No better place than Qatar, which combines ‘’strategic leadership’’ and ‘national vision’’

‘’Qatar is an ideal example of country success of combining together strategic leadership and long-term national vision’’ said Dr. Theodore Theodoropoulos, CEO of POWERGLOBE QATAR. Its relatively small population and status as the world’s biggest gas exporter have helped Qatar become the richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita.


Photo: Qatar’s National Vision rests on four pillars: a) human development, b) social development, c) economic development, and d) environmental development

In recent years, however, the nation has faced strong economic headwinds, from the drop in global energy prices to an economic blockade. However, the flexibility of the Qatari economy has been demonstrated by the modest and largely temporary effects of the latter. The nations’ economic growth over the short to medium term is underpinned by a more stable oil price, an ongoing process of economic reform and the investment push associated with hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


Photos: GDP growth in Qatar by Sector

                                         Photos: GDP growth in Qatar by Sector

‘’We could summarize the Qatari development goals, including Qatar National Vision 2030, in these words …building the homeland and the citizen, from which major tasks assigned to the leadership of the state are derived. We consider the building of institutions that are based on rational management of resources, professional standards and benchmarks of productivity and efficiency, and serving the public interest on the one hand, and keenness on the welfare of the citizen, qualifying him for useful productive work and grooming him to find meaning for his life in serving the country and society on the other hand. ‘’These are the two faces of the development process that we aspire to’’, Dr. Theodore has notified.  


Photo: Foreign direct investments trade in Qatar

                                                                            

Under the inspiration and leadership of His Highness the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani, Qatar has outlined its 2030 National Vision, wherein it aims to be an advanced society diversified beyond oil, and providing a high standard of living.  Approximately $130 billion is earmarked for investment over the next 5 – 6 years, of which $65 billion will be devoted to non-energy projects. The latest initiative in Qatar is the preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup Soccer, which is expected to lead to more than $60 billion of investments over the next 7-10 years including infrastructure investments. Qatar’s National Vision rests on four pillars; a) human development, b) social development, c) economic development, and d) environmental development.

The rise of Qatar: An economic success story. Despite challenging times, Qatar remains one of the most competitive and powerful economies in the region. known for its gas reserves, Qatar has not been affected by the drop in the price of oil to the extent of other countries who heavily rely on oil exports, and are now forced into making painful public spending adjustments.

Weaker oil prices have led to a contraction in hydrocarbon revenues but non-hydrocarbon sector growth is strong and expected to be around 5.7%, contributing to an overall GDP growth of just under 3%. This is an enviably good rate compared to other parts of the world and is the highest forecast in the GCC. Qatar has maintained its position at the top of the international table for GDP per capita. The reason for Qatar’s position of strength is thanks to the wise and far sighted leadership of the country. Qatar has an ambitious and long-term development plan under the National Vision 2030 to diversify its economy, with infrastructure spending related to transport, education, sports, healthcare, telecommunication and hospitality being a key part of this plan.


Photo: LNG nominal liquefaction capacity in Qatar

Healthy economic growth in times of weaker oil prices is a demonstration that the strategy of economic diversification is already proving successful. Non-hydrocarbon growth is led by the construction sector, and with a renewed commitment from the government to spending on key projects in preparation for the World Cup, top-down government spending on infrastructure will remain a primary growth driver of the economy. Qatar is assembling one of the most advanced multi-modal transport infrastructure systems in the world that will facilitate long-term sustainable economic growth through the movement of people, goods and information. By air, the iconic Hamad International Airport connects Qatar with over 150 destinations across the world and combined with Qatar Airways’ huge fleet of the latest aircraft means that Qatar is proving more than a match for the global aviation industry’s old guard carriers.

Investment is not just limited to transport and Qatar has made major strides in transforming the education sector, spearheaded by Qatar Foundation and a number of foreign universities with branches in Education City. In addition to the universities, Education City also hosts world class scientific and research companies in the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and major funding has been allocated to new schools. The growth and improvement in quality of Qatar’s health sector has also been a major success story. The first National Health Strategy (NHS) 2011 – 2016 has helped to deliver the health objectives contained in the National Vision 2030, with the human development pillar entailing a holistic and modern healthcare infrastructure that caters to all. Qatar’s investment in health is also much more forward-thinking than simply building new healthcare facilities and staffing them. One of the NHS’ seven strategic goals is an ambitious home-grown healthcare research programme, and this will only strengthen Qatar’s transition towards a diversified, knowledge-based economy.


Photos: LNG exports and the global market share of Qatar

Any assessment of Qatar’s economic strength should also include Qatari banks successful rise story and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), our sovereign wealth fund that invests surpluses of oil and gas revenues to diversify revenues and minimise risk from a reliance on energy prices. With assets now estimated to be around $330bn, the QIA is helping to guarantee Qatar’s future economic sustainability by not only providing alternative sources of income but the huge amount of foreign assets held have been successful in protecting Qatar’s strong sovereign credit rating. Qatar’s economic fundamentals remain robust and Qatar will continue to be an outstanding economic success story in the region based on wise leadership.

Sources: QGN, IMF, QNB, WB, QGT, BBC, CNN, POWERGLOBE QATAR, PPF, QP, RASGAS.