Tourism, Liquified Natural Gas & Sports are Qatar’s New Legacies Post The FIFA World Cup 2022

October 28, 2022

Qatar gets ready to welcome a new era in its economy as it diversifies its economy in light of the milestone sporting event

October 31st, 2022: An informative panel discussion shed light on how Qatar is diversifying its economy after the FIFA World Cup, organised by OCO Global and CBD Corporate Services in conjunction with Invest Qatar and the British Business Group Dubai & Northern Emirates (BBG).

Panelists were Jeroen Nijland – Director of Investor Relations and Special Advisor of the Investment Promotion agency Qatar (IPA Qatar), Kathrin Lemke – Manager at OCO Global Qatar and Adam Stewart – Knight Frank Partner – Head of Qatar. The event was moderated by Helen Barrett, Partner at CBD Corporate Services and Deputy Chair of BBG.

“Qatar has mobilised its resources to give rise to a knowledge-based economy. The country’s economic diversification and business attraction efforts, as guided by the 2030 National Vision, have strengthened its position as a hub for promising investments from across the world.  

Qatar is, today, an excellent launchpad to do business, backed by its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, connectivity, availability of highly skilled talent, competitive regulatory and tax framework, and excellent quality of life. This is evident in the growing opportunities spanning different sectors, such as financial services, fintech, insurtech, IT, cloud systems, cybersecurity, agrofood and agriTech (including vertical farming), sports, media/gaming,” commented Jeroen Nijland.

“It is imperative to have access to industry-specific information and conduct feasibility studies when expanding into Qatar, there are a lot of things to take into account such as finances, culture, and legality,” said Kathrin Lemke.

As Qatar steers towards a technology-driven economy, smart cities are being built upon the latest wired and wireless communication networks to offer advanced infrastructure.

“Real estate has seen a positive effect due to the World Cup yet remain affordable relative to other GCC countries,” said Adam Stewart.

“With the ever-changing legislations and policies, Qatar’s corporate landscape is a hotbed for foreign investors who want to set up or expand into the region,” commented Helen Barrett.

Key Takeaways

Real estate, events, tourism

  • Real estate: more possibilities for foreign ownership and mortgages
  • Hospitality and tourism also stimulated after FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup was announced. A new tourism policy with multiple initiatives has been implemented by the government to attract 7M tourists by 2030
  • Qatar going to host the Asian Games in 2030, Formula 1 Grand Prix, Expo 2023 which will further attract tourism and FDI

New projects

  • North Field Expansion, expected to increase Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity by 64% from 77 million tonnes per annum to 126 million tonnes per annum
  • World’s largest “blue” ammonia plant, expected to produce 1.2 million tons per annum
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects
  • Metro expansion

Legacy of recent investments

  • 200 billion USD has been invested in this past decade – 5% of which was related to stadiums, and 95% for infrastructure (roads, port, airport, metro, digital connectivity etc)
  • As a result, world class infrastructure (physical and digital) is now available in Qatar

Business climate

  • In addition to this world class infrastructure, attractiveness of Qatar as a regional business location is supported by number of recent reforms:
    • Labour market reforms (Kafala system was abolished, minimum wage introduced, and no localisation requirements)
    • Full foreign ownership exists for almost every activity type with a few exceptions
    • Trade and Investment Court has been established
    • Provisional commercial licence for all commercial activities introduced
  • Talent: Qatar ranks high in availability of talent and possibilities to attract talent
  • Simplified regulation and competitive tax system

Foreign direct investment

  • United Kingdom is the second biggest investor in Qatar, the first being the USA
  • Relations between Qatar and UK continue to strengthen

Real estate

  • The FIFA World Cup has had a positive effect across all major market sectors (residential, hospitality, retail, and offices)
  • Investing in real estate in Qatar includes benefits such as permanent residency which provides free healthcare, education tuition, and the ability to invest in certain commercial activities.
  • Prime office rents, which halved since 2015, are now affordable relative to other GCC countries
  • Smart developments, such as Lusail City and Msheireb Downtown Doha, have been built as Qatar steers towards a technology-driven diversified economy
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