WAIFC Annual General Meeting in Doha
The high-level, virtual global event brought together all of the 17 international financial centers which make up the WAIFC’s members to discuss the latest economic developments and trends, explore means of cooperation, and exchange expertise and knowledge. The discussions were mainly focused on joining forces and making collaborative efforts to introduce best practices and solutions to reignite economic growth in the post Coronavirus (COVID-19) environment.
Speaking in a ‘Fireside Chat’ event organized as part of the AGM, Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO and Board Member, QFC Authority, said:
“We are honoured to be hosting this AGM virtually for the first time after gaining our WAIFC membership last year. As we are transitioning into a changed world coming out of the pandemic, the role of WAIFC is becoming ever more vital, and as enablers of economic development, we all are actively pursuing ways to help reignite economic growth within our territories and beyond. By establishing an open flow of information, WAIFC has become a perfect platform for all of us to work collectively on important projects and get through this difficult time.”
“Our mutual relationships as members of WAIFC have evolved and strengthened as we have started to work together more closely than before, which is a very positive development that we are taking on towards the future. Following this AGM, which holds special significance considering that the world is going through a very tough time due to the pandemic, we are committed to work with our relevant stakeholders in Qatar and beyond to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, that form the source of innovation and the backbone of our economies, to be further nurtured and protected.”
WAIFC members issued a joint declaration in May 2020, exhibiting their collective commitment to seeking ways to mitigate the outcomes of the pandemic, and formed joint international working groups to study the impact of the pandemic. The four working groups comprising of experts from WAIFC member international financial centers shared preliminary insights during the AGM on how to re-engineer key areas of national economies, including Sustainable Finance, SME Finance, Regulation, and FinTech and Innovation, to ignite a lasting and resilient global economic recovery.
Dr. Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director, WAIFC, said:
“Our members, leading financial centers globally, met today for our Annual General Meeting. We are very grateful that the Qatar Financial Centre hosted this meeting, even though we could only meet virtually this time. I am delighted to welcome Rwanda Finance as a new member, our third member from Africa, and Dr. King Au from the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council as a new director of the WAIFC. In our meeting, we talked very intensively about the economic recovery after the current pandemic and what we can do to support it. We will publish concrete recommendations in the coming weeks.”
Project meeting on the Economic Recovery from the Pandemic
The WAIFC also held a project meeting on the Economic Recovery from the Current Pandemic, which was open for the public. Its four workstreams presented their preliminary results and first recommendations:
- Workstream on SME Finance,
sponsored by Astana International Financial Centre, the Belgian Finance Center, and Toronto Finance International;
- Workstream on Regulation,
sponsored by the Capital Market Authority (Oman), Paris Europlace, and TheCityUK;
- Workstream on Sustainable Finance,
sponsored by Abu Dhabi Global Market and Stuttgart Financial;
- Workstream on Innovation & FinTech,
sponsored by Luxembourg for Finance and Qatar Financial Centre.
Commenting on the progress of the work carried out by the international working streams, Arnaud de Bresson, Chairman of WAIFC and CEO, Paris Europlace, said:
“The World Alliance of International Financial Centers held its Annual General Meeting today, this time virtually and hosted by the Qatar Financial Centre. It was essential for our members to meet in the current crisis and confirm that financial centers are part of the solution for economic recovery. We have important contributions to accelerate growth, with a strong focus on accelerating sustainable finance and financial innovation. Last but not least, we welcome Rwanda Finance as a new member of the World Alliance, as the third financial center from Africa.”
Last but not least, Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, gave an insightful presentation on "the Rise of Fintech: Opportunities and Challenges."
Getting to Know Qatar
Senior representatives of the international financial centers and leading financial figures from Qatar and beyond also received insights about the remarkable scope, inclusivity, and growth potential of Qatar’s burgeoning business ecosystem with a focus on the country’s rising FinTech sector.
Hamad Dashin Al Qahtani, Senior General Manager, Qatar Development Bank, and Georges Fouad Salem, Business Intelligence Manager at Qatar Development Bank, shared an in-depth view of the progress Qatar has made in empowering its FinTech landscape with a focus on the Qatar FinTech Hub and its vision in advancing the country’s national FinTech strategy. Mohammed Aldelaimi, Co-Founder and Managing Director of SkipCash, a budding FinTech firm in Qatar, licensed by the QFC, also shed light on the support it has received from the ecosystem throughout their entrepreneurial journey.
Henk J. Hoogendoorn, Managing Director, Financial Sector Office at QFC, a key partner of the Qatar FinTech Hub, shared the many ways the QFC supports Qatar’s FinTech ecosystem, as Qatar’s primary platform enabling and facilitating businesses, including FinTechs, to set up and register in Qatar.
ABOUT THE WAIFC
The World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) is a non-profit association registered in Belgium, representing 18 leading international financial centers of four continents. WAIFC members are city governments, associations, and similar institutions developing and promoting their financial centers.
In an era of breakthrough technologies and rapid social change, financial centers are crucial to sustaining economic growth. Thus, the objective of the WAIFC is to create a transparent network that facilitates cooperation and sharing of best practices to further the understanding of the importance of international financial centers for national and global economies as well as social development.
ABOUT THE QATAR FINANCIAL CENTRE
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is an onshore business and financial center located in Doha, providing an excellent platform for firms to do business in Qatar and the region. The QFC offers its own legal, regulatory, tax, and business environment, which allows up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, and charges a competitive rate of 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits. The QFC welcomes a broad range of financial and non-financial services firms.