Qatar launches first of three economic zones

The first of three new special economic zones were established in Qatar so as to help the State’s policy towards its economy diversification.

The Ras Abufontas project, spread over some 4.1km² close by the brand new ‘Hamad International Airport’, will specialise in companies in the communications, InfoTech, energy, logistics, construction, transportation as well as from other sectors.

Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, whilst laying a foundation stone on Monday, said the special economic zones would be the base of the country’s private sector, focusing on small and medium enterprises (SME’s).

The Qatari PM stated that the objective is to diversify from their current hydro-carbon-led economy, to a knowledge-based economy.   The advent however of oil and gas in Qatar by the way did help to make it one of the richest in the world but at the same time is felt to be subject to volatile global oil prices, hence is deemed not reliable.

During a separate speech on Monday, the Prime Minister said the emphasis is on the private sector and entrepreneurial efforts would play a key role in diversifying the economy.

“Today’s launch of the Ras Abufontas Special Economic Zone project for technology and logistics sectors is an example of the government’s efforts to support the private sector,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Qatar is expected to record a surplus of $2bn in 2014, with GDP rising between 6.5-7% to about $780bn, according to the Commercial Bank of Qatar.

The other two zones are Abu Nakhla and Um Alhoul both to be planned and engineered.