Posted on December 30, 2016

The year 2016 has witnessed many different success stories and remarkable milestones for Qatar, bringing the country an overall development under the leadership of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and the guidance of Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani.

The many foreign visits of HH the Emir during the year played a major role in Qatar's politics, availing the nation prosperity in all perspectives, including partnership agreements with other countries as well as active involvement in issues related to the GCC and the region. During the year, HH the Emir visited Russia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Argentina and Colombia to bolster bilateral relations and agreements for the benefit of Qatar and its counterparts in various fields. 

Besides, HH the Emir's determination to the success of the GCC union led to his keenness to visit various GCC states to attend different events, conferences and activities. On the Darfur Peace Agreement, which was led by Qatar's mediation, HH the Emir visited the North Darfur to celebrate the success of ending the war in the province and inaugurating the era of construction and development. At the United Nations in September, HH the Emir presented the opening speech and called on the world to live up to its commitments and responsibilities towards the region's issues without being selective. He said,"It is not possible for us to ignore the weakness of the legal and institutional system of the United Nations and its inability in many situations to apply justice."

Also this year, HH the Emir presented the 'Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Anti-Corruption Excellence Award' to winners in Vienna to appreciate the contribution of certain organisations entities and individuals to anti-corruption efforts. On his part, the PM visited Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and India to support the friendship and ties between Qatar and its counterparts. Qatar has also hosted many delegations and public figures from around the world prominent among whom is the historic visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia to enhance the relations between both nations.

In terms of Qatar's rankings in different fields, it came in the 14th position among 140 countries worldwide in the latest world competitiveness report (2015-2016) by the World Economic Forum and ranked first in the Middle East. The country also came second and 12th ranking in the Middle East and the world respectively in the index of Economic Freedom issued in 2016, and 1st in the Middle East for information and communications technology digital economy. On infrastructure development, Qatar achieved different high rankings for the Hamad International Airport, road infrastructure, marine ports, governmental electronic services, information technology, digital technology, which covered sustainability, intelligence and eco-friendliness. All these advances qualified Qatar to consider space and satellite fields when, in 2016, it finalised the design of Es'hailSat 2 and planned to launch it in 2017.

These achievements are supported by the strong foundation of higher education and scientific research, which is recognised by major international institutions in the field, by placing Qatar University in the 49th ranking worldwide based on the QS World University Rankings and based on Time Magazine rankings. Qatar University ranked first due to its fast paced growth as it increased its publications by 246 percent within the past five years. Qatar has also witnessed an increase in the number of tourist visits ranking the highest visited GCC state within the region. The country has proved to not only be a family destination but also a cultural icon with the help of Qatar Museums and its enrolment of Al Zubarah Archaeological Site as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition, sports tourism has contributed to the overall growth of tourism led by the preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

source: Qatar Tribune