Balancing act: Page 29

Qatar in brief Still prospering: Growing economy continues to provide a high standard of living Stimulating sufficiency: Recent diplomatic difficulties encourage local industry expansion Viewpoint: Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar Making new friends: Visa-free programme set to mitigate fallout from the regional blockade Interview: Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani Balancing act: Diversification and development are aiding recovery Interview: Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce; and Vice-Chairperson, Qatar Investment Authority Interview: Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, CEO, Qatar Development Bank Measured responses: As global oil prices begin to recover, the government is forecasting a declining deficit Changing plans: Six-year blueprint places emphasis on private sector development and entrepreneurship Strategy for growth: Small and medium-sized enterprises to spur diversification As a result of the infrastructure investment boom, Qatar has remained better insulated from the effects of oil price volatility than most countries in the Gulf. A return of oil prices to above $50 per barrel will certainly improve the economy, giving the government a solid foundation to launch its new six-year strategic plan. Meanwhile, the economic blockade that was imposed on Qatar in June 2017 has initiated a renewed focus on boosting local industry.

6 11 16 18 20 24 29 38 40 41 44 46 Open for business: Increased flexibility is encouraging new waves of foreign and private investment Interview: Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi, CEO, Manateq Together for growth: A new partnership framework is at the heart of the infrastructure investment push Interview: Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, CEO and Board Member, Qatar Financial Centre Authority Notable changes: Solid policy decisions set sector on the right path Digital shake up: Under new market conditions, financial technology is fast changing the sector’s landscape Interview: Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank Towards consolidation: A wave of mergers is on the cards, as the cost of borrowing rises and growth decelerates among some lenders Interview: Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari, Group CEO, Qatar National Bank Interview: Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi, CEO, HSBC Qatar Smooth flows: Following tightening conditions in 2016, measures have been put in place to boost liquidity Interview: Sheikh Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Jassem Al Thani, Chairman and Managing Director, Ahli Bank Strategic value: A range of new instruments and regulations help integrate the exchange into global markets All in the family: Family-owned businesses are being encouraged to list publicly Branching out: Key players in the industry look to expand internationally as part of future growth strategies Maturing framework: Islamic banking is increasingly well integrated within the local financial system Interview: Bassel Gamal, Group CEO, Qatar Islamic Bank Rising issuance: Sharia-compliant bonds become a permanent fixture in regional finance, with yields beginning to rise across the board Sustained coverage: A host of large-scale infrastructure projects and the country’s growing population support the sector through the economic slowdown Health care reform: The implementation of a new medical insurance scheme is anticipated to strengthen the sector 50 55 56 57 61 69 70 71 73 74 75 76 78 82 85 93 95 96 98 104 106 112 113 114 116 121 123 126 132 135 Page 106 Qatar remains one of the world’s strongest hydrocarbons players, having the vast capacity of the North Field natural gas facility. Renewed efforts to boost oil recovery should see the country’s revenues increase, while the state continues to boost efficiency through the ongoing development of new technologies and production methods. Maintaining prominence: Developments and upgrades to keep Qatar at top of global energy market Interview: Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry Better together: Mergers and integration aim to streamline energy sector Global investor: International gas investments to boost growth and expand Qatar’s global influence Poised for growth: Capacity increases in power and water are key to supporting continued economic expansion Interview: Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, President, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation Staying current: Numerous infrastructure investments are being rolled out to further modernise the electricity network Make a move: Boosting efficiency will be key to maintaining sector growth The right environment: New programmes and strategies are creating a platform for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises A flurry of activity: Major projects to prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and meet long-term development goals 142 143 145 147 151 157 158 159 160 161 164 169 173 179 180 182 191 192 193 Interview: Jassim bin Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications Flagship projects: Spending in all modes of transport is gathering pace Interview: Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, Managing Director and CEO, Qatar Rail Up, up and away: The state is bolstering its airport capacity as passenger numbers rise On time: A growing population and upcoming tournament are creating much activity Building blocks: The raft of new projects is likely to affect materials prices Interview: Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, President, Public Works Authority Going green: New eco-friendly standards Interview: Eisa Al Hammadi, CEO, Qatar Primary Materials Company World Cup fever: Infrastructure plans under way Prime mover: In a bid to ensure there are sufficient facilities for the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, oversupply may become a challenge Interview: Nabeel Mohammed Al Buenain, Group CEO, Qatari Diar Ahead of the game: Increasing connectivity and building up small tech businesses are priorities in the expansion of the sector A solid start: Incubators, free zones and funding initiatives are providing support for new tech businesses Interview: Ahmad Mohamed Al Kuwari, CEO, MEEZA Preparing for guests: Infrastructure upgrades are set to drive new demand Interview: Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority Interview: Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director, Qatar National Library Resilience is key: New supply and greater diversity are expected to aid recovery in the hospitality segment 197 202 204 206 209 215 216 218 222 224 226 231 234 237 242 244 247 250 253 256 259 260 Steady progress: Demand for private schooling remains high while the research sector develops Purposeful partnerships: International institutions open new branches and public universities engage the private sector Roundtable: Hassan Al Derham, President, Qatar University; and Ahmad Hasnah, President, Hamad bin Khalifa University Interview: Hamad Al Ibrahim, Executive Vice-President, Qatar Foundation Research and Development; and Chairman, Qatar Science & Technology Park All hands in: Private sector care is needed for an ageing population and lifestyle-related diseases Making room: A favourable climate welcomes increased private health care participation Interview: Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health Eye on the ball: Events hosting has played a chief role in positioning the country on the world stage Interview: Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Tuned in: The country maintains a strong standing in regional and international markets What is trending: Online platforms are beginning to shape the media landscape Reaching the peak: A number of major mall openings have seen the sector expand significantly in 2017 Hyper activity: Supermarket chains rush to meet increasing demand for variety PwC Paid in full: An overview of local tax regulations Adding up: Value-added tax and excise tax Interview: Wadih AbouNasr, Country Senior Partner, PwC Qatar Al Sulaiti Law Firm A roadmap for investors: Rules governing foreign investment and company registration Legal matters: New rules and regulations Interview: Mubarak Bin Abdulla Al Sulaiti, Chairman, Al Sulaiti Law Firm THE GUIDE Comfortable stays: Hotel listings Listings: Important phone numbers Facts for visitors: Useful information for business and leisure travellers Page 173 Page 151 Page 135 Page 126 With high levels of internet use and smartphone ownership, as well as fast internet connection speeds, Qatar boasts a well-developed telecommunications market. New initiatives aimed at supporting the country’s budding start-up scene through the increased use of ICT are also being implemented. In addition to an abundance of construction activity well under way in the capital, highways, housing estates and hypermarkets are also being built around the country. A huge amount of investment is being channelled into Qatar’s infrastructure, along with its real estate, providing some of the largest contracts of recent decades for construction companies.

Preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are well under way, with a total of $11.5bn allocated to transport initiatives in the 2017 budget. Of this, $2.7bn was specifically earmarked for rail works, the new commercial port and road projects. Road developments for the hosting of the world games are expected to be complete by 2018. The industrial sector is playing a key role in creating a competitive and diversified economy, central to Qatar National Vision 2030. Following the blockade of Qatar by some regional neighbours, government entities and the private sector have pushed for initiatives to expand industries and establish new projects to boost local products and achieve self-sufficiency.

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