Population (2020): 2.9 million
GDP (2020): US$144 billion (S$200 billion)
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2021): S$7.7 billion
Qatar has been encouraging foreign investment with the aim of developing a strong private sector. As an active member of the World Trade Organisation, Qatar has opened various sectors of the economy to foreign participation, relaxed business regulations and offered a wide range of incentives to attract foreign investment.
These incentives include a ten-year income tax exemption for foreign capital; not imposing taxes on the import of large machinery, spare parts and raw materials; and allowing the transfer of profits abroad and transfer of company ownership for free1. Notably, in 2019, the Government officially announced the new Qatar Foreign Investment Law, which allows foreign companies and individuals to have full ownership of companies operating in the country in almost all sectors.
1 Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs
FIFA World Cup 2022 is a major event on an international scale, and will be a catalyst for growth and development of Qatar – boosting the tourism and hospitality sectors, and consumer spending as visitors flock to Qatar for the World Cup. Its economic growth will increasingly be driven by its ambitious plans to spend up to US$150 billion on infrastructure projects ahead for the event – in line with its Vision 2030 development plan.
Generating enough power to meet massive demand in electricity supply to stadiums, hotels and media centres is key. The Qatar government is making investments into renewable energy such as solar power, and using digital infrastructure such as Internet of Things (IOT) to ensure that World Cup 2022 is being built and carried out in a sustainable manner2.
Although oil and gas is the main driver of Qatar's economy, volatility in oil prices has spurred Qatar to develop other non-oil sectors and reduce its reliance on hydrocarbon exports. While the oil and gas sector will remain dominant, the country has begun diversification efforts to move towards a knowledge-based and services driven economy
The government has launched several critical initiatives aimed at improving the investment climate and encouraging new entrants in key sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, healthcare and education. With these efforts, non-oil sectors contribute over half of Qatar’s GDP3, buffering the economy from external oil price shocks.
Qatar’s desire to diversity into non-oil sectors bodes well for Singapore companies who have expertise in the highlighted industries4.
3 CIA World Factbook, 2017