With a fast emerging SMEs sector and a very strong mid segment, Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector is expected to represent 80 percent of the country’s total gross domestic production (GDP) in long-term, Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari (pictured), Group CEO, Qatar National Bank (QNB) said.
Currently, the non-hydrocarbon sector’s share accounts for 51 percent of Qatar’s GDP. Participating in a session at Institute of International Finance (IIF) “2015 IIF Spring Membership Meeting”, Ali Ahmed noted Qatar’s private sector is growing at an unprecedented rate. The SMEs and mid segment companies are also fast growing. This would accelerate the pace of non-hydrocarbon sector to help contribute a sizeable share to the country’s GDP.
The fall in oil prices will only have a minor impact on the strong diversification rive of the Qatari economy. Citing QNB’s latest Economic Insight report, he said the Qatari economy is projected to grow by 7.0 percent this year, on the back of strong public and private investments to diversify the economy away from the hydrocarbon sector. As a result, the banking sector will continue to benefit from these strong tailwinds, with double digit growth in assets and deposits.
On the roles of banks and the capital markets in providing the needed fund, Ali Ahmed noted the growth in the GCC countries is likely to have reached 3.7 percent in 2014, while the Qatari economy continues to outperform the rest of the MENA region with an estimated growth around 6.5 percent.
The banking sector continues to benefit from this favorable macroeconomic environment that has contributed in parallel to deepening the capital markets. In Qatar, the implementation of large construction and infrastructure projects complemented with a higher population growth, have boosted the aggregate demand, further stimulating buoyant economic activities across all sectors. “We believe the present great opportunities for all players such as banks and capital markets to maintain growth momentum across all their activities and further support the economic and social development of Qatar.
On QNB’s plans to sustain its growth trajectory, the Group CEO said: “QNB Group aspires to become a Middle East and Africa (MEA) Icon by 2017. The overall corporate strategy comprises three pillars: Maintain dominant position in Qatar, develop and grow ongoing high RoE businesses and refocus and continue international expansion.”
Domestically, QNB Group will continue to support the economic development of Qatar and its national strategic projects. Internationally, QNB group will continue its expansion, with a clear focus on strengthening its presence in the Middle East region, Africa and Asia. The international expansion offers QNB Group the opportunity to leverage its in-depth sectorial expertise and capture investment and trade flows across its network in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.