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Visionary Rule of the Al Thani Family Those that dismiss Qatar as another small Middle Eastern economy, which gained prominence because of its oil reserves, do it a disservice. It is true that oil did catapult its small economy once focused on pearl fishing. However, oil provided more than just wealth. It offered the means by which one family would transform a nation. The Al Thani family have ruled Qatar since the early 1800s. Each Emir left his mark upon the small nation. However, it was not until 1995, and the ascension to leadership by the sixth Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, that Qatar began to draw significant international attention. For Sheikh Hamad, it was not enough to simply increase oil and natural gas production thereby making Qatar the richest country in the world. He envisioned more for his country. His vision, focused on progress and prosperity for all Qataris, would evolve into one of the most comprehensive, long-term development strategies in modern history. Ambitious and unrealistic may have been words used to describe such a bold undertaking. Leaders around the world had attempted similar initiatives and failed. What made Qatar different? In short, it possessed the three needed elements to ensure its plans would be successful. Visionary leadership found in HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the economic means provided by its vast oil reserves, and the political power amassed by the Al Thani family. In 2006, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s vision began to take shape in the form of a national initiative that would guide Qatar’s actions over the next two decades. The Qatar National Vision (QNV 2030), approved in 2008, provides a strategic roadmap for the country’s development until 2030. The comprehensive document guides every aspect of the social and economic developmental aspect of Qatar, and covers everything from sustainability and green building to education and research. HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani ensured the foundation was laid for QNV 2030 during his rule. He established the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund, estimated to control over US$100 billion in worldwide assets. Through sound fiscal management, Qatar has been able to invest billions in its social and economic development. Besides the international attention Qatar received for winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first event of its kind to occur in the Middle East, and its groundbreaking hosting of the Doha Debates, a forum for free speech, tackling controversial topics, it has also gained notoriety for its frenzied pace of internal developments such as the Qatar Railways buildout of a network of over 350 km of long distance railways and a 254 km metro network simultaneously. Qatar is also focused on transforming its carbon-based economy to one that is knowledge-based and sustainable. The Qatar Foundation is leading the initiative to invest billions in education and scientific research. World class academic institutions including Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern University and Georgetown University are now prominent in Doha. Additionally, construction projects are focused on green building technologies and the fostering of sustainability. In 2013, Sheikh Hamad took the unusual step of turning over the reigns of leadership to his son, HH Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, citing the need for young leadership. Given that the seventh Emir shares his father’s vision, and also chairs the QNV 2030 vision, the Al Thani vision and legacy for Qatar is likely to flourish in the years ahead.


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Strength through diversity We’re everywhere you look in Qatar today Wherever you go, whatever you do, our mark of excellence is right beside you. As one of the largest companies in the country, Aamal provides products and services that are in touch with you everyday. This would not have been possible without diversity, vision and values that drive our business as we work to keep the world’s fastest growing economy moving forward.



The Youth Age: Commemoration of the Ascension of HH Sheikh Tamin Al Thani The Middle East region witnessed a rarity in June 2013. The peaceful handover of power from one dynastic ruler to the next. Historically, these transfers had either occurred amidst coup attempts or upon the death of a leader. Yet, in the small but wealthy nation of Qatar, HH Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the sixth Emir, at age 61, had chosen to step aside for his son, HH Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, age 33, to take the reins of power. The reason for the transfer was not because of ill health or a desire to step out of public life. The motivation behind the decision given by the Father Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, was the need for empowering the youth of Qatar. For the Emir, young new leadership, found in his son, would ensure that Qatar remained on the path he had carved out – one of modernization and progress. The youth of Qatar make up approximately 15 percent of the total population. Since 1980, the working age group (ages 15-64) has increased, rising from 64.8 to 85.2 percent in 2010. This upward trend is projected to continue into 2015, when at that time, this age group will account for 85.5 percent of the total population. This is a significant demographic with regard to both opportunity and potential. The younger Qataris of today have witnessed much change. Income levels have risen dramatically. The economy has diversified with new job opportunities. Secondary educational opportunities have expanded as large investments have been made in education and training infrastructure to keep pace with the need for greater knowledge and skill development. Healthcare has improved significantly. All lending to a better quality of life, and the youth in particular have benefited from this rapid modernization. Yet, the country’s youth are more than just beneficiaries. They are also a major human resource for further development and change agents for positive social change. The Emir recognized this and was convinced that he had a responsibility to encourage the next generation. The Father Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, understood that the youth were pivotal to meeting the goals set forth under the Qatar National Vision 2030. After all, if it was the responsibility of every Qatari to strive hard in work and to be a part of the country’s progress, and a large percentage of those workers were young, what better way to illustrate this commitment than with a youthful leader at the helm who shared his vision? The peaceful transition of power created a win-win for all involved. HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani ensured that his long-term plans for Qatar move forward, as HH Sheikh Tamin Al Thani is likely to remain on the path his father carved out. Qatar reaps the benefits of a peaceful political transition, meaning no instability or economic upheaval to impede its further development occurs. And, the youth of Qatari are empowered to actively participate in the ongoing modernization of their country.


INTRODUCTION TO THE THOUGHT LEADERS SERIES A celebration of Qatar’s thought leaders, innovators and thinkers, problem solvers and drivers of Qatar’s growth and development.

Finance Drive H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Saoud Al Thani: Governor, Qatar Central Bank regulatory framework for more resilient banks and banking system”, revised up to June 2011, was issued to banks as a consultative paper in July 2013. QCB has also simultaneously conducted a Quantitative Impact Study on the national banks to study the impact on capital of banks due to implementation of the revised rules. Based on the feedbacks received on the consultative paper, the final Basel III guidelines were issued in January 2014. The first reporting by banks as per the Basel III guidelines would be at the end of March 2014. How has the implementation of the new QCB law proceeded since taking effect in January 2013? Have any surprises or concerns cropped up?

Qatar has very ambitious plans for economic growth in the coming years? What specific role does the QCB play in the country’s future plans and direction? Over the last decade, Qatar has achieved considerable economic prosperity as evident from rapidly rising living standards and significant infrastructure investment. At the same time, the country continues to undertake important initiatives that will secure its role in the international community through both the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 and the Qatar National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-2016. In this regard, the QCB has played a supportive role to the development strategy outlined in the NDS. Specifically, the QCB’s recent initiatives have been aimed at furthering financial market development by developing the necessary instruments/infrastructure, increasing macroprudential surveillance and coordinating prudential regulation in the financial sector. Standard & Poor’s suggests that Qatar will soon introduce new rules, similar to Saudi Arabia, with regard to capital charges for bank lending to regional projects that weren’t required previously. Are new Basel III capital norms on the horizon for Qatar? If so, is the region likely to see more project bonds and less long-term financing of Gulf projects by European lending institutions? The new capital adequacy rules based on “Basel III: A global


Subsequent to the enactment of the new law, the QCB, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) have started working together in a coordinated and mutually supporting manner in order to strengthen Qatar’s regulatory and financial infrastructure. In line with this objective, the Governor of the QCB has been named as the Chairman of the QFCRA and the QFMA Board, which is a step towards harmonizing the regulatory framework in the State. Furthermore, as per the directions of the new law, a Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee (FSRCC) has been formed under the supreme guidance of The Governor for identifying and assessing the potential risks arising from all financial services and activities and recommending solutions to manage and mitigate such risks and strengthen financial stability. Since the responsibility of insurance regulation and supervision is now with the QCB, we are in the process of framing a comprehensive set of insurance regulations that are in line with international best practices. Efforts are under way to develop an effective and harmonized authorization and supervision framework for insurance firms in consultation with the other regulatory agencies. This would contribute towards a healthy development of the insurance sector in Qatar. How does overhauling the national regulatory framework support the government’s plans for diversification? The NDS constitutes the main pillar of our development approach in realizing the goals of the QNV 2030. At the core of this strategy is to develop a diversified and more resilient economy - which will have lesser reliance on hydrocarbon revenues - in which the financial sector will have a predominant role. As part of this initiative, we have already made significant progress in developing the financial markets and related infrastructure. Illustratively, major steps have been taken to develop a deep and liquid debt market through regular issuance of Treasury bills and government dated securities. This would lead to the development of a risk-free yield curve that would facilitate the pricing of new financial market instruments. In particular, it would help in


the development of a corporate debt market in Qatar, which would be an important platform for the corporate sector in mobilizing resources for investment in the non-hydrocarbon sector. Moreover, the three regulatory agencies are working together to harmonize and strengthen regulatory oversight of Qatar’s payment and settlement systems infrastructure, in line with international standards and practices. In this regard, the objective is to gradually integrate QFC firms, who were hitherto outside the domestic payments and settlement system, into the national mainstream. Furthermore, we are also strengthening our legal and regulatory framework in order to safeguard consumer protection. For foreign investors and international organizations looking at Qatar as a potential investment site, what do they need to understand with regard to how these planned changes will affect them? You must appreciate that despite the prevailing uncertainties in the global economy, Qatar’s economic outlook continues to remain strong. Continued high capital spending through the budget, and implementation of large projects by public enterprises will ensure that non-hydrocarbon GDP growth remains at a comfortable level. Qatar’s financial sector outlook remains buoyant given the strong macroeconomic fundamentals and sound regulation. The country enjoys a strong credit rating and has a very favorable tax regime. Cumulatively, these factors have resulted in Qatar enjoying a high level of international investor confidence. In this regard, the Government and the QCB has endeavored to provide a conducive and investor friendly environment through the implementation of the NDS. Qatar’s Islamic banking sector has shown steady growth in recent years thanks to government support and recent regulatory changes. Are more changes to regulations governing this sector planned?

Qatar has 4 full-fledged Islamic Banks having a market share of about 23%. QCB has issued the Basel III consultative paper separately for conventional banks and Islamic banks. The capital requirements for Islamic banks are as per Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) Standards. QCB is planning to introduce disclosure requirements and Supervisory Review Process, as per IFSB standards, within the next one year. With the recent regulatory mandates and, ultimately, the scope of the QCB changing, what will the QCB look like in five years? With strong macroeconomic fundamentals coupled with the Government’s efforts to diversify the economy, the Qatari economy is poised to make a big leap. The large-scale investments by the Government in physical and social infrastructure will transform Qatar into a knowledge-based economy. Amidst this bigger picture, the financial sector, with the QCB as the apex authority, will have to play an important role in shaping this transformation. While the banking sector remains important, the QCB is taking steps to develop the broader financial sector, including financial markets and the associated financial infrastructure. As you are aware, we have already set up a Risk Management Department within the QCB and a Central Depository as custodian of securities. We are in the process of setting up an Insurance Department and an independent rating agency in Qatar. At the same time, we have been continuously fine-tuning our regulatory framework with a macro-prudential focus and strengthening our assessment of monetary and financial stability so as to comprehensively monitor and manage risks and vulnerabilities. The challenge will be how best to achieve these desired change in a non-disruptive manner, while taking cognizance of the views of all stakeholders and addressing emerging risks in the best possible manner.

Bullish Banking Over the past decade, Qatar’s banking sector has been one of the world’s fastest growing. Total assets of the Qatari banking system reached over US$250 billion in December 2013. The country’s robust growth, coupled with efforts to further diversify the economy’s non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, construction, transport, and communications -- projected to increase by nearly 10 percent annually -- have aided in the stable financial health of the Qatari banking sector. Public sector spending was anticipated to drive loan growth in the banking sector in 2013. Financing of large infrastructure projects was expected to lead overall lending. As Bhupendra Jain, head of corporate banking at International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) pointed out, “We are talking about a huge scale of infrastructure financing requirement. The metro alone is going to be about US$35 billion and the Port project is estimated at US$7-8 billion. Then there are roads, electricity and water, sewage, Aviation City, the stadiums for the World Cup plus hotels, new shopping malls, Lusail City, etc. The bonding requirements for these projects will be a percentage of these numbers and that’s a very complex algorithm. We expect infrastructure finance demand will be in excess of US$100 billion”. The sector is comprised of a well-structured network of 10 Qatari- and 7-foreign owned banks – Commercial and Islamic -- providing a full range of services. The sector remains profitable and well capitalized. Total assets for Qatar’s banking industry have increased at a compound annual rate of 30 percent over the last 10 years to over US$250 billion. During that same timeframe, domestic lending grew to US$120 billion.

Rising Qatar 2014



Islamic Banking Islamic banks have increased their market share in recent years. According to Standard & Poor’s rating service, Islamic banks currently represent one-quarter of Qatar’s banking system in terms of assets, up from 13 percent in 2006. Islamic banks are expected to gain even more market share thanks in part to recent changes to banking regulations. For instance, the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) banned conventional banks from extending Islamic banking products through what are called “Islamic windows” in the onshore conventional banking system in 2011. This resulted in the conventional banks either closing or divesting their Shariah-compliant businesses. Furthermore, they could no longer underwrite any new sharia-compliant loans. As a consequence, Shariah-compliant banking shifted to the Islamic banks. It also doesn’t hurt that the government and its related entities are the main sponsors of the country’s main Islamic banks. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, is a key shareholder in three of the Qatari Islamic banks. These banks are the Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, and Qatar International Islamic Bank. Furthermore, Qatar Holding and Barwa Real Estate, which are both state-controlled entities, are the principal shareholders of Barwa Bank, the country’s most recent Islamic bank entrant started since 2010.

Insurance Sector Qatar’s insurance industry grew at an annual average growth rate of 11.3 percent between 2008 and 2012 to US$1.3 billion, and the outlook for the Qatari insurance sector remains bright. The industry’s growth can be attributed to the combined impact of economic progress, a substantial focus on infrastructure development, a growing population, and mandatory insurance regulations. According to EVP Sandeep Nanda of the Qatar Insurance Company, “We have a positive outlook for the insurance sector. The massive investments in infrastructure in Qatar will drive the business growth for the insurance industry. The main challenges that we face are product development and knowledge transfer, lack of pricing sophistication stemming from lack of standardized data sets and increasing competition within a fragmented industry. Currently, most of the insurance companies in the region are exposed to property insurance which in turn is dependent on the size of insurable assets. However, infrastructure development coupled with increasing technology and pricing sophistication will provide new growth avenues for this sector. Further, increasing professionalism along with an increase in client knowledge on risk transfer mechanisms will also aid growth.” Construction, energy, and marine are the major lines of insurance resulting from the growing hydrocarbons sector. These lines are expected to remain strong in the near future. Third party motor insurance is compulsory, and the segment accounts for a large portion of the personal non-life insurance market. Currently, health insurance does not constitute a large slice of the industry as it does in some other GCC markets. Government benefits funneled through provisions of free and subsidized healthcare for nationals and expatriates has stymied the growth of this line. One insurance market showing strong growth in Qatar is life insurance. In a very short period of time, the virtually non-exist market has expanded significantly over the last few years. Development and acceptance of life insurance products compliant with Islamic principles and increasing awareness about the benefits of insurance have gradually brought about a change in perceptions of this product. Currently, the Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) dominates with the largest market share. Doha Insurance, Gulf Insurance, Qatar Islamic Insurance, and General Insurance and Reinsurance are other strong market contenders.


Sustainability in Construction: The New Ethos Construction & Infrastructure Since the 1950s, Qatar’s abundant oil and gas reserves have contributed to its growth and development. Each year, the government has invested a sizeable portion of its energy revenues in diversifying its economic base and in improving its highly developed infrastructure. The government’s commitment to investing in the country remains strong, as illustrated by its pledge to earmark 40 percent of its annual budget between 2011 and 2016 for infrastructure projects. Like many of its GCC neighbors, Qatar has typically spent significantly more than projected, given that the country’s budgets are based on conservative oil price assumptions. A case in point is offered in a comparison of fiscal years 2009/10 to 2011/12 when Qatar’s actual spending averaged 20 percent more than budgeted. According to Amr Belal, Managaing Partner, Innovations Unlimited ME, a system integrator of renewable energy technologies, Qatar has been gearing up to achieve big strides in sustainable environmental development. Government agencies are aligning their strategies towards that vision; notably when it comes to infrastructure projects by the Public Works Authority. The development of a local sustainability assessment system, the GSAS, further underlines those efforts, helping implement best practices in infrastructure development and management. While government spending had slowed a bit in 2012, capital spending in 2013/14 is expected to increase by an estimated 29 percent. This is due in large part to noticeable signs that the government is once again ramping up major infrastructure plans tied to the 2022 World Cup. Infrastructure spending is projected to account for 54 percent of the capital-spending budget during this fiscal year. The rail network, roads, real estate, new Doha port and the expansion of the utilities network are expected to benefit the most from projected capital spending.

Rising Qatar 2014


The corporate vision remains being committed to customer satisfaction, contributing to the visionary growth of Qatar, while remaining a significant player in the construction industry in Qatar.

Engineering Building Materials Co Wll: ISO 9001 : 2008 & UKAS and under the process for being accredited as an FSC Company, is involved in the trading of building materials and has distribution rights for the sales of leading brands from around the globe. As authorized distributors for Qatar Steel, we have diversified product range covering all requirements of the construction industry from deformed & Epoxy coated rebars, film faced plywood from Indonesia, Brazil and PRC, White Wood from Austria & Romania, Plywood from France , USA, Indonesia and PRC , American hardwoods, European Wood & African Wood Species , Laminates , wall cladding , and flooring etc. from Italy. With new market requirements focused on sustainability for the upcoming growth plan in Qatar, the company has moved towards securing FSC Certification (Forest Stewardship Council), to facilitate supplies for the various upcoming Leed and Green Projects.

Engineering Rebar Factory (ERF): ISO 9001 : 2008 , ISO 18001: 2007 (Occupational Health & safety) & UKAS,

is a production facility in Qatar for cutting and bending reinforced bars. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Engineering Building Materials Co. Engineering Rebar Factory is manned by a team of highly qualified professional engineers with decades of experience to produce detailed reinforcement shop drawings and bar bending schedules with the use of modern sophisticated computer programs. With deeper knowledge and experience in productivity, supply and services, we have achieved very high quality standards in the industry. Our production line consists of modern state-of- the-art and fully automatic machineries, capable of high rate production to meet customer needs and prompt delivery time. Our machineries can perform up to high capacity reaching 14,000 tons per month. We have adapted advance modern technologies to supplement quality control systems to ensure our highest level of quality standard. ERF has been instrumental in the building process of the new Qatar as it has been a part of leading suppliers to prestigious projects.

Message from the Managing Director During the last decade, we have substantially expanded our offerings to the market and this approach provides multiple solutions for our requirements. All products offered through us come with genuine Manufacturer’s warranty & and are tested to respective standards governing the compliance norms. However, we place our Customers’ requirements at the forefront and can customize offerings to match their needs. We welcome any such opportunity to support projects with Building Materials in our efforts to provide quality products. We have endeavored to establish a business relationship that balances short-term gains with long-term considerations in the market place. We have been sensitive to customers’ requirements & applicable regulatory requirements with a vision to continued improvement. In pursuit of achieving our set objectives and our responsibilities, we have committed ourselves to these principles and have implemented Quality Management System for ISO 9001: 2008 UKAS Certification, OSHAS and Environmental Safety with a recent application to become an FSC Certified Company. The Group is under the patronage of Mohammed Hamad Al Mana Conglomerate and has businesses in diversified sectors.

United Design Industry (UDI): Under process for ISO 9001 : 2008 , ISO 18001: 2007 (Occupational Health & safety) , ISO 14001 : 2004 (Environment) & UKAS and FSC Certifications, UDI was incorporated 6 years ago by the principals of EBMC (Engineering Building Materials Company) in a joint venture with Mohammed Hamad Al Mana Group of Companies. A state of the art Woodworking facility at the UDI factory boasts a wide range of sophisticated and advanced machinery backed with trained, experienced & skilled manpower.


ISO 9001 : 2008 , ISO 18001 : 2007 (Occupational Health & safety) , ISO 14001 : 2004 (Environment) & UKAS National Metal Construction Company (NMCC) started its operations in 2005. The Company manufactures insulated sandwich panels, corrugated sheets for roofing and siding and other steel products used for dry wall partitioning systems for the construction industry. Over a period of 8 years, NMCC established its reputation in the market for sandwich panels and roll formed steel products.

Specialty Building Materials Co (SBM): Since it began operations 2 years ago, SBM has become the authorized distributor for leading global brands Gyproc and Everest & has won performance accolades from them.


H.E. Eng. Nasser bin Ali Al-Mawlawi: President, Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ Ashghal’s key programmes include: the Expressway Programme which is expected to deliver approximately 34 expressway projects by end of 2017; Roads and Infrastructure in Local Areas Programme which will deliver more than 200 roads and infrastructure projects across Qatar in the next five to seven years; and the Inner Doha Resewerage Implementation Strategy (IDRIS) which will upgrade and expand the sewerage infrastructure to accommodate the projected population growth in the country. Ashghal has committed to implementing more than 200 projects spread out over the country over the next five to seven years. What potential challenges do you foresee in such a massive undertaking?

What does “Qatar Deserves The Best” mean to you and how is Ashghal carrying out its intended mission? “Qatar Deserves The Best” is a slogan that embodies the vision for the future, a vision that knows no boundaries- in terms of place, time or people. For us it is our conviction, our belief that we hope not only every member of our staff, but also citizens and residents will embrace in such a way that it will be embodied in our daily work ethic and attitude. It aims at achieving highest standards of living and quality of life for Qatar. Spearheading Qatar’s development of world-class infrastructure and projects of national importance, Ashghal adopts highest international standards to achieve excellence in all its projects and for living up to the promise; “Qatar Deserves The Best”. How does Ashghal effectively contribute to Qatar’s development goals as they specifically relate to the National Vision 2030 plan? Ashghal contributes to achieving the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 by leading the transformation of Qatar’s infrastructure and public buildings so as to develop the nation into one of the most structurally advanced countries in the world. The Authority is managing and coordinating the 5-7 year development programs and projects of Qatar’s public infrastructure to create a sustainable country. By adopting best practices in infrastructure development and management, Ashghal has employed a powerful model of strategic outsourcing and partnership with the world’s leading organizations so as to ensure that Qatar is on par with the most developed nations worldwide.


The biggest challenge with such a massive undertaking will be to keep the country moving amidst all construction work. The disruption caused to residents and citizens during implementation of the program is inevitable. However Ashghal aims to minimize this by providing alternative roads where possible, to ensure smooth and continuous traffic flow. We are planning every single project in ways that seek to reduce the amount of disruption and to minimize traffic delays. High quality alternative routes are being built to highest technical specifications to ensure minimal disruption during construction. One of the most entrusted projects under your guidance is the New Doha Zoo. This greenfield zoo project is receiving much attention and praise. What makes it so different from other zoos? The New Doha Zoo has been planned as one of the most advanced zoological parks ever considered in the region. The project includes a complete remodeling of the existing zoo including expanding the size of the zoo and upgrading and development of the current infrastructure. When complete, the new Doha Zoo will be one of Qatar’s leading education and tourist attractions and aims to provide environmental education to its visitors in accordance with the requirements of Qatar National Vision 2030. Spanning an area of over 75 hectares, it will boast a drive-through safari displaying animals and plants from around the world, including an African Savannah, an Asian Woodland, and a South American Rainforest. Facilities will include a bridge that links the new Doha Zoo with Aspire Park, an educational and conservation Discovery Centre; multiple entertainment and food and beverage outlets and the capability to build 3 hotels. How important is sustainability in terms of the environment, value and quality, and what steps is Ashghal taking to ensure these measures? Ashghal remains committed to adopting the best practices and the highest standards in environment protection. Intensified efforts are being undertaken to promote green


buildings, a concept that embodies the principle of conservation of natural resources, utilization of eco-friendly equipment and recycled materials, and the efficient utilization of water and renewable energy. This year we launched a new Correspondence Tracking System, which aims to significantly reduce the use of paper and substitute with electronic correspondence instead. We also aim to get all of our future building projects rated by

the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) which is the first of its kind performance-based sustainability rating system in the MENA region. We also recycle the soil and building materials that come out of project preparation works or demolishing buildings and the aim is to increase the amount we recycle in future. All projects have a requirement for sustainability and this forms part of the selection criteria during tendering.

Labor Issues

PHOTO: Amna Elnour Hamad

Foreigners make up the majority of the population of Qatar, but only as imported labor. Like many other sectors, construction relies heavily upon foreign laborers. Preparation for the World Cup has drawn hundreds of thousands of mainly Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese workers to Qatar looking for work. However, unsafe and unregulated working conditions on construction sites, a lack of effective safety inspections, and no independent unions has led many international organizations to call upon soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to come up with a plan to protect the workers toiling on construction sites.

The call was once again reiterated in the Fall of 2013 when an investigation conducted by the British newspaper, The Guardian reported that 44 Nepalese migrants had died during the summer in Qatar when temperatures reached a high of around 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). The Guardian’s figures were comparable to those released by the Nepalese government, which stated that last year a total of 151 workers died in the emirate, 85 of them due to health-related conditions believed to be linked to an exposure to extreme heat and cold over a short duration. In the past, FIFA has issued rules requiring its equipment manufacturers to respect workers’ rights and initiate standards, but no such standards exist for companies building World Cup venues. FIFA did express concerns and the Qatari government reacted to the report by announcing they would double the number of labor inspectors and commission an independent law firm to review all claims made.

Meshal al Shamari: Director Qatar Green Building Council The Qatar Green Building Council’s (QGBC) mission is one focused on the future of Qatar. As a non-profit organisation that is membership driven, QGBC advocates leadership in environmentally sustainable practices and encourages collaborations centered on Qatar’s green building design and development. Established in 2009, QGBC is a relatively young organisation, but has within a short period made significant progress in fostering relationships and collaborations crucial to Qatar’s environmental sustainability. QGBC has 130 individual and 64 organisational members who all take an active voluntary role in its work. Affiliates adopt a myriad of responsibilities that include supporting QGBC by steering the agendas of various interest groups, including the Solid Waste Group (SWIG), the Water Interest Group (WIG), the Green Infrastructure Interest Group, the Healthy Building Interest Group, the Facilities Management Interest Group and the Energy Interest Group. Members also help drive sustainability initiatives, as well as, education outreach campaigns within the wider community. In 2012, QGBC came under the leadership of Eng. Meshal Al Shamari, a seasoned professional from within the petroleum industry. During his tenure, Eng. Al Shamari has managed to elevate QGBC’s standards even further to fulfill the organisation’s mandate of securing a sustainable future for Qatar, in alliance with Qatar National Vision 2030.

Rising Qatar 2014


Boom Construction Qatar’s Public Works Authority, Ashghal, has spent billions of riyals to improve and expand the country’s transportation network. In January 2014, it announced that another QR10.18 billion would be spent on further construction projects. One of the largest initiatives announced includes turning an 8.2 kilometer stretch of the Al Rayyan Road into an eight-lane expressway with multi-level junctions. The QR1.02 billion project, which started early this year is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2016 and is a joint venture between two market leaders, Boom Construction and Six Construct Qatar Ltd. Boom Construction is a notable Qatari company with a growing reputation for quality work in the industry and Six Construct is a subsidiary of the Belgian-based BESIX Group. Boom Construction, established in 1995, is a leading grade-A commercial, residential and general contracting Qatari company. It is a seasoned veteran when it comes to Qatari public work’s projects, and for almost twenty years, Boom Construction has performed either total turnkey contracts, or acted as a subcontractor on several major expansion and development programs in Qatar. Over the years, the company led by CEO Ahmed Naddaf has worked extensively with Ashghal, as well as other notable entities such as the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation, Qatar Petroleum, and the Ministry of Municipality & Urban Planning. Boom Construction specializes in road works, road marking, and water works and drainage projects. With an increasing number of notable multi-million-riyal projects under its belt, and a desire to undertake more highgrowth joint venture projects, Boom Construction is well on its way to fulfilling its vision of becoming the leading local firm in Qatar for road infrastructure and construction.


Qatar, Energy Center of the world Gasal: Long-term investment in Qatar’s economy Gasal Q.S.C. was born out of necessity. Key local industries within Qatar were in need of industrial gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and argon. Through a joint venture between Air Liquide (40%), Qatar Petroleum (30.5%), and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (29.5%), that need was met with the establishment of Gasal. Headquartered in Doha, Gasal began building its production facilities and developing its distribution network in the Mesaieed Industrial City in 2006. The company later expanded its operation to Ras Laffan in 2008. Gasal is a unique provider in that its gases are both produced and sold locally, thus supporting the country’s ongoing economic development. Today, Gasal, an employer of 100 full-time employees, can number among its customers Oryx GTL, Qatar Steel, Qatofin, QP NGL, Q-Chem, Qapco, and QVC. Gasal has definitely come a long way in a short period of time and continues to expand its production and distribution network. Gasal continues to invest in multiple high purity hydrogen production units, and is extending its network to connect with QStec via its industrial gas pipeline system in Ras Laffan to provide pure hydrogen and nitrogen gases. Commissioning of the new hydrogen production facility was expected by the end of 2013. Once completed, Gasal’s pipeline network will expand more then 35 km through Ras Laffan, further supporting the downstream development of this industrial city. According to the firm’s management, Gasal has preinvested in Qatar’s oil and gas sector within the economy because it believes in the longevity and long term vision of Qatar’s economic stability. Further plans for investment in the pipeline, which align with the country’s growth plans and QNV 2030, are expected.

Petrochemicals Given its large reserves of natural gas, increasing production of petrochemicals is one area of ongoing development being explored by the government of Qatar. In 2012, petrochemicals production reached 16.8 million tons, up 5.5 percent from 2011. Upon hitting this milestone, Qatar became the largest producer of petrochemicals after Saudi Arabia. State-owned enterprises, Qatar Petroleum Company (Qapco) and Industries Qatar (IQ), and their various subsidiaries and affiliates, control the country’s production capacity; the majority of which is exported. These companies remain committed to expanding the country’s petrochemical sector. Planned capacity expansion at Qapco, Ras Laffan Olefins Company (RLOC), and Qatofin are projected to boost the production capacity of Qatar’s petrochemical industry significantly over the next few years. In roughly five years, the petrochemical industry has undergone a rapid expansion. In November 2009, Qatofin opened its 450,000-tpa, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant. The RLOC cracker opened in May 2010 becoming the world’s largest ethylene producer. The RLOC cracker has a capacity to produce 1.3 million metric tons of ethylene every year; however, if needed, the cracker can be expanded to carry 1.6 million metric tons of ethylene. Qapco commenced production at its new 300,000-tpa, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant at Mesaieed in November 2012. The US$2.6 billion complex was projected to raise the company’s total LDPE capacity to 700,000tpa; making it one of the world’s major LDPE producers. Prior to the addition, two existing LDPE production lines contributed over 400,000-tpa of LDPE. The Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant came online just over two years ago. The US $19 billion complex is the world’s largest GTL operation with a capacity to produce 140,000 bpd of light and middle distillates products, including, gasoline (petrol), diesel, kerosene, naphtha, and some lubricant oils.

Promoting Brand Qatar in Tourism Qatar Launches New Tourism Strategy HE Issa Al Mohannadi CM Qatar Tourism Authority If you build it, they will come. While it may sound trite, the idea seems to apply to Qatar’s strategy for tourism. The country remains locked in a construction frenzy. Much of the world’s attention has been focused on infrastructure development and projects related to the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but Qatar has also undertaken a multitude of other endeavors designed with an eye to expanding its tourism industry. Qatar continues to develop its post-carbon economy and has tapped the tourism sector to play an important role in its diversification. “Tourism is a vital pillar in Qatar’s development efforts and a key driver of socioeconomic growth in the country” noted Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). In February 2014, the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 was launched. The ambitious roadmap for the country’s tourism sector focuses on ensuring that Qatar becomes a world-class hub with deep cultural roosts. This undertaking will require the tourism sector to play an even greater role in the economy by increasing its total contribution to the nation’s GDP to 5.1 percent by 2030. According to Gordon Mackenzie, GM Radisson Blu, “with the announcement that World Cup 2022 will be hosted in Doha, there are a number of new hotels opening in order to cater to the rise in demand, which we expect to see. Qatar has largely invested in tourism and infrastructure projects, with the likes of Katara and the Museum of Islamic Art. Qatar needs to also focus on finding its unique focus in terms entertainment for the consumer which is different to that of other GCC countries. The increase in new hotel offerings also poses a challenge in investing in the staff in order to maintain “A List” employees as well, a trend that has been going on for the past 6 years.” To achieve its lofty goal, Qatar will need to boost the number of annual visitors from the roughly 1.2 million guests received in 2012. Past visitors to Qatar have travelled mainly from KSA and other GCC countries. However, if Qatar is to reach its target of seven million visitors by 2030, it will need to broaden its reach to attract a more diverse and broad base of visitors. To that end, the QTA has opened satellite offices in London and Paris, with plans for eight more in key outbound markets. Tourism spending must also increase from its US$1.3-$1.4 billion level noted in 2012 to nearly US$11.0 billion by 2030. Sporting events and cultural offerings have been added and promoted, MICE facilities built, resorts designed, and hotel rooms continue to be added at a frantic pace. Every amenity imaginable to tantalize luxury travelers can now be found in Qatar. According to Gerhard Foltin GM of the uber luxe and landmark hotel Torch Doha, “Hotels in Qatar are operating on the luxury side with more hotels such as Westin by Starwood, Conrad, Morgans amongst others expected to open soon in Doha”. If that does not encourage more tourism spending, then the more than sixty new strategic tourism initiatives in the pipeline will surely aid in Qatar reaching its goal. As Abdullah Mallala Al Badr, Qatar Transport Authority’s Director of Tourism pointed out, “Qatar is preparing for a robust economic future, and tourism will play a key role in creating a diverse and sustainable economy.” “Hospitality Standards in Qatar are also rising up to the occasion to meet international standards as well, where the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced the recipients of awards as part of the Hotels Quality Rating Program. Conducted in collaboration with a specialised international agency, the program aims at improving the quality of services in the hospitality and tourism industry and creating a national benchmark of local high standards. The six top-ranked hotels in Qatar were recognized in a ceremony today at QTA for their excellence in service and product quality”, as mentioned by Alain Salameh, GM Royal Riviera Hotel Doha. If the QTA is effective in meeting its ambitious targets, it will do much for diversifying and expanding Qatar’s economy. It will likely also encourage greater entrepreneurship and SME growth, and ensure that tourism play a greater role in the private sector of the country’s economy.


KATARA HOSPITALITY, SHAPING AN ICONIC LEGACY There is much more to being a world-class hospitality organisation than just owning, managing or developing hotels. At Katara Hospitality, our appreciation for the past powers our aspirations for the future. Decades of experience,

an innovative mindset and meticulous attention to detail enable us to craft unique masterpieces that set new standards for others to follow. With us, it is all about our boundless passion for creating legendary hospitality, building on our heritage.

Katara Hospitality Building Marina District, Lusail City, PO Box 2977 Doha, Qatar T +974 4423 7777 F +974 4423 7860


Kholoud Al-Hail: CEO, Aspire Katara Hospitality (AKH)

You bring a wealth of experience to your current position. Can you expand a bit on your background? Hospitality is already deeply embedded in our culture hence it was not difficult for me to identify my passion and to pursue it. I studied Hospitality Management in the UK to further my knowledge. I was honored to have been part of the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee as Games Services Director. My experience in this prestigious sporting event called for no less than Arabic Hospitality to cover participants. While I was Managing Director for the Diplomatic Club, I also spearheaded the Committee for the Grand Inaugural Ceremony of Museum of Islamic Art. After this success, I helped establish the best cultural destination of the country – Katara. We were instrumental in conceptualizing, refining and bringing the best retail and food and beverage concepts showcasing authentic cuisine from all over the world. As a leading Qatari entrepreneur, what advice can you give to local Qatari’s interested in the hospitality sector? The Qatar National Vision 2030 aims to transform Qatar into a progressive country while maintaining its cultural roots. It would be excellent if entrepreneurs venturing into the hospitality industry are guided by this principle, as this will be their leverage and advantage as the market is also saturated with internationally known brands. We have started this practice with our existing brands and the response has been outstanding. One perfect example


is Chac’late. The chocolate shop carries quality local flavors, which are unique to the market (such as tahina flavored chocolates, chocolates made with nuts secured locally). Even its name was based on the Qatari children’s way of saying “chocolate” but with an Arabic accent. In line with Qatar’s National Vision, you are aligned with sustainability and value. What does this mean to you? Sustainability in the hospitality industry for me means being able to stay competitive, introducing innovative concepts to keep attracting customers to enjoy the service/products we provide. This is a guiding principle we observe when making strategic and day-to-day business decisions, when we plan for events and when we are conceptualizing F & B outlets. Being sustainable also means being able to add value and benefit to the community and to the economy of Qatar as a whole. What is your vision for AKH? Our ongoing vision is to bring unique dining concepts from around the world to Qatar, to develop our own indigenous cuisine concepts, and to create exciting and well-managed events showcasing local heritage, and establish AKH as an international brand. We will soon be managing luxurious hotels, boutiques and quality retail shops to support the business demands of this country, and beyond.It is my vision to be recognized and respected as one of the world’s provider and venues for hospitality services.


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Abdul Aziz Al-Emadi: CEO, DOHALAND Hospitality How will DOHALAND Hospitality achieve its vision? Our core objective is aimed at delivering state-of-the-art projects to fulfill our strategic objectives as a nation, across all four pillars of Qatar Vision 2030. Our aim is to secure a prominent position as the leader in hospitality products and services in the region. Furthermore, we wish to promote hospitality education and increase industry awareness within Qatar. By doing this we hope to inspire local talent to establish and develop careers in the hospitality industry. Qatar’s tourism development depends on long-term economic stability and vision, can you enumerate more on your strategies in achieveing its goals? Primarily, as Qatar continues to advance, DOHALAND Hospitality’s foremost goal is to secure a prominent position as the leader in hospitality products and services in the region. Furthermore, we wish to promote hospitality education and increase industry awareness within Qatar. By doing this, we hope to inspire local talent to establish and develop careers in the hospitality industry. DOHALAND Hospitality is ideally positioned to fulfill Qatar’s future vision, as well as that of the hospitality sector. According to industry news, Dohaland Hospitality was created with the mandate to establish a leading hotel management company locally and globally. What experience does the management bring to such projects? We are delighted to be contributing to the development of the hospitality infrastructure in Qatar. While demonstrating


unwavering commitment to excellence, our world-class hospitality projects and wellness resorts will strive to provide our guests and Qatar’s visitors with an unrivaled experience. Hospitality is a profession that needs to be embraced with passion and a firm commitment to providing exceptional experiences and unparalleled levels of service for our guests. Consequently, the DOHALAND Hospitality team comprises handpicked professionals who possess proven international experience. What are DOHALAND Hospitality’s key achievements to date? At this early stage, as we marked our fourth anniversary in February 2014, Mandarin Oriental Doha, managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, is now secured at Al Baraha in Msheireb Downtown, Doha. The five-star luxury hotel will be surrounded by restaurants, offices, residences, a museum, and the Cultural Forum within the new district. Other hotels coming on line include Park Hyatt Doha, a five-star business hotel with 187 rooms and 33 suites; Solis Doha, a five-star hotel with 442 rooms and 99 suites; and Al Wadi’ Hotel, an M Gallery Collection managed by Accor, located at the corner of Msheireb Downtown, at an intersection of Msheireb Street and facing Souk Waqif. We are a diversified group with three- four- and five-star hotels in our portfolio. I think the challenge today is in the boutique segment and understanding how to make these three-star hotels operate and deliver five-star services.


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Eng. Jassim Telefat Group Executive Director Capital Projects Facilities Management, QF. Excellence in Sustainable Building II

What is Qatar Foundation’s mission and vision? Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, not-for-profit organisation, which aims to serve the people of Qatar by converting the country’s natural resources into valuable human capital. Qatar Foundation was established in 1995 by His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, to help lead the human, social, and economic development of Qatar through education and research. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, wife of His Highness the Father Emir, is the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation and its driving force. The organisation is committed to achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 by nurturing the country’s youth and advancing its mission in three core areas: education, science and research, and community development. Through its numerous initiatives and activities, Qatar Foundation endeavours to foster a culture of excellence and to support the nation’s goal of developing sustainable human capacity that can aid its journey from a carbon economy to a knowledge-based economy. By serving as a role model, the Foundation is keen to contribute to human development that can benefit the region and larger world. The Foundation was established in 1995, yet in a relatively short period of time, it has evolved from what is described as humble beginnings. Can you expand on that evolutionary process? Qatar Foundation has grown into a world-class institution that is spearheading the nation’s efforts towards an even more prosperous future. Over the span of 18 years, Qatar Foundation has made remarkable progress across each of its sectors to become a leader in education, science, and

community development. Qatar Foundation’s site in Doha covers 15 million square metres. Currently, there are over 5,000 students studying at Qatar Foundation ranging from pre-school to university and beyond. The Foundation has not only succeeded at developing the country’s education sector, but also established an impressive research and development (R&D) infrastructure by investing in homegrown talent, innovation and technological capacity to benefit youth and nurture their capabilities. It has built an extensive network of local, regional and international partners to address global challenges and to provide practical solutions. Qatar Foundation has also been steadfast in its commitment to community development and has made a significant impact since it was first established. As part of the Foundation’s efforts, it hosts a number of conferences and forums, such as the World Innovation Summit for Education and the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference, which brings together renowned academics and policymakers to discuss crucial issues. Qatar National Convention Centre, which opened in 2011, features state-of-the-art architectural design and is a venue for conferences, exhibitions and cultural events. It has been conceived with a strong focus on sustainability. Among its key features are 3,500 square metres of solar panels that provide 12.5 percent of the centre’s energy needs. Qatar Foundation is dedicated to sustainable development through a wide range of environmentally-friendly initiatives. Are there specific areas of priority for Qatar Foundation?

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Qatar Foundation

The use of renewable energies, which will in turn minimise the carbon footprint of the residents and users of Education City, is definitely a priority for us. The Energy Management System that is nearing completion is an example of this. This pilot project includes the development of a centralised Energy Monitoring Center (EMC) for smart grid management and solar generation monitoring. The EMC will house trained personnel, monitoring equipment and related applications utilised to manage and support the smart grid network assets at Qatar Foundation. It will enable real-time monitoring of solar systems and power quality monitoring systems, and allow analysis of potential performance and communication alert.

The major concept behind the transportation strategy is the park and ride system: people would use major car parks located at the edge of the development to park their cars, then use light rail (People Mover System) to commute to the different facilities within the Education City campus. With this being the concept, the use of cars within Education City will be extremely rare. This is a unique transportation strategy for a development in Qatar, since people are still very dependent on the use of cars. We are also creating a bicycle path that will include cycle depots and stops that can be found at various buildings throughout Education City. We also encourage people to walk via dedicated walk ways.

The Foundation is known for utilizing sustainable and innovative technologies, particularly as it relates to minimizing carbon effects. Can you provide a few examples of these types of technologies and how they have made a difference?

The U.S. Green Building Council recently recognized the Qatar Foundation for its Male and Female Student Housing Project, noting it had earned 12 Platinum LEED certifications in the category of “New Construction”. What does such recognition mean to the Foundation with regard to its work in green building?

As mentioned before, the Energy Monitoring System incorporates some of the latest technologies in solar energy. The People Mover System is also another project that will be using innovative technologies. The People Mover System will consist of 19 vehicles that will run on 12 kilometres of track without any overhead contact lines, which is called “Non Centenary system” or “Centenary-less system”. The system will be installed within the Education City campus to serve 25 stations. The trams will be equipped with the Sitras HES energy storage system from Siemens, with energy being supplied at the tram stops. Light rail technology with low-floor technology and ergonomic design provides a high level of passenger comfort. Running without overhead contact lines will have a positive effect on the urban landscape and will also retain the architectural beauty. The HES (Hybrid Energy Storage) system can be charged at each of the stops, even during the shortest of halts by the centralised rectifier substations and distributed charging stations. Power converters transform the three-phase current with a rated voltage of 11 kV into the 750 V direct current required for charging the energy storage unit. HES is a system consisting of double-layer capacitors and a traction battery. No pantograph would need to be raised because of the special design of the overhead conductor rails at the tram stops. This energy storage system for optimising the energy balance and its operation without overhead contact lines are a unique feature toward making the People Mover System a model for sustainable and rail-based mass transit. What makes the Foundation’s green transportation strategy so exceptional? Once the master plan is realised by 2016, Education City will implement its green transportation strategy. This strategy will encourage the users of Education City to use healthy modes of transportation, for example using the bicycles in the nearly completed cycling path, or utilising the many walkways and parks that will be found throughout the campus.


Qatar Foundation has made a commitment to creating a ‘green’ and sustainable Education City campus, and we are in the beginning phases of honouring this commitment, and our aim is to continue on the same path. Our next phase of the Student Housing project will aim for the same level of LEED certifications. We will continue to compete to maintain our record for having the largest number of platinum LEED certified facilities in the world within one master plan area. Our aim is not only to receive certifications in sustainability, but also to change human behaviour and thinking so that our community becomes more sustainable by adopting such practices. In order to achieve its successes with LEED certification and its successes as a leader in construction technologies, what other companies/organisations shaped Qatar Foundation’s vision in terms of design and construction? Qatar Foundation has been paving the way for implementation of sustainable technologies and ideas in Qatar. Qatar Foundation’s sister company, Msheireb, will be implementing the same sustainable ideas and concepts that we use here in Education City and applying them to other big projects in Qatar. Msheireb is currently developing the most sustainable downtown in the world, which is aiming to achieve more than a hundred LEED certifications once it is completed. Why is it so important to expose the youth to sustainable practices and how does the student housing project tie into this? Sustainability and sustainable practice is important for humankind across the world, in order to conserve resources for generations to come. It is not a matter of choice; it is a necessity, something that we have to pass down to the younger generations. Projects like the new Student Housing were not only built using sustainable practices, but they also teach those who occupy the building about the importance of sustainable living, such as water and energy conservation.


Qatar’s Business Visionaries Dr. Nasser Marafih: Group CEO, Ooredoo

Ooredoo recently went through a rebranding process. What does it mean for the company and for the country as a whole? Our rebrand came about after an internal review process that took several years. We wanted the transformation to reflect how far we had come as a company, and to celebrate the impact that our services have on people’s lives. We unveiled our new identity at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in February 2013. Ooredoo is an Arabic word that means “I want.” Our brand reflects our vision of enriching people’s lives and stimulating human growth, enabling our customers to reach their dreams and aspirations, and is taking our business to the next level. We have also begun the process of rebranding in Tunisia and Algeria, co-branding as Tunisiana Ooredoo in Tunisia, and Nedjma is now Ooredoo in Algeria. We are continuing to roll-out the new brand and promoting human growth across all of our markets in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia throughout 2013 and 2014. Ooredoo is very focused on supporting underserved communities, including women, youth, and entrepreneurs. Can you expand on some of your current projects? We’re working hard to deliver better lives for our customers: young people, under-served communities, women, as well as small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our approach is the same across our markets – we want to have the same level of impact in Southeast Asia as we do in the MENA region. Tunisia, which has one of the Arab world’s highest youth

unemployment rates at more than 30 percent, has been an innovation hub for empowering youth. In response, Tunisiana Ooredoo, a member of the Ooredoo Group, partnered with Silatech and Edupartage to launch Najja7ni Employment, the region’s first mobile service to provide youth with career and financial guidance. Indonesia has been at the forefront of support for women entrepreneurs with the Usaha Wanita (Business Women) mobile service in partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Nokia, empowering thousands of women micro-entrepreneurs to start or enhance their own business. Asiacell, our Ooredoo company in Iraq, has empowered women with the Almas (Diamond) line that provides a SIM card with specially designed features that enable women to overcome barriers including harassment, cultural issues, concerns with technology, and technical literacy. These features include step charging, a bye-bye service that blocks harassers, and routes calls to femalestaffed call centres. Since Almas launched in 2011, the ratio of Asiacell female customers has increased from 20 to 40 percent with 2 million joining Asiacell. How important is it for Ooredoo to create sustainable investments internationally, especially in emerging economies? Communications companies like Ooredoo are making it a priority to support broadband, which is helping people overcome challenges in their daily lives, boosting national economies, and building the “smart” cities of the future. Mobile is the technology with the single biggest

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potential to make a difference in people’s lives today. Governments are key in ensuring that the proper framework is in place for supporting broadband investment and development, especially in emerging markets. Governments can ensure a stable business environment, and regulate spectrum and additional legal regulations. As a result, the greatest number of people in a country can receive life-enhancing broadband benefits. What should we expect from Ooredoo in the next five years? As we rebrand all of our operations through 2014, our customers will see greater collaboration between

operating companies, taking best practices from across our group and applying localised solutions that promote human growth. Mobile Broadband is the fastest-growing technology in human history, according to the United Nations Broadband Commission, posting an annual growth rate of 30 percent. We have become a communications leader in emerging markets, and continue to seize the right opportunities for business development, and are putting into place the proper strategies to overcome the challenges that face a rapidly-changing telecommunications industry.

Darwish S Ahmed Editor in Chief Gulf Times Qatar Some important contributing projects are Al Karaana and Al Sejeel, in addition to a Qatar Fertiliser Company (Qafco) expansion (at Mesaieed), which is the world’s largest single-site producer of both ammonia and urea. Qatar’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production, which currently stands at 11mn tonnes per year, will go up by 0.5mn tpy next year with the 2014 commissioning of the Barzan Gas Project. In its first year the multi-billion dollar HIA is expected to serve about 28mn passengers, rising to more than 50mn, once the rapidly growing national carrier Qatar Airways becomes fully operational from the airport. Last year, Qatar launched the mandatory health insurance programme, a path breaking scheme that will provide health insurance coverage of the entire population of Qatar, both citizens and expatriates. NHIS will ensure that the National Health Strategy’s goal of affordable and accessible healthcare is now a reality in Qatar. This among other major milestones have been achieved in the last decade or so, with more to come. Qatar has been witnessing unprecedented growth in the last 10 years; can you tell us some of the country’s milestones? Already, Qatar is the world leader in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, producing 77mn tonnes per year. And with two world scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants at Ras Laffan, Qatar has emerged as the ‘Gas to Liquids’ capital of the world. Driven by the huge North Field gas reserves, the largest non-associated gas reserve in the world, Qatar is set for another phase of massive development in its chemicals and petrochemicals sector. Recently, Qatar announced that it will raise its output of chemicals and petrochemicals to 23mn tonnes per year (tpy) by 2020.


How would you describe the current times in Qatar, especially in the infrastructure sector? The acceleration in economic activity in the second half of 2013 was expected to have come from additional large infrastructure projects, such as the Doha Metro Rail project. The country has a “significant pipeline” of infrastructure projects (estimated to be worth $183bn) that it has committed to deliver ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which the country will stage in 2022. The largest of these is the Doha Metro Scheme. The network will cover a distance of about 216km and will have some 100 stations. Good progress is already being made on the project with QRail awarding design and construction contracts totalling $5.4bn in May this year.


A light rail system is also planned to link the new Hamad International Airport with central Doha and the various stadiums that are being built to host the World Cup. Qatar’s GDP growth has seen high percentages in the last years, what factors have led to such growth in your opinion?

The development of the country’s aviation industry (including the setting up of the world scale Hamad International Airport and rapid expansion of national carrier Qatar Airways) will also contribute to economic diversification.

Qatar was the world’s fastest growing economy during 2008-12, with a real GDP compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%.

There is a lot of international interest for investors to Qatar. Why should they invest in Qatar?

Qatar’s growth figures for the second quarter of 2013 confirm the continued process of economic diversification of the country’s economy, away from its traditional role as a hydrocarbon exporter towards more of a manufacturing and services hub. While the energy sector single-handedly spurred the country’s growth until the early ’90s, Qatar’s rapid expansion in the last two decades has seen major contributions from sectors such as construction, transport and communication, banking and finance, real estate and business services. A report by Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Middle East’s largest lender, recently showed the oil and gas sector only expanded by 1% year-on-year in Q2, 2013, reflecting the moratorium on further exploration of the North Field. On the other hand, financial, real estate, and business services was the fastest growing sector (15.4% year-onyear), as banking intermediation accelerated and real estate services were boosted by the growing population. How sustainable is Qatar’s growth and what ways can be used to achieve this longevity? While Qatar sits on the largest non-associated gas reserve in the world (North Field) and has offshore and onshore oil resources, the fact remains that these are not replenishable. That is why the country is committed to economic diversification with a focus on developing a knowledge-based economy. The government’s objective now is to use its huge hydrocarbon wealth to build a diversified and sustainable economy. It envisions that infrastructure investment, education and health will support the development of a more vibrant and services-oriented knowledge economy.

Qatar is one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing economies, almost tripling in size from 2005 to achieve a nominal GDP of $192.4bn in 2012, according to Qatar Statistics Authority. According to IMF, Qatar is also the wealthiest nation per capita GDP in 2012. The government is committed to creating a dynamic, competitive and broad-based economy by increasing economic diversification through the re-investment of Qatar’s significant energy wealth. Qatar has over $25.4tn in proven hydrocarbon reserves to be monetized over the next 100 years for the sustainability of long-term growth and development (source: British Petroleum, Statistical Review of World Energy 2011). With a long term sovereign rating of ‘AA’ and a stable outlook, Qatar is the highest rated GCC state (along with Kuwait) by Standard & Poor’s. Qatar was ranked 14th and the highest in the MENA region in the World Economic Forum competitiveness Index, and was also placed 38th overall in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) in 2012. These are all distinct advantages for discerning investors. What obstacles should they be aware of while looking to invest in Qatar? Qatar is a rapidly growing market, one of the fastest in the world. Catching up with such growth might often be difficult for some investors. Qatar is a well regulated country and hence investors must comply with the country’s rules and regulations. Only genuine investors with adequate know-how, expertise and resources must consider Qatar.

The development of Qatar’s Education City, which is home to some of the branch campuses of the some of the world’s best universities, including Ivy League institutions, is in line with Qatar’s long-term vision.

Some argue that litigation is a time consuming process in Qatar. It is not always true if one looks at the situation in many countries in the region and abroad. Rent for commercial establishments in the country is certainly high and has increased in the recent years due to the economic boom.

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), which does research on conventional and non-conventional energy sources, water conservation and road safety, is another case in point.

Also, due to the influx of foreign workers into the country in view of its massive development, affordable housing is still in short supply. House rents are also increasing in view of this.

Rising Qatar 2014


Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Sustainability in Business Partnerships For the past half-century, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani has been on a relentless quest. That journey not only precipitated the founding of one of the most successful companies in the region, but also allowed him to play a key role in the economic development of his beloved Qatar. He has become one of Qatar’s private sector’s economic pillars. A role he continues to pursue vigorously and passionately. The beginnings of one of the region’s major holding companies were humble. A true entrepreneur, Sheikk Faisal started Gettco Trading, a small business trading automobile spare parts in 1964. It was a small venture that gradually, under the direction of Sheikh Faisal grew into the Al Faisal Holding Group, a network of over 40 well-established businesses with investments in various sectors in numerous countries throughout Europe, North America, North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The company’s diverse commercial and industrial holdings include a wide range of subsidiaries and associated companies in a variety of sectors, including real estate, construction, hospitality, trading, transportation, entertainment, education, services, and information technology. Al Jazi Real Estate, one such subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding, is a leading real estate company in Qatar. The company offers high-standard housing and commercial property throughout Doha. Another is Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC), which focuses on the hospitality sector and hospitality-related services both in Qatar and abroad. ARTIC maintains a current portfolio of 26 hotels in the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and North America. With an eye to maintaining a competitive edge in the region, and to assisting in the diversification of Qatar’s economic base, the founder and chairman of one of Qatar’s largest diversified private sector groups, also created a second successful group called the Aamal Company Q.S.C. To those familiar with Sheikh Faisal’s drive and dedication, the rapid ascension of Aamal to becoming one of the largest public shareholding companies in Qatar was of little surprise. The company currently operates over 22 business units in industrial manufacturing, trading and distribution, property, and managed services. Today, Al Faisal Holding and Sheikh Faisal continue to maintain market leader status. The company embraces a strategy of expansion, keeping a firm finger on the pulse of opportunity, and scoping out new ventures in important sectors. Joint ventures and acquisition opportunities, available worldwide, where real value propositions exist, remain high on its list of priorities. Given Qatar’s ongoing ascension to that of regional powerhouse, the prospects for expanding Al Faisal Holding are likely golden.


Rising Qatar 2014


KATARA HOSPITALITY, SHAPING AN ICONIC LEGACY There is much more to being a world-class hospitality organisation than just owning, managing or developing hotels. At Katara Hospitality, our appreciation for the past powers our aspirations for the future. Decades of experience,

an innovative mindset and meticulous attention to detail enable us to craft unique masterpieces that set new standards for others to follow. With us, it is all about our boundless passion for creating legendary hospitality, building on our heritage.

Katara Hospitality Building Marina District, Lusail City, PO Box 2977 Doha, Qatar T +974 4423 7777 F +974 4423 7860

Rising Qatar  

Special Investment Report Art Direction, Editorial/Graphic Design

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