Doha, May 24 (QNA) – The State of Qatar is hosting the third edition of the Qatar Economic Forum, the most prominent regional platform to enrich dialogue on strategic issues that top the priorities of the global economy, and enhancing international economic partnerships, and strengthening bridges of communication and dialogue between different peoples, in a way that embodies the international reality and foresees the future.
This edition of the forum, which is powered by Bloomberg, addresses major axes in the economic interdependence between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, India and Southeast Asia, and the impact of the relationship between these regional powers in driving global growth during the next decade, and the investment opportunities that may result from them for international companies.
In another major axis within the forum’s three-day edition, the forum discusses the best ways to manage inflation, enhance long-term productivity and economic growth, and ways to raise workers’ salaries and allowances without causing a deep and long-term recession.
It also explores the best investment strategies in emerging markets, paving the way towards the most viable growth options for investing in today’s volatile global markets.
In a third axis related to the future of globalization and global trade, this edition considers the impact of changing geopolitical interests on cross-border trade and discusses how to develop direct trade between the countries of the South in a world characterized by more assertive economic management and a move away from globalization.
In the matter of energy transition, this edition deals with ways to direct the global green energy transition and sustainable business efforts, in the right direction by avoiding the worst scenarios of climate change, in addition to highlighting – in a separate axis, the way in which artificial intelligence, Blockchain and Metaverse will unite and other technologies to revolutionize the ways of trading, work and even in the field of games.
At the sports level, the third edition of the Qatar Economic Forum looks at ways to maximize the commercial potential of global sports while protecting the spirit of the games.
Commenting on the importance of the current edition of the forum, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Qatar, Muhannad Mukahall, said, in an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), that the Qatar Economic Forum is one of the most prominent international events through which the country aims to attract heads of government and business leaders influencers and academics to shed light on the innovations necessary to advance the global economy, forming a link between East, West and Africa.
Mukahall indicated that the aim of organizing a third edition of the Qatar Economic Forum is to chart the course for the future stages of global economic growth, in light of the recovery in Qatari economic activity driven by several factors, including the recovery of domestic demand and the growth of private sector credit.
He explained that this year’s forum seeks to strengthen the interdependence of the international community in particular, as the 2023 edition will concentrate on topics that focus on global growth to establish a new road map for global growth, in a challenging economic environment.
This comes at a time when heads of state and global business leaders are preparing to discuss a number of global challenges, pressing issues and proposed solutions to them against the background of the most important events currently taking place in the region, based on what the forum represents as a dialogue economic platform to discuss global economic and financial issues and exchange ideas, expertise and experiences among participants from different countries.
The platform it provides for cooperation between companies and financial institutions in Qatar and around the world to increase trade exchange and investment and improve local economies, he added.
In this regard, he pointed out the importance of the forum in enhancing interaction and economic integration between countries and global economic stability, as well as helping to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between Qatar and countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, which could lead to the improvement of diplomatic and economic relations between these countries.
He stressed that this importance stems from his in-depth discussions of the situation of the global economy, which is currently witnessing many fluctuations and challenges as a result of geopolitical, financial, commercial and other factors. On the one hand, many countries are witnessing strong economic growth and an increase in the volume of international trade and investment, and this can help push the global economy forward. On the other hand, some countries face major economic challenges, such as accumulated debts, weak economic growth, and high unemployment rates.
He believed that these fluctuations could have a significant impact on the banking industry, for example, if countries face economic difficulties, banks may face challenges in providing loans and achieving profits, and this could affect the growth of banks as well as the economy in general.
Based on the World Economic Outlook report issued by the International Monetary Fund for the month of April, growth prospects have again become fraught with uncertainty amid financial sector turmoil, high inflation, and the ongoing effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the three-year COVID Pandemic, as the forecasts of the main report indicate that declining economic growth from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.8 percent in 2023, before settling at 3 percent in 2024.
He pointed out that geopolitical factors related to international and financial trade, such as trade tensions between countries and changes in exchange rates, can greatly affect the banking sector, especially in emerging markets that rely heavily on foreign investments and international trade.
However, this challenge could turn into an opportunity for the banking sector to achieve growth and expansion through more focus on innovation, technology and digital transformation, and the development of new banking products and services to meet the needs of customers considering the global economic transformations.
About the shift in the current global economic system, he said that the final expectation of those shifts depends on many variable factors, which include, for example, developments in economic and trade policy in the world, developments in geopolitical and social events in China in particular, and changes in global commodity and currency markets.
He believed that it is important to look at China as an essential part of the global economic system, and to identify the challenges and opportunities that may face the global economy in the future, considering the effects that resulted from the Corona pandemic and the countries engaged in a trade war that lasted for three years.
CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Qatar Muhannad Mukahall added that there is no doubt that China plays a pivotal role in the global economy, that it is one of the largest economies in the world, and that through its renewed economic and trade policies, it is constantly seeking to enhance international trade, investment and economic growth and compensate for its losses during the pandemic period.
As for the expected inflationary pressures in China, we do not see room for them to appear again, as the global financial conditions have improved this year with the beginning of the decline in inflationary pressures, and this, along with the weakness of the US dollar, contributed to giving a simple outlet to emerging and developing countries, he added.
China’s sudden reopening to the world paved the way for a rapid recovery of economic activity in all importing markets, as the imposed restrictions and waves of outbreaks of COVID-19 virus in China led to a weakening of economic activity last year, but with the reopening of the economy, we are now seeing a recovery Growth and reaching 5.2% this year with the recovery of activity and freedom of movement, he noted.
With regard to the world overcoming the ongoing supply chain crisis, and the discrepancy between future jobs and the current capabilities of the workforce in light of the post-COVID pandemic world, he said that it cannot be certain that the world has completely overcome the ongoing supply chain crisis and the discrepancy between future jobs and the current capabilities of the workforce in a world post-Corona pandemic, the pandemic and the resulting restrictions are still affecting supply and production chains in some countries, and have caused major changes in the global economy and the labor market.
Disruptions in supply chains and increasing geopolitical tensions have put the risks as well as the potential benefits and costs of geo-economic fragmentation at the center of the policy debate that can reshape the geography of foreign investment and that can affect the global economy.
In the wake of the exceptional support to confront the pandemic and attempts to overcome the supply chain crisis, governments should work to reduce inflation and enhance financial stability while protecting the most vulnerable and preserving public resources, he added.
He explained that there are great moves taking place in the world to confront these challenges, as many governments and companies in all countries are now seeking to improve supply chains and increase sustainability in production, and this can help mitigate the impact of crises in the future.
There is also no doubt that there are major shifts in the labor market, as companies seek to modernize their jobs, restructure existing employees, and attract new talents who possess the skills required in the changing labor market, this can help meet the needs of the future labor market and improve employment and income opportunities.
Therefore, we must continue to work on facing the challenges resulting from the COVID pandemic and developing new solutions for future crises, through international cooperation, digital transformation and innovation in production, trade, and work, he added.
For his part, Professor of Economic Development at the Faculty of Administration and Economics of Kufa University, and Director Executive of Al Rafidain Center for Dialogue RCD in Iraq, Dr. Hassan Latif Kazem, said in an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) regarding the current international economic situation, that despite the optimism that began with it in 2023, it has dissipated somewhat with increasing uncertainty for governments, businesses and individuals, the banking turmoil of March 2023 undermined optimism about the global economy.
We are hearing a lot of opinions about the prospects of a global recession.
This was very evident in the latest reports issued by the World Economic Forum in May 2023, and to a large extent in the International Monetary Fund’s Global Economic Outlook report issued in April 2023, he added.
He said that expectations indicate strong prospects for economic activity to be more prosperous in Asia compared to the rest of the world, as it is expected that the reopening of China will give a strong impetus to this activity in China and throughout the continent.
However, it is expected that inflation rates will be moderate to a large extent in Asia, while enhancing chances of recovery in the economies of the continent, but the situation may differ in Europe and North America, in which inflationary pressures may be strengthened with the shaking of confidence in the banking system and the complexity of policies to curb inflation in the countries of the two continents, and their central banks may face difficulties in managing inflation and ensuring price and financial stability, he noted.
He indicated that these conditions may result in a shortage of credit flows available to companies and real estate markets and may affect opportunities to promote sustainable growth and job creation.
Dr. Kazem pointed out that expectations also indicate that companies will tend to reshape their supply chains in response to the decline in globalization of economic activities across the world due to the outbreak of the pandemic, especially after it was shown that these chains were weak in flexibility in facing large-scale global crises like COVID-19 and geopolitical tensions, the Ukraine crisis, at a time when industry is being further intensified and concentrated in areas relatively far from the consumer markets of developed countries.