Qatar’s banking sector is expected to grow 10-15 per cent in 2014, Ali al-Kuwari, acting group CEO of Qatar National Bank (QNB), said at the MEED Qatar Projects 2014 conference in Doha on 18 March.

“We forecast spending of $29bn this year on projects, with the biggest shares coming from the construction and transport sectors, which we expect will contribute 46 per cent and 34 per cent [respectively],” he said. “Over the next four years, we expect project spending of $165bn and more participation from the private sector benefiting from these schemes.”

Qatar’s real GDP growth is expected to hit 6.8 per cent in 2014, with growth mainly coming from non-hydrocarbon sectors. QNB forecasts hydrocarbons growth of 1 per cent, and non-hydrocarbons growth of 11 per cent.

Al-Kuwari added that small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to play a larger role in the country’s economic growth and QNB plans to help develop the segment.

?“Last October, we developed a very aggressive strategy targeting SMEs, which includes focusing on corporate financing, supply chain financing, developing specific sector packages and strengthening projects, channels and partnerships in that segment,” he said.