ITC and QDB step up collaboration on SME competitiveness

7 October 2015
ITC News

(Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) have partnered to create tools for Qatari small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to assist in the country’s economic diversification.

QDB Chief Executive Officer Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa and ITC Executive Director Arancha González formalized the partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Geneva on 6 October.

Under the terms of the MoU, ITC will develop a 'Strategic Trade Development Roadmap' for QDB. This roadmap will be based on extensive consultations with the public and private sector, together with a thorough analysis of the country’s trade policies and patterns, competitiveness constraints, and existing trade support services. This document will also assess promising avenues for Qatari SMEs, innovators and the private sector to diversify and ramp up trade, identifying products and services sectors likeliest to achieve the best returns. This will be accompanied by a broad action plan for developing technical assistance projects to help the targeted sectors maximize their trade potential.

The five-year roadmap will place particular emphasis on identifying factors impeding the competitiveness of SMEs in Qatar, since such companies account for the bulk of economic growth. ‘Quick-win’ activities to swiftly boost SME trade competitiveness will be complemented by longer-term policy recommendations which will be presented to policymakers along with the technical assistance plans.

ITC has also pledged to strengthen QDB’s business advisory services for SMEs. ITC will train and accredit a strong team of trade advisers to assess SMEs’ growth potential and advise them on ways to develop business strategies. The advisers will also be equipped to work with ITC in helping their clients expand their business networks and connect to new markets.

Qatar’s National Vision 2030 calls for gradually reducing the country’s dependence on hydrocarbon industries. To create more opportunities for its citizens, the government is seeking to foster a more diversified, knowledge-based economy, characterized by private-sector innovation and entrepreneurship.

‘We are very pleased to ink this MoU with ITC today which marks another important collaboration between us and this esteemed world body,’ said Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa. ‘This collaboration is designed to support the SMEs in understanding the trade activities and challenges and to provide solutions and recommend the policies which will accelerate the competitiveness of SMEs in Qatar. We are certain that the value added that will be derived from such a collaboration, will yield great returns for the Qatari SMEs and the private sector in Qatar as a whole, and will work in synergy with the five-year strategic plan that we have prepared for the Bank,’ he added
Ms. González said: ‘We look forward to building on our already-fruitful relationship with QDB. I am confident that at the end of this inception phase, we will have identified a detailed plan of action for globally integrated SMEs to become the motor of economic diversification and job creation in Qatar.’

The new MoU marks a new operational partnership between ITC and QDB, whom are working together on the 20-21 October World Export Development Forum in Doha, Qatar. ITC’s annual flagship event is being hosted this year by QDB under the patronage of the Prime Minister of the State of Qatar.

Notes to the Editor

About the International Trade Centre

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.

About the Qatar Development Bank

Qatar Development Bank was established in 1997, a 100% government-owned developmental organization. Its primary aim was to develop investments within local industries, accelerating growth and economic diversification in Qatar through support for private sector. QDB has launched a number of strategic initiatives and programs, all designed to directly contribute to the economic growth and development of Qatar.
QDB’s strategy is entirely in line with QNV 2030. It is focused on promoting and facilitating the growth of the private sector in Qatar within key economic channels. This support will enable the development of long term, sustainable social and economic benefits across the economy

Contact: ITC
Jarle Hetland
Media Officer
P: +41 22 730 0145
M: +41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at]

Contact: QDB
Abdallah Mallo
Communication Officer
P: +974 44300249
P: +974 4430 0000
E: amallo [at]