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October 20, 2020 | Doha, Qatar

WAIFC Innovation & Technology Forum has defined the role of financial centers in the fight against COVID-19

The first WAIFC Innovation & Technology Forum was held on October 20 virtually. Leading global experts and leaders of financial and innovation centers discussed solutions aimed at stabilizing the global economy.

The first WAIFC Innovation & Technology Forum was held on October 20 virtually. During three sessions, the leading global experts and leaders of financial and innovation centers discussed solutions aimed at stabilizing the global economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The online event was organized by the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC), Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), and Moscow International Financial Centre (MIFC).

COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global economic downturn in decades. While the final impact is still unclear, the pandemic will definitely lead to a recession in the majority of countries. Global coordination and cooperation will be critical for global recovery. The Forum marked that financial centers could be platforms for cooperation between different stakeholders to find proper and urgent solutions for the global economic recovery.

Anatoly Valetov, Director of the Moscow Innovation Cluster Fund, by way of introduction, said:

“In the era of a global epidemic, the world is faced with the need to quickly introduce innovations aimed not only at reducing losses from the pandemic, but also at saving people’s health and lives. Ecosystems, which are developed within financial centers and responsible for the development of technological projects, make a significant contribution to this task. Such platforms serve as a platform that connects innovators with the state, business and investment.”

Participants have emphasized that global financial centers can and should be a solution to the pandemic's problems in the economy. Today, financial centers are consistently transformed into development institutions that unite hundreds and thousands of organizations in an ecosystem, as well as the best international practices in the field of regulation, development of the business environment and the financial sector, competencies, talents, and technologies. In particular, the process of recovering the global economic system is being accelerated by innovative technologies that are actively developing on the basis of these hubs. Around them, new digital and financial technologies mature much faster and expand to the entire economies of countries and regions where the IFCs are located. IFCs increasingly attract the latest digital and financial technologies, acting as accelerators and instruments for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a new world technological model. 

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC, said:

“Co-hosting this first of its kind virtual forum has amplified the crucial role of financial centers as full-fledged financial service hubs that are accelerating the economic recovery and supporting business growth, especially during such unprecedented circumstances. The Forum shed light on the criticality of adopting latest technologies and fostering innovation as key catalysts of sustainable development. In this context, the forum presented a thought-provoking platform for all WAIFC members to present their successful initiatives and endeavors in this regard and the collaborative strides in defining the path for creating a prosperous technology-driven financial eco-system, that can withstand challenging conditions.”

Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director, WAIFС, stated:

“The WAIFC Innovation & Technology, first of its kind, showcased the contributions of WAIFC members, leading international financial centers, to the economic recovery from the pandemic. In the financial industry, innovation and new technologies are crucial to provide better and more efficient services to financial services users. They target small and medium-sized companies, which form the backbone of our economies, have been struck by the crisis and need state aid and private financing. Furthermore, they help effectively support people who have lost their jobs due to the current crisis to keep our societies together.The digitization of the financial sector, which has accelerated significantly during the crisis, allows us to do a much better job.”

Aleksander Voloshin, MIFC, Chairman, Forum Analytical Center, stressed:

“I think we set our priorities right in the Alliance declaration in June. Our number one goal for the short term is helping entrepreneurs, SMEs, startups, and employment in general.
I think our mission is to offer people and businesses such products and services that can make their lives a lot easier during and after the pandemic.
I am talking about digital services, platform solutions, and regulation adjustments, primarily. These processes matter at all times, but in today’s world they are absolutely vital.”

During the second session of the Forum, speakers discussed the key factors of competitiveness of financial and technological ecosystems and the impact of the pandemic. There are significant changes in the understanding of the basics of such ecosystems: they used to be a place of close physical interaction, but the coronavirus has made its own adjustments.

The third part of the event was dedicated to the pitch session. It featured startups from different countries. 

The forum was organized by WAIFC, MIFC, and QFC. Detailed information about the Forum is available on its website: www.waifc-forum.com.

 

About the organizers:

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.

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.

Moscow International Financial Centre (MIFC) is a community effort launched in 2008 by the business, the market mega regulator, SROs, and all branches of state power – including the President, the Government, and the Parliament. MIFC has effected large-scale reforms in regulation, infrastructure, taxation, and corporate governance. MIFC is currently focused on improving all aspects of regulation and providing a boost to the financial industry. Forum Analytical Centre is a Moscow-based think tank dedicated to this task.