Ever since it secured the rights to host football’s 2022 World Cup at the end of 2010 Qatar has been in the spotlight.
While businesses around the world are keen to be involved in building the facilities needed for the tournament, it is important to remember that the World Cup is just part of Qatar’s vision for the future. Although the World Cup is a crucial part of its plans, it is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Doha, like many other governments around the region, ultimately wants to diversify its economy away from the energy sector. As the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, Qatar can afford major investments in a broad range of sectors ranging from petrochemicals and industry, to finance and education that will create new jobs and economic opportunities.
For the next 10 to 20 years, the government together with support from the private sector will develop more than $60bn of infrastructure to support this diversification drive.
It will build a new port, railway, metro, roads, office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, homes, schools, universities, and hospitals. The challenge will be coordinating these efforts to make sure that the product is greater than the sum of the parts.
Doha aims to do this with its newly created Central Planning Office. With support from UK-based consultant Aktins, the body will be tasked with making sure that the planned infrastructure projects are not just construction projects, but provide a comprehensive infrastructure network that ensures Qatar achieves its 2030 diversification goals.