Dr. Deep Datta Ray, a Visiting Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, writes that Qatar’s opportunity creation in the “new normal” (following the COVID-19 outbreak) is in Fintech, aviation, and digitization.
He notes that Qatar’s Mobile Payments System was introduced in April of this year. It features a digital wallet that aims to tap the nation’s non-banking sector which could help local SMEs with attracting more clients.
The online wallet has been introduced by Qatar’s central bank (QCB). It has been launched after completing the development of its digital infrastructure and all the key requirements for supporting electronic payments at the national level.
The mobile payments system will allow users to transfer funds to other users’ wallets and use the system to take care of everyday expenses. The wallet may be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (which is the standard now in most fast-developing or developed nations).
The QCB has provided unified specifications and standards for the QR code that allows users to conduct mobile payments, which may be done by scanning QR Codes via their smartphones at local points of sale and public transportation locations (this is also a standard now in developed countries like China, among many others).
The QCB governor had noted in April that the launch of the service is part of the Qatar National Vision 2030 plan to develop a high-level national digital payment environment.
The new mobile payments system could help with further expanding Qatar’s Fintech industry, which is being supported by the US and other international investors. However, Dr. Datta Ray points out that there will be competition from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, and other MENA region countries that also have similar systems and plans in place.
He further notes that supply chains in Qatar are being digitized in order to support the move towards globalization. An initiative called “Better Connections” (in Qatar) has been launched, in order to provide computers and other digital training resources to blue-collar workers, which should help them engage in digital commerce.
As reported recently, Qatar is now ranked 2nd in the MENA region for early-stage entrepreneurial activity as its Fintech sector is expected to grow rapidly.
The Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Authority, a business and financial center based in Doha, has confirmed that it remains focused on becoming a major hub for Fintech in the MENA and South Asia region.
The QFC will launch the “Fintech Circle,” a co-workspace for qualifying financial technology firms available free of charge for a year.