Posted on March 05, 2011

Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani has said the country's economy is likely to grow by more than 18 percent this year.

In a speech at the meeting of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) on Thursday, he said the effect of the global crisis on the Gulf state was "minimal".

He said the country had achieved 11 percent growth in its gross domestic production 2009 and 16 percent in 2010, adding that this ratio is expected to surpass 18 percent in 2011.

In his speech which was delivered by the Minister of Finance and Economy Yousef Hussein Kamal, the prime minister spoke of the importance of a knowledge-based economy, Gulf Times reported on Friday.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

“The need to provide all the possible means and ways of developing feasible policies required for a knowledge-based approach that heavily relies on research, development and innovation has been emphasised," he said in comments published by the paper.

He added that the country had enacted and updated several free market laws, legislations and regulations in the state.

"To that effect, the law for regulating non-Qatari capital in economic activity has been amended, an offshore company act has been issued, which is considered one of the pioneer initiatives in the region, also a law regulating income tax has been enacted, in addition to the amendment of the Trade Company Act and some other laws,” he said.

On Qatar's hydrocarbon sector, he said liquefied natural gas production increased from 56m tonnes at the end of 2009 to 77m tonnes in 2010.

But he added that Qatar was opting to diversify its economy by expanding the scope of its exports to include petrochemicals, steel, aluminum and fertilizers.