Qatar recently announced that it has dedicated $2 billion to attract multi-national companies to the Qatar Financial Centre (“QFC”) in its latest effort to attract additional foreign capital investments. This announcement coincides with Qatar’s other initiatives to attract foreign capital, including the implementation of legislation permitting foreign nationals to hold permanent residency, the law cancelling the exit permit system, and newly proposed changes to the Foreign Investment Law itself which proposes to open all sectors to 100 percent foreign investment and would treat foreign companies on par with Qatari companies. These diversification and strategic steps towards opening the market for foreign investments are remarkable, particularly after the political rift arising from the blockade of 2017.
In addition to the legislative incentives set out above, companies that set up a hub in the QFC will be given (i) access to free office space, (ii) eligibility for tax incentives, and (iii) start-up capital to cover five years’ worth of operational expenses, provided that those companies commit to operating in Qatar for at least 10 years. The introduction of the QFC’s incentive plan will begin once the necessary supporting steps have been finalized.
In addition to the numerous incentives the QFC has already introduced, QFC companies will also be able to participate in government tenders, as well as unlimited access to the local market, including the ability to engage in retail sales. These changes should further stimulate the economic growth of companies in Qatar, which have already seen an impressive 80 percent growth rate during the Year 2017.
The fund allocation and introduction of additional incentives should further spur growth and attract foreign investment in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, while continuing to diversify the economy away from its dependence on oil and gas.
By Nevine ElShafei – Associate
Michael Earley – Senior Associate