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EghtesadOnline: Qatar’s financial hub is looking beyond the Middle East and North Africa as the Saudi-led campaign to isolate the gas-rich Arab state threatens to dent regional business.

"Our focus has shifted entirely toward markets other than Middle East and North Africa,” Yousuf Al Jaida, chief executive officer of the Qatar Financial Center, told reporters in Doha on Monday. “Current regional developments will not deter us from our growth plans going forward."

According to Bloomberg, the Qatar Financial Center is sticking to a target to attract 1,000 firms by 2022 even after canceling an event in Dubai later this year to showcase opportunities for regional companies, Al Jaida said. The center was started by Qatar’s government to foster investment in the Gulf emirate’s financial system.

There are no signs of a quick resolution as the crisis enters its third week since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar over its alleged support for militants and ties to Iran. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has injected billions of dollars into Qatari lenders after some banks from the region started withdrawing funds amid the standoff, according to people familiar with the matter.

There is $18 billion due to banks that have cut ties with Qatar, most of it short-term deposits, Al Jaida said. “These can easily be replaced by the government and a lot of it can be funded by other international banks who are currently set up in the QFC.”

Below are more highlights from Al Jaida’s comments:

  • The crisis may see Qatar-owned holding companies and special purchase vehicles domiciled in the U.A.E. move money back home
  • Law firms, consultants, other service providers who fly from Dubai to support Qatari companies are now looking to be based at the QFC
  • Two QFC-firms still plan to launch exchange-traded funds based on Qatari indexes, although the debut may be delayed to September from July.
Saudi-led coalition Qatar crisis Qatar Financial Hub