(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Doha: The second Qatar-Poland New Tech Forum opened here on Sunday with the spotlight on the various opportunities available for businesses in Qatar, and the promising Polish tech solutions that can cater to the market here locally, and regionally.
In his opening remarks during the event, the Undersecretary of State for Economic Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland H E Pawel Jablonski highlighted that technology is the 'one joint solution' to all the three major challenges currently facing the world economy.
“The world economy is facing three major challenges: health crisis which is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation, and green transition. All these major challenges are interconnected. And they have one joint solution - technology,” said Jablonski.
He added:“The State of Qatar is a very important market for Poland in addressing these three challenges. In particular, we consider Qatari gas as an important transition fuel contributing to gradual phasing out of coal in our energy mix. With the aim to strengthen our cooperation, I came here with Polish companies which developed technologies to address challenges and exploiting opportunities arising from digital transformation, green transition, and public health situation. With common efforts, and through engagement of the private sector, we can successfully address the three major issues”.
Jablonski is leading a high-profile business and political delegation currently visiting Qatar, as an important preparatory step for the upcoming visit of Poland's President H E Andrzej Duda to Qatar in December.
Over 20 Polish tech companies which are leaders in their respective fields are currently eyeing new opportunities and partnerships with their Qatari counterparts. During the event, the companies presented their advanced technology solutions on ICT, fintech, smart city, med tech, green tech, drone technologies, 5G and cloud solutions, digital management of gas fields, city lighting, and other solutions for electro mobility, circular economy, as well as solution for traffic management of unmanned aviation.
The one-day forum, which was organised by the Polish Embassy in Doha and the Qatar-Poland Business Council, also featured presentations by chief officials from key stakeholders in Qatar's business sector including the Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar), Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), and Microsoft.
Speaking during the event, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA H E Ahmad bin Mohammed Al Sayed reiterated that Qatar could be a gateway for the Polish companies' expansion in the Mena region and beyond.
The Minister also highlighted the Doha Venture Capital, which invests in companies developing advanced technologies and are keen to take advantage of the growth opportunities in Qatar, the Mena region, and the world.
CEO of IPA Qatar Sheikh Ali Alwaleed Al Thani, stressed Qatar's successful food security programme during the event, and noted how the country is transforming from being a net food importing country into a net food exporter within the next four to five years.
“We're also witnessing growth in the number of commercial establishments in the cyber security space, with the increase in local and regional demand for cyber security. The circular economy is another good initiative that we're working closely with the MME to adopt. Especially in terms of waste reusage and tyre recycling. Qatar has around 30 million tyres that are waiting to be recycled, and can be converted into biofuels and many other possible initiatives,” Sheikh Ali said.
Deputy CEO & Chief Business Officer at QFC Authority Sheikha Alanoud bint Hamad Al Thani said there are currently three QFC-licenced Polish companies operating in Qatar, and the number is expected to be increased in the future.
She added that Qatar's digital market place offers multi-billion dollar digital opportunities, and a per capita spending which is 12 times higher than the Middle East and Africa (Mea) region's average.
Qatar's digital spending stood at $2.1-2.3bn in 2019, and is forecast to reach $3-3.2bn by 2023. Also, Polish exports to Qatar reached $199.2m in 2020, while Qatari exports to Poland reached $527.1m during the same period, added Sheikha Alanoud.
In his presentation, Executive Director at QSTP Yousef Al Salehi noted that over 50 companies are now hosted at the QSTP, while more than 20 startups are also incubated in its programme.
“Also, we have two fund systems in place to support entrepreneurs. The Grant fund helps local SMEs and startups to do product development. While the Tech Venture Fund, which started three years ago, has closed several deals with local startups. But now we're going to the next stage where we'd like to also invest in foreign startups with potential in the Qatari market,” added Al Salehi.
Microsoft, the world's most valuable company, was also showcased during the event. A number of the Polish companies are already Microsoft partners in Poland, and are eyeing the possibility of also partnering with the global tech leader in Qatar.
Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the forum, President of Qatar-Poland Business Council Daniel Dybala said that in addition to the B2B meetings, the Council will also continue to support ongoing discussions to help Polish companies establish their businesses in Qatar.
“A lot of them are choosing to look at Qatar as their first entry point to the GCC region and are looking for local partners. During the visit of the President of Poland, we'll sign some MoUs with Qatari partners and institutions. A few companies already operate very successfully here with local Qatari partners, and there's very strong interest to expand the list of Polish companies that operate in Qatar,” he added.
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