Qatar sets out five-year expansion plans

12 April 2011

Infrastructure dominates 2022 World Cup preparations

Qatar has completed its national development strategy for the years leading up until 2016 that marks out the Gulf state’s medium-term plans for growth as part of its Vision 2030 programme.

GDP per capita 2009($)
European Monetary Union32,100
Saudi Arabia23,388
GDP=Gross domestic product. Source: IMF

“While growth will be at a lower pitch than in the earlier years, income levels will remain high, and robust expansion of the non-hydrocarbon economy will help support aggregate GDP growth,” says the document released by the government.

“Transport and communications, along with business and financial services, could grow vigorously. Construction will grow steadily and manufacturing performance should improve.”

While income from hydrocarbons will still dominate Qatar’s economy, growth in the sector is expected to tail off as the country’s 20-year investment plans ends.

The document also states that any decisions regarding further investment in hydrocarbons will not be made until the expiration of the moratorium on additional gas production at Qatar’s massive North Field, the largest non-associated gas reservoir in the world. 

Annual LNG output by countryMillions of tonnes
Australia 20
LNG=Liquefied natural gas. Source: Qatar National Development strategy

However, despite this, growth is still expected to be just more than five per cent between 2011 and 2016 as Qatar invests in non-hydrocarbon industries.

“The real domestic income generated by this growth will still depend on the trajectory of hydrocarbon prices, which have a decisive influence on Qatar’s terms of trade,” the document says.

Cheap domestic feedstock gives Qatar the opportunity to attract investment in its non-hydrocarbons and expand its manufacturing base.

The document also moots the idea of integrate its energy supply chain by exporting surplus power generated from cheap gas to countries both in and out of the region.

Other non-hydrocarbon projects include around $65bn of investment in infrastructure projects as Qatar gears up to the 2022 football World Cup.

“Based on current plans, public infrastructure spending will peak in 2012,” the document says. “This trajectory reflects existing plans for the launch of megaprojects.”

Qatar’s infrastructure plans include the new $11bn Doha International airport, the $6bn Doha port project, as well as the $25bn railway system that includes the Doha metro. 

The document admits that while the foundations for the 2022 World Cup are currently being laid, it does not expect any major direct investments regarding the tournament in the short-term. It also says that as 2016 approaches Qatar will be preparing for the sizeable investments that will need to be made between 2016 and 2022.

“Though some World Cup-related investment projects may be commissioned during 2011-16, the added impact of World Cup activity during this period is likely to be modest,” it says. “A sizeable pipeline of investments is already in place.”

Between 2011-16, Qatar is expecting domestic firms to take advantage of the massive interest generated by the World Cup and use the opportunity to form alliances with global companies.

The country also wants to leverage the tournament to close gaps in its capabilities by including knowledge and technology transfer as part of any future agreements.

The government also states that any affect on trade or any speculative investments will be closely monitored to prevent any abuses of market power.

Population is also expected to grow modestly as the economy grows and further investment is made in the country.

Qatar expects a steady 2.1 per cent growth in population a year between 2011-16, with the population rising from 1.64 million to just under 1.9 million in 2016. 

Qatar’s national development strategy believes that the general outlook for the country is favourable over the mid-term, as countries start to emerge from the global economic crisis and emerging markets continue to grow.

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