Qatar is keen to further develop its private sector and promoting formation of joint ventures (JVs) with international partners aiming to achieve self-sufficiency, said Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman, Al Faisal Holding, in an interview with Oxford Business Group (OBG).
Qatar’s efforts to tap new investors, and goods and service providers farther afield, were among the topics discussed recently at a meeting held between Sheikh Faisal, who is also the chairman of Qatari Businessmen’s Association.
Sheikh Faisal told OBG, the global research and consultancy company, that the ongoing regional blockade had generated new business opportunities for both local and international firms, as the country looks to the private sector to become more resourceful and drive new growth.
“One major advantage of Qatar is the presence of competitively priced raw materials, including secure energy supplies,” he said. “The Qatari Government considers industrial development to be an integral part of its plan to diversify the economy through leveraging off its huge natural gas reserves, and is strongly supporting local investment into the manufacturing sector. In addition to the Government’s plan to invest in several downstream industries related to Oil and Gas sector, the Government is also encouraging private companies to invest in setting up local manufacturing and assembly facilities, spurred on by large scale infrastructure development,” added Sheikh Faisal.
“There is a clear will in Qatar to become more self-sufficient and put the emphasis on quality and efficiency. At the same time, the country is opening channels for new partnerships and joint ventures with the international community,” he said.
Sheikh Faisal also highlighted the key part that Qatar’s rapidly advancing infrastructural development was playing in attracting international firms to its shores, helping the country to consolidate its position as an investment destination and diversify the national economy. These include major projects either completed or under way include a raft of transport initiatives, such as Hamad Port, Hamad International Airport, Doha Metro and new road networks, while two additional free zones, located next to the port and airport, are expected to further strengthen Qatar’s bid to boost inflows.
“The establishment of Qatar’s free zones, as well as our world-class maritime and air infrastructure such as Hamad port and Hamad International Airport, are strong factors to further improve the country’s investment climate and also to support the development of local SMEs. We are seeing important steps to support the local private sector” he said.
In addition, international businesses are expected to benefit from incentives and new measures laid out in the much-anticipated Foreign Direct Investment Law.
Turning to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Sheikh Faisal said Qatar’s role as competition host had helped to pave the way for the country to develop its tourism offering and increase visitor numbers.
“The government is taking bold steps to boost the country’s tourism industry,” he told OBG. “The World Cup is one key landmark on Qatar’s journey to becoming a global travel and tourism destination. This major event will dovetail with many other attractions and initiatives, including leisure, entertainment, culture and tradition, and retail activities.”
Sheikh Faisal also noted Qatar’s other strengths, which he said included a strategic location, with easy access to several international markets, and ongoing expansion plans for the national carrier, Qatar Airways.