The Qatari financial services sector
While the build-up of a portfolio of diversified assets overseas is one key pillar of the government’s economic strategy, another is a commitment to a broad range of service-based industries domestically.
Spearheading Qatar’s bold push into this industry is the Qatar Financial Centre, which was set up at the start of May 2005 and is housed in the 20-floor, 14,140 square metre QFC Tower in central Doha. The QFC has the uncompromising objective of establishing itself as "the financial centre of choice for the Middle East", which is an ambitious target, given the growth in recent years of the Dubai International Financial Centre and the continued expansion of Bahrain – which throughout the 1980s and the 1990s was the premier financial centre in the Middle East.
The QFC, however, believes that it is well positioned not just to compete effectively with these established centres but also to build its own credentials as a regional leader in financial services. The decisive force behind that objective is the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, which is responsible for "driving the commercial strategy and for developing relationships with the global financial community and other key institutions both within and outside Qatar. It has as its primary role to establish, develop and promote the QFC as a leading location for international finance and business designed to attract international banking, financial services, insurance businesses, corporate head office functions, as well as other business."