Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Mohammed Bin Ahmed Bin Jassim Al Thani, who is also Chairman of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, was the keynote speaker a the event, the largest since the conference was launched in 1997. Qatar is an appropriate location for a project finance conference. As Sheikh Mohammed commented:
‘2005 was a big milestone – both in Qatar and the Middle East – for project finance. Indeed Qatar came second only to China as a consumer of project finance in the entire world last year.’
In fact, a quarter of last years’ world total of $145 billion of project finance was taken up by the Middle East. This year the region is set to account for half the world’s project finance deals as the region’s economic boom moves into top gear.
The Minister said: ‘Such multi-billion dollar projects as QatarGas III and IV and Nakhilat give a very clear signal to the world of the changes that are happening here. Opportunities are growing fast.
‘While there are likely to be peaks and troughs in the coming eight to ten years, estimates are that some $1 trillion worth of projects in the pipeline around the region. They will keep the project finance industry busy for a good few years to come.
‘The scale and range of projects which are now being undertaken in Qatar are immense, amounting to over US$130 billion in the coming 10 years. They encompass the development of essential infrastructure needed to exploit and export LNG globally, and to invest in water and power, airport and hospitals, free zones, sports complexes and hotels, roads and educational institutions locally.
‘It is because of the scale of this undertaking that we conceived the Qatar Financial Centre, with a world class legal infrastructure. Without such a resource for our future financial needs it is not possible to imagine all the work we anticipate taking place. In less than a year the QFC has created a best of breed regulatory environment, and has received applications and expressions of strong interest from numerous world class financial services providers.
‘The QFC allows them to get on with their business, and succeed on the basis of partnership. It is a concept which does not compete directly with other centres in the region, and one which we hope will contribute to the growth of financial services in Qatar, as well as the GCC. But first and foremost it is one which is dedicated to raising the capacity and capability of our financial sector to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.’
The Qatar Financial Centre was a principal sponsor of the MEED Project Finance conference, and is clearly set to benefit hugely from the substantial deal flow coming through Doha. The QFC is a one-stop onshore financial centre to licence, regulate and enable financial institutions in Qatar, and is now welcoming new members in increasing numbers.
Thursday, March 2- 2006 @ 9:22 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.