Qatar is planning to build a new financial centre, similar to New York’s Wall Street and London’s Canary Wharf, that will serve as a pioneering financial and commercial hub in the region.
The Msheireb Downtown Doha project has a funding of more than $5bn and is located in an area currently going under massive development in an attempt to revive the commercial and historical centre of the Qatari capital.
The new project, which will cover an area of 300,000 square metres in Doha, will not only include a financial city but also a number of museums, hotels, historic sites and luxurious apartments.
The initiative was announced on Monday by Yousef al-Jaida, executive head of Qatar Financial Centre [QFC].
The aim is to improve Qatar’s financial standing and create Doha’s “version of Wall Street or Canary Wharf”, said Jaida.
“The objective … is to create a leading financial and business centre in the region,” he said.
Qatari laws state that foreign firms are required to have a local partner that owns at least a 51 percent share.
More than 300 foreign companies, exempted from local ownership laws, currently work under the umbrella of QFC.
The new project will not only include existing firms but will also open doors for unregistered local and foreign companies, Jaida said.
Relocating to Msheireb Downtown Doha may motivate other institutions, such as Qatar Stock Exchange, to take a similar step, Jaida said.
In June this year, the Qatari government passed a law to establish three private economic zones that allow 100 percent foreign ownership.
The new business district will house the non-QFC companies in around 100 buildings, according to Doha News which added that the first companies will start moving into the district next summer.
Qatar, currently preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, seeks to diversify its economic income sources amid dropping oil and gas prices.