Islamic banks, which account for more than 26% of Qatar's banking assets, need to take advantage of modern technology to develop and expand their portfolio as well as reduce costs, in view of the umpteen opportunities in the country's mammoth infrastructure drive.
Terming Islamic banks in Qatar as an important element in the Shariah finance market, HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari told the Fifth Doha Islamic Finance Conference that in recent years, Doha has laid out ambitious plans to strengthen its capabilities by offering various Islamic financial products on account of the promising opportunities in major infrastructure projects, which are implemented within the framework of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
"Qatar seeks to encourage Islamic banks to take advantage of modern technology to develop and expand their activities and reduce costs, especially in light of the call by many international economic institutions to develop the necessary policies to develop Islamic finance and enhance its capabilities to compete with the international financial markets, by providing support mechanisms for cross-border transactions, capital market product development and sukuk, to help finance infrastructure projects," he said.
Qatar recognises the importance of fintech as a strategic tool, which can change the equations and centres of power in the global financial markets in favour of the Islamic finance sector, especially in light of the growing need for a system capable of balancing the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and humanitarian requirements in the global economy, al-Kuwari said.
Qatar – which is one of the most stable, competitive and diversified economies in the region – has succeeded in enhancing the contribution of all sectors to the overall economic growth and achieving significant strides towards diversifying the national economy, in line with the National Development Strategy 2018-22 that aims to promote the growth of vital sectors, mainly industry, financial services and tourism.
Qatar also seeks to enhance the competitiveness of the national economy and support the role of the private sector by encouraging public-private partnerships in major development projects, mainly food security, manufacturing, health and education, he added.
The minister said the International Monetary Fund expects the Qatari economy to continue its strong performance in the coming years, growing by 3.1% this year, in parallel with the growth of non-oil sectors, which contributed about 6% in the first half of 2018.