What is QFBA's current scope and offering in the market with its various programs, initiatives, and activities?
Since its establishment a decade ago, QFBA's mission has been to raise the bar for the financial services industry under Qatar National Vision 2030 and build robust human capital in the sector for a knowledge-based economy. Its scope today centers on capacity building and the continuous professional development of students and financial professionals through higher education and specialized training, as well as on the support of regulatory bodies in the design and implementation of certification systems. We currently offer over 79 open and custom programs, as well as specialized degrees, naturally focusing on the financial services sector. Building on our success in the last decade, we are looking at replicating this educational and development model across other sectors, and at expanding our scope to new areas of training and education. We have been forging a robust network of partnerships with international providers in this direction. Our ambitions are stretching far and wide, and we have only just begun.
Can you describe some of QFBA's major milestones over the last year?
2018 marked many milestones for QFBA, particularly toward its Qatarization vision, national partnership ambitions, and higher education accreditations. In July, our partnership with Northumbria University, which we signed in March 2018, culminated in the graduation of our first BA cohort in international banking and finance. Out of the total number of students admitted into the program—representing 15 nationalities—60% were Qatari nationals. Another partnership we successfully signed in 2018 is with the MoI, in collaboration with Cisco, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions. This is unchartered territory for QFBA and an exciting one at that. As the banking and finance landscape grows ever more complex and interconnected, cybersecurity awareness, education, and expertise are all the more paramount. And as our nation gears up for a cashless, fintech-powered FIFA World Cup 2022 experience, capacity building and knowledge development will be crucial to ensuring that Qatar's smart payment infrastructure for this global tournament, and far beyond it, abides by world-class safety and security standards. In line with the Qatar National Development Strategy 2018-2022, our tie-ups with ministries across Qatar bore fruit with a strategic and large-scale remit for QFBA, entailing the management and delivery of nationwide professional development initiatives. To this end, our focus has also been on high-quality Qatarization of the financial landscape.
How has QFBA grown and expanded its scope of activities and programs since its inception?
Much of our expansion and addition of new activities and business lines in the financial services sector were concentrated in 2018, particularly in professional training. In 2019, we joined hands with the Central Bank and National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee to launch a landmark, large-scale training program targeting all professionals in the public and private sector. We also extended the reach and scope of our degree offering to a much larger cohort of banking and finance students and professionals. We maintained the same number of programs, but admitted more students into our finance, investment, and banking programs. This academic year, we have admitted 193 students so far. Under our ambitious expansion is also our move to new, bigger, and better facilities that can accommodate our future plans and growing student base. By 1Q2020, we will be moving our facilities from the Qatar Financial Center Tower 2 to our own dedicated building in Msheireb.