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Project Qatar 2012, now in its ninth year was opened with much fanfare by Qatar’s minister of municipality and urban planning, as the dedicated construction trade show looks to become a gateway for businesses entering the Qatari market
Qatar's minister for municipality and urban planning, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Khalifa Al Thani, said during the inauguration, “Qatar has made great strides in developing its economy, and exhibitions and commercial expos like Project Qatar are essential to attract the best companies to Qatar.
“We welcome this platform and wish everyone participating this year a fruitful and productive experience.”
The 2,083 exhibitors at this year’s show are all looking to get a slice of the estimated US$250 billion worth of projects to be completed in Qatar in the build up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This is also why this year, the show is 25 per cent larger than last year, according to figures supplied by the organisers, IFP Qatar.
The only dampening effect on proceedings was the decision made in March to delay announcing Qatar’s budget for the 2012/13 fiscal year, which is normally released on April 1 each year, to the end of May. So earlier expectation that the show could have contained major announcements had to be put on hold for the time being.
The tremendous interest in Qatar could be seen in the large number of international companies who were exhibiting for the first time, such as 3M who were showcasing innovative solutions for Qatar’s fast growing construction industry from its key business units, including Industrial and Transportation (I&TB), Safety Security and Protection Services (SSPS).
“We are excited to be here for the first time at Project Qatar and we are looking to expand our operation in the country,” said industrial business marketing coordinator Rhodora Cruz.
Companies exhibiting for the first time covered the whole range of the construction industry, with Arabian Agencies Company (ARACO) - the authorised dealer of Volvo Construction Equipments in Qatar - showcasing the latest Volvo machines; and Aggreko Qatar highlighting its power rental and temperature control solutions for industrial applications in the country.
The growth of country pavilions was also a noticeable feature of this year’s show with large swathes of the exhibition halls taken up by the German, Italian, Turkish and Chinese national pavilions.
More than forty French companies took part in the show's first French pavilion led by Ubifrance, the French agency for international business development.
Director of Ubifrance UAE and Qatar, François Sporrer, said, “There are many opportunities in Qatar which is evident at this show.
“We are now starting to develop shows in Qatar with Project Qatar as our first attempt.”
Project Qatar exhibitions manager, Michel Gebrael, commented on the first day’s turnout,: “The initial numbers are very pleasing. We are hoping to break all records this year.”