Qatar: Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) Chairperson Shaikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani on Thursday opened the eighth edition of the annual youth conference on personal leadership (EMPOWER 2016), with His Excellency Minister of Economy and Commerce Shaikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani attending.
The three-day event is being held at the student center of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
His Excellency the Minister of Economy gave a speech marking the occasion and said that the State of Qatar was committed to innovation and supporting Small and Medium Enterprises.
This commitment is part of the country's efforts to diversify its economy away from Hydrocarbons, especially due to the decline in oil and gas prices.
The Minister of Economy said that encouraging youth to innovate and to become entrepreneurs helps achieve the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.
His Excellency noted that the conference has been a success since it was launched in 2009. The conference gained reputation internationally among young entrepreneurs.
His Excellency highlighted that the ministry launched a number of initiatives recently to enhance the productivity of Small and Medium and Enterprises.
The minister then noted that such efforts are starting to reap rewards. GDP growth in 2015 was at 3.7%, higher than the global GDP growth of 3.3%. GDP growth in the MENA region was 2.3%.
Additionally, the role of the private sector's role in the economy. The role of the non-hydrocarbon sector increased to 49% by the end of 2014, up from 45% in 2008.