The eleventh report on Qatar recently produced by the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) provides in-depth analysis of the country’s long-term plans for diversifying its economy, including last year’s landmark development, when the non-hydrocarbon sector surpassed the oil and gas sector in terms of real GDP growth.
The Report: Qatar 2015 maps out the raft of major projects taking shape ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is helping to put the country’s construction industry at the forefront of non-hydrocarbon growth and will be a catalyst for plans that will long-outlive the actual event itself. The publication also highlights the steps taken by Qatar to boost international trade, which will be strengthened by the setting up of special economic zones and several planned Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
The Report: Qatar 2015 contains a first-time interview with the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, in which he highlights the legislative and procedural changes introduced last year as part of the state’s ongoing drive to increase efficiency in public institutions. He said:
By doing this, we believe that we are building a stronger economy and, therefore, a stronger society for our citizens today and for generations to come.’
In the wide-ranging interview, the prime minister also reaffirms the government’s commitment to prioritising infrastructure, which will benefit both locals and investors He said:
Under the Emir’s leadership we have prioritised investment in roads, mass transit, schools and medical facilities. These investments represent opportunities for foreign partners.’
The report contains a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside a wide range of contributions from leading representatives, such as the Minister of Economy and Commerce HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs HE Dr Abdullah aleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi and the Vice-Chairperson of Qatar Foundation and Vice-Chairperson of the Supreme Education Council HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani.
Other personalities who give their views on the country’s development include the Minister of Transport HE Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al Thawadi and the President of Ashghal (Public Works Authority) HE Eng Nasser bin Ali Al Mawlawi.
The report examines the government’s shift of focus towards maintaining production levels in depleting oil fields, particularly through the use of EOR techniques, and the part this is playing in fostering growth within the R&D sector.
Another booming sector, construction is also a key focus of OBG’s 2015 publication. The Report: Qatar 2015 shines the spotlight on national plans to spend over $200bn through an infrastructure investment scheme, which should provide a plethora of work in the State to 2020 and trickle down throughout each sector of the economy. In addition, the publication pinpoints the many other initiatives in the pipeline, ranging from tourism projects to real estate builds.
The Report: Qatar 2015 charts the latest developments in the State’s financial services sector, which, alongside construction, leads the way when it comes to non-oil growth. There is coverage of the key part that regulatory reforms are playing in garnering investor confidence and the impact that the MSCI upgrade to emerging market status will have on the country’s capital markets.
Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s CEO, said the Group’s latest report outlined the many milestones reached by the State over the past months, as the country’s long-term development plan, Qatar National Vision 2030, gathered strength. He said:
Heightened infrastructure activity, which was a highlight of our research, confirms that the 2022 FIFA World Cup represents a mid-term deadline for many large-scale projects. We expect the non-hydrocarbons sector to continue driving economic expansion as more initiatives are rolled out, building on Qatar’s impressive track record of a decade of double-digit average GDP growth.’
OBG’s Managing Editor for the Middle East, Oliver Cornock, added that a broader economic base, supported by strong fundamentals, was also helping the country to accommodate falling oil prices. He said:
While non-oil growth remains dominated by infrastructure, Qatar’s diversification efforts are also benefiting from a raft of state initiatives aimed at encouraging investment across the economic sectors. We believe these strategies will play a part in nurturing local talent in areas such as industry, providing a valuable, added dimension to the country’s longer-term development.’
The Report: Qatar 2015 marks the culmination of more than 12 months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG. The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.