Qatars next five-year National Development Strategy (NDS) will reflect the less certain times ahead, according to Michael Stephens, head of the Qatari branch of the UKs Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (Rusi).
In an era when hydrocarbons prices are suffering a sustained downturn and Qatars famed budget surpluses are now a thing of the past, the new strategy reflects a more humble approach, Stephens wrote in a commentary published in local media.
It is understood that NDS 2017-22 wil be radically different from the previous five-year plan, set between 2011 and 2016, which was conceived during high oil prices and shortly after the state won the right to host the Fifa football World Cup 2022 six years ago.
The World Cup document committed to developing some $70bn of new infrastructure projects, including a new metro network, highways, hotels, shopping malls and of course stadiums.
In comparison with the ambitious infrastructure building initiated by the previous NDS, the new plan focuses on consolidation and looking at piecing together the mosaic of a country that has been created in the past few years.
Diversifying Qatars economy from oil is expected to be the key feature of the NDS 2017-22 along with the empowerment of the private sector to make up for what is seen as the shortfall of a government-driven economy.
While the former plan also strongly focused on diversification, Stephens said it did not clearly articulate the necessity to change the economy to a more sustainable mix between the private and public sectors.
This shift in policy has started to make itself felt in recent months. In July, for example, Qatars Supreme Council for Delivery & Legacy received bids for a legal advisory role on using public-private partnerships (PPP) to fund two World Cup stadiums.
The government is currently preparing a public-private partnership (PPP) framework, with the draft of a new law expected this month.
The NDS 2017-22 will reflect a state that is now working hard on institutional reform with a focus on sustainable development such as protecting the environment, improving standards of education, and promoting human development, Stephens added.