Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on promoting and diversifying the national economy

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: Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Within the context of the steady process undertaken by the State of Qatar towards the sustainable and comprehensive development of all its sectors, a new achievement has been reached in promoting and diversifying the national economy. This is a step often considered one of the main pillars in the successful development of a diversified economy, particularly in terms of human capital, and will allow the Qatari workforce and the country’s businesses to properly integrate into the global economy.

This country has been blessed with abundant natural resources. Nevertheless, it has become imperative for Qatar to diversify its economy. Through the implementation of directives given by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and followed up by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the heir apparent, Qatar has adopted a new channel for the development of its business sector by launching an institutional mechanism to promote small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to create an environment that will support entrepreneurial capacity building. This mechanism will help establish ventures that are characterised by value-added activities and that are capable of contributing to the development of the economy. The Qatari government has committed QR2bn ($549.2m) for the above-mentioned initiative with the aim of giving the SME sector an outlook that will enable it to become a growth engine for sustainable development.

In implementing this initiative, an autonomous body will be established to support economic diversification. This organisation will seek to nurture and create a new generation of entrepreneurs and businessmen who will have a real competitive advantage. This is particularly significant given the role of the SME sector in the provision of employment opportunities and its broader contribution to the economy. SMEs not only constitute the majority of the companies in this country, but they also have the capacity to generate new business opportunities.

The Qatar Authority for SMEs (QASME) will develop and implement various methods to support cooperation between the public and private sectors to promote a culture of initiative and entrepreneurship among young people, who in the future will be responsible for the sector. Through the establishment of QASME, the state aspires to create an environment conducive to the growth and prosperity of businesses and to help them become competitive at the local, regional and international level. However, it is recognised that the development of such an environment is not on its own enough, and that it has to be supplemented by a workforce capable of bearing this enormous responsibility if our objectives and targets are to be reached.

The aim is to facilitate partnership between ambitious businessmen and aspiring entrepreneurs and provide them with all the means they need to achieve their goals. Therefore, it is crucial that entrepreneurs and businessmen alike take advantage of this initiative, which represents an ideal opportunity to gain access to support and expertise. This will be of considerable assistance in enabling entrepreneurs to turn their ideas and plans into reality.

In fact, entrepreneurs and businessmen share the burden of developing the local SME sector. However, this initiative represents a unique opportunity for these individuals to not only translate their dreams of success and innovation into reality, but also to contribute to the sustainable prosperity of the country’s economy for future generations.

The Qatari government is committed to doing its utmost for the SME sector, and to increasing its support for it with the goal of creating a strongly based, diversified economy. However, this commitment is subject to, and can only succeed with one significant condition: that entrepreneurs and private sector companies bear the burden of responsibility for playing their part in creating a positive outcome through their sincere and positive cooperation.

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The Report: Qatar 2012

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