Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano said Stockholm Chamber of Commerce CEO Maria Rankka and chief economist Dr Andreas Hatzigeorgiou were in Qatar on a three-day visit to meet banking and finance officials, as well as private sector leaders, universities and think tanks.
The ambassador said meetings focused on increasing cooperation and launching potential partnerships with Qatar in diverse sectors.
Rankka said the focus of the chamber’s “visiting programme” to Qatar was about fintechs (financial technology), which, according to her, attracted the interest of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
“Fintechs have been the main topic of this trip. We want to strengthen Stockholm as a financial hub since the strongest part of Stockholm is its financial technology. We’re also interested in bringing Swedish fintech to new markets and I think that would be a good ‘combo’ for Stockholm and Qatar,” Rankka told Gulf Times at the Swedish embassy yesterday.
During a meeting with Sheikh Abdel Aziz al-Thani, head of Business Development Department of Qatar Investment Authority, Rankka said the QIA had requested for a list of Swedish fintech and health companies, as well as startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“I hope the QIA will find interesting investments in many places. During our meeting with QIA they seem interested and the next step is for us to come up with a list in accordance with the specific industries that they mentioned and then they will do further due diligence,” said Rankka, adding that fintech was also discussed with the Qatar Financial Centre and QNB.
Rankka emphasised that Stockholm is already the financial hub in the Nordics: “We could strengthen that even more, especially in innovation and technology. We are a leader in Europe – we are number-two after London, and of course, we’re going to be number-one after Brexit in the EU when it comes to financial technology.”
Gustaf Hannerz, deputy head of mission, said the delegation’s meeting with Qatar Chamber board member and Teyseer Group president Adel al-Mannai revolved around mutual cooperation and trade between Qatar and Sweden, as well as the development of Qatar’s SME sector.
“The discussions also revolved around collaborations and the possible visit of a Qatar Chamber delegation to Sweden,” Hannerz said.
In addition to Qatar Chamber, Polano said plans are also in the pipeline for a ministerial visit where HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi will be invited to visit Sweden, along with other dignitaries and business delegations from Qatar.
Rankka also underscored the role of airports, particularly the Hamad International Airport and Qatar Airways flights from Doha and Stockholm, in playing “a great economic role” in the development of cities and global cities.
Read the article on Gulf Times "Qatar looks to Swedish industries 'to develop non-oil economy'"
Also, read the article on Qatar Tribune "Sweden keen to boost education, startup partnership with Qatar"