Opportunity in the Face of Adversity
On the 5th of June 2017 Qatar was pushed to the forefront of the political arena when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and others, cut diplomatic relations with the emirate.
The State of Qatar, an independent sovereignty has since sought a diplomatic resolution through dialogue, however with no obvious resolution in sight, one may ask, “Is now a good time to do business in Qatar?”.
Absolutely, despite the ongoing regional uncertainty, Qatar undoubtedly remains open for business.
Qatar, the richest country in the world (with a GDP per Capita of USD 146,000) did suffer a temporary readjustment period following the announcement of the blockade, however the country rapidly returned to normal with the introduction of new supply routes. Alternative supply chains prevented displacement of activity in key sectors. The economy has shown great resilience over the last 6 months. In fact, for some the siege has inadvertently acted as a ‘market disruptor’ enabling opportunity in the face of adversity – a wakeup call for the entire country. New markets and job opportunities have been created internally, both private and public sectors united and are coming together to encourage self-sufficiency. Equally the global market has become more attractive to Qataris as they seek to resource products and services through new international business and relationships from over 80 countries. Statistics from the Fitch Group forecasts Qatari real GDP to expand by 1.9% this year and 2.5% in 2018, from an estimated 2.2% in 2016.
Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims at diversifying income and reducing reliance on energy as a single source of income, is a driving force behind much of the country’s strategic investment plans but the bloc has given the country a significant push in the right direction. Hamad Port, the largest in the Middle East, opened in June and has played a key role in overriding border issues; food security initiatives have been strengthened to include 500 agricultural greenhouses for year-round farming; the import of 4,000 cows to mark the launch of a new dairy industry; and work is underway on a QAR 1.6 billion poultry farm. There has also been continued growth in construction and this looks set to remain a key driver of growth as projects linked to the 2022 FIFA World Cup progress. With liberalised permanent residency laws and visa requirements for visitors, Qatar is clearly stating its position to cement and build new relationships in the wake of the loss of personal relationships from its Arab neighbours.
Recent international reports have praised the Qatari government’s actions in order to create a balance in its financial and monetary policies and diversify its economic base. Strong areas of opportunity for building business with Qatar now lie in the food, health, tourism and construction sectors. A four-day exhibition beginning on December 14 at the Doha Exhibition & Convection Centre (DECC) will see the participation of more than 300 local companies. The ‘Made in Qatar’ exhibition will provide local companies with great opportunity to exchange expertise with international counterparts.
If you are interested in finding out more about doing business in Qatar and you are looking to set up a company, please get in touch and we will advise you on the necessary next steps.
For export opportunities from the UK please check: opportunities.export.gov.uk