Qatar’s economy is benefiting not just from the investment opportunities the world’s biggest sporting event have created, but also from normalisation of diplomatic relations with some of its neighbours after a protracted geopolitical dispute. This means Qatar has become a much more stable and reliable target for investment.
The FIFA World Cup has prompted massive investment in stadiums, airports, rail and metro lines, and leisure and hospitality facilities designed to make the country an accommodating destination for fans in 2022. It has led to around USD13.6 billion-worth of project contract awards each year.
The country has also rejuvenated downtown Doha, expanded its oil and gas fields, substantially improved public transport infrastructure, and essentially built the city of Lusail from the ground up.
Meanwhile, sectors such as finance and tourism will benefit from increased air travel, transfer of liquidity, and greater economic collaboration between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours following restoration of diplomatic ties.
Saudi clients are in particular expected to flock back to Qatar, shifting funds they withdrew at the beginning of the economic blockade back to Qatari banks.
AMBITIOUS FUTURE PLANS
The FIFA World Cup is by no means the end of Qatar’s ambitious infrastructure plans.
It has already been courting investors for new projects, and recently awarded a USD13 billion contract to an international consortium to lead its North Field Expansion natural gas megaproject.
Qatar hopes a successful tournament will help bolster its international image and reputation as an attractive destination for investment—and tourism—thereby encouraging more interesting in its real estate market.
This is particularly important as Qatar and its neighbours embark on ambitious projects to diversify their economies away from oil, with Qatar particularly interested in building its knowledge economy. Hydrocarbons today make up around half of the country’s economy, making this project an urgent one.
Qatar intends to improve productivity, boost competitiveness, strengthen labour laws and encourage more private investment in its economy.
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