Posted on December 19, 2017

Qatar embraces its National Day anniversary on Dec 18, which also marks the memory of its founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani, with pride, honour and raised flags, especially as it faces an unjust siege imposed on it.

When reviewing the domestic and international state achievements, it becomes evident that Qatar is moving ahead in its march with determination towards its noble goals at all levels and in all sectors internally and externally in order to fulfil its promises, principles and values, in which it has faithfully believed out of loyalty and love for the homeland and for its dear people and all residents living on its soil. It will continue this path for all that is good and useful at the regional, Arab and international levels.

The State of Qatar has achieved many remarkable records in development, construction and renaissance projects in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. At the foreign relations’ front, the Qatari policy had great success and the visits abroad of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Africa, Asia and Europe had a huge impact on enhancing the status of the State of Qatar at the international and regional levels, in addition to promoting friendship ties with all countries of the world. Since Qatar has a known and documented record in the fight against terrorism, it has acceded to international and regional treaties in this regard, notably the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 1999. The country has also contributed to every international and regional effort in this area.

KEY ROLE TO FIGHT TERROR

The speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in mid-September summarised Qatar’s pivotal and vital role in fighting the scourge of terrorism and the restoration of international peace and security.

In his speech, His Highness the Emir made an important initiative which is the need to impose dialogue and negotiation as a basis for resolving disputes through concluding an international convention on settling disputes between states by peaceful means. Despite Qatar’s preoccupation with its cause and the world’s preoccupation with its repercussions, Qatar remained active with regard to the issues of its Islamic and Arab nation as His Highness also shed light, in a speech delivered before a UN meeting, on the crisis of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, the Palestinian cause and Israel’s evasion of its commitments at the top of which is the principle of a two-state solution, and the situation in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.

The greatest achievement for the State of Qatar this year is perhaps its successful handling of the unjust siege, thwarting its objectives and mobilising the energies of the people and residents to innovate and find alternatives that compensated the Qatari market for the needs that were previously provided through the country’s only land route with Saudi Arabia. Qatar has managed to open new air routes to face the air siege and launched several agreements to open shipping lines with many Arab and international ports, which enabled the country to manage the crisis and efficiently face the siege. 

A few days into the unjust siege, supreme directives were issued by the wise leadership to take the necessary steps to support the industrial sector and move fast towards self-sufficiency. The government issued a number of decisions and initiatives to implement these directives, including but not limited to obligating ministries and government institutions to purchase locally manufactured products whenever they met the approved Qatari specifications, postponing the payment of industrial land fees for the producing factories for one year, and postponing industrial loans for six months.

The results of the supreme directives were almost immediate, with more than 35 factories starting production since the siege began, while many existing factories doubled their production capacity. More than 60 new factories were also approved. The speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the opening of the Advisory Council’s 46th ordinary session last November was historic and was clear when the Emir said: “We don’t fear the blockade of these countries against us, we are a thousand times better off without them.”

The State of Qatar has achieved important accomplishments this year in the fields of security, global peace, competitiveness, and in combating the financing of terrorism and money laundering, which earned it the confidence of international institutions and bodies. In the field of energy, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani inaugurated on Feb 20 Laffan Refinery 2, while Qatar Petroleum established a company to manage and market its future global portfolio of liquefied natural gas (LNG) sourced outside of Qatar. At the end of July, Qatar announced the first production of Al Shaheen Oil Field, the largest offshore oil field in Qatar and one of the largest offshore oil fields in the world.

PORT CONNECTIVITY

At the level of maritime navigation, His Highness the Emir patronised the official opening of the Hamad Port in September in Umm Al Houl. The port has an important role in the direct transport of maritime lines with the most important regional and international ports in a very short period of time. This contributed to securing goods, supplies and all requirements of vital projects as well as in increasing the volume of international trade between Qatar and the world, creating job opportunities for youth and in raising the standard of living, as well as improving the competitiveness of the country by transforming it into a regional trade hub.

Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar) has launched five direct shipping lines between Hamad Port and the ports of Sohar and Salalah in Oman, Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait, Izmir Port in Turkey and Nhava Sheva Port in India, which contributes to providing fast and secure solutions to exporters and suppliers from around the world, so as to ensure no interruption is caused by the unjust siege to the movement of vessels, maritime transport and cargo. In 2017, the first direct shipping line between Doha and China’s economic capital of Shanghai was inaugurated, with the line reducing the duration of the trip duration between Doha and Shanghai to only 20 days.

WTO RECOGNITION

The World Trade Organisation placed the State of Qatar among the top 20 countries in the services sector of global competitiveness index as this sector is an emerging sector that contributes to the success of other sectors and is the backbone of the economy. Qatar occupied top rank in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2017, ranking 8th in the economic performance, 11th in the government efficiency and 12th  in terms of efficiency of the business sector. It was also ranked 17th out of 63 countries, mostly developed countries. 

The Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum confirmed that the Qatari capital market is the best and most important financial market in the Arab region and one of the top ten financial markets in the world in many indicators related to measuring the performance of the capital market. The Qatari market ranked first in the Arab world and 10th in the world, while the Qatari capital market also ranked first in the Arab world and the ninth of the world’s 137 financial markets in the securities legislation index. 

LOW CRIME RATE

Meanwhile, Qatar ranked among the countries with world’s lowest crime rates this year. It also occupied advanced places in the world’s security indicators, ranking first in the Middle East in low crime rates and the seventh-lowest crime rate globally, according to the latest annual Global Crime Index by Numbeo. For the ninth year in a row, Qatar topped the list of the Middle East and North Africa countries in the World Peace Index and ranked 30th among the 163 countries surveyed by the London Institute for Economics and Peace, maintaining its first ranking in the Middle East and North Africa during the past years (2009-2017).

HIA HONOUR

Hamad International Airport was ranked the sixth best airport in the world to climb four places compared to last year. The airport has also been awarded the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ award for the third consecutive year and the ‘Best Employee Service in the Middle East’ for the second year in a row. It has been awarded a 5-Star rating by Skytrax, becoming one of only five airports in the world to reach that level.Qatar Airways also won the Airline of the Year award at the 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards for the fourth time.

MILITARY PACTS

As part of Qatar’s keenness under the wise leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Commander-in-Chief of the Qatari Armed Forces, for the continuous development of all branches of the Armed Forces, this year witnessed the signing of several military co-operation agreements with most of the developed countries in weapon technology and training fields. Qatar supported its defence system in various aspects of co-operation with more than 15 countries around the world, led by the United States of America, Russia, Britain and France.

INVESTMENT BOOST

In terms of the legislation released this year, Qatar’s efforts to amend some of the provisions of the Free Zones Law meant to strengthen the economic capacity of the state, attract and encourage domestic and foreign investments, and to create a sophisticated investment environment that stimulates economic activities. This was followed by subsequent directives to various ministries and government bodies to support investment in the state and provide a wide range of incentives for the private sector to support local industries and to increase production to ensure the provision of various goods in the local markets.

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