Energy & Mining

Made in Qatar

Manufacturing industry

Manufacturing has become one of Qatar’s driving forces in its push to diversify. It is the largest segment of the country’s non-hydrocarbon sector, accounting for 20%. Its success started at […]

Manufacturing has become one of Qatar’s driving forces in its push to diversify. It is the largest segment of the country’s non-hydrocarbon sector, accounting for 20%. Its success started at the beginning of the century based on Qatar’s competitive advantage in the gas industry. The huge natural gas reserves served as the primary feedstock for the manufacturing sector, and the government, as well as many foreign companies, identified it as a competitive advantage for industry establishment.

Consequently, the country emerged as a petrochemical producer, converting raw materials into a wide range of finished products ready to be exported. Nowadays, Qatar exports over 11 million metric tons of chemical and petrochemical products, and its chemical manufacturing portfolio represents USD8 billion for the state’s treasury. Furthermore, Qatar’s nascent petrochemical sector pushed the need to develop other manufacturing industries such as plastic packaging or wood pallet production.

Having already laid the foundations of its manufacturing industry, the country’s infrastructure demands required expansion to other segments. The celebration of the Asian Games in 2006 and the awarding of the FIFA 2022 World Cup boosted the manufacturing of concrete, steel, aluminum, and other building materials. Major government entities and private-sector players opened factories to cater to the demands of the construction sector and cut off import materials dependence.

One of the most representative examples of the impact of hosting international tournaments has to be World Cup seats. In April 2016, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) awarded a local manufacturing and construction company the supply, installation, and maintenance of 140,000 seats for three World Cup stadiums. These seats will include a “Made in Qatar“ label on the back, creating a precedent for future stadium construction overseas.

The construction boom meant that, between 2012 and 2016, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP was a constant 10%. Moreover, the demands of a growing population bolstered the development of light industries. One of Qatar’s major burdens has always been a high dependency on food imports. In 2015, the local fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry accounted for 7% of the country’s domestic consumption. That same year, Qatar was projected to be the fastest-growing food market in the region over the next five years. With rising urbanization and an increase in the number of tourists and hotels, food consumption is expected to reach 2.2 million metric tons by 2019. In this regard, its strategic position gives the country the chance to become a food manufacturing hub in the GCC, with the FMCG sector moving USD25 billion worth of investments and employing more than 250,000 workers.

While the country is maximizing its manufacturing capabilities, new industries such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment manufacturing have risen over recent years. Qatar’s pharmaceutical market is forecast to become a USD1 billion industry in 2019. As foreign drug markers continue to limit their activities in the country to sales and marketing, this creates significant opportunities for local medicine manufacturers to build a market share backed by protective regulation.

Moreover, an integrated logistics framework is the dream platform for national manufacturers to export their products abroad, promoting the “Made in Qatar“ brand. The expansion of Hamad International Airport and the recently inaugurated New Hamad Port could boost cargo exports leaving Qatar’s borders. Additionally, the development of warehousing and logistics parks will further support the growth of the downstream industrial sector.

With all the pieces put in place, the authorities just need to promote national production overseas. In this regard, Qatar Chamber launched its travelling exhibition “Made in Qatar,“ which aims to promote a diverse range of SMEs in neighboring markets. By doing so, Qatar acknowledges the importance, and at the same time potential, to develop a strong manufacturing industry across a wide range a sectors that could be the catalyst for growth in a post-oil and gas environment.

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