Posted on April 09, 2019

Qatar’s efforts to move towards a knowledge-based economy and support the development of emerging sectors is mapped out in a new report from the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Qatar 2019 shines a spotlight on the raft of infrastructure projects taking shape, many of which are earmarked to play a key role in helping the country accommodate an influx of visitors for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and beyond. With transport projects a major focus, OBG explores Qatar’s plans to boost connectivity across its land, air and sea networks. Other initiatives tracked include a move to roll out 5G services in the densely populated areas of the country by the end of 2020, in preparation for the next generation of ICT services.

The tourism sector is being primed for growth, in line with the country’s long-term economic development plan, Qatar National Vision 2030. The Report: Qatar 2019 charts the positive effect that a decision to liberalise entry visa requirementsfor several source markets, including Russia, India and China, has had on visitor numbers. It also examines the progress Qatar has made in its bid to establish and expand niche markets, such as the MICE and sports segments.

While Qatar’s diversification efforts are gathering speed, the country is also taking steps to ensure it is in a position of strength to meet growing global demand for natural gas. OBG’s publication looks in detail at the nation’s ambitious expansion plans for the sector, which include boosting output by 43%, from 77m to 110m tonnes per year. There is also coverage of the increased focus on the renewables component of Qatar’s energy mix, led by the planned development of a 500-MW solar plant that will be located west of Doha.

The Report: Qatar 2019 contains a viewpoint by HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar and an interview with Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior,together with a detailed sector-by-sector guide for investors. Other high-profile personalities interviewed include: Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry;Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank; Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman, Qatar Chamber; Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, CEO, Qatargas; and Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, President, Public Works Authority.

Commenting ahead of the launch, OBG’s Editor-in-Chief Oliver Cornock said that while Qatar’s status as the world’s biggest gas exporter had helped it to become the richest country in terms of GDP per capita income, additional strong gains by the non-oil sector were underpinningbroader, solid economic growth. “A sharp focus on industrial diversification has helped to insulate the economy, while also creating important new linkages despite the blockade,” he said. “We also expect a new wave of spending on the development of free zones and logistics centresto further boost inflows of foreign capital.”

Jana Treeck, the Group’s Managing Director for the Middle East, added that the 2022 FIFA World Cup had helped Qatar to raise its profile on the international stage and establish itself as a rapidly developing market in the midst of diversification.

“Previously known largely for its vast gas reserves, Qatar is now globally recognised as a destination offering a wealth of investment opportunities with one of the fastest-growing economies in the region,” she said. “We expect rising inward investment and a list of infrastructure projects supported by partnerships to continue driving the country’s development forward, towards its target of becoming a knowledge-led, broad-based economy.”

The Report: Qatar 2019 marks the culmination of more than 12 months of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. The publication assesses trends and developments across the country, including those in macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and others. The Report: Qatar 2019 has been produced with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Al Sulaiti Law Firm.It is available online and in print.

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