Lone Star College, Texas, just received a donation of $300,000 from the Qatar Harvey Fund (QHF). The purpose of this donation was to provide financial aid through scholarships to students impacted by the Hurricane Harvey.
“The goal became to create scholarship funds that would allow students to continue their education or give them an opportunity to enroll at a university,” said Stephen Head, Chancellor of Lone Star College.
The category 4 hurricane interrupted many students’ studies and impacted their finances. 300 students will be able to return to school thanks to scholarships from the Qatar Harvey Fund. Scholarships will be available to students in the fall and winter of 2020. In addition, students will receive financial support for mental and emotional health services, tuition and other education-related costs.
“We have heard so much about the negative ripple effect of Hurricane Harvey on the communities of southeast Texas. The damage goes far beyond physical damage and people are still recovering from the enormous financial burden that caused so many to stop or delay their education in order to meet urgent needs,” said His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S.
QHF has donated $3,25 million Texas’ colleges in 2019 alone to assist students impacted by the Hurricane. Qatar pledges to give $30 million to help the people of Texas to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
(Image Source: Community Impact )
In many parts of the world the issue of too many motorists and not enough gas can be commonplace. A Doha based startup company is aiming to resolve this issue in a revolutionary new way. Nasser Al Kaaabi and Jamal Khatib founded ‘i-fuel’ with the plan to start delivering petrol to customers throughout Qatar within 8-10 months.
‘i-fuel’ is already working with officials from Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD) and is close to testing the application and its delivery trucks. There are currently four trucks for when operations start, but expansion will follow with demand of the convenience.
“The main problem is there’s so much traffic in petrol stations. At this time and age when everything is changing, look at Uber and Amasin, technology is taking over. Why can’t you order gas to your home? The only thing that you think about is safety reasons. You don’t want the fuel on a truck. However, with our solution, we solved that challenge. ‘i-fuel’ will deliver petrol at your location and at scheduled time. So whenever you need petrol you just order it and we’re gonna be right there delivering petrol to you and servicing you. With that, it will decrease the traffic in petrol stations and contribute to the Qatar National Vision 2030. No need to go to the gas stations anymore. We fill and you just chill.” – Jamal Khatib, ‘i-fuel’ co-founder
The app that is being developed will feature its own meter system that will show the price and liters ordered. Once a customer connects to the app and decide how much gas they want, they will receive a price and an estimated arrival time.
‘i-fuel’ won the ‘Challenges Category’ at the ‘Al-Fakra 2019 competition’, which is a competition put on by the Qatar Development Bank for entrepreneurs to come up with solutions that can serve Qatar and have business potential.
On June 18th, 2019, at the 2019 World Airline Awards held at Paris Air Show, Qatar Airways was awarded accolades as the World’s Best Airline, the World’s Best Business Class seat, and as the Best Airline in the Middle East.
Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, stated the following after Qatar Airways received the awards
“We are thrilled to be globally recognized by our customers by winning these four prestigious awards. Becoming the first airline to be named as Airline of the Year for the firth time is a landmark achievement and, combined with three other major Skytrax awards, is a testament to the tireless efforts of the entire Qatar Airways team. It is a proud moment for the airline as our constant innovation and service standards set the benchmark in our industry.”
The World Airline Awards, which was established in 1999, is referred to as the “Oscars” of the aviation industry. The winners of the awards are selected and voted by customers: over 100 customer nationalities participated in this year’s survey with 21.65 million eligible entries counted in the final results. For the 2018/2019 awards, over 300 airlines were featured in the results.
Since the boycott was imposed on Qatar by neighboring countries, Qatari authorities have undertaken major changes in order to boost domestic food production and implemented robust food security strategies. Qatar is well on its way to reaching one of its goals of creating 1,400 farms that will cover 45,000 acres of land by 2022.
One of Qatar’s most notable achievements in improving their food security situation can be seen within the dairy sector.
To supply the country’s growing demand for dairy, 4,000 cows where shipped into Qatar shortly after the blockade, which would outfit Qatar’s largest dairy farm, Baladna Food Industries.
By December 2017, Baladna, had been charged to boost dairy production further. In response, the dairy farm ordered 10,000 more cows and their CEO announced an expansion commencement consisting of 40 new full-facility farms and two water treatment plants and feed storage facilities.
The original 4,000 cattle that were airlifted into Qatar have swelled to a now almost 24,000 head herd. Due to summer temperatures reaching well over 100°Fahrenheit, the cows live in large-spaced air-conditioned facilities at a farm in Umm al Hawaya, which is about 35 miles outside Doha.
An official report from April 2019 stated that Baladna is producing 320 tons of milk every day. This makes Qatar self-sufficient in dairy with production twice as much as the population demands. Baladna is now shipping the excess fresh milk to multiple Gulf neighbors as well. This is a significant accomplishment considering Qatar imported 80% of its dairy at the time of the blockade implementation.
On June 3, 2019, prior to the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, members of the FIFA Council assembled in Paris to cast votes on several topics. One such decision was the appointment of the hosts for the FIFA Club World Cups for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
The FIFA Council ruled that Qatar will host both the 2019 and 2020 FIFA Club World Cups. These Club World Cups will be the final version of the current seven club tournament. So far, four of the seven teams have qualified: Liverpool (winner of the UEFA Champions League), Monterrey (winner of the CONCACAF Champions League), Hienghène Sport (winner of the OFC Champions League), and Esperance de Tunis (winner of CAF Champions League). The teams representing Asia, South America and the host of Qatar are still to be determined.
The decision by the FIFA Council comes just two weeks after they concluded that the FIFA World Cup 2022 will stay at 32 participating countries versus expanding to 48 participants.
“It is a great test event. So we will definitely try to utilize as much as possible, all the different facets of hosting a World Cup.”
–Hassan Al-Thawadi, Qatar World Cup organizing committee chairman
Both Club World Cups will be held in December, which coincides with the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is usually played in June and July. However, due to the summer heat in Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2022 will instead start on November 21, with the final played on December 18, Qatar National Day.
June 5, 2019 marked two years since regional neighbors severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, as well as imposed a trade embargo. Even though Qatar ranks first among Arab countries and 22nd in the world in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI), Qatar has had to strengthen its food security.
With all food supplies and access to medicine from these four Gulf states cut off, Qatar had to develop new trade routes and expand trade with regional neighbors. Doha also opened a multibillion-dollar port, making it a new transport hub in the Gulf region.
Companies such as Baladna and Mazzraty, Qatar’s largest livestock farm and Qatar’s largest poultry farm respectively, have expanded exponentially due to the blockade.
Baladna received an order of thousands of cows just weeks after the implementation of the blockade. Baladna now not only supplies Qatar with over half of its milk, it also exports to multiple nearby countries.
Agrico has developed a new system to keep greenhouse conditions cool enough to grow fruits and vegetables year-round, even in the harsh Gulf climate. The polycarbon greenhouses and growing system have helped fruit and vegetable outputs more than triple.
Qatar has implemented a strategic food security project in its efforts to become self-sufficient. Two years ago, Qatar only produced about 15% of its dairy and poultry but is now completely self-sufficient. Qatar’s food security goes beyond domestic milk and poultry. Fruit and vegetable outputs are up 20% to roughly 66 tons per year. This number is projected to increase by 30-60% next year with more farms opening. Qatar also produces roughly 85% of its grains and 75% of its fish, both of which are increasing.
On May 10th, 2019 S&P published an affirmation of Qatar’s credit rating at AA- with a Stable Outlook. The stable outlook reflects Qatar’s prudent fiscal management and investment-led economic growth, leading to a fiscal surplus of $US1.2bn in 2019 – the first surplus in three years – and an expected GDP growth rate of 2%.
S&P has noted Qatar’s resilience to the pressures of an air, land and sea blockade. Qatar’s economy is driven by government investment: At an estimated 45% of GDP, Qatar’s investment spending is among the highest of all the sovereigns rated by S&P.
“The stable outlook primarily reflects our view that Qatar will continue to effectively mitigate the economic and financial fallout of the boycott imposed on the country in June 2017… and that Qatar will continue to pursue prudent macroeconomic policies that support large recurrent fiscal and external surpluses over 2019-2022.”
Research Summary, S&P Ratings, May 10th, 2019
The impact of the boycott on Qatar’s external performance has been limited; most of its export earnings from natural gas come from Asian customers.
“Investments related to the government’s sizable infrastructure program will continue to support economic activity, outweighing negative sentiment related to the ongoing boycott.”
Research Summary, S&P Ratings, May 10th, 2019
(Image Source: Wall Street Journal)
AirHelp ranked Hamad International Airport in Doha number one in its latest annual rankings of 133 airports around the world, based on timeliness, service quality, and food and shop availability. AirHelp has also ranked Qatar Airways – Qatar’s flag carrier – as the best airline in the world. AirHelp is a startup dedicated to helping air passengers secure compensation for delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights. AirHelp’s superior rankings of Hamad International Airport and Qatar Airways are a testament to the dedication of the airport and airline to excellent service, reliability, and Qatari hospitality. As the 2022 World Cup nears, soccer fans around the world can look forward to being in the best hands possible during their transit.
Hamad International Airport is a young airport, having only begun construction in 2006 to replace the former Doha International Airport. The project was highly ambitious, with 60% of the site on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. The first two phases of its construction were opened in 2014; its final phase is underway now, which will grow its capacity from 30 million passengers per year to 50 million per year.
The scope of the mission is as staggering as it is necessary, as the number of travelers passing through Qatar has ballooned from 5 million per year ten years ago to 25 million per year today. This will even further boost Qatar’s status as a major gateway between Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.
The 2022 World Cup is a major driver of Hamad International Airport (HIA)’s current development and expansion, as Qatar anticipates receiving 1.5 million visitors during the four-week tournament. The recently-opened Red Line metro in Qatar will connect to HIA, giving visitors easy access to the tournaments, as well as the heart of Doha and beyond.
HIA was constructed to maximally facilitate the seamless flow of travelers – and the airport design reflects an aquatic theme with waving roofs and a water droplet-shaped dome topping the minaret of the airport’s mosque.
In keeping with Qatar National Vision 2030, environmental consciousness is also at the heart of the airport’s design: the surrounding landscaping features desert-adapted plants irrigated with recycled wastewater, sunlight-reflecting material coats the passenger terminals to reduce cooling needs, and carbon dioxide sensors regulate air circulation based on the number of travelers inside at any given time.
You can read more about the airport’s and Qatar Airways’ environmental policy.
HIA works with Qatar Museums to curate a variety of local and international exhibitions for artistically curious travelers. The most visible is the colossal Lamp Bear by Urs Fischer – a 23-foot-tall teddy bear built out of bronze that weighs about 18-20 tons.
Other remarkable sculpture exhibitions include the Mesopotamia- and Abu Firnas-inspired Flying Man by Iraqi Dia Al Azzawi, Qatari Ali Hassan‘s Arabic calligraphy-inspired Desert Horse, and the intricately stunning gold Cosmos by Jean Michel Othoniel.
The airport is home to a diversity of shops from Qatar and around the world, from the Qatari Almotahajiba‘s vogue, traditional women’s wear to globally recognized luxury brands like Gucci, Rolex, and Swarovski. It hosts a variety of lounges for passengers of all travel classes and ages, which varyingly include dining, high-speed wifi, smoking rooms, showers, play areas for children, and much more. Travelers can enjoy local food and drink from Qataf Café, South Asian and Arab fusion food at AZKA, or, of course, familiar options like Burger King, Argo Tea, Illy, Starbucks, and Red Mango.
Learn more about visiting Qatar.
Public Art at Hamad International Airport
Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communication announced the opening of the new Doha Metro Red Line South. The Red Line South will be operational on Wednesday, May 8th.
The Doha Metro Red Line South is part of the overall Doha Metro project that is being developed by Qatar Rail. The main purpose of Doha Metro is to provide integrated railway services that are reliable and accessible to all.
In this case, the Red Line South runs from Lusail to Al Wakra, and connects Hamad International Airport with Doha. The Red Line South will create greater inter-connectivity for local communities and for tourists as well.
As of now, only 13 out of the 18 Red Line stations will be operational and open to the public.
Lastly, the completion of Doha Metro Red Line South will complement Qatar’s preparations to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the country’s overall progress in modernizing its transportation infrastructure.
The Doha Rail Experience
(Image Source: Mitsibushi)
On May 3rd, 2019, ten Qatari SportsTech companies received $1.5 million in committed funding and secured a soft commitment of an additional $5 million in future funding.
On May 2nd, Qatar SportsTech, in conjunction with Qatar Development Bank and powered by Startupbootcamp, celebrated the first SportsTech Demo day in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) at Khalifa Stadium.
The ten SportsTech teams showcased a variety of innovative solutions ranging from wearables and equipment, fan engagement and experience, sports medical, e-sports, sports culture, sports tourism, team performance and analytics, to venue optimization and management.
Furthermore, the ten teams established partnerships with leading names in the sports industry and with key strategic organizations in the region, such as, Qatar Airways, Supreme Committee, QFC, Al Shaqab, FC Barcelona, US Professional Tennis Association and many more.
With the support of Qatar Development Bank (QDB), the ten teams have secured $400,000 in the form of facilities and services, and received a cash payment of $20,000. All ten companies have confirmed to form legal entities in Qatar.
Koen Bosma, the program Managing Director, stated the following about the future of Qatar SportsTech: “2019 was a time of new beginnings and what a start it has been! We have only scratched the surface of our potential. I am so excited to soon be welcoming new strategic partners to be joining Qatar SporstTech and to see more initiatives like QST shaping the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Doha. Watch this space!”.
About the Program:
“Qatar Sportstech is the leading accelerator program for innovative companies in the sports industry. It is an unparalleled platform for startups to proactively scale up their business and demonstrate their product to leading corporations, leading sporting events and the ever-growing sports community.
10 Sportstech companies will be selected for this intensive 3-month program that provides one-on-one mentorship from no less than 100 industry experts, personal office space in the Aspire Zone in Doha, seed funding and direct access to a highly international network of investors and corporate partners from all corners of the sports industry.
Qatar Development Bank has joined forces with the Aspire Zone Foundation, Ministry of Economy and Commerce, Qatar Financial Centre and Startupbootcamp to fund the Qatar Sportstech Accelerator. These key partners provide expertise, exposure, APIs and unprecedented access to their network of industry professionals from around the world.”‘