Qatar’s carefully selected portfolio of prime assets, spreading across asset classes and geographies, contributes to economic diversification, financial resources, and reduces risk, HE the Minister of Finance and Economy Yousef Hussein Kamal has said.
“Our investment goals are not merely domestic. Through bodies such as the Qatar Investment Authority and its subsidiaries – Qatar Holding, Qatari Diar, Qatar Mining, Hassad Food and Qatar Petroleum – we are building a carefully selected portfolio of prime assets spread across asset classes and geographies,” Kamal said at the opening session of the Bloomberg Doha Conference.
The minister’s speech was read in his absence by QFC managing director Abdulrahman al-Shaibi.
The development of a vibrant asset management industry is an important element in Qatar’s strategy of diversifying the economy and building a thriving financial services industry, the minister said.
Qatar is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Growth averaged 13% a year between 2008 and 2012.
“Our performance translates into Qatar having one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, highest proportions of high net worth individuals and highest percentages of millionaire households. Moreover, the country’s standard of living has risen to a level comparable to the leading industrial nations,” Kamal said.
Qatar’s growth has now slowed as gas production has stabilized, but the economy is still set to be “vigorous” by international standards, he said.
Qatar’s long-term growth prospects are underpinned by the world’s third largest reserves of natural gas. Most important, growth will be sustainable.
The upshot is that Qatar will continue to be the fastest growing economy in a fast growing part of the world, Kamal said.
And of particular relevance to investors, Qatar’s progress continues to win international recognition from a broad range of bodies.
Among the main international credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s has given the country a stable sovereign rating of AA+ (the same as that of the US) and Moody’s has given it a stable sovereign rating of AA2. Both ratings are among the best in the world.
Qatar is also seeking to raise its credit rating by two levels to AAA, which the country’s economic and financial strength justifies.
The ‘World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013’ ranked Qatar as the world’s 11th most business-friendly country, which is the highest in the Middle East and three places up from last year.
In the most recent ‘Doing Business Index 2013’, published by the World Bank, Qatar was ranked 40th in the world. The same report also ranked Qatar as the second most tax-friendly country in the world.
The last two years have witnessed huge change and political upheaval in parts of the Mena (Middle East and North Africa region), and this continues. Qatar, however, has been fortunate to enjoy political stability and economic strength, helping it to emerge as a regional leader, Kamal said.
Maintaining economic, financial and political stability is critical for preserving trust not just in Qatar’s future, but in that of the Gulf Co-operation Council region in general.
“Along with our neighbors, we have played a major part in underpinning the continuing expansion of the GCC economy. At $1.5tn, the GCC’s combined GDP now ranks among the top 20 in the world, contributing to economic stability and supporting demand at a difficult time for the global economy.
“We are determined to maintain our leadership position in the GCC and to continue to grow our influence in the world beyond,” Kamal said.