Posted on March 13, 2019

Qatar’s efforts to tap new investors, and goods and service providers farther afield, were among the topics discussed recently at a meeting held between Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman, Al Faisal Holding, and representatives from Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Sheikh Faisal told the global research and consultancy company that the ongoing regional blockade had generated new business opportunities for both local and international firms, as the country looks to the private sector to become more resourceful and drive new growth.

“One major advantage of Qatar is the presence of competitively priced raw materials, including secure energy supplies,” he said. “The Qatari Government considers industrial development to be an integral part of its plan to diversify the economy through leveraging off its huge natural gas reserves, and is strongly supporting local investment into the manufacturing sector. In addition to the Government’s plan to invest in several downstream industries related to Oil & Gas sector, the Government is also encouraging private companies to invest in setting up local manufacturing and assembly facilities, spurred on by large scale infrastructure development,” added Sheikh Faisal. “There is a clear will in Qatar to become more self-sufficient and put the emphasis on quality and efficiency. At the same time, the country is opening channels for new partnerships and joint ventures with the international community,” he said.

Sheikh Faisal also highlighted the key part that Qatar’s rapidly advancing infrastructural development was playing in attracting international firms to its shores, helping the country to consolidate its position as an investment destination and diversify the national economy. These include major projects either completed or under way include a raft of transport initiatives, such as Hamad Port, Hamad International Airport, Doha Metro and new road networks, while two additional free zones, located next to the port and airport, are expected to further strengthen Qatar’s bid to boost inflows.

“The establishment of Qatar’s free zones, as well as our world-class maritime and air infrastructure such as Hamad port and Hamad International Airport, are strong factors to further improve the country’s investment climate and also to support the development of local SMEs. We are seeing important steps to support the local private sector” he said. In addition, international businesses are expected to benefit from incentives and new measures laid out in the much-anticipated Foreign Direct Investment Law.

Turning to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Sheikh Faisal said Qatar’s role as competition host had helped to pave the way for the country to develop its tourism offering and increase visitor numbers. “The government is taking bold steps to boost the country’s tourism industry,” he told OBG. “The World Cup is one key landmark on Qatar’s journey to becoming a global travel and tourism destination. This major event will dovetail with many other attractions and initiatives, including leisure, entertainment, culture and tradition, and retail activities.”

Sheikh Faisal also noted Qatar’s other strengths, which he said included a strategic location, with easy access to several international markets, and ongoing expansion plans for the national carrier, Qatar Airways. “The government is working to build Qatar as a destination of travel and tourism. Our appealing weather conditions during the winter makes it a very attractive destination for Europeans for example, which have ample options to enjoy our leisure and entertainment options including best-in-class resorts, museums, and shopping malls, among others. In this endeavour, the private sector has a very important role to play,” added Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani.

OBG’s representatives in Qatar interviewed Sheikh Faisal as part of the research for The Report: Qatar 2019, the Group’s forthcoming publication on the country’s economic development and investment opportunities. The report will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. OBG will explore the progress Qatar has made in developing its non-energy sector, which grew by 6% in the first six months of 2018. It will also analyse the latest developments in Qatar’s hydrocarbons industry, including the impact from the country’s decision to lift the North Field moratorium on the local O&G industry, and what it will mean in its downstream expansion plans.

The publication will contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities, including: Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar; Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani; Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani; and the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed al Kuwari.