Doha, Qatar – 4 February, 2024 – HEC Paris in Qatar, ranked #1 in the world by the Financial Times for Executive Education, recently hosted an insightful panel discussion titled ‘Innovation, Investments and Entrepreneurship in the Agri-tech & Food-tech Sectors’ in collaboration with Expertise France Group of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) and supported by the Economic department from the French Embassy. The event, held at the HEC Paris campus in Msheireb Downtown, in the presence of H.E. Jean-Baptiste Faivre, the Ambassador of France to Qatar, featured esteemed panelists representing diverse companies and experts in food security from Qatar, France and the GCC region.
Dr. Delphine Acloque, French expert and Food Security Advisor to the Ministry of Municipality of Qatar, and her colleague Mr. Mark Velders (Food security department, Ministry of Municipality) moderated the discussion, which explored pressing issues such as technology transformation, climate change and global food security threats. Alumni from both HEC Paris campuses in Qatar and Paris, representing a diverse group of companies specializing in the food and agricultural sector in Qatar and beyond, participated in the event. Among these alumni and entrepreneurs were representatives from Baladna Food Industries, Enbat Holdings, Algama Foods, Agrico, Farm to Plate, Vital Food Technologies, and DiFFERs. Additionally, food security experts, who collaborate with various government entities in Qatar, France, and the GCC, made significant contributions to the discussion.
Panelists shared insights from their entrepreneurial journeys and discussed the role of the private sector in supporting government efforts to address food security challenges. The lively discussions emphasized the increased investments in agri-tech and food-tech businesses and pilot projects, highlighting the GCC countries as frontrunners in this field.
Reflecting on the event, Dr. Pablo Martin de Holan, Dean of HEC Paris in Qatar, said: “Qatar's remarkable progress in the food security domain is a testament to the power of vision and innovation. Qatar National Vision 2030 is being realized through the steadfast dedication of local enterprises like Baladna, Agrico, and Enbat Holdings, which leverage cutting-edge agri-food technologies and sustainable methods, positioning Qatar as a leading example of food security in arid regions. Our panel discussion highlighted the synergy among the government, private sector, and academic institutions to continue this momentum. We, alongside our alumni, are honored to contribute to nurturing these collaborations that bolster the nation and region’s food security.”
Ms. Efi Frager, Head of the Economic Department at the French Embassy, highlighted in her concluding remarks the importance of fostering a “holistic approach to bring together entrepreneurs, innovators, and institutions to enhance sustainability across the entire food value chain”. She added, “In a world where the population is growing rapidly, and resources are becoming increasingly scarce, the need for innovation and investments in agriculture and food production is a matter that concerns us all.” Her speech outlined the solid cooperation between France and Qatar in the field of agriculture, which began 6 years ago and has already led to several significant partnerships.
HEC Paris in Qatar's commitment to fostering dialogue and development in vital sectors like food security, agri-tech and food-tech aligns with its mission of shaping the future of business education and research and supporting both the private and government sector through entrepreneurship. This event provided an opportunity for knowledge-sharing and networking as well as lay the groundwork for future collaborations and advancements in these crucial areas.
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