Posted on May 08, 2019

Qatar University (QU) represented by The Social and Economic Research Institute (SESRI) and the College of Business and Economics (CBE), in collaboration with the Qatar Finance and Business Academy (QFBA), conducted a study titled "Blockade on Business: A Survey of Qatar’s Financial and Industrial Firms." This study focused on the industrial and financial sectors, using the highest scientific research methodology, to identify the initial and ongoing effects of the blockade on the functioning of the companies, as well as their outlook for the future.

Qatar’s economy has performed remarkably well despite the challenges of the blockade. However, more information is needed to view how the embargo has affected Qatar’s business community, how firms have navigated these challenges, and what policymakers can do to help firms to succeed.

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The goal of the study is to obtain firm-level assessments of Qatar’s business environment, employment and labor markets, trade and logistics, and finance and investment conditions. The results will facilitate economic analysis that will inform key decision makers as they develop policies to support Qatar’s industrial and financial sectors. This study will provide a baseline data for what could, in the future, become a regular survey to track firms’ views over time. The SESRI event where QU representatives announced the results of the study was attended by Qatar University President Dr. Hassan Al-Derham and CEO of QFBA Dr. Khalid Al Horr. Director of SESRI Dr. Hassan Abdulrahim Al-Sayed spoke at the event and emphasized the importance of the study in forming a comprehensive picture about the effects of the blockade on the economic sector.

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Manager of the Policy Department in SESRI, Dr. Majed Mohammed Al-Ansari gave a presentation, which included a set of recommendations for decision makers. Al-Ansari said the results showed that in terms of general working conditions in Qatar, companies are generally positive and optimistic about the future, as local markets have improved dramatically and have been able to reach new markets and suppliers. However, some companies have lost business due to the blockade. The opinion of financial companies was more positive about the impact of the blockade than industrial companies, with 69% of financial companies stating that the impact of the blockade on business revenues was "neutral" and, conversely, only 22% of industrial companies said their revenues remained the same as before the blockade. In addition, 46% of companies in the industrial sector reported an increase in demand for their products, with the exception of the construction sector, where demand remained low. Looking at the supply chains and the import and export capacity of Qatar, companies experienced some difficulties, however, 63% of companies reported being able to find alternative countries in a very short period of time (less than 5 months). 

In addition, Al-Ansari said policymakers should look at success stories as well as challenges, building on the strengths and creativity of Qatar's business community. They should continue to look for ways to enhance business flexibility to access import sources and export destinations. The government should also encourage an effective response to future dialogue between the business community. Finally, it is recommended to investigate the reasons why industrial companies and financial companies differ in their perception of the financial circumstances in the country.