Banks will play a critical role in Qatar’s move towards a knowledge based economy, said Qatar National Bank (QNB) CEO, Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari, speaking at MEED’s Qatar Projects conference in Doha on 15 March.

“Banks will play a critical role in diversifying the economy by financing investment spending”, Al-Kuwari said.

The CEO also spoke about QNB’s commitment to supporting SME’s (small and medium enterprises), and encouraging outside investment in Qatar.

“QNB will act as a conduit for foreign direct investment, as well as acting as an incubator for SMEs. We have positioned ourselves as a one stop shop for SMEs in Qatar. QNB is strongly committed to the growth of the private sector, in line with Qatar’s National Vision”, Al-Kuwari stated.

The topic of economic diversification is a pressing one in Qatar, as the private and public sectors, in collaboration with the government, which has shifted its focus of investment spending from the expansion of LNG to diversification, seek a shift away from an economy overly-reliant on hydrocarbons.

Government investment and population growth are driving an economic transformation with double digit growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector, Al-Kuwari pointed out, as he reiterated the importance of shifting towards a knowledge based economy.