Managing the ongoing economic development of Qatar remains a priority for the country as it continues to experience a period of unprecedented growth. Qatar National Vision 2030 outlines three broad and interrelated goals which will guide international and domestic policy-making in the decades to come:
To work towards these goals, the National Economic Strategy 2011-2016 is beginning a number of projects which will initiate Qatar’s transformation into a more sustainable and prosperous economy. To meet the above goals, the next five years will involve progress in a number of related initiatives:
"Productive base" refers to the total value of an economy’s resources, institutions, infrastructure and workforce: the stronger and more stable a country’s productive base is, the more opportunities are available for its citizens at all levels of society. Currently Qatar’s economy is based predominantly on its oil and natural gas resources. Transitioning the economy to a more robust model not pegged to the fluctuations of the global energy market will be a major priority in the coming years. Key to maintaining Qatar’s economic strength will be the development of a national investment framework that will both ensure that Qatar’s hydrocarbon assets are being used in a meaningful way, and seek out new investment opportunities in areas such as foreign currency reserves.
At the policy level, a number of steps are being taken to promote greater economic stability. These include:
Using resources more effectively at the institutional level has been shown to have a trickle-down effect on financial prosperity and productivity. To that end, Qatar has committed to a $65 billion investment in infrastructure development through 2016. Included in this will be projects to promote the following:
A diverse economy is more capable of creating jobs and opportunities for future generations and is less vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles of oil and natural gas prices. As of 2009 hydrocarbon revenues accounted for 50% of Qatar’s GDP and 98% of its exports. Creating growth and opportunities for a future beyond this reliance will involve significant shifts to the culture and institutions of Qatari society. Building a strong entrepreneurial culture will be a major initiative in the coming years. Currently, small- and medium-sized businesses constitute only 15% of Qatar’s economy. Enterprise Qatar, a newly-launched initiative, has been created to increase this number by providing performance-based grants and vouchers to nascent businesses. Creating highly-skilled jobs is another priority; the current proliferation of labor-intensive, low-wage jobs limits opportunities for Qatari citizens. Building a culture of research and development will attract foreign investment and provide additional outlets for skilled Qataris who would otherwise emigrate or go into the public service. Recently, Qatar has committed 2.8% of its GDP to support research initiatives. These include:
Hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022 will present many new economic and cultural opportunities for Qatar. While the direct economic impact will be minimal for the period between 2011-2016, a sizable investment in infrastructure and capacity-building will be required in the years to follow. In the immediate future, institutional arrangements for overseeing and managing World Cup-related activities will be established, as will an investment framework to support the required expansion of Qatar’s infrastructure. Overall, Qatar’s economic prospects remain strong, both for the period of 2011-2016, and for the years of increased development leading up to the 2022 World Cup. Critical will be leveraging the ongoing profits of a hydrocarbon-based economy and the added international focus of hosting a major sporting event towards a more stable and sustainable society for all Qataris.
Download a copy of Qatar National Development Strategy.