A senior official of the Qatar Chamber (QC) has said the country is not affected by the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and stressed that Qatar is "decided" on delivering the more than $200bn infrastructure-related projects set in the pipeline.
"No, nothing, because we have already decided and we have to deliver these projects and everything," said QC vice-chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, referring to construction work in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the Qatar National Vision 2030, among others.
When asked by Gulf Times if Qatar's business climate is affected by the political crisis in the region, al-Kuwari emphasized that the existing projects in various parts of the country are going "according to plan."
In an earlier meeting with foreign traders at the QC headquarters, al-Kuwari also stressed that Qatar needs more contractors to address the country's booming construction industry.
Al-Kuwari said Qatar's construction sector is open to the international market, particularly companies that are willing to take part in the country's economic developments.
"The country is experiencing a variety of changes in terms of economic development, which is why our doors are open to investments. We need more contractors to be involved in Qatar in the coming years," al-Kuwari pointed out.
This was reaffirmed by Arab Hellenic Chamber of Commerce & Development secretary general Rashad Mabger, who said "Qatar constitutes a fertile opportunity and market for almost any business owner visiting the country."
Mabger said Qatar has "made a lot of progress" in a number of sectors "to diversify their economy from hydrocarbon to other activities and they have been quite successful."
Mabger said, "Qataris have always set goals for themselves and they have been making the strides with several success stories. Qatar is one of the countries that have been prominent in the international arena and they have made a lot of progress in many fields to diversify their economy."
With the majority of industries anchored on oil and gas production, an executive of a leading software manufacturing firm underscored the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in helping Qatar and other Gulf countries diversify from the energy sector. "We find that more than 90% of these economies are really fuelled, growing, and progressing on the strength of the key backbone of the economy, which are SMEs; and we believe that the direction and aspiration of countries here in the Gulf is really to diversify their economies," Microsoft Gulf regional general manager Samer Abu Ltaif said.
While the unrest in the Middle East has weighed on tourist arrivals to countries such as Egypt and Lebanon, the Qatar Tourism Industry (QTA) has revealed that the country recorded a significant growth in tourism.
In its first-quarter report for 2014, the QTA said regional and international tourist arrivals totalled 387,022, a 9% increase compared to the previous-year quarter.