The Franco-Qatari economic circle Qadran, has led a delegation of French and Qatari companies to meet with high-level institutional and business representatives in Qatar. With the support of the Embassy of the State of Qatar to France, one of Qadran’s Founding members, the agenda’s main objective was to further enhance cooperation, open new opportunities and exchange experience in line with Qatar’s vision on smart cities.
QITCOM, Qatar's largest information and communication event, dedicated this year to "Safe Smart Cities", was the perfect opportunity for Qadran to organize its first-ever delegation to Qatar.
The delegation was composed of Qadran-member French and Qatari companies, from different sectors - transports, engineering, e-health, logistics - and welcomed several French startups, including Bovlabs, a blockchain solution applied to electric battery charging, and Stellar Wind Investment.
For two days, the delegation has been able to establish and reinforce very high-level contacts, both institutional and business, through various formats of meetings.
The delegation participated in QITCOM's opening ceremony in presence of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during which H.E Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications, described Qatar's ambitions as regards to technological development, innovation, urban planning, etc, for a total amount of 11 trillion USD in current and upcoming investments.
The delegation met with Qatar's Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari. This discussion asserted the excellence of the bilateral economic relationship between France and Qatar, thanks to the involvement of a "wide diversity of actors, from startups to big groups, without forget SMEs”. H.E also insisted on Qatar's "speed of transformation movement".
To better understand the magnitude of Doha's realizations in terms of smart city, the Qadran delegation visited the smart district of Msheireb. Ali Al Kuwari, CEO of Msheireb Properties, shared the vision beyond this very ambitious urban planning project, the first of its kind in Qatar and in the region. This "new architectural language, as he explained, appeals to urban planning principles, technological innovations, but also to Qatar's cultural heritage". Recently inaugurated, visitors were able to take the tramway which is one of the few in the world working without any electric cable, to observe some of the 600 000 sensors and to walk along one of Msheireb's main squares, where a revolutionary system of air cooling, based on solar energy and thermic technology, has been installed, then avoiding the use of energy-greedy air conditioning.
In parallel, Qadran, thanks to the Embassy of the State of Qatar in France, organized unique opportunities of networking with eminent personalities, in the format of B2B meetings between French companies and Qatari CEOs. They were able to discuss with H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar, H.E. Mansour Al Mahmoud, CEO of Qatar Investment Authority, H.E Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, Chairman of Ashghal and M. Abdulla Al Misnad, Deputy CEO of Qatar Free Zones Authority.
The delegation also met with additional eminent personalities. Adel Abdul Rahman Al Mannai, Chairman of Qatar Chamber of Commerce (QCC) and several board members of QCC paid tribute to "the new height" the Franco-Qatari economic relationship has achieved and urged to "upgrade existing relations to even higher levels". He mentioned the French expertise in several sectors, particularly in sports and culture, “and in hosting international sports events” for future opportunities ahead of 2022 World Cup.
Qadran members enjoyed a very constructive networking moment with members of Qatar Businessmen Association, in presence of its most important representatives: Chairman HE Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani, HE Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser Al Thani, board member, Hussain Al Fardan and H.E. Sheikh Dr. Khalid Al Thani, respectively first and second deputy to the Chairman. The discussions' dynamics reflected on the Qatari private sector's vitality.
The delegation spent some time at QITCOM to observe Qatar's latest developments in terms of IoT, AI, e-government services, etc. H.E. Reem Al Mansouri, Assistant Undersecretary for Digital Society Development Affairs, emphasized TASMU Program's achievements to build a “Smart Qatar” during one of the plenary sessions.
A networking dinner co-hosted by Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPAQ), in presence of HE Yousef Al-Jaidah, CEO of QFC, emphasized the strength of the Franco-Qatari bilateral relationship, which massively developed over last years and extended to new sectors and actors.
To end this delegation and upon the French Embassy in Doha's invitation, the Qadran delegation celebrated the massive French presence at QITCOM around a “French moment”, in presence of Guillaume Pepy, former Chairman of SNCF, Chairman of MEDEF International Franco-Qatari business council and active member of Qadran.
"This first-ever Qadran delegation to Doha is a real success given the level of Qatari personalities we met, the quality of our discussions and the involvement of our French and Qatari members to reinforce every day the Franco-Qatari business relationship. I am convinced that all contacts established and consolidated during the last 48 days will create further opportunities both on the short and long term. Together, we are doing more than deploying smart city innovative solutions and services. We are inventing a new and unique model" Alexandre Zibaut, Chairman of Qadran.