Address by H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Hassim Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce, and Special Representative of H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar


Aug  2nd

Y.E. President Joko WIdodo
President of the Republic of Indonesia

Y.E. Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib Tun Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia

Your Highnesses, your Excellencies

Esteemed delegation members

Ladies and gentlemen

I am honoured to share with you today the inauguration of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum and I am pleased to extend to the President, government and people of the Republic of Indonesia on this occasion my sincere thanks and appreciation for the warm reception and hospitality that we and our accompanying delegation have received.

This forum is of a pivotal importance to the world’s largest economies for both Islamic countries as well as others as it is a platform that enables discussion of the most significant issues and economic developments in the world. The theme of this year’s forum “decentralized growth – strengthening the future of business” is in line with the State of Qatar’s economic development strategy aimed at reinforcing the role of small and medium sized enterprises and instigating a policy of economic diversification so as to shift to a knowledge-based economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.

Your Highnesses and your Excellencies,

Supporting small and medium size enterprises and enabling them to play an active role in our economies does not only provide jobs and reduce the burden on governments but also contributes directly to the diversification of sources of income and expanding bases of production. Small and medium sized enterprises embody the primary nucleus of projects and contributes to the revitalization of many economic sectors for instance commerce, tourism and services.

Being aware of their vital role many countries have adopted policies and procedures to raise the efficiency of the small and medium sized enterprises sector due to their role in raising gross domestic product and for being a successful tool to mobilize and reinvest in savings. Small and medium sized enterprises are considered an effective tool to produce and provide low-cost services that will enhance the exporting abilities of our economies.

As part of this strategy the state of Qatar has placed small and medium sized enterprises at the forefront of its strategic priorities through the implementation of a range of programs and policies within a common framework to represent the complementary relationship between various government bodies signifying the principle of meaningful and constructive partnerships with the private sector.

Consistent with these efforts to stimulate the business environment and reduce the obstacles and challenges faced by owners of small and medium sized enterprises a new commercial companies law was introduced which represents a quantum leap forward in the field of exercising commercial activity by facilitating company establishment procedures and eliminating procedures relating to minimum capital requirements needed to establish limited liability companies which constitute a high percentage of the companies that are founded by young inventors and entrepreneurs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The efforts instigated by the State of Qatar to diversify the economy and enhance competitiveness have resulted in concrete changes to the structure of our national economy. The growing role of the private sector and at the forefront the small and medium sized enterprises sector which has now become a major partner in overall economic development as confirmed by various economic indicators. For instance, Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector grew from less than 42% in 2005 to approximately 50% towards the end of 2014. It is estimated that the non-hydrocarbon sector will grow in 2016 by 10%.

These indicators have placed the State of Qatar in advanced positions on a global competition level for instance according to the annual report issued by the World Economic Forum for the year 2015-2016. Qatar ranked first among Arab countries and fourteenth globally in the Global Competitiveness Index. This great achievement would not have been possible without the wise policy adopted by the State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Your Highnesses and your Excellencies,

We have all seen the exceptional circumstances witnessed by various economies around the world as a result of declining growth rates and fluctuations in oil prices. Circumstances which have had an impact on all our countries without exception. In order to meet these challenges effectively we must look beyond the capabilities available to each country individually which requires serious cooperation between countries in the Islamic world by taking several measures and most notably the need to increase investments between Islamic countries and building a private sector that is proficient in carrying out the developmental duties of our economies.