Qatar may be the richest nation in the world according to the GDP per cap- ita, but just 14 percent of its citizens have made e-commerce purchases—
and only 6 percent of Qatari businesses allow customers to make purchases online
via their own e-commerce portals.
“The rate of adoption has been extremely low,”
says Kumara Badhuge, PMP, project manager for
the Ministry of Information and Communications
Technology in Doha, Qatar (ictQATAR).
There are many reasons the country has been
slow to adopt e-commerce, he says. The cost of
acquiring an electronic payment platform is high,
while trust among consumers for online purchasing is low. In Qatar, most payments are made on
a cash-on-delivery basis, most citizens use debit
cards rather than more commonly accepted credit
cards, and the domestic infrastructure for delivering
goods to people’s homes and businesses is run by a
monopoly, the national postal operator, QPost.
ictQATAR set out to create a framework for
growth that will address the regulatory and governance aspect of e-commerce through the e-Commerce Act, enhance the e-commerce value chain
through the e-Commerce Master Plan, and provide
a platform to facilitate the implementation and
support the adoption of e-commerce through the
Once this platform is implemented, it will sup-
port merchants and subject matter experts by offer-
ing knowledge and learning resources, as well as
online tools, on-demand-support and funding.
“Every issue we faced went into the project road-map,” Mr. Badhuge says.
Once the team had the project plan in place, it
began actively working with stakeholders—two
full years before the business case would be presented for budget approval. ictQATAR started early
because it knew the project team would have to rely
on key stakeholders to break down barriers, such as
coordinating with local banks to provide payment
gateways for debit cards through Qatar Central
Bank’s QPay debit card payment gateway.
“We couldn’t deliver this project if we didn’t
have the concerned stakeholders at the table,” Mr.
The ictQATAR project team went on a project
road show, presenting the plan and sharing metrics from across the Middle East, outlining the
benefits other countries had seen from cultivating
a robust e-commerce environment. “Once the key
stakeholders saw the benefits, the majority were on
board,” Mr. Badhuge says.
ictQATAR hoped this early stakeholder engagement would help the project get the resources and
support it needed to be successful. And so far, the
strategy is working. As of October 2015, ictQATAR
announced that it would open the domestic delivery
market to competitors, and stakeholders had convinced three banks and one local payment solution
provider to accept debit cards as a payment option
will make the
—Kumara Badhuge, PMP,
Ministry of Information
Technology, Doha, Qatar
Set Up Shop
An e-commerce project aims to expand online shopping in Qatar.