USQBC Partners with GU-Q for Virtual Discussion on Key Global Financial Issues

Doha, Qatar - The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), in partnership with Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), hosted a talk by Dr. Alexis Antoniades, Director and Chair of International Economics at Georgetown University Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner, titled “Navigating Markets: From Interest Rates and Inflation to Big Data NFTs, Roblox, and Air Jordans.” In his talk, Dr. Antoniades discussed the current inflationary environment, the recent developments in Ukraine and how they affect prices and markets, the increasing role of big data, and what the transition to the metaverse may mean for businesses.

This initiative follows an MOU between USQBC and GU-Q in July, 2020 in which the two organizations agreed to collaborate on a broad range of initiatives to support and strengthen Qatar national development and Qatari and American business communities.

Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director of US-Qatar Business Council Doha Office, opened the discussion by delivering welcoming remarks; Dima Wahbeh, Head of Business Development of US-Qatar Business Council, delivered introductory remarks; and Dr. Antoniades delivered a presentation and lecturer of the key topics of the webinar. This was followed by a moderated Q&A session moderated by Dima Wahbeh.

In his talk, Dr. Antoniades illustrated both the causes and the consequences of inflation, and discussed how the data seem to point to significant monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve. In discussing the consequences of rising inflation on markets and on businesses, Dr Antoniades introduced the role big data can play in providing valuable insights and guiding business decisions. He framed his talk in the context of the recent geopolitical developments taking place in Ukraine. These have afflicted not only the victims of the crisis but also the interconnected global financial system. With the rapid rise in inflation, businesses, consumers, investors, and governments worldwide are reevaluating their business strategies.

Dr. Antoniades also discussed the transition from agricultural to manufacturing to services, and soon to the metaverse sectors. The growth of the digital economy has given rise to a number of developments such as cryptocurrency, blockchain, and NFTs. He provided a simple framework for understanding how all these new innovations come together to provide a new, boundary-free economy, that will operate in parallel to the traditional economies. This global digital transition has expedited needed changes in legal and regulatory changes in the Gulf, prompting many coding, gaming, and other companies from around the world to move to the Gulf.  

“The war in Ukraine has brought many companies to the Gulf. We have seen Goldman Sachs moving its operation from Russia to Dubai, and many more companies coming to Doha and to the UAE. Qatar’s superb infrastructure and friendly business environment makes the country an attractive destination for companies looking to move.” said Dr. Antoniades. “In terms of relations with US, it also creates a lot of opportunities for American firms that are actively pursuing business in Qatar of the GCC in general.”

“Today’s webinar offered an in-depth commentary on navigating markets during this precarious time, while understanding the recent financial transition to the virtual economy and its limitations,” said Sheikha Mayes Bint Hamad Al Thani, Managing Director of US-Qatar Business Council Doha Office. “We are delighted to have Dr. Antoniades with us today and we look forward to hearing his insights on the global financial market in the current economic and political climate.”

Discussing the current political climate in Ukraine and its implications around the world, Dr. Antoniades said that Qatar has been able to mitigate most of the resulting negative consequences. By initiating the expansion of its North Field, Qatar plans to increase its LNG supply by up to 64%, from 77 million tons per annum (TPA) to 126 TPA in the next five years. Consequently, countries have lined up to sign long-term contracts with Qatar to secure their energy and security needs. This provides Qatar with substantial bargaining power five years before the production of the excess gas.

“Discussions like these are critically important to stay informed and up-to-date with the most current global economic issues,” said Dima Wahbeh, Head of Business Development of US-Qatar Business Council. “USQBC is proud to partner with Georgetown University in Qatar to host programs like this and we look forward to future collaborations.

The webinar offered an in-depth commentary on navigating markets during a tumultuous economic and political climate. Dr. Antoniades expounded on the recent financial transition to the virtual economy and its limitations. The event was concluded by a Q&A session led by Dima Wahbeh, the Head of Business Development at the US-Qatar Business Council Doha Office, that allowed Dr. Antoniades to expand on the questions posed by the audience.