Qatar's third national development strategy: The road ahead

Qatar's third national development strategy: The road ahead
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Author: Hamad Rashid Al-Naimi, Strategy Manager, Invest Qatar

Amid global economic shifts and technological advancements, Qatar stands at a significant juncture, proactively expediting the transition towards a diversified and knowledge-based economy. This strategic shift is encapsulated in the Third Qatar National Development Strategy (NDS3) 2024-2030, serving as a roadmap guiding the nation towards realising Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030).

Revolving around seven strategic national outcomes, ranging from sustainable economic growth to environmental sustainability, the NDS3 reflects Qatar's commitment to navigating a turbulent global landscape. By prioritising the diversification of key economic sectors and fostering a business-friendly environment, the country remains committed to attracting foreign investment and skilled talent, establishing itself as a global business hub.

Targets and strategic focus areas

The NDS3 sets ambitious targets, seeking to accelerate economic growth to an average of 4% annually until 2030, fuelled by increased gas production and economic diversification. The strategy emphasises innovation and research, targeting a Gross Expenditure on research and development (R&D) of 1.5% of GDP, with a significant contribution from the business sector. Additionally, a key objective is to improve labour productivity with an average yearly target of 2%, aligning with the overarching vision of cultivating a knowledge-based economy and generating high-skilled employment opportunities.

Economic diversification driven by ambitious FDI targets

The ambitious Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) target of $100 billion, exemplifies Qatar’s strategic focus to diversify its economy, bolster its global economic presence and foster sustainable growth. At the core of this strategy are ‘Growth Clusters’, situated within the framework of sustainable economic development, focusing on manufacturing, logistics and tourism. These sectors are crucial in driving Qatar's non-hydrocarbon economic development, each with a set of clearly defined goals. The manufacturing cluster focuses on expanding chemicals and low-carbon metals, aligning with global sustainability trends, with the goal of ranking in the top 40 on the Competitive Industrial Performance (CIP) Index. The logistics cluster strengthens Qatar’s position as a global supply chain hub by expanding its air transport activities, optimising its port operations through technological advancements and operational improvements, and capitalising on its geographical and infrastructural advantages. The objective is to achieve 6.6% GDP CAGR, 2.4% labour productivity CAGR and reach QAR 25 billion in re-exports. The tourism cluster focuses on developing business tourism while also building on the country’s unique characteristics to become a tourism destination of choice for families. Qatar aims to attract 6 million visitors by 2030, increase total in-destination spending to QAR 34 billion, and achieve 19 million room nights thereby transforming the country into a premier travel destination.

These key sectors are supported by ‘Enabling Clusters’, including education and financial services, positioning Qatar as a centre for academic excellence and innovation in financial technologies. These clusters are crucial for the development of a knowledge-based and technologically advanced economy. As the nation looks ahead, substantial growth potential is expected in emerging clusters, such as green technology and creative industries.

Invest Qatar’s role in supporting NDS3

Established in 2019, Invest Qatar’s mission is to strengthen Qatar’s position as an ideal investment destination, while facilitating investments that foster economic diversification and development. Invest Qatar‘s strategic approach to NDS3 integrates a sector-specific focus with a commitment to holistic economic development. The plan creates an interlinked ecosystem, where various sectors mutually support and enhance one another, fostering a balanced, sustainable and resilient economy. 

Invest Qatar is also working to enhance the country’s business climate, streamlining investment processes, providing tailored investor services and cultivating a business-friendly environment conducive to growth and innovation. These efforts play a pivotal role in achieving the goal of securing a top-10 ranking for the business environment and meeting FDI targets, facilitating the seamless integration of foreign investments into Qatar’s economic fabric.

Emphasis on sustainable and green investments

Reflecting Qatar’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% by 2030, Invest Qatar places a special emphasis on green and sustainable investments. Qatar has created a favourable environment for green and blue investments and has emerged as a hotspot for ESG-aligned projects, offering more than $75bn in sustainable investment opportunities by 2030. This strategic approach resonates with the global shift towards sustainability and appeals to a new generation of investors who prioritise environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices. Invest Qatar actively contributes to this green drive by attracting sustainability-conscious investors, providing them with investment solutions, access to government incentives, and facilitating connections with relevant stakeholders. This ensures that their investments are directed towards sustainable opportunities that not only align with green initiatives but also support long-term profitability.

Path to a prosperous future

NDS3, marked by clear focus areas and ambitious FDI targets, signifies initiatives and unwavering dedication to nurturing a dynamic investment climate. This commitment is pivotal not just for achieving these objectives, but also for shaping Qatar’s economic destiny. As an active participant in this transformative journey, Invest Qatar is highly motivated and anticipates contributing to Qatar’s pursuit of a sustainable and diversified economy. The launch of NDS3 presents exciting opportunities to redefine Qatar’s economic landscape, positioning the nation to address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

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