Doha: Qatar’s economy is strong and resilient, as seen by its good fiscal situation. According to a senior official speaking at the ‘The Year Ahead in the Middle East: Building World Cup Momentum’ event, the FIFA World Qatar Cup 2022 provides the push for growth, and investments from all areas in all sectors are welcome in Qatar.
At the Bloomberg virtual summit, Sheikh Ali Alwaleed Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar), said, “Our eyes are centred on the post-pandemic recovery, economic prospects diverge across countries and regions. There are two main determinants for how different counties are progressing, first is fiscal support during the pandemic and the second is vaccine progress,”
“The Middle East and North Africa region is expected to accelerate growth 4.4 per cent in terms of GDP. For Qatar, when we look at those two determinants, we have certainly outperformed the region – vaccination is at around 90 per cent of the eligible adults. Qatar maintains a very strong fiscal position relative to GPD growth and the financial support has been strong throughout the pandemic,” he added.
Al Thani said, “We believe that now we are heading towards a more kind of endemic phase, the tools that we have are different than before and economic prospects continue to normalise. We believe that transition to the pandemic phase can trigger the investment appetite, accelerate business activities heading towards pre-pandemic levels while maintaining the secular trends like digitisation, supply chain resiliency and localisation. Qatar is maintaining its drive towards economic diversification and greater private sector participation in these efforts.”
He said Qatar welcomes investments in all sectors from all regions. “Most of the investment into Qatar comes from the US, and Europe remains Qatar’s single largest foreign investor. We have also seen growth in Southeast Asia and South Asia as well and we look to promote it in our strategic markets and there are many sectors we look to promote within Qatar that complement this geographical approach.”
“We have a business-friendly environment, strong connection to markets in Africa and Asia, and strong investment protection ties globally. Connectivity, knowledge, innovation and a business-friendly environment are our strong points. Qatar has a strong and resilient economy which is evident from our strong financial position which will continue to outperform our GDP growth and we are looking to maintain it which will be at the forefront of the GCC forecast with about 4 per cent GDP growth in 2020 and 5.7 per cent in 2022, according to the recent IMF report.”
When asked about the new sectors Qatar is targeting, he responded, “Agritech is the new area that Qatar is currently witnessing significant growth in. Also, technology, electric vehicles, automation, professional services and sports are not only limited to the World Cup but also other large sports events like the Formula 1, Asian Games 2030 and also the growth of sports tech as a sector within Qatar. Tourism and hospitality have seen significant growth coming to a kind of post-pandemic phase, also now with the ESG and circular economy. There are so many opportunities around these sectors which we look to promote.”
Al Thani added, “The new sectors we are targeting for FDI promotion and the growth of the digital economy are software development, data centres, cloud computing, ICT digital health, AI, and machine learning. The favourable business environment, availability of skills and talent in the region, we see that as being a lucrative value proposition for Qatar.”
Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 will spur economic growth in terms of tourism, putting the country on the map for sports, hosting large scale events, and presenting Qatar as a desirable place to live and work.
“This is an opportunity and we believe that we are well-positioned for hosting such an event in Qatar,” he noted. Elaborating about the post World Cup investments into Qatar, he said, “Going into 2022 we have a strong pipeline, Qatar’s North Field expansion will lead to significant growth and investment opportunities, new legislative reforms such as the PPP law, greater private sector participation and also effective government incentive and economic management, we believe that will be the impetus for greater FDI growth going into 2022 and beyond.”