Qatar and the UK are expected to sign several new agreements at a forthcoming high profile event in London. Some of these agreements will be dedicated to set up fintech incubators in both the countries aiming to transform Qatar into a regional hub of financial technology, said the visiting Lord Mayor of the City of London, Peter Kenneth Estlin, yesterday.
Both the countries are working aggressively to deepening and expanding bilateral cooperation in all fields, with a special focus in boosting ties in business, trade, investment, baking, finance, and financial technology (fintech).
The upcoming ‘Qatar Day’, to be held in London on April 26, is expected to be a landmark event in the journey of bilateral economic relations between Qatar and the UK, which is strong, deep-rooted and historic.
These agreements are to be inked between several key entities from Qatar and the UK to expand cooperation and investment.
During the meetings at the event both side are expected to discuss how technology can be more broadly applied in digitizing the Qatari economy and some incubations can be set up here in Qatar as well as in the UK through joint investments.
The Lord Mayor also said that over 160 business leaders from a wide-range of industries, including banking, finance and financial technology, are expected to participate in the ‘Qatar Day’ event.
The high-profile meetings, which will be attended by who-and-who of the government and private organizations from both the countries, will include CEOs of the Bank of England (country’s central bank) and London Stock Exchange and others, and discuss ways to boosting cooperation.
“We are expecting at least half-a-dozen agreements to be signed around the Qatar Day in London to establish business cooperation in different sectors, including fintech, health, energy and other sectors, which could benefit from an incubation type culture”, the Lord Mayor told reporters at a roundtable discussion.
He added: “I had very good meetings this morning with the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. The discussions during the meetings included continuing to strengthen our relationship in terms of both Qatar continuing to invest in the UK and also how the UK can help develop the free zones and other sectors of the Qatari economy, particularly the financial sector.”
Estlin, who is the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London and an Alderman of the City of London Corporation, is working to strengthen the UK’s financial sector which contributes over 12 percent of the country’s GDP by forging a partnership with other countries. This was follow up visit by Estlin after his predecessor Charles Bowman, the 690th Lord Mayor of the City of London, who visited Qatar in September last year to boot the bilateral cooperation.
Alderman Estlin said: “The discussions also included about the forthcoming Qatar Day, which I am hosting with the Department of International Trade, in London on April 26. The event will be very much about promoting the Qatar National Vision 2030 and cooperation with regard to hosting 2022 Fifa World Cup.”
He reiterated that both sides are expected to discuss and explore ways on how the UK can pragmatically support in developing Qatar’s financial sector, particularly the fintech, Islamic finance and green finance, which are some of the important agenda of the Qatar Day event.
He said that during the discussion the topic of Brexit also came up, but he noted that it is not going to have any adverse impact as the UK is looking forward to longer-term cooperation and greater adoption of free trade not just with the EU but internationally. He also noted that the UK’s cybersecurity and fintech sectors are expected to create 35,000 new jobs over the coming years.
Alderman Estlin, who is also an advisor to Barclays plc, and has extensive experience in servicing the finical sector, had scheduled meetings with top officials of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority to discuss ways in enhancing cooperation and encouraging business for a win-win situation.