Ministers of Transport and Communications; Commerce and Industry launch Qatar’s "E-commerce" portal - "Theqa"

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Ministers of Transport and Communications; Commerce and Industry launch Qatar’s "E-commerce" portal - "Theqa"

Doha - Qatar

HE Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications (MoTC) and HE Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry launched “Theqa” - the new website of Qatar’s e-commerce gateway on the sidelines of the fifth edition of the Qatar Information Technology Conference & Exhibition (QITCOM 2019), which will  be until 1 November at the Qatar National Convention Center.

Following the launch, the two ministers toured the pavilions of local companies providing E-Commerce and certified by THEQA, which so far has given its stamp of trust to 42 companies. The launch is part of MoTCs' efforts to enhance consumer confidence in the local e-commerce sector and improve the quality of services provided by local online suppliers, in addition to providing traders and shoppers with the latest updates in the sector.

The portal, http://www.Theqa.qa is a non-profit and voluntary government program, that is aimed at stimulating Qatar's e-commerce sector and develop local online retail sales by encouraging citizens and residents to trust the country's e-commerce ecosystem. It also seeks to encourage buyers to use local websites and platforms for effective and safe online shopping, and to provide merchants with the tools, capabilities and skills needed to succeed quickly.

To obtain Theqa’s trust mark, local companies or e-commerce businesses must fulfill a set of standards. The portal will help evaluate participating company’s website to check if it meets up with Theqa’s security and safety requirements and also ensure that services on offer are according to specifications before it is granted a certificate and a trust mark, which is subject to annual renewal on Theqa’s website.

Theqa works to ensure that local websites provide clear data and information to customers including consumer rights, privacy policy, terms and conditions of service, etc., in order to aid more public interest in the local e-commerce sector. The first phase of the project is aimed at encouraging increased patronization of local e-commerce sites by the Qatari public instead of using foreign sites, while the second phase will focus on attracting new customers from outside the country through more partnerships with trust mark projects from around the world.

Through the new website of Qatar's E-commerce Portal (http://www.ecommerce.gov.qa), the Ministry will provide the public and the retailers with all information related to the e-commerce market in Qatar. This includes a list of website providers, e-payment gateways and logistics providers, support, coaching, incubation and corporate finance programs, opportunities and initiatives, as well as best online shopping practices and tips that ensure a secure and reliable online shopping experience.

The portal will also highlight the Qatar National e-Commerce Roadmap and the national guidelines, the first in the country, which aims at supporting local e-commerce enterprises and helping traders understand and adopt international best practices and standards.

On this occasion, Her Excellency Reem Al Mansoori, Assistant Undersecretary of Digital Society Development Affairs, Ministry of Transport and Communication, said: “The MoTC seeks to meet the growing needs of the e-commerce sector and keep abreast of the latest developments by adopting and implementing additional high value and high quality electronic services and creating a work environment with controls and follow-up mechanisms that help the sector grow and expand in the future.”

She added: “The launch of Theqa is part of the ministry's plan to improve sales of local e-merchants, monitor their performance and provide strong consumer protection. Theqa aims to positively impact the online retail ecosystem in the country by boosting customer confidence in the credibility of Qatar's online shopping platforms. The platform seeks to help those online retailers adopt best practices and adhere to international standards, thereby greatly stimulating and supporting the sales of local e-commerce companies.”

She concluded by saying: “The new Qatar's E-commerce Portal plays a pivotal role in serving the sector's expansion objectives by providing all information that will help both e-merchants and shoppers. It also facilitates coordination, communication and collaboration among all stakeholders in the sector.”

In cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, The MoTC is drafting an e-commerce licensing code to organize shopping via social media and local e-commerce companies. The aim is to protect consumers and regulate the work of these companies and websites by providing them with commercial licenses, legitimizing their transactions, and protecting intellectual property. This would boost the contribution of e-commerce to the national economy.

The two ministries will work together to launch an awareness program to enlighten citizens and residents on ways to verify the legitimacy of merchants and trade activity via websites and social media channels. The program seeks to increase transparency between merchants and consumers and protect shoppers, who should make sure that these online merchants are licensed to do business.

The MoTC is also working to implement a consumer protection initiative under which complaints related to e-commerce are received, followed up, and resolved. This is part of Qatar’s efforts to protect consumers, educate them about their rights, solve their problems, and prevent commercial fraud and unfair practices.

Qatar has a favorable environment for the development of the e-commerce market, since the country has the highest annual average per capita spending in the e-commerce market in the MENA region. Qatar also leads the Gulf countries in terms of the average value of each electronic transaction, according to the latest version of the Qatar National e-Commerce Roadmap.

A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, with the help of Global Market Research Company Ipsos, showed that 60% of consumers in Qatar have a desire to shop online.

According to official estimates, the Business-to-Consumer e-commerce market in Qatar, ranked the seventh largest online market in the Middle East and North Africa in 2015 at $1.2 billion dollars, is expected to achieve a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17% by 2025.