Qatar has a ‘solid line-up of infrastructure and hospitality projects to prepare itself for the large influx of visitors in 2022, although the tournament’s flagship projects, such as the stadia, are nearing completion, Oxford Business Group (OBG) said in a report.
Despite “some concerns” for Qatar’s construction industry surrounding a ‘narrowing pipeline for 2022 FIFA World Cup-related projects and a more general global economic slowdown, there is much reason for optimism within the sector in the years ahead.
‘Qatar’s 2020 budget demonstrates that there will be plenty of investment opportunities going forward, especially regarding infrastructure projects, OBG said in its ‘The Report: Qatar 2020’.
In terms of new developments, OBG noted that following a slight rallying in energy prices in early 2019, Qatar increased spending in its 2020 budget by 1.9% from QR206.6bn in 2019 to QR210.5bn in 2020, the highest expenditure has been since 2015. Revenues, however, are expected to remain stable, at QR211bn.
This was based on an estimated average oil price of $55 per barrel for 2020, the same as the previous year, though $10 higher than 2018.
Beyond the 2020 budget, the country’s project pipeline has more than 1,000 planned developments worth $150bn. About $80bn of this is destined for new projects in the construction sector, with planned infrastructure projects accounting for a large portion of overall investment. Projects include the expansion of Hamad International Airport and extensions to the Hamad Port and the Doha Metro.
In efforts to diversify the economy, Qatar opened its first two economic free zones in 2019, attracting more than 50 companies from around the globe and more than QR1.5bn of investment.
The 400-ha Ras Bufontas Free Zone is located next to Hamad International Airport, and the 4000-ha Umm Alhoul Free Zone is situated near Hamad Port. The ongoing development of several free zones as well as a new law that permits 100% foreign ownership have been steps towards greater ease of doing business, OBG noted.