements in the past year and made further recommendations, arriving at critical action points – the expansion of energy cooperation between the two countries, improvement of business environment, and the importance of further enhancing mutual understanding and trust by enhancing cultural and educational exchanges and forming an investment forum. The Qatari side welcomed the participation of Japanese companies (like the Mitsubishi
group) in Qatar Science & Technology Park, cooperation in infrastructure projects in areas like desalination, or cooperation with the Qatar National Food Security Programme. Besides the annual meetings, another regular event, the Joint QatariJapanese Energy Seminar, is organised twice a year, since 2009 where participants of both countries exchange information and discuss various energy related issues. Japanese companies have been active in various sectors in Qatar and the years leading to the FIFA World Cup will see acceleration in their activity in the country.
Trade and investment Japan has been contributing to the development of the LNG industry of Qatar since the 1990s. The economic partnership has continued to be strong overall. Japan has been the top trade partner for the State of Qatar over the past few years. In 2010, 32% of the value of Qatar’s exports and 5% of its imports were transacted with Japan. Trade and investment in energy constitute the backbone of the strategic economic partnership. Qatar is a reliable and stable supplier of crude oil and natural gas resources to Japan. In 2010, for example, Qatar supplied Japan with 158.88 million barrels of oil, representing about 12% of Japan’s total crude oil imports, in addition to 11% and 27% of Japan’s total needs of liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas respectively, making Qatar the fourth biggest energy supplier to Japan. Qatar is also benefiting from Japanese investment and expertise in various large-scale projects. Currently, there are over 40 Japanese companies with offices in Qatar, and their focus is on the construction, shipping and energy sectors. Japan mainly exports vehicles, industrial materials, electric cables and imports crude oil, LNG and LPG from Qatar. As the table shows, trade between Qatar and Japan has increased over the years and Qatar has a trade surplus with Japan because it exports much more than it imports.
Qatar-Japan trade (USD million) Year
Japan’s exports to Qatar
Qatar’s exports to Japan
Source: Japan customs, compiled by World Trade Atlas
As we can see from the graph, Japan was the largest market for Qatar’s gas and oil exports in 2010. Japan’s trade with Qatar, its 3 rd largest trading partner among the GCC countries, increased by 30.14% to USD 22.84 billion in 2010, in spite of a steep fall in exports to that country. Except vehicles, export of most other commodities declined in varying degrees. While total exports declined by 29.92% to USD 1,141.2 million compared to USD 1,628.4 million in 2009, vehicle exports surged by 58.54% to reach USD 775.2 million, which was 67.93% of Japan’s total exports to Qatar. Exports of general machinery and electrical machinery declined by 71.69% and 74.40% respectively.
Export destination (2010) for LNG and oil (% of total exports) Others
Qatar’s exports go all over the world, but Asia remains the most important region Above all, Japan is the key market for both oil and LNG. Japan’s share is likely to increase in 2012. Qatar stepped in to help after the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, boosting LNG exports to help meet its urgent energy needs.
4% 4% 8%
Japan imported nearly 11 million tons of petroleum gases, comprising 7.6 million tons of natural gas, 2.6 million tons of propane gas and 0.8 million tons of butane gas, from Qatar in 2010 compared to a combined total of 10.5 million tons in 2009. Qatar was the 3 rd largest supplier of petroleum gases to Japan in the world in 2010, after Australia and Malaysia, and the number one supplier among the GCC countries. Import of light oils and other oil preparations from Qatar surged 160% to USD 1,706.91 million in 2010, compared to USD 655.33 million in 2009.
Oil and gas trade The surge in the total value of two-way trade was attributed to the increase in the average price of crude oils and petroleum gases that Japan imported from Qatar. The average price of crude oil increased to USD 79.23 per barrel in 2010 from USD 59.09 per barrel in 2009. Japan imported a quantity of 158.9 million barrel of crude oil from Qatar in 2010 against 159.6 million barrels in 2009. A 20.32% rise in the price of petroleum gases has also contributed to the surge in the value of trade. The average price of petroleum gases increased from USD 556 per ton in 2009 to USD 669 per ton in 2010.
Source: QNB Report
Japan imported an extra 3.17 million tons of LNG from Qatar between March and November 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.
Japan’s major exports to Qatar (Value in USD million) Vehicles
Iron & Steel prodcts
800 700 600
cooperation could include the participation of Japanese companies in the infrastructure projects concerning, for example, the communication cables or communication satellites. The development of human resources in the ICT area would be another promising area.
500 400 300 200 100 0 Source: QSA, *QNB Capital forecasts
Qatar has expressed its commitment to maintaining oil and gas price stability and promoting Japan’s energy security and establishing a framework for regional and international policy co-operation Other sectors of cooperation There is also talk about cooperation in Qatar’s infrastructure development projects and the possibility of cooperation in projects contributing to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including stadiums. ICT is one of the main important areas for economic diversification. Possible Japanese
Japan’s major imports from Qatar (Value in USD million) Mineral fuels
25,000 20,000 15,000
Leading to the FIFA World Cup, various large-scale infrastructure projects will be conducted. Already, two construction companies, Taisei and Takenaka, are constructing respectively the main and the Emiri Terminals of the New Doha International Airport. There are many projects in which Japanese companies have an advantage and expertise in areas, such as railway, metro, stadium. In addition, Japan has experience in hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and is ready to contribute to the success of FIFA World Cup. Japanese companies will be active in areas such as construction, industrial machinery, manufacturing and engineering, especially in the infrastructure projects for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Japanese companies (Mitsubishi and Hitachi) recently got the priority negotiation right for the construction of the largest desalination project in Qatar. As mentioned earlier, there are 40 Japanese companies in Qatar and two-thirds of them are related to energy including trading companies, shipping companies and plant engineering companies. Although there are new projects in the oil and gas sector in which Japanese companies are involved, such as the Barzan project by JGC and the exploration project for Block A, offshore by JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation, it seems that the focus has now shifted to areas other than oil and gas, especially after the achievement of a historic 77 million tonnes’ production capacity of LNG in December 2010.
10,000 5,000 0 Source: Japan External Trade Organisation
Energy is a major area of cooperation between both countries and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is playing a vital role in financing the energy related projects in the region. Realising the importance of the region, JBIC opened its
Dubai branch in April 2006, which caters for the entire Middle East region. Recently, JBIC signed a business-partnership agreement with Qatar Petroleum (QP). Under the agreement, JBIC will contribute by financing and extending loans for Qatar’s energy related projects which will provide opportunities and broaden the scope for Japanese companies to cooperate more actively in big projects for the further development of Qatar. Besides economic cooperation, to commemorate four decades of partnership, Qatar and Japan have proposed a series of cultural, sporting and business events intended to promote mutual awareness and appreciation of history, achievements and heritage. Various activities planned in both countries include exhibitions, educational exchange programmes, fashion shows, friendly football matches, and business forums. The first event for Qatar-Japan 2012 will be “Murakami – Ego” an exhibition by renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, in Doha from February 9th to June 24th. Another important development has been the initiation of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between Japan and the GCC. Both sides agreed in May 2006 to launch negotiations. The first round of negotiations was held in September 2006 in Tokyo and the second round of negotiations took place in Riyadh in January 2007. Both sides are determined to speed up the negotiations to conclude an agreement at the earliest possible time. The FTA will open new dimensions of economic cooperation between Japan and Qatar, which would only further strengthen their relationship. There is a huge potential for expanding bilateral relations in all areas including economy, diplomacy and defence, culture, education, science and technology and to make the relations more diversified and deeper.
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changing tides What do you ask a man who knows everything? A man who has worked in France with the Treasury, the Finance Ministry. He has also worked with the European Commission, the G7, and been an advisor to the French Finance Minister and Prime Minister? A man who heads the only global international organisation dealing with rules of trade between nations? Trade and Export Middle East, a sister publication of Private Sector Qatar, ventured forth and in a must-read interview found answers from Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
Can you tell us about the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its main objectives? The objectives of the WTO are to foster a transparent, rules-based global trading system which gradually opens trade in a manner that is predictable and nondiscriminatory. Our organisation is a forum in which countries set the rules for international trade, adjudicate their commercial disputes, monitor countryspecific and global trade trends and provide support for developing countries so that they can participate in the system more effectively. An important aspect of the WTO is to create an open trading system with few, if any, trade impediments. How does the WTO seek to achieve this goal? The way in which trade is opened in the multilateral trading system is through negotiations. The WTO and its predecessor – the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – have launched nine “rounds” of broad negotiations designed to reduce
trade barriers and modernise the rules of trade to better reflect current trading conditions. Negotiations are complex; the ninth round – the Doha Development Agenda includes 20 diverse topics and involves 153 countries that must agree on a deal on the basis of a consensus. This is obviously a difficult undertaking and it helps explain the delays in the Doha Development Agenda, which was launched in 2011 in the Qatari capital.
What would you say are the greatest achievements of the WTO? Agreements setting new rules for trade in telecommunications, information technology products and finance services were milestones in our history. The recently concluded agreement on government procurement, which will open up USD 100 billion in new trade every year, was another watershed achievement. Expanding the parameters of the rulesbased trading system to include nearly 30 additional countries since we opened our doors in 1995 is another important accomplishment. These are concrete, negotiated agreements that have improved our trading system, but there are other more subtle but perhaps equally important
When demand shrinks the impact on trade volumes is multiplied because in global supply chains, products cross borders several times at various stages of the production process. This is why world trade volumes collapsed by 12% in 2009, while world output declined by 0.7%. Likewise, when growth rebounded by 5.1% in 2010, trade expanded by 14.5%.
achievements that we can point to as well. The fact that well over 400 trade disputes have been addressed peacefully through our dispute settlement system is a powerful testament to its reliability and credibility. Remember it was not so long ago that trade disputes would boil over into diplomatic or even military conflicts. A transparent and dependable system to resolve commercial discord is a vitally important asset in the international system. I would also say that the evolution of the WTO and the global trading system into something more development friendly is an advance that must be recognised. Nearly three-quarters of our members are developing countries. There is a profound geopolitical shift underway and developing countries are quite rightly insisting on a greater say in how our planet is run. The WTO’s central role in coordinating the multi-agency Aid for Trade initiative, the success of our technical assistance, training programmes in enhancing the participation of developing countries in all phases of our work, and the launch of a trade round rife with development-oriented objectives is a strong indication that we are responding to the challenge of adapting to this new reality.
How does an average exporter feel about the impact of the WTO in day-today business activities, and what advice would you give to enhance the regional trading community’s activities? Trade impacts peoples’ lives every day in a variety of ways. Certainly exporters benefit from the knowledge that they are operating in a predictable and transparent trading environment. Entrepreneurs in the Middle East know in advance the conditions under which they will be operating; they know
competitive. This is particularly true in this age of global supply and production chains where keeping your input prices low can have a profound impact on the overall cost and hence competitiveness, of your product in the export markets. How has the global economic fluctuation impacted trade and progress for the WTO? Trade flows have been affected by a variety of factors, including availability of trade finance and trade restrictive measures taken by governments. But by far the biggest factor in the size of trade flows is overall economic demand. When demand shrinks the impact on trade volumes is multiplied because in global supply chains, products cross borders several times at various stages of the production process. This is why world trade volumes collapsed by 12% in 2009, while world output declined by 0.7%.
In recent years, trade growth has been the strongest in agricultural products, fuels, chemicals and mining products, where the annual increase in trade value has averaged about 10% due to strong demand, particularly in emerging countries.
the tariff, the technical requirements for products in the export market, and that their products will receive the same treatment as those of competitor producers. But beyond this, there are the benefits for consumers and don’t forget that all producers are also consumers. The introduction of new products and services means more competition, more innovation and lower prices and this is vital for keeping companies
Likewise, when growth rebounded by 5.1% in 2010, trade expanded by 14.5%. Although the final figures for 2011 are not yet in, in the autumn we downgraded our spring forecast of 6.5% down to 5.8%, and I expect the final figures will indicate that trade grew by even less than this. This being said, emerging country export growth should exceed 8% which is more than twice of what we will see from developed countries.
The unfortunate thing is that protectionism actually does not protect. When you impose such measures, your trade partners respond in kind and the result is that your exports are hurt too. Moreover, since roughly 54% of global exports are components, the global supply chain would also be affected and this would have serious ramifications on jobs and growth.
What are your expectations for international trade growth in 2012? We will not have our trade growth projections until early spring, but I would not expect trade growth to equal what we have seen this year, though the impact of the crisis – in trade terms – will affect different countries in different ways. It all depends on the overall economy. The picture in the United States is brightening up somewhat with unemployment coming down a bit, demand rising in key sectors like automobiles, and with increased stability of the overall economic picture. But Europe seems in greater danger of slipping back into recession, which is noteworthy since the European Union (EU) is the world’s largest importer and exporter. Emerging countries like China will enjoy greater growth, though not as strong as they have seen in recent years, and exports and imports will grow as well. So, it’s a mixed picture and difficult to forecast. In which areas or sectors do you see the greatest level of trade growth and why? This is a difficult question to answer because growth in trade will be inextricably linked to the overall economic situation. In recent years, trade growth has been the strongest in agricultural products, fuels, chemicals and mining products, where the annual increase in trade value has averaged about 10% due to strong demand, particularly in emerging countries. But given the uncertainty in the economic environment it is very difficult to say that such growth will continue. Even with these products, there was a sharp contraction in export values and volumes in 2009, so forecasting is difficult.
With the prospect of greater global economic uncertainty do you feel that some nations may resort to protectionism? This is a constant worry though, so far, governments have shown restraint. At no time since the onset of the crisis in 2008 have we seen governments impose trade restrictive measures covering more than 1% of global imports. The problem is that once these measures are imposed, it becomes politically difficult to remove them. Of the 674 trade restrictive measures imposed since October 2008, only 19% have been removed. In our last trade monitoring report to the G-20 – the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which came out last year – we pointed out that although the number of restrictive measures imposed during the six previous months actually declined from the prior period, the steady application of these measures over time has a serious impact on trade. In some countries we have seen growing pressure to restrain imports and some governments are responding to this pressure by doing exactly that. As long as the economic picture is difficult these pressures will remain. Do you feel that future trade growth may be limited as some countries are looking to re-address their trade imbalance? As I said before, protectionism is less of a factor in the volume of trade flows than overall levels of demand. But were governments to resort to more such measures, then there would undoubtedly be an impact on trade flows. The unfortunate thing is that protectionism actually does not
protect. When you impose such measures, your trade partners respond in kind and the result is that your exports are hurt too. Moreover, since roughly 54% of global exports are components, the global supply chain would also be affected and this would have serious ramifications on jobs and growth.
About Pascal Lamy has been the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since September 2005. Lamy holds degrees from the Paris-based Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC), the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) and from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA). He began his career in the French civil service at the Inspection Générale des finances and at the Treasury. He then became an advisor to the Finance Minister Jacques Delors, and subsequently to Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy. In Brussels from 1985 to 1994, Pascal Lamy was Chief of Staff for the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, and his representative as Sherpa in the G7. In November 1994, he joined the team in charge of rescuing the French bank, Credit Lyonnais, and later became CEO of the bank until its privatisation in 1999. Between 1999 and 2004, Pascal Lamy was Commissioner for Trade at the European Commission under Romano Prodi. After his tenure in Brussels, he spent a short sabbatical period as President of “Notre Europe”, a think tank working on European integration, as associate Professor at the l’Institut d’études politiques in Paris and as advisor to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (President of the European Socialist Party). He was reappointed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation by its Members for a second mandate in May 2009 The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the only global international organisation that deals with the rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.
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Across borders QDB launched Qatar Export Development Agency, TASDEER, to boost foreign trade and to globally promote Qatari-made goods and products. It provides access to finance, credit insurance and advisory services for exporters, and supports businesses to develop their export capabilities. Through development and promotion. By protecting national exporters against the non-payment risk from foreign buyers that might occur due to either political or commercial events, TASDEER supports the growth of Qatarâ€™s exports.
ASDEERâ€™s export development and promotion department intends to highlight the variety and quality of non-oil, Qatari origin products to the international market and promote exports. TASDEER intends to implement various export promotion tools, such as conduct market entry studies, identify importers and arrange matchmaking meetings and participate in trade fairs and exhibitions.
As a first step, an export strategy is being prepared in consonance with the principles laid out in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy 20112016.The export strategy will identify thrust products and target markets and suggest support services to be provided to exporters to diversify their export markets. Providing trade information and market intelligence is an important part of any
export development agency. As such, TASDEER provides trade information tools, such as Trade Map and Market Access Map in coordination with the International Trade Centre, and Generalised System of Preferences, in coordination with UNCTAD. Given the role seminars and workshops are playing in promoting the capabilities of the exporters and the marketing specialists in the Qatari industrial companies, TASDEER organises various workshops such as the
TASDEER is aimed at providing financial supportive solutions to back Qatari exporting firms, SMEs and startups for overtaking their financial obligations, to cater for their export- finance demand, and to guarantee their receivables against foreign buyers’ insolvency and political risks might occur in the importing countries.
guarantees. No bank wants to lose money and has to maintain its Conservative Risk Portfolio (CRP). TASDEER offers those SMEs finance and credit insurance. In addition, exporters can benefit from TASDEER’s policies to enhance their liquidity and cash flow.
one on Export Market Analysis Tools on 7th December 2011 in Doha in coordination with International Trade Centre, Geneva. The workshop attracted over 80 participants. Exhibitions are one of the significant tools to promote national products in international markets. By participating in such exhibitions, the Qatari exporter gains ample experience and benefits through their meetings with the international business people in the exhibition. TASDEER supported two pharma companies in Qatar to participate in Arab Health Expo held in Dubai in January 2012. Orders worth USD 1.8 million were booked at the exhibition by these two companies. Given the important role the private sector plays in developing the economic development and trade in Qatar, TASDEER intends to pay special attention to involve this sector to share opinions and take appropriate decisions on the issues of export and export development.
export-finance demand, and to guarantee their receivables against foreign buyers. In addition to export financial solutions including funds and credit insurance that significantly back Qatari exporting companies, enhance liquidity, and guarantee exporters’ receivables against non-payment, TASDEER financial solutions also help small companies to increase their turnover by offering credit and deferred payment facilities to their foreign buyers without risk.
TASDEER is an entity where exporters can find most of the support services and solutions under one roof. Within 12 months of being in operation, TASDEER has covered 117 applications and underwritten in excess of 100 million Qatari Riyals. It has covered and guaranteed exports to 19 countries from the Asia-Pacific to the GCC. TASDEER extends its support to any national
Providing trade information and market intelligence is an important part of any export development agency. TASDEER provides trade information tools such as Trade Map and Market Access Map in coordination with the International Trade Centre and Generalised System of Preferences, in coordination with UNCTAD.
TASDEER’s financial offerings Export is crucial for enterprise growth and SME development. Therefore TASDEER acts with a flexible-risk framework; willing to accept and facilitate higher-risk export transactions to boost foreign trade, and to further back exporting-oriented companies especially when trading with challenging markets and low-credit territories.
It finds out who the importer is, conducts due diligence for the exporter to find out if the importer is financially stable and check its reputation in the market. After doing so, and being assured on all fronts, TASDEER informs the exporter that it will guarantee the receivables. This means that if the foreign buyer (importer) does not remit the receivables, then Tasdeer will indemnify the exporter.
TASDEER is aimed at providing financial support solutions to back Qatari exporting firms, SMEs and startups to cater for their
SMEs face a lot of financial challenges since no bank is ready to grant them a loan because of a lack of collaterals and
or Qatar-based company manufacturing in Qatar, or trading in Qatari-made goods. TASDEER also focuses on international partnerships with similar export agencies and unions worldwide. It has successfully joined the international Berne Union Prague’s Club and the Amman Union for export credit insurance. With workshops held on a regular basis and a team of experts to help and guide them, exporters in Qatar have a lot more going for them.
A helping hand Even though SMEs form a large part of the private sector, they
face major hurdles in starting and sustaining their business. Celine Chami, Partner, Potential, talks to us about these challenges and what support they offer to SMEs in Qatar.
mall and medium enterprises are dominant players of most economies and are strategic facilitators in their development around the world. The strongest drivers of employment, they occupy a significant share of the industrial, commercial and office space. In most economies, smaller enterprises are much greater in number than large companies. They are often said to be responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors.
SMEs are important to almost all economies in the world, but especially to those in developing countries and, within that broad category, especially to those with major employment and income distribution challenges. They are a nursery for the larger firms of the future, are the next (and important) step up for expanding micro enterprises, and contribute directly and often significantly to aggregate savings and investment. In addition, they are involved in the development of appropriate technology. According to a research report for the EU-GCC Chamber Forum project, “The
primary role that Gulf SMEs are expected to play in national development in the coming years is arguably that of employment creation. While GCC population still grows at a rather fast clip of about 2% per year, public sectors have reached their absorptive limits as employers of last resort. Business, although growing, is not creating enough jobs that are attractive enough for nationals and the latter often lack the entrepreneurial skills, incentives and resources to start their own companies. SMEs will have to play a leading role in job creation and, almost by definition, in national entrepreneurship. The GCC nations have a long and deep tradition of trading and business activity; the challenge is to unlock this tradition in the post-boom era to spread the benefits of economic development to wider social strata.” In Qatar, for example, SMEs account for nearly 93% of the total companies,
therefore contributing greatly to the country’s economic development. Economic diversification and support for private sector development are two central elements of the economics pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030. SMEs’ increasing contribution to Qatar economy mandates their protection, not only to ensure growth and provide diversification, but also to ensure that this sector continues to play its extremely significant role through employing large numbers of the population. However, SMEs are facing a number of challenges including the lack of skills and resources that can help them grow their businesses. Only one out of ten businesses makes it to the medium-to-large scale, yet
A growing business means more employment opportunities, more demand, more supply, more transactions, more production or services and, most importantly, more innovation.
Business Sales Legal growth
some of the remaining nine are initially backed by brilliant innovations and hard working entrepreneurs! Some barriers that prevent those businesses from growing include getting caught up in the daily operational work that prevents from looking at the bigger picture, lacking the resources and talent to delegate the work to, running out of cash, not reaching enough clients, and more. If given the proper tools and resources, entrepreneurs and business owners of SMEs would have a huge impact on the economical landscape – whether locally, regionally or internationally. A growing business means more employment opportunities, more demand, more supply, more transactions, more production or services and, most importantly, more innovation. If one developing small and medium enterprise would greatly benefit the country in question, imagine the impact of hundreds or even thousands. These businesses need to be an integral part of an ecosystem that links them together with both public and private sectors, in addition to the greatest minds and talent that will help propel businesses forward. It is imperative
In Qatar, for example, SMEs account for nearly 93% of the total companies, therefore contributing greatly to the country’s economic development. Economic diversification and support for private sector development are two central elements of the economics pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
to provide a holistic programme to prepare SMEs to make the most of these opportunities and help them display resilience in the face of challenges. It is also important to make available to the sector a practical support to enable SMEs to compete internationally through improving their business readiness and exposure. And this is what the SME Evolution programme is all about. It is about reaching out and integrating those private and public sectors by providing business owners with tools, templates and resources that will help grow their business. It is about connecting those lead business owners to each other and to a bigger, wider ecosystem, where they can expand their business horizons by benefiting from each other’s services and products and developing new, innovative and powerful value propositions, where they can identify a way to express their needs and get answers to them, develop their business performance and finally realise their true potential. This initiative points business owners and managers in the right direction by exposing them to Potential’s regional partners such as Google, Intel, SAP, Aramex, Zawya, and AllWorld Network in addition to community partners, major telecom players and financial institutions in every country, which also provide substantial and essential support to the programme.
Innovation is another key element in the programme as it introduces new methods, ideas and techniques that will enable SMEs to innovate, expand and grow their business. The programme also gives these businesses a boost by offering funding opportunities, by exposing them to worldwide competitions that will get them acquainted with a new and broader business environment. Similarly, the programme helps in the creation of wealth and employment which depend to a very large extent on the speed with which scientific and technological breakthroughs are converted into practical and attractive solutions. With SMEs representing an overwhelming majority of businesses across Qatar, this kind of support system is essential to grow in size and revenue, become regional or international, diversify product offerings and compete efficiently in the marketplace.
About Celine Chami is a partner in Potential and heads the Branding and Marketing department in the company. Celine has over 12 years of experience in marketing, communication and branding. She has worked with major ICT and Telecoms players in the region and has held various positions within marketing and communication departments. Celine is an expert in brand building and development, product modeling, marketing strategies and integrated communications. She is also a lecturer at the Saint Joseph University where she teaches marketing-related courses to students in different majors.
POSSIBLE Setting up business in a foreign country is by no means easy. So if there is someone who can guide you, then the path becomes smoother. Aparna Shivpuri Arya gets talking to John Martin St. Valery, Founder and CEO, Links Group, to find out how he ventured into this field and worked to help foreign companies set base in Qatar and the UAE.
How did the journey start? Links Groups is a company formation advisor. We started in the region in 2002. We are an advisory and consulting business aimed at helping foreign individuals or foreign companies looking to establish a foothold or a legal commercial presence in the UAE and Qatar. We have our head office in Dubai and serviced and advisory office in Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
Wha are the main benefits of having a company as a local partner? The majority of companies are required to select a local partner, agent or sponsor. In the case of an LLC for example, the local partner must hold the majority equity shareholding of 51% or more. The unique thing about the Links group model is that we offer that local partner service as a corporate nominee partner rather than an individual national.
So from a corporate governance perspective, for transparency and so forth, this adds a number of benefits to the foreign party not least of which is succession planning. Second, companies often worry about coming into the market, selecting a local partner and then wondering what would happen if the local partner were to change his mind.
In the early stages it was very much a question of a consultative approach to companies or individuals, who required advice on how to set up. It soon became very clear that we needed to offer practical assistance as well as advice to these companies, particularly in relation to local partner services. Local partner services mean sponsorship or local agencies that are required for the majority of licenses that are established onshore rather than in a free zone.
The main benefits of local partner being a company and not an individual to the foreign party are that, firstly, you are taking out the emotional relationship of dealing with an individual, from both sides. So as a corporate nominee partner the foreign company is complying with Companies Law. Whatever the commercial law in the particular jurisdiction, like having a local partner holding the majority shares, the difference with Links is that it offers a highly structured board that in effect becomes your local partner.
With a corporate entity, the contractual terms remain in place so it gives more rigidity to the arrangement than having an individual as a local partner. So thatâ€™s one of the main advantages of the Links group model and over this ten year period we have built up a portfolio of 250 companies ranging from branches of multinational companies or stand-alone limited liability companies for multinationals down to single, sole traders or micro startup businesses.
Because foreign companies coming in now need to know that they are protected, that the company is being operated, managed, on above-board basis and the Qatar government seems very keen to assist with that.
will come later,“ and it is now at the top of the agenda. Because foreign companies coming in now need to know that they are protected, that the company is being operated and managed, on an above-board basis, and the Qatar government seems very keen to assist with that. How can the business setup process be made easier? When one looks at the processes, the ratings for setting up businesse in Qatar are improving but I think there is still room for those initial advisory services to be far stronger. This is not just a question of coming in, landing with your briefcase and apply for a license, it’s about conducting the correct market research, making sure the business plan is in place and, particularly for startups or micro businesses, having the correct advice on financial reporting.
John Martin St Valery
Are there any specific or specialised services that you provide for startups and SMEs? We operate within a network of what we call affinity partners, which are corporate service partners that can add or value-add benefits to these companies that have just started up. But the core business for Links is to advise a company on the legal structure and make sure from a bureaucratic perspective that they are always licensed correctly, individuals have the correct visas, and they have the right permits in place for that company to conduct its business.
In your opinion, are there any measures that Qatar must take to further encourage foreign investment? From the government department to the various development agencies that we deal with in Qatar, there is very much a move to attract the best of the best in certain fields rather than simply looking at the finances of foreign direct investment. In other words, if you look at the enormous infrastructure development plans for Qatar, it’s about having the right type of company with the right expertise and the right corporate governance in place. A few years ago people said, “Ah well, corporate governance, that
Then it is much easier for that business, 18 months down the road, to secure funding if it has been reporting its accounts correctly from the beginning. In the past I think that has been lacking. In your opinion which sectors will see the biggest growth in Qatar, especially with the 2022 FIFA World Cup? That is very interesting especially for a company formation specialist like us. We have taken a proactive rather than a reactive stance here. We are speaking to some of the development agencies in Qatar about infrastructure projects that require specific talents or expertise and we are going out
to foreign markets to find those companies to bring them into Qatar. A good example would be the 2022 FIFA World Cup. At the moment in Latin America or Brazil in particular, where we know they have the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, there are a number of large contractors and support-service providers working, and they are very keen to look at the next 10 years. The ideal opportunity will be to bring those businesses in to Qatar at the earliest opportunity; to get the best of the best in to the market with proven track records in that market.
Tenacity and humor are the main ingredients. One has to offer something different. There is little sense in being repetitive in this market where every product and service is available in abundance. Therefore you have to be outstanding and innovative, which can be delivered through training your staff and professional and personal development. Let’s talk more about your own philosophy of management and running your own company. As for me, I’m running a service business and a service business is all about people. We are very
Our core service is company formation and local partnership services but we noticed that there was a need for ancillary services, such as serviced offices, resource management, marketing services and so forth. In Qatar, we went as a serviced office provider but we have grown. But that’s very broad; we can be more specific and say yes – the oil and gas sector is buoyant, gas in particular in Qatar but it is not necessarily the large oil companies that we would be targeting. It would be the support services for those large organisations that we bring into market. I should probably add that there is still a construction focus and large companies are looking at setting up a regional hub here in Qatar to cater to the large infrastructure projects – bridges, roads, stadia – so we are looking at bringing these companies to Qatar. Do you coordinate with government and other agencies in Qatar? Yes we do work with investment agencies as well as the Chamber of Commerce for example. Then it also depends on the nationalities of the companies that are coming in; for example, we have the UK Trade and Investment team, Commercial Attaches from the US and various Counsels to actually target specific companies to come into the market.
fortunate to have a strong, loyal and professional team here. We have very little attrition as far as staff is concerned. I think that is because it is a multicultural, international business. We represent a large number of nationalities and religions within the business, which gel very well. So personally my philosophy is that it’s all about people for us, to be able to deliver outstanding service and I think that goes across the service sector. But then one looks at the trading sector, for example, and although it’s about your product it still is about your people. We are fortunate to be based in Qatar, where a decent standard of living for your staff can be maintained What is your success secret? Tenacity and humour are the main ingredients. One has to offer something different. There is little sense in being repetitive in this market where every product and service is available in abundance. Therefore you have to be outstanding and innovative, which can be delivered through training your staff, and their professional and personal development.
When we first established, it was a transient market and people would leave after 2-3 years. However, that has changed and now people want to stay in this region. That is because the infrastructure is now developed – good education opportunities, housing facilities, transport, communication – so it’s not difficult to attract high quality people to this market. What challenges have you faced in setting up business in the region? We started in UAE in 2002 and went into Qatar in 2005, with a slightly different model. Our core service is company formation and local partnership services but we noticed that there was a need for ancillary services, such as serviced offices, resource management, marketing services and so forth. In Qatar, we went as a serviced office provider but we have grown. From a funding or financial perspective it is a little difficult to start from scratch in the region. Also, to find a right mentor to guide you through, what can sometimes be a maze, can be a little difficult, even though a lot of institutions have now been set up. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs in Qatar? Don’t cut corners, as much as it is tempting. Once you identify a gap in the market, initial business planning is the key. Your business plan has to appeal to the banking sector. It is important to find out how to build the connection between banks and SMEs. What can banks and advisors do so that startups are briefed properly, to ensure that they have their financial accounting in order, to secure financing later. To get that foundation in place is key. And secondly, it’s about people, whether its a product or a service; it’s all about having the right people on your team.
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protecting your assets As the Eurozone crisis continues, businesses should consider taking action to protect themselves from
the potential effects of the continuing drop in the value of the Euro and the possibility that one or more countries may drop out of the European Monetary Union, says Melissa Forbes, Associate, Taylor Wessing.
ith sovereign debt levels continuing to rise and concerns abounding about the ability of the European states to repay their debts, there is a risk that countries will begin to withdraw from the European Union and that certain member states will abandon the Euro and re-introduce their own local currencies.
Where a business receives payments in Euros it may wish to consider amending its contracts to ensure that it is protected against any potential currency conversion loss, or in the less likely event that a dispute arises between the parties as to which currency shall apply instead. Melissa suggests that it may also be prudent to consider inserting a similar provision in agreements where payments are made in Euros, for example to a supplier or a service provider, which shall apply where the Euro as a currency ceases
to exist. Even if the default currency falls in value (which would benefit a businessâ€™ position where it is obliged to make payments to other parties in Euros) there is the potential for uncertainty where there is more than one European jurisdiction that is connected to the contract. For example, there may be a contract for the sale of products from the manufacturer in Germany to a purchaser in France and therefore, two European currencies that have a connection with the contract.
The calculation date for the conversion of the currency may be set at a time that is reasonably prior to the date on which the trigger is to occur (i.e. the date on which the Euro may cease to exist or the date upon which a member country of the European Monetary Union may begin to recognise a second form of currency as the legal tender for such country). The reason for this suggestion is that the Euro may decrease in value in the period immediately prior to the trigger date. By setting the calculation date reasonably prior to the trigger date it may reduce the risk of a potentially adverse effect of the currency conversion.
Payments received in Euros
For contracts where payments are to be received in Euros, you could nominate a currency to apply if the Euro no longer exists or if a particular country pulls out of the Euro or introduces a second local currency. Ideally, you would choose a currency that is most likely to increase or at least maintain its value over the term of the contract as the currency that the Euro is to convert to.
Payments made in Euros
Where payments are to be made in Euros, the provision would ideally be drafted so that it is only to be exercised if the Euro disappears completely rather than a particular country dropping out of the European Monetary Union or adopts a dual currency system. This would allow your business to benefit from the currency drop that is likely to ensue where countries drop out or adopt a dual currency system.
Mr. Mehdi Al Amine, Director, deNovo Corporate Advisors, suggests that foreign exchange derivatives could be used as a solution to protect businesses against the effect of a potential drop in the value of the Euro.
Similarly, the conversion would ideally occur based on the prices at the time of expiry of the Euro rather than a certain period beforehand in order to allow your business to benefit from the currency drop that is likely to ensue in the period prior to the expiry of the Euro. However, you would need to consider the contract as a whole in order to ensure that your position is adequately protected under the contract, Melissa cautions. “For example, the governing law and jurisdiction would need to be reviewed in order to ensure that the contract is subject to a legal system that is likely to enforce such a provision. There may also be a material adverse change provision or a force majeure provision in the agreement. If so, it would also be prudent to ensure that such provision is not drafted so broadly that it is triggered by the break-up of the Euro, a change of currency, or a drastic drop in currency value where payments are to be received in Euros,” she says.
Protection against a drop in the value of the Euro by use of derivatives Regardless of whether the Euro breaks up or not, it is likely that if the tensions
keep mounting in Europe, it will result in a significant fall in the value of the Euro.
and other variable factors, but would usually be between 1-5% of the amount to be hedged.
Mr. Mehdi Al Amine, Director, deNovo Corporate Advisors, suggests that foreign exchange derivatives could be used as a solution to protect businesses against the effect of a potential drop in the value of the Euro.
Al Amine advises that “alternative and cheaper solutions are available where the business seeks only to protect itself against a strong depreciation in the Euro, which would correspond to a deepening of the Eurozone crisis, as opposed to a slight and manageable decrease in its value.”
A foreign exchange derivative instrument such as the Option is a contract, an insurance, which allows a party to force its counterparty, the bank, to buy or sell a currency (in this case, the Euro versus the USD) for a particular price. Say, for example, a company is expecting to receive a payment in Euros in one year and at the time of entering into the agreement the exchange rate of USD to Euros is USD1.2750: EUR1. As Al Amine explains, the company could pay a percentage of the notional amount as a premium in order to buy the protection and, if the Euro falls, will force the bank in one year to buy the Euros for a pre-agreed level. Let’s say, for illustrative purposes, if the level is USD 1.25: EUR 1 and the premium is 4.5%. If the value of the Euro drops to USD 1.10, at the end of that one year period, the company will be protected from the USD 0.15 currency conversion loss per Euro that it would have otherwise incurred if it had not entered into the derivative agreement. The cost of hedging the currency varies, depending on the exercise level of the option
A business that employs a prudent risk management policy will want to explore these solutions, given the uncertain times that we face in the Eurozone.
About Melissa Forbes is an associate in the corporate department of Taylor Wessing. Melissa has advised on a number of cross-border and domestic corporate transactions including mergers and acquisitions, corporate re-organisations, private equity investments, joint ventures and divestitures. She has also advised on a variety of commercial matters relating to issues such as corporate governance, regulatory compliance, management incentive schemes, shareholder disputes, agency and brokerage agreements, licensing, company formations and de-registrations, as well as various commercial and property related disputes. Melissa is qualified as a solicitor of both the Supreme Court of England and Wales and the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia. Melissa can be contacted at email@example.com.
g n i t o m o Pr nt tale In these times of economic uncertainties, the encouragement and support being offered to the youth in Qatar, to find their own path, is like a breath of fresh air. Aparna Shivpuri Arya gets talking to Social Development Center (SDC) to find out about their programmes and what opportunities await the young and talented.
DC is one of the social and community development arms of Qatar Foundation, for education, science, and community development. Their main aim is to focus on human resource development through training and development programmes and funding to enable the youth to be self sufficient. Talking about the programmes, Munther Al Dawood, Manager, Projects and Investments, SDC, said that they have different ones catering to the various needs of an entrepreneur. “Reyada is focused on motivating and encouraging Qatari youth to become entrepreneurs. Tanmia is aimed at helping SMEs to generate a business idea, implement it and then make it work. Rasameel is focused
on funding entrepreneurs.” SDC is also developing another programme called AFIF, which is a joint venture with the Al Asmakh group and will be open to all, irrespective of nationality. How to secure funding Elaborating on how an individual can apply for funding, Al Dawood said that there is an application form, followed by an interview. “Usually before we qualify people, we have different stages to make sure that the applicant is serious and will go through. There is an interview after the application has been submitted to evaluate the potential of the individual and we decline them if we feel they are not eligible. If they pass, they are sent to Tanmia and they get training but don’t get awarded certificate unless they write a business plan. We review it and then another interview is arranged to ensure that the business plan
is authentic and the individual is enthusiastic. Then, if we find that is the case, we fine tune and review the business plan. Post that, another committee reviews all these applications and the final call for granting the loan is taken.” This process of approval takes about 100 days from the initial application until the loan is awarded. However, Al Dawood is quick to point out that they do face the challenge of repayment of loans. “Before we grant a loan, we sign an agreement that it is a loan and should be refunded and there is a third-party guarantor.” The loan has a set of obligations, such as proofs that the business has been started within three months time. These include a copy of the contract, invoices of machinery and a progress report every three months. “However, the challenge of not receiving payments on time is always there, but we try and resolve through effective communication,” says Al Dawood.
Both potential and existing entrepreneurs can apply for these programmes. SDC helps potential entrepreneurs to come up with an idea and then put a business plan together, which is a minimum requirement for Rasameel and AFIF.
Both potential and existing entrepreneurs can apply for these programmes. SDC helps potential entrepreneurs to come up with an idea and then put a business plan together, which is a minimum requirement for Rasameel and AFIF. Rasameel was launched in 2003 and has received more than 550 applications, out of which 320 applicants have been trained and 58 have been granted a loan. The main objective of SDC is to influence the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector and have an impact on the sustainability of these initiatives. Family entrepreneurs are also encouraged through a programme called the Modern Family. It focuses on entrepreneurs who are doing business from home and might lack license, finance and support. SDC experts go to their house, train them and facilitate their business from home. Other initiatives Besides funding, SDC has also come up with an initiative to reward and encourage entrepreneurs and organisations that support such initiatives. “Reyada is a catalyst for encouraging entrepreneurs and also to ensure that they benefit from our other programmes. It is meant to motivate, so that they come up with good models which can promote entrepreneurial goals,” opines Mr. Al Dawood. Right now they are receiving applications for three categories – new ventures, supportive companies and achiever award. There is an external jury and specific criteria for both the applicants and the judges. It is an annual award and will be presented in May 2012.
When asked about the challenges that the youth in Qatar face when they want to start their own business, Al Dawood said that the obstacles are the same as the rest of the world – knowledge, marketing, execution of business plan, and so forth. But he also mentioned that these problems are manageable. “In Qatar these problems are not that high. According to some local studies, the number of entrepreneur are
This is meant to offer a one-stop-shop of support services and solutions to potential and existing entrepreneurs. It is like a school and the period varies from 3-5 years. Individuals are supported to mitigate business risks and the final objective is to inject good, successful stories in the market. “All over the world, the ratio between the total applications received and success depends on the quality of services an incubator provides. In Singapore it is around 5% and in Europe it is around 15%. So 20% is a good KPI for any country. If we churn out 20 successful stories out of 100 applications, then we have done well,” said Al Dawood.
Family entrepreneurs are also encouraged through a programme called the Modern Family. It focuses on entrepreneurs who are doing business from home and might lack license, finance and support. SDC experts go to their house, train them and facilitate their business from home. between 2,000-3,000 and that is not a very big number to manage. With good resource and the intention to help, the story is not that complicated. Along with other stakeholders, we can resolve these challenges,” Al Dawood highlighted. The number of entrepreneurs has increased in the past five years because Qatar has introduced some good models of entrepreneurship and real examples that people can see and, therefore, they are encouraged to take that path. In the last three years, many institutions have come up to help entrepreneurs and there is healthy competition between institutions to promote programmes and do value addition. Talking about their forthcoming initiatives, Al Dawood said that they are establishing a business incubator jointly with QDB and are in the final stages of that.
While all other initiatives focus on a particular aspect of business – encouragement, funding, business plan – the business incubator will combine all of this and more in one place. The incubator will promote local and international networking opportunities. It will educate people, and allow them to be entrepreneurs, without risks and investment, as it will offer financial support, training, space, basic tools and, if they decide to leave, quitting has no price. They can quit anytime. If they have been successful, they can move on to their own offices. These type of focused services are not available in Qatar yet. To start with, the focus will be on three sectors – services, IT and light manufacturing. With so much being done to support and encourage individuals to realise their dreams, the journey has just begun.
After a few months into the new year, countless resolutions away and are forgotten. How can you demonstrate resolve and tick off those goals on your checklist? Sahar Moussly, Executive Director, Trans Gulf Management Consultancy, gives an insight into pinning down and successfully implementing tasks.
o what is this resolution we all talk about at the beginning of the year? Simply put, it is our desire to change one or more things in our lives. This pledge is a goal that will draw the road map for our lives and without it we will get lost in a maze of events and daily tasks.
But what helps constitute a goal? There are three questions that are closely related to setting your goals – the what, the why and the how. And once you answer these three questions and identify the what, why, and how, then you are in business of getting results.
When you say for instance, my goal is to lose weight or my company goal is to make more money, I would say this is not a goal; rather this is a desire that might never give you the results you wish to see. Therefore, a goal has to be more specific, measurable and time bound, which requires specific effort to be achieved. It is not enough to just say that you wish to make your business more money– how much revenue, realistically, do you want to generate? Don’t forget that clarity is always power. What is the deadline for achieving your goal; by defining a deadline you can track your progress and measure your success.
When the actual statement you put down on paper is very generalised and ambiguous it‘s no surprise that you don’t achieve your goals. Having your goal clear, measurable, realistic and bound to a deadline will aid in completing the task. The next step is to ask why? Why do you need this goal? What will keep you on track and to work towards this and what are the motivational factors for this goal? Here you need to identify three motivating reasons that will assist you on the road to overcome obstacles and challenges. You need three such reasons to absolutely and positively ascertain why these goals have to be achieved. And more importantly you must prioritise those reasons. Most people fail to achieve their goals because they spend too much time creating their goals and they neglect to concentrate on the why. But in actuality, you need to identify the sustainable factor that’s going to allow you to overcome adversity, challenges, and setbacks.
It is not enough to just say that you wish to make your business more money – how much revenue, realistically, do you want to generate? Don’t forget that clarity is always power. What is the deadline for achieving your goal; by defining a deadline you can track your progress and measure your success. What’s going to inspire you for excellence and push you to do what is necessary? This, in essence, really comes down to the initial motivator that planted the idea or ignited the spark. After stating your goal, and answering the question why, you need to identify the action steps that are going to bring you closer to your goals and elicit your desired outcomes. Next, you have to list five hows to achieving your goal. Figure out five specific actions and target dates to achieve the required results. There is a very apt quote, from Gary Ryan Blair, which states: “A goal is created three times. First, as a mental picture of
Most people fail to achieve their goals because they spend too much time creating their goals and they neglect to concentrate on the why. But in actuality, you need to identify the sustainable factor that’s going to allow you to overcome adversity, challenges, and setbacks.
something you want to be, have, or do. Second, when written down, to add clarity and dimension. And thirdly, when you take action towards its achievement.”
Everything counts Every activity you engage in is doing one of the two things; it’s either taking you towards, or away, from your goals. Every action, every thought, or behaviour, no matter how big or small it is, or how inconsequential it may seem, produces a bottom line outcome or result. That result is going to be goal focused, leading you in the direction you want to go, or it’s going to be taking you away from your goals. There are two words you want to embrace – everything counts! It’s the golden rule of goal setting, execution, and excellence and it’s the golden rule of getting things done quickly and easily.
the results is to learn and acquire some time- management skills this year. Time management will save you money, help you to have more balance in your life, be more disciplined hence, more successful and inevitably lower stress. Time management helps to be more focused and organised, and to get rid of procrastination; the one enemy to any goal achiever.
One of the basic factors that can assist you in achieving your goals and changing
About Sahar Haffar Moussly is a Dubai based UKcertified Life Coach and NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner. Today she runs two businesses. Alongside her life coaching practice, Life in Harmony, Sahar is also Executive Director of Trans Gulf Management Consultancy (TGMC), a firm specialising in conference interpretation and translations service, which was established in 1997. TGMC was listed as a finalist in the SME Advisor Stars of Business Awards, 2010, in the category of Professional Services. With over 25 years experience in the corporate world, Sahar holds a BA in English Language and Translation gained from Damascus University, and an MA in International Diplomacy gained at the University of Washington. She went on to become a qualified interpreter and translator, gaining a diploma in simultaneous translation and interpretation from the UK and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. In 2010 Sahar published a research and guidebook in Arabic entitled, Welcome to Tomorrow, which introduces the topic of life coaching and self development to Arab audiences. The book was launched in Damascus in January 2010. For more information about Life in Harmony visit www.lifeinharmony.me
A paradigm Shift The landscape for women in business has changed a lot over the past ten years with many more women achieving senior management status. Women have also been successful in other walks of life including, politics, sport and government. However, there is still work to do, says Fiona Elsa Dent, Director, Executive Education, Ashridge Business School.
While many organisations have put HR policies, procedures and practises in place to support women’s career development, this alone is not enough. Organisational attitude and culture have a far greater role to play in advancing women’s careers than any HR policy. On the positive side, however, it appears that women who are determined, self confident, passionate and resilient with a well-honed awareness of their own strengths, weaknesses, values and career ambitions, are as likely as anyone to achieve success in business. The diagram below summarises our respondents’ answers to the question “What has helped you to achieve your career goals?” It also appears that other people can play both
n our work at Ashridge we hear a lot about women’s experience in the workplace. While some stories are positive, most talk about inequality in their career and challenges in their day-to-day work. This, together with the current media interest in women’s role in business, motivated us to undertake a piece of research to explore the current landscape for women in business. Our findings are based on the responses to a survey completed by over 1,400 women as well as interviews with 20 women in senior positions in business.
The good and bad news We found that women still have a long way to go in the business world. While we have made
significant strides over the past few decades there is much work to be done. We found that women still lack self belief and confidence and, together with family commitments, these are the three most frequently mentioned barriers to career success. The diagram below indicates the full range of barriers women identified: (the size of print indicates frequency of mention)
a supportive and obstructive role to women’s career success. For instance, many women talked about finding a good coach, having a supportive boss and having an organisational sponsor as particularly helpful. On the negative side, women talked about poor bosses, colleagues who see them as a threat and, of course the old boys’ network. Worryingly there are also many tales of bullying and macho behaviour. Success in the early phase of a woman’s business life appears to provide a springboard for longer term career success. Three areas of importance were identified: • Being given early opportunities to take part in key projects or to develop new skills through stretch assignments • Getting help from others who offer guidance, help and support
It also appears that other people can play both a supportive and obstructive role to women’s career success. For instance, many women talked about finding a good coach, having a supportive boss and having an organisational sponsor as particularly helpful
learn from others’ experiences and create a successful future for women in business. In recent years I have encountered impressive, capable women who are often the first generation who have been enabled to take advantage of developmental and career opportunities.
Practical tips for success • Aiming high, having clear ambitions and career plans to follow We asked our respondents various questions in relation to organisational leadership. We found that women were more inclined towards the more relational emotional styles of leadership, where deriving meaning from what they do, working collaboratively, showing appreciation, involving others in discussion and decision making are key features of their approach to leading and working with others. Many suggested to us that this does not imply that they are a “soft touch” but rather it suggests that they recognise the importance of followership, engagement, empathy and adaptability, as key skills for their success and effectiveness as a leader. One of our interviewees said that her style was all about building friendships and alliances. “It’s a deeper relationship with people who I respect and where, usually, we have shared values and interests,” she said. Many of our respondents also explained that, while they prefer to work in a participative and appreciative way, it is always in relation to ensuring good quality performance and outputs. There are, however, still many hurdles to be crossed in the area of organisational attitude to women leaders. Close to 49% of our respondents still felt that men and women were judged differently with regard to their leadership style and behaviour. Around 48% indicated that they felt it was harder for women to succeed in their organisation than male colleagues, though 56% felt they were judged equally to men when it came to being promoted.
organisational cultures and environments where women and men are treated in an equitable manner with regard to the day-to-day working environment, career opportunities and promotion. We heard, and continue to hear, many similar stories from women throughout the globe about the importance of having a good boss, who will support you and push you forward during the early years of a career. As one of our respondents highlighted that one of her early managers offered her support, saying,“Just go in and give it a try, you will always have a fall back route if you just feel that this is not working for you.” She went on to tell us that this was good advice as it has helped her forge her career and reach the senior position she now holds. Other similarities include having a good supportive network of family and friends as well as being confident enough to take challenging opportunities when they arise. My experience of working with many different groups of managers in the Middle East tells me that, while women in this part of the world face many of the same challenges as those in other countries, they also have a real opportunity to
The international perspective It seems that the situation globally for women in business has many similar challenges, no matter which continent you focus on. While women have made significant strides forward in the workforce there is still a lot of work to be done to create
Fiona Elsa Dent
Organisations and individuals alike should work together to: • Ensure women have the opportunity to identify their career goals, ambitions and aspirations. • Create an environment that supports and develops women (and of course the same is true for men). • Be aware of the issues and organisational blockages to women’s progression and find ways to resolve these problems. No matter what the gender, ensuring that all your people are at the top of their game will contribute to a higher performing organisation. References: “Understanding Women’s Careers” – A Research Summary by Fiona Elsa Dent, Viki Holton & Jan Rabbetts (www.ashridge.org.uk) – December 2011 “Women in Business: Navigating Career Success” – by Viki Holton & Fiona Elsa Dent. Palgrave. April 2012.
About Fiona is a Director of Executive Education at Ashridge. As a member of the Ashridge Management Committee she is responsible for one of the two education faculty groups which manage programmes, client relationships and deliver management development solutions across Ashridge. Fiona has written seven books including: The Leader’s Guide to Influence: How to use soft skills to get hard results (Pearson 2010); Working Relationships Pocketbook (2009) Influencing: Skills and Techniques for Business Success (2006). She continues to write and research predominantly in the areas of influencing as a key leadership skill and relationship management. Established in 1959, Ashridge, near London, is a well known business school and is consistently highly ranked in the Financial Times rankings for customised executive education. Activities include open and customised executive education, MBA, MSc and Doctoral qualifications, organisation consulting, executive coaching and mentoring, applied research and virtual learning.
As China positions itself at the forefront of the economic world stage, MENA public and private entities should draw inspiration from the innovative and efficient manner in which this climb was achieved, says Winter Nie, Professor of Operations and Service Management, IMD.
he rapid increase in China’s competitiveness in the high-speed rail, ship-building and even aviation and automotive industries caught some Western observers by surprise. Less than a decade ago, for example, China’s rail system was woefully inadequate. Today it boasts more kilometres of high-speed rail lines than Europe, as well as the world’s fastest trains (350 km/hour) in regular commercial service.
However, despite the considerable increase in its R&D output in some sectors, Chinese industry still lacks basic research and radical innovation. Nonetheless, there is still a strong desire among Chinese people to experience the benefits of innovative technologies created in the West; the “me-too” phenomenon is a strong driver in the pursuit of new product development. The Chinese are innovating in a uniquely Chinese manner and consequently rising as formidable challengers to traditional multinational companies, as seen in the transport industry. Up against the tough competition and volatile conditions in emerging economies, any company doing business in China might do well to take a leaf or two from the local champions’ book.
the key components and sub-assemblies that it could not make in-house and bought them from Western suppliers.
The most important quality characterising Chinese innovation is the sheer speed with which companies introduce new products to the market.
In my research, I have found four interesting features regarding the manner in which the Chinese innovate: innovation on-site, innovation to reduce costs, tailored innovation and rapid product innovation.
Innovation on-site, not in the lab Due to the customised nature of its equipment used among many applications to personalise buttons, cut patterns in leather, mark computer keyboards or engrave glass, Han’s Laser could not test its products in-house extensively. In the early days, the company would send a technician on-site for several months and file a machine performance report every day. When problems arose, the field technician worked closely with the R&D team at headquarters to find solutions to rectify them immediately. These improvements were systematically incorporated in the next version. Between 1996 and 1999, the company made over 3,000 improvements to its machines. Testing on-site made the client’s factory a research lab, reduced the time to market, and helped with the company’s cash flows. When the new model was finally released, it incorporated the client’s precise needs. No more, no less.
Innovation with a focus on costs When China International Marine Containers (CIMC) imported a production line from Germany in the early 1990s, it had a capacity of about 10,000 containers a year. Over the next five years, CIMC technicians fundamentally reengineered the manufacturing process four times, applying technology borrowed from the auto industry. By 1996, production had risen twenty-fold and CIMC was the global leader by volume, manufacturing almost one in every five new containers worldwide. The following year, it was able to set up its own R&D centre, where it managed to find a way to replace the expensive aluminium used in refrigerated containers with much cheaper treated steel. It licensed steel-treatment technology from German manufacturers and improved performance to the point where treated steel could match the performance of aluminium. As a result, it increased its equipment capacity and capability to become more cost efficient. Similarly, the fixed costs for the production of solar panels are considerable. However, one Chinese company I interviewed focused on process innovation to lower the capital expenditure. While solar panel equipment suppliers normally provide “turn-key” solutions which can be extremely costly, this company identified
It then streamlined the non-critical parts by either developing its own equipment and technology or working with local suppliers. As a result, its capital expenditure was reduced by two-thirds. This is perhaps one of the most common innovations Chinese companies use to reduce costs.
Product features and functions tailored to local requirements Chinese consumers use their mobile phones for many purposes, including playing music in public places and watching television. With this in mind, mobile phone producers in China cater to these needs by offering features, such as handsets that contain six to eight speakers for playing audio or talking in noisy spaces. Not only are phones available at half the price of those offered by traditional market players, but they also provide features to address the unique needs of local consumers.
Another example of local customisation comes from the Chinese home appliance manufacturer Haier. When a rural customer in China’s Sichuan province complained that his Haier washing machine kept breaking down, service technicians found the plumbing clogged with mud. It turned out that many rural Chinese customers were using the Haier machines (meant to wash clothes) to clean sweet potatoes and peanuts. Instead of warning customers about what should not be washed in the company’s machines, Haier engineers modified the washer design to accommodate their needs. From then on, Haier washing machines sold in Sichuan were labelled – “Mainly for washing clothes, sweet potatoes and peanuts.” Haier’s strategy of meeting localised market demand at home and abroad with innovative models resulted in about 96 product categories and 15,100 specifications. Haier executives maintained that these kinds of feature innovations were inexpensive to produce, but highly valued by customers. The most important quality characterising Chinese innovation is the sheer speed with which companies introduce new products to the market.
Instead of warning customers about what should not be washed in the company’s machines, Haier engineers modified the washer design to accommodate their needs. From then on, Haier washing machines sold in Sichuan were labelled – “Mainly for washing clothes, sweet potatoes and peanuts.”
For example, before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Chinese mobile phone companies rushed to produce new models reminiscent of the country’s iconic “Bird’s Nest” stadium and “Water Cube” National Aquatics Centre. In 2007 alone, Chinese mobile phone company Tianyu produced over 100 new models.
Innovating for the future So why do Chinese companies take these unconventional approaches to innovation? Quite simply, it’s out of necessity. Without anything like the research budgets of their more established competitors, they must operate with lean and ultra-dynamic strategies. Likewise, without a brand identity to protect, they have nothing to fear by allowing the customer to test the product. They win some, they lose some. And in the ever-changing market environment in China, this nimble method is very effective and, most importantly, cost efficient. However, there is a downside to this purely entrepreneurial approach. As Chinese companies mature, they will want to begin thinking about developing globally recognised and successful brands. In order to innovate like Apple, Google and other highly creative Western companies, China must proactively invest more in R&D, which
consequently requires the strict protection of intellectual property rights. In the meantime, MENA and multinational competitors would be wise to take note of domestic Chinese companies’ innovation techniques for mass markets because, as many have already discovered, Chinese companies are learning fast. As recently as 2001, China lagged behind in the world of supercomputing. Of the sites that qualified for the prestigious Top 500 list, a ranking of the world’s fastest supercomputers, not a single one was Chinese. However, fast forward a mere decade and 61 of those top 500 are located within China, two of which are in the top five!
About Winter Nie is Professor of Operations and Service Management at IMD. Her areas of research interest are service management and supply chain management. She has provided training programmes for and consulted with companies in pharmaceutical, telecommunications, automotive, food and beverage, machinery, and electronics industries as well as financial and professional services. Winter has taught programmes in the US, Britain, France, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China and has also won several teaching and research awards. Professor Nie holds a PhD in Operations Management from the University of Utah (USA). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnership opportunities Private Sector (Al Kitaa Al Khass) is an Arabic and English magazine, presented and supported by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and published by CPI. It is aimed at business owners and senior executives in the private sector in Qatar. Armed with practical advice, it highlights key issues for the business community. The driving force for regional economies is the private sector – a catalyst for growth, development and job creation. With the world’s spotlight on Qatar’s development activities and the buzz being created around 2022, this sector is going to grow by leaps and bounds. That’s great news if you’re targeting the private sector, which spans across almost all industry verticals, but the problem you face is identifying the most dynamic and competitive companies amongst a sea of competitors. A key answer for the past half decade has been CPI’s UAE-based magazine SME Advisor Middle East, which has delivered valuable business information to leading SMEs across the region, helping them develop their businesses, putting them in touch with valued partners and fuelling growth even in a stalled global economy.
Now, with the support of QDB as our presenting partner, we have launched the same business values, tailor-made for Qatar in the form of the brand Private Sector. This will encompass magazine, events, online and several other initiatives to drive Qatari entrepreneurship and the private sector. This is your chance! This is a market you cannot afford to miss. This is a market that you can reach in an intelligent, focused way, working with the expert team that brought you SME Advisor Middle East and has now launched Private Sector magazine in Qatar.
For more information about advertising and other partnership opportunities, please visit www.privatesectorqatar.com/en For marketing ideas and opportunities, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Know your rights Qatar’s population has more than doubled from around 600,000 in 2000 to in excess of 1,500,000 at the end of 2010. It is among one of the most prosperous countries in the world and one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East. With the influx of people moving to Qatar it is important for workers and employers to understand the laws that apply to immigration. Emma Higham, Senior Associate, Clyde & Co, gives us an overview of the rules and regulations.
aw No (4) of 2009 sets out regulations under which expatriates may enter, exit, work and reside in Qatar. The Ministry of Interior and the Immigration and Labour Departments are the main agencies of administration. The law defines an “Expatriate” as any individual entering Qatar who is not a Qatari national.
Unless an individual is a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) national he or she must be sponsored by either a Qatari national, an entity registered to undertake business in Qatar or a resident family member on which the individual is dependent. This arrangement does not lend itself to short term or casual employment arrangements. It is also important to note that there are laws and regulations in place to encourage the employment of nationals, known as Qatarisation. Right of Entry There are three main ways for an individual to enter Qatar: Tourist, visit or on-arrival visas Nationals of thirty-three countries can currently enter Qatar on tourist visit, or on-arrival visas issued for a fee at
the Qatar International Airport. Gulf Cooperation Council nationals or holders of certain Gulf Cooperation Council resident’s permits can enter on this basis alone. The visas are issued for thirty days and can be extended for a further thirty days at the discretion of the immigration authorities. On the expiry of the initial or extended thirty day period an individual must leave Qatar but can then re-enter (same day if necessary) and be issued with a new visa. The visas may also be applied for and obtained before entering Qatar. Details may be found on Qatar Embassy Websites. Visas may be multi-entry and may be issued for longer periods of time than those issued on-arrival, for example, the Qatari Embassy in London has been known to issue two year visas. Business visas Business visas must be applied for in advance of an individual entering Qatar and may only be obtained with a letter of support from a local “sponsor”; a Qatari national, an entity registered to undertake business in Qatar or a resident family member. Visas are normally issued for periods of one or three months, but can be extended by the immigration authorities by discretion.
Work permit Work permits may only be applied for by an individual or entity registered with the employment authorities. These applicants are known as the workers’ sponsors. Sponsorship and immigration are interlinked in Qatar. Once a Qatari entity has been issued with an immigration card it may register with the Labour Department and submit block visa applications. A block visa application should state the gender, nationality and job title of the workers a Qatari entity wants to employ. Once the block visa allocation has been approved by the Labour Department, passport copies and appropriate education certificates should be submitted to the Immigration Department in order for each worker to be issued with his or her work permit, then the worker can proceed for residency. Dual residency is permitted by discretion in Qatar, however it is difficult to obtain; individuals must hold senior positions in both sponsoring entities which should have the same name.
Holders of tourist visit or on-arrival visas may not work in Qatar. Business visas allow the holders to represent themselves or their companies, but not to work; only a holder of a valid work permit may work lawfully in Qatar. Right to work Holders of tourist visit or on-arrival visas may not work in Qatar. Business visas allow the holders to represent themselves or their companies, but not to work; only a holder of a valid work permit may work lawfully in Qatar. Holders of resident’s permits may work but only for their sponsors. Contract working is not permitted. Individuals holding family residencies must apply for, and be issued with, work permits to work, subject to some exceptions, for example the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). Part time workers can work, subject to the permission of their sponsor or employer, for a Qatari national or an entity registered to undertake business in Qatar. Right to reside Resident’s permit Individuals who wish to work and reside in Qatar should apply for a resident’s permit. A work permit must have been granted to an individual before such an application can be made. It must be the worker’s sponsor who applies. It is usually issued for one year initially and then two years going forward. Family residency Where an individual holds a valid Qatari resident’s permit he or she can apply to sponsor the spouse and dependent family members. The resident will have to demonstrate to the immigration authorities that he or she is appropriately employed with sufficient funds to do so. Sponsorship transfer Residency may be transferred between sponsors, subject to the discretion of the immigration authority. In order to transfer sponsorship an individual must hold a resident’s permit which has been valid for more than 12 months, a sponsor’s letter of no objection (NOC) and a “clean” police report.
for over-stays. Workers require an exit permit to leave Qatar and unless a re-entry visa is obtained the work permit will cancel automatically on exit. The holders of resident’s permits may be issued with multi-exit visas at the sponsor’s discretion.
Where no NOC is provided (there is no obligation to provide and no right of provision) an individual may not work in Qatar, i.e. be sponsored and employed in Qatar, for a period of two years, although appeals can be made to the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Interior. On some rare occasions the Minister of Employment may waive this requirement. Where individuals do not have a resident’s permit which has been valid for more than 12 months, provided they hold an NOC, they must leave Qatar and re-enter on either a visit or business visa or a work permit in order for their new sponsors to be in a position to apply for a resident’s permit.
Immigration submissions In addition to the various processes and authorities referred to and mentioned, respectively, above, entrants to the Qatar job market should be aware that education certificates, employment arrangements, marriage and birth certificates, police reports and any additional documents which may be requested from time to time will need to be notarised, legalised and authenticated in the originating country for use in Qatar. Qatar is not a signatory to the Hague Convention and so this process can be lengthy and expensive, especially where there is no Qatari Embassy in the country of origin.
Liability During the period in which the individual resides in Qatar, he or she will have a Sponsor for Residence (Sponsor) who will be legally responsible for them, including obtaining and renewing resident’s permits and associated registrations.
Note: Qatari Laws (save for those issued by the Qatar
A sponsor will not be liable financially for any of the obligations of the individuals it sponsors, unless it specifically agrees to guarantee such obligations. Right to exit Individuals entering Qatar other than on a tourist, visit or on-arrival visa must obtain an exit visa from their Qatari sponsor in order to leave. Business visa holders may require an exit visa for stays in excess of 14 days; in addition, penalties Emma Higham are levied
Financial Centre to regulate internal business) are issued in Arabic and there are no official translations, therefore for the purposes of drafting this article we have used our own translations and interpreted the same in the context of Qatari regulation and current market practice.
About Emma is a corporate and commercial lawyer with over nine years experience. Having been based in Qatar for nearly seven years, Emma incorporates her extensive knowledge of the local law when advising both local and international clients. She advises on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including local establishment by way of joint venture, banking and finance, and providing regulatory advice in relation to the establishment of businesses in the Qatar Financial Centre, advising on IPOs, pre IPO funding corporate restructuring and employment and immigration matters. While working in Qatar, Emma has spent six months on secondment to Qatar Telecom (Qtel) QSC, assisting in the start up of a Gulf Corporate Council telecommunications company. Emma joined Clyde & Co in October 2007, having previously worked for another international law firm for six years, both in London and Qatar. Prior to that Emma worked for Price Waterhouse for eight years in both audit and corporate recovery. Emma can be contacted at email@example.com.
Building expertise With the government promoting diversification and growth of the private sector, the youth need to be
ready to handle these responsibilities and multitask. Ian White, Director, Qatar Skills Academy, talks about the importance of vocational training to build a knowledge economy.
atar’s 2030 Vision paints the picture of a modern 21st century economy and society, which has emerged from a period of rapid expansion and multi-layered influences. The National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-2016, which maps the road to that future, is a bold programme of investment in key strategic initiatives. These include sustaining economic prosperity, promoting human development, integrating sound social development and managing environmental development.
Of particular interest to the business community is Qatar’s vision as a diversified knowledge economy. In other words, what comes after an industrial base focused on hydrocarbons? Unlike oil and gas, the resources required for a knowledge-based economy – creativity, talent and ingenuity are not as abundant. There are other problems; knowledge is intangible,
(although it has enormous value) and highly mobile, which makes it difficult to own and protect.
and deliver young people capable of learning, working and living in a diverse, ever-changing global market. But this will take time.
It also comes with strings attached (a bit like the environmental cost of oil and gas) in the form of the additional needs and costs of families and social infrastructure. Qatar has had less time, understandably, to create deep reservoirs of knowledge through experience, understanding and history. The knowledge is therefore not yet available or ready to be harvested. In fact, much has to be done to create this new raw material of human capital if the vision is to be achieved.
A central part of Qatar’s strategy should be the development of people already in the workforce. This is where vocational education and training can play a vital role. Vocational education and training has the advantage of speed of return on investment. Unlike a school education, which takes 12 years, the impact from some sales or customer service training; a software programmer’s course; a management diploma can be measured in months.
The effective education of young people is critical, and Qatar has made some exciting and important steps in recent years, most notably through the establishment and activities of the Qatar Foundation. The availability of world class higher education at Education City in effect serves as a high benchmark for the rest of the education system to aspire to. The challenge is for the early years and school education system to follow suit
Employers in Qatar with experience of a systematic approach to recruitment, development and talent management are actively engaged with suppliers of training and development programmes which identify, “on-board,” place and develop their staff. The labour system in Qatar is not always helpful to employers but generally there is a need for more professional human resource management
The greater challenge for Qatar is to develop a vocational pathway for young people, which takes them from school into quality jobs.
The key question for Qatar is how to incentivise the process, especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the private sector. Training grants and wage subsidies exist around the world to pump-prime skills revolutions, particularly ones which are driven by small companies operating in new markets with innovative products and services. A small company does not have the need or capability to manage a cohort of trainees and select from the best. Through a partnership with training providers employers need to have access to raw talent and people they can shape.
(which, by the way, doesn’t necessarily equate to a larger HR team) to negotiate the tricky waters of the labour market. The greater challenge for Qatar is to develop a vocational pathway for young people, which takes them from school into quality jobs. There is already some provision for those for whom an academic style of learning either at school or university is not productive, but there is not widespread understanding or acceptance that this is a good thing. There is still the belief that if someone does not attend a university, then they have failed. Breaking down the prejudice against vocational education is partly an image task, but it is also about joining together different parts of the system to ensure there is quality and choice. This topic was the focal point of discussion at a roundtable event organised by Qatar Skills Academy and GSDP, held at Georgetown University. Employers, educators and policy makers came together to discuss the actions identified in the National Development Strategy and developed proposals for a national apprenticeship scheme which will place high school graduates into jobs-with-training with employers of choice. The oil and gas sector has a good track record of such an approach but now is the time to engage with other sectors of the economy. As part of a national apprenticeship scheme there would need to be associated initiatives for improved careers guidance in schools, which engage students, teachers and parents in information and access to occupations in a range of sectors. Work-related education and enterprise education also needs to be introduced into the school curriculum at the earliest levels. By this I mean a broad topic-based approach rather than single subject learning (such as business studies). The requirement is to teach transferable skills
different providers. Qatar does not have to reinvent the wheel in order to create its own standards based framework.
Vocational education and training is the need of the hour and we need to keep working to develop the actions necessary to supply a knowledge-driven economy with sufficient talent.
A central part of Qatar’s strategy should be the development of people already in the workforce. This is where vocational education and training can play a vital role. Vocational education and training has the advantage of speed of return on investment.
which enable people to become adaptable and flexible enough to move between jobs, projects and assignments for the rest of their lives. Only those who are lifelong learners will manage to keep pace with development throughout their career. On the supply side of the vocational system, the job of the educators and policy makers is to provide high-quality learning which meets employers’ needs and which can be quality controlled against recognised standards. The benefit of using recognised qualifications is that the framework already exists for the accumulation and transfer of credits between
About Ian White is a British entrepreneur and specialist in vocational education. His first business after university in the UK was in television production, a venture which earned him the ACE UK Entrepreneur of the Year award. During the mid ‘90s, Ian developed businesses in the vocational education and SME development sector whilst also working for the UK Government and the European Commission. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2002 for his work on enterprise education. Ian arrived in Doha in 2010 and created Qatar Skills Academy to meet the need for organisations to improve quality and productivity through investment in people. Ian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
look at the bright side We review consumer confidence in Qatar based on a survey by Bayt.com. “However, going forward, expectations and optimism are high, particularly for those looking for employment,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com.
espondents in Qatar state that their current financial situation is either the same (42%) or worse (23%) than last year, with only 26% claiming to have had their finances improve in the same time period. The generally neutral feeling is also directed towards the country’s economy, with a collective 58% saying that the situation is the same (37%) or worse (21%) than it was 12 months ago. Business conditions in Qatar are considered to be better than elsewhere in the region; only 16% of respondents say that this is a bad time for business, while 37% claim it is a positive time, and 35% are neutral. This is slightly conflicted by the 41% who believe that this is a bad time to purchase consumer durable goods – only 10% say this is a good time to buy, with 39% claiming it to be a neutral time. The last quarter of 2011 was also considered to have been a bad time for employment; 30% of respondents claimed that there were very few jobs available in Qatar, with a further 31% said that there are not many available. Meanwhile, an overwhelming 63% of respondents claim that their salary has not kept up with the current cost of living.
Expectations for 2012 As mentioned by Zureikat, the outlook for 2012 is positive, with 54% of respondents believing that their financial position will change for the better in the coming year, and 60% saying the same about the country’s economy. Business conditions are expected to improve according to 60% of Qatar respondents, and 49% are positive that there will be more jobs available,15% believe that the number of jobs will remain the same, and 20% believe there will be fewer jobs. Pessimism continues when respondents were questioned about expected company growth in the coming three months; 31% believe that there will be no change in the number of employees taken on by their company (33% say there will be positive growth; 18% state the opposite). The statistics reflect a similar outlook in terms of keeping up with staff requirements; 33% of respondents have neutral sentiments, with 24% stating that their company will fail to match requirements. The outlook for the economy is not much better, as inflation has left 28% of Qatar respondents with a negative outlook for the cost of living in the future, and 27% believe that the cost of real estate will be negatively impacted too.
“Despite the overall outlook being less than positive for the present, there are some warming sentiments for the year as people look forward to improved business conditions. Better business conditions should lead to more jobs and possibly enhanced compensations, which is always something to look forward to,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.
Career satisfaction Only 16% of respondents in Qatar are satisfied with their job and career prospects, with just 23% of them feeling happy with the potential for growth in their current organisation. Satisfaction with job security is considered to be slightly higher, with 31% claiming that they are secure in their positions; only 8% are content with their current compensation though. Roughly a third of respondents are displeased (35%), and 47% are neutral.
Purchasing predictions The majority of Qatar respondents are not looking to make any major purchases in 2012. Of the 36% who say that they are considering buying a vehicle, 53% will buy new, and 47% will opt to purchase a used vehicle. Only 26% are looking to buy property in the coming 12 months – of these, 67% will buy new. Laptops continue to be the most popular items that people are looking to buy in the next six months, with 29% saying they will invest in one. The second-most popular consumer good in Qatar is furniture (21%), followed jointly by air conditioners and LCD/ plasma televisions (18%).
health and wealth The Middle East healthcare sector is expected to be worth USD 60 billion by 2025 and as the need for investment in facilities and services escalates, no other region in the world is facing such rapid growth in demand. Private Sector Qatar attended the Arab Health Congress and met Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, to know more about the opportunities in Qatar’s healthcare sector.
he particular focus on the Arab World provides the Berlin-Brandenburg healthcare industry with extraordinary opportunities for exporting its health-based services and respond to the strong demand for innovative products, know-how and quality medical services from the Middle East.
For many years, patients from the Middle East and GCC have been drawn to European countries, for high-end medical treatment that is not always available in their home country. One of the most preferred destinations for healthcare tourism has been Germany, which has a strong tradition in medicine. Now those facilities could possibly be available in Qatar in the near future, through Berlin-Brandenburg. Qatar has been very focused on developing its healthcare sector. The National Health Strategy brings to life the vision for the healthcare sector laid out in the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030).
A world-class integrated healthcare system is a critical component of the human development pillar of the QNV 2030. The National Health Strategy 2011-2016 aims to move Qatar’s health sector significantly in the direction of achieving this vision. Berlin-Brandenburg believes that it can work with Qatar to achieve those goals. Berlin is the healthcare hub of Europe and has developed its biotechnology and healthcare facilities over the years. According to Prof. Stock, President, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities, Qatar has the most detailed master plan for developing healthcare, which is what attracted them to the country in the first place. Berlin-Brandenburg has already submitted a proposal to Qatar, which is based on these plans and has highlighted nine projects which would help Qatar meet its objectives. Both the private as well as public sector have been actively involved in Qatar’s health industry.
Berlin-Brandenburg provides expertise in four areas: • Healthcare education • Preventive medicine • Infectious disease • Rehabilitation and Wellness If the projects get approved, they will be looking for local partnerships to implement these projects. These projects offer opportunity for the local businesses to partner with Berlin Brandenburg. Prof. Stock believes that Qatar is on the right path and can be a medical hub for Africa and South Asia.” With proximity to Africa and South Asia, Qatar can become the regional hub for providing sophisticated and developed medical care to patients from these continents.” Talking about the services that Berlin-Brandenburg can provide, Prof. Stock said they can train manpower, provide medical education, build infrastructure, depending on the wants and needs of Qatar. Qatar is investing heavily in its healthcare sector to cater to demand from a growing population. Qatar’s aim of providing effective domestic healthcare services is coupled with aspirations to become the healthcare centre of choice for the region. A high level delegation from Germany will be visiting Qatar in March 2012 to discuss this further and we hope to bring you good news!
About The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities is a learned society with a three hundred year old tradition of uniting scholars and scientists across national and disciplinary boundaries. 78 Nobel prize winners have shaped its history. As the largest non-university research institute for the humanities in the Berlin-Brandenburg region, it preserves and reveals the region’s cultural inheritance, while also pursuing research and offering advice on issues that are crucial for the future of society and providing a forum for dialogue between scholarship and public.
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