The US-Qatar Business Council hosted a luncheon in Washington, DC featuring Doha Bank group CEO, Dr R Seetharaman.
Seetharaman highlighted the global trends which contributed to the new world order. He said “The changes emerging in business and technology are creating a new competitive landscape which should better value to clients, reduce excess capacity, reduce processing costs and have flexibility to manage change. The need for change arises from interlinked financial markets, regulatory realignment, technology and consumerism. The new world order involves change in regulatory architecture, business is more customer focused and information centric, huge debts in advanced economies, social media, volatile financial markets and emerging economies continuing to drive global growth”
On the outlook of global and GCC economies, he said, “Global economic growth is expected to drop in 2012. The recovery will depend on performance in the second half of 2012, determined largely by the euro crisis. Growth in emerging economies also slowed in 2012. Middle East and North Africa outlook for 2012 improved in 2012 due to higher oil prices and recovery from Libya. The GCC GDP at current prices is expected to grow up by 11% beyond $1.5tn in 2012 mainly due to higher oil prices.”
Seetharaman highlighted the visionary leadership of Qatar. He said “Qatar’s National Vision 2030 (QNV2030) builds on a society that promotes justice, benevolence and equality. The four pillars of QNV 2030 are human, social, economic and environmental development. Qatar plan’s to create a knowledge-based economy, is crucial,” he said.
Qatar economy is expected to grow by 6% in 2012, he said. In 2012 and beyond growth will depend on non-hydrocarbon economy. Qatar’s 2011-12 budget gave higher thrust on education, healthcare and infrastructure. It is expected that the 2012-13 budget will be based on higher oil price than 2011-12 and can support infrastructure development.
He said the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-16 “will balance challenges of Qatar’s National vision 2030. Aggregate GDP growth in 2012-2016 is expected to average to 6.9%, out of which hydrocarbon GDP growth is by 4.4% and non- hydrocarbon GDP by 9.1%.”
Qatar’s Overall fiscal position is expected to be healthy with surplus of 5.7% of GDP by 2016. By 2016 the service sector could account for 40% of total output up from 36% in 2009.
Highlighting infrastructure opportunities in Qatar, Seetharaman said, “Major projects are planned for Qatar’s infrastructural development in anticipation of FIFA 2022. Some of the major projects in Qatar include New Doha Port and Barwa City. Qatar ranks 14th globally in Global Competitiveness Report 2011-12. Qatar is also expected to have a full-fledged Boeing facility”.
He said the US investment in Qatar is expected to exceed $8bn and will focus oil and gas sector.
“Qatar has strong fundamentals, a visionary leadership and discipline in long-term planning. Various ratings show very high degree of economic optimism. A warm and friendly investment climate also prevails. Qatar’s economic diversification is also expected to happen which will contribute to economic growth and provide bilateral opportunities between Qatar and other countries. Qatar is an attractive destination for foreign businesses and hence Qatar is the land of opportunities,” Seetharaman added.
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