The Business Year

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani

- Economy

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Qatar

Bio

To further support the Qatari industrial sector and enhance its contribution to the national economy, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has developed a Manufacturing Strategy as a roadmap for manufacturing industries up until 2030.

To further support the Qatari industrial sector and enhance its contribution to the national economy, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has developed a Manufacturing Strategy as a roadmap for manufacturing industries up until 2030.

To what extent has Qatar managed to recover its pre-COVID-19 main economic performance indicators, and how are these expected to evolve over the course of 2022?

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani: Qatar has adopted a set of preventive measures to safeguard the health of all members of society, to enhance the resilience of our State’s economy, and to help the private sector overcome the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic measures include a QAR75-billion stimulus package for the private sector, exempting food and medical commodities from customs duties for a period of six months, as well as sparing industrial projects from paying the rent of their lands and electricity fees for a period of nine months. These efforts have reflected positively on Qatar’s GDP, which grew by about 4% in the second quarter of 2021. The real gross value added (GVA) of the oil sector increased by 0.7% in the second quarter of  2021, in parallel with a significant rise—6.2%—in the contribution of non-oil activities. In its latest reports, the World Bank projected that the Qatari economy would grow by 3.2% in 2022. The private sector specifically has made great progress in the local development and manufacture of new products—notably penetrating market shares for food and beverage (F&B) and consumer goods, which were previously met exclusively by imports. Self-sufficiency in the F&B manufacturing sector has contributed significantly to Qatar’s in-country value (ICV). Moreover, Fitch Solutions, a subsidiary of Fitch Agency, revised its 2021 current account forecast for Qatar from a 3.3% GDP surplus to a surplus of 4.1% of GDP, a significant indication of the recovery of the Qatari economy. It also forecasts that Qatar’s current account surplus will stabilize at 4% of GDP in 2022, as a result of a record rise in the visitor count to the State due to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM tournament.

What are some of Qatar’s main advantages for industrial investments?

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani: As part of its efforts to support the industrial sector and enhance its contribution to the national economy, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry created Qatar’s Manufacturing Strategy (2018-2022) to lay out a road map for manufacturing industries up until 2030. Qatar has promoted the growth of investments in the industrial sector by launching a number of significant reforms and initiatives, including: developing and facilitating the procedures for establishing companies and industrial establishments through the Single Window services and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry’s website; stimulating foreign investment in strategic manufacturing sectors by facilitating investor access to financing and simplifying the associated approval process; launching a manufacturing capital investment fund and encouraging the availability of alternative financing mechanisms such as venture capital, equity crowdfunding, peer-to-peer business lending in addition to other incentives and benefits; a long-term forecasting program to determine Qatar’s needs for manufacturing talent on an annual basis so that manufacturers will continuously benefit from local talent in Qatar to build durable and competitive companies; enhancing the ease of making initial investments and doing business by making key laws and regulations or their real-world application more investor friendly; attracting major international companies to Qatar to invest in flagship projects in strategic manufacturing sub-sectors such as plastics products, 3D printing, pharmaceuticals, and extreme environment infrastructure solutions; and expanding Qatar’s preferential trade regime through the negotiation of new FTAs to improve access of our manufacturers to international markets. The industrial sector is expected to witness significant growth following the implementation of the Manufacturing Strategy initiatives. The contribution of the manufacturing industries increased by 1.4% to reach about 8.67% during the first six months of 2021, compared to 7.3% during the same period in 2020.

How is the non-hydrocarbon economy expected to evolve in the short term?

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani: In recent years, Qatar’s non-oil sector has continued to grow. Its GDP contribution increased from 52% in 2018 to about 66% by the end of 2020. The Ministry of Commerce & Industry has adopted world-class practices to increase Qatar’s ease of doing business—specifically with regards to industrial land allocation and the establishment of manufacturing operations. This is in addition to the state’s efforts to establish logistics facilities such as the Hamad Port, Free Zones, and Special Economic Zones. The manufacturing sector is expected to continue to undergo further expansion as an outcome of various ongoing strategic initiatives, as indicated by the increase in the contribution of manufacturing to the GDP from 7.3% in the previous year to 8.7% in the first half of the current year. The manufacturing sector was also among the fastest to recover following the recent economic downturn—demonstrating an improved ranking from seventh in 2020 to fourth in 2Q2021 among the various sectors in terms of its GDP contribution. Based on all of these positive indications, we expect the manufacturing sector’s growth and momentum to be sustained in the coming years.

What would be your overall assessment of the economic and social progress made by Qatar owing to the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani: Undoubtedly, Qatar’s organization and hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM has had a vital, significant role in promoting economic growth and diversification in the nation. Since the beginning of this journey, Qatar has been keen to launch initiatives that support the urban planning and economic diversification sectors. This global event will contribute positively to Qatar’s economic landscape by attracting local and foreign investments and ensuring the economic growth of a number of vital sectors such as trade and tourism, as well as promoting the expansion of sports’ contribution to the economic sector.

What sectors and projects are expected to sustain Qatar’s growth pace after the World Cup?

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani: The Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022) pays great attention to the national economy diversification in order to achieve the goals set by the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030), aimed at transforming Qatar into an advanced country capable of achieving sustainable development. The projects implemented within the framework of organizing and hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM support the State’s journey toward achieving its strategic and development goals in the coming years. Qatar is working on reforming legislation to incentivize foreign direct investment and issue additional laws that would stimulate the participation of the private sector in development projects across vital sectors, including tourism, health, industry, and other sectors that would support the growth of the national economy. It is estimated that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM will attract more than one million visitors, thus leading to projected international tourism revenues of QAR67 billion in 2022, compared to QAR31 billion in 2021. Moreover, the National Tourism Sector Strategy aims to attract 5.6 million visitors to Qatar annually.

What are the Ministry of Commerce & Industry’s main priorities in 2022?

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani: The Ministry of Commerce & Industry seeks to diversify income sources and increase the real value added from priority sectors, especially non-oil ones, as well as raise Qatar’s non-oil exports in 2022. The Ministry is also working to remove all obstacles to Qatar’s business environment and to develop it further, as well as provide significant incentives to enhance investment in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the Ministry seeks consolidating the role of the private sector in achieving the economic prosperity of the State of Qatar.

 

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