Doha, Qatar: Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani announced a $1bn fund to foster local and regional entrepreneurs during the Web Summit Qatar 2024 opening yesterday.

Thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, tech leaders and experts from around the world have convened at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) for the first Web Summit Qatar 2024.

The largest annual technology conference being held for the first time in the region over four days will feature the latest trends in technology and innovation while offering networking and collaboration opportunities among the global attendees.

Speaking at the opening night of Web Summit Qatar the Prime Minister said, “Based on the directives of the guidance of H H the Amir and His Highness’ vision to the development and diversified economy capable of sustainability – meeting the needs of its whole people and securing high standards of living, I am pleased to announce a $1bn Qatar Investment Authority for investment in mutual capital funds to support the local and regional entrepreneurs.”

He said it is the country’s first venture capital (VC) fund of funds, a strategic investment fund to promote innovation in Qatar and kick start technologies of tomorrow.

“As we forge ahead let us carry the spirit of innovation and collaboration that brought us together today. Let us draw our diverse strings and prospective to drive meaningful progress,” said the Prime Minister.

Emphasising on the importance of the event, the Premier said that the Web Summit Qatar 2024 serves as a milestone and as an incredible journey of technological evolution.

“After hosting the World Cup Qatar 2022, Formula 1 and Expo 2023 Doha, the Web Summit Qatar 2024 presents another historic event in the Middle East. And once again we welcome the world in Qatar.

“For the next five years the biggest tech event will find home in Qatar.

“We are standing on the threshold of a new era not just in technological advancement but also in human achievement,” he said, highlighting the efforts taken by Qatar to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and technological advancements.

The Web Summit Qatar represents a new opportunity to develop an already fast-growing tech scene in the region.

Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher said, “Over the past few years, we began noticing more energy from the region, a growing presence from the Middle East at our events.”

“We realised that we were seeing the entrepreneurial, technological future of the Middle East being born. ”

“A future of innovation, knowledge and opportunity. You were coming to us, so we knew it was time to come to you,” she said.

She said that Web Summit Qatar 2024 witnessed unprecedented global demand as all ticket categories sold out. According to her for the first time the summit has received people from 118 countries, showed a record breaking engagement in the app. She added that more than 1,000 startups are present at the summit with 200 from Africa and 328 startups founded by women.

The summit also features more than 400 investors, trade delegations and more than 380 speakers. One of the major attractions at the Web Summit 2024 opening was Trevor Noah, a renowned comedian, presenter, author and podcaster joining the stage.

Speaking about the advancements in technology he said, “As human beings, we’re oftentimes prone to viewing these technologies as being human, when it fact sometimes they are just giving us an output that matches our interpretation of what a human being would or wouldn’t do.”

Referring to the future of technology Noah said, “We don’t know what the future will bring, what the technology will bring,” and empahsised the importance of using technology with responsibility.

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