Improving Business Environment for Stronger Economic Growth in Qatar

Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the state of Qatar an independent Emirate located on the western coast of Arabian Gulf bordering Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain across the Persian Gulf. The country has massive natural gas reserves which are ranked to be 3rd largest in the world along with considerable shale and crude oil. With extensive natural resources, Qatar within the last 60 years has transformed itself into a self-reliant state having world-class infrastructure, stable government, and robust financial sector by investing in key infrastructure projects and laying out effective, transparent & business-friendly policies.

Currently, the state of Qatar ranks 83rd out of 189 countries in The World Bank’s Ease of Business survey for 2018. The state of Qatar was ranked as the easiest country in the world to pay taxes, and also fared well in the categories of dealing with construction permits (19th), registering property (26th) and getting credit (44th).

Business Environment in Qatar

Qatar’s economic diversification plans are so competent that the economy that it brought forth new avenue of economic growth while transforming the country’s business environment. Now the country is more capable of creating numerous business opportunities & jobs for future generations and is less vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles of oil and natural gas prices.

Creating growth and opportunities for a future beyond this reliance will involve significant shifts to the culture & institutions of Qatari society where businesses play a pivotal role. Building a strong entrepreneurial culture will be a major initiative in the coming years. Furthermore, Qatar with its several advantages such as lower tax rates, ease of doing business, world-class infrastructure, stable & favorable governmental support for businesses.

In a country where businesses rise to pinnacle like skyscrapers or vanish into the desert businessmen and entrepreneurs must familiarize themselves with the Arabian business etiquettes & culture in order to give them a better chance for them to succeed in Qatar. But fortunately, the country being a former protectorate of Great Britain follows the English common laws for business regulations and establishing a Limited Liability Company in Qatar is the most common form of company formation in the country.

Special Zones in Qatar

Manateq-Special Economic Zone is the leading provider, and developmental authority of all the special economic zones, logistics parks, and industrial zones in the state of Qatar. The Manateq’s vision to accelerate economic diversification in form of investments that add value to Qatar’s economy and underlines its mission to create a world-class business environment for both local and overseas investors, while working towards the aim of achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Special Economic Zones in Qatar

The Special Economic Zones will be home to new industries, sectors, and businesses both domestic and foreign. Manateq has two Special Economic Zones in Qatar; all of which are strategically located to create a thriving and prosperous business environment. With unparalleled connectivity and world-class infrastructure, the Special Economic Zones are the ideal location for businesses looking for a location to grow to service the MENA region and beyond.

  • Ras Bufontas
  • Um Alhoul
  • Al Karaana

Logistics Parks in Qatar

The Logistics Parks create a modern environment suitable for supply and storage services to provide investment opportunities that add veritable value to the local economy. Sound infrastructure is offered with access to integrated water, electricity and road networks.  These are prime locations, together with long-term rent, provide options for warehouses and workshops for processing and assembly, commercial showrooms and a variety of offices and workers' accommodation.

  • Jery Al Samur
  • Birkat Al Awamer
  • Aba Saleel
  • Al Wakra
  • Bu Glaila Logistic park
  • Commercial warehousing plots (i.e., that operates based on Build, operate and Transfer system)

Industrial Zones in Qatar

Industrial Zones offer state-of-the-art infrastructure, and support for specialized industries such as manufacturing, processing, petrochemicals, oil refining, metallurgical operations, workshops, and building material production in Qatar.

Mesaieed Industrial City

Mesaieed Industrial Zone's strategic location allows undisputed efficiency and growth for your business. It is connected to Mesaieed Industrial City, Um Alhoul Special Economic Zone, and Al Wakara Logistics Park.

Reforms made by the State of Qatar to enhance the Business Environment

Effective, transparent and liberal “Qatar’s Open Trade Policy”

Standing 43rd out of 136 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Enabling Trade Index (2016), which measures institutions, policies, and services to facilitate trade in countries. The State of Qatar became a member of the WTO in 1996 to leverage the benefits of the free trade environment. With respect to the arrangement for trade agreements, within the GCC, Qatar is negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU.

Notably, Qatar attaches great importance to building capacity to formulate and implement trade policy and specifically pursuant to the tourism industry, improving education, and addressing structural problems such as the dominant presence of state-owned enterprises in key industries. In order to enhance cooperation with all the parties, Qatar has renewed their International Chamber of Commerce (ICC in the framework of a program to promote trade and investment at the global level.

Furthermore, the Qatar Chamber signed a number of agreements and memorandums of cooperation with its counterparts in the world, including a MoU with the chambers of commerce of Nepal, Ghana and Bulgaria, and a cooperation agreement with the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade and Investment and Technology (COMCE). Qatar International Center for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) signed a cooperation agreement with the Istanbul Arbitration Center (ISTAC) to promote awareness of alternative ways to resolve trade disputes and promote a culture of commercial arbitration.

Diversification to Non-Hydrocarbon based economy

Qatar has taken drastic steps to reduce the dependence of oil & hydrocarbon-based operations such as mining, natural gas, petrochemical processing & export of oil products. Currently, Qatar’s economy is based predominantly on its oil and natural gas resources. Transitioning the Qatar economy to a more robust model not pegged to the fluctuations of the global energy market will be a major priority in the coming years. Furthermore, the government encourages growth in the private sector to engage in small and medium enterprise business in Qatar.

The Backbone of the financial prosperity in the country “Qatar Financial Centre”

Being the back bone of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) & Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) the Qatar Financial Center formulates all the financial policies, regulations & treaties related to the country’s financial positioning. It has retained its title as the top financial center in the Middle East, according to the latest Global Financial Centre Index (GFCI 15) published by the London based Z/Yen Group. The Qatari Financial Centre Regulatory Authority also develops relationships with the global financial community and other key institutions, both within and outside Qatar, helping to develop the country’s private sector. In addition, the QFC offers various services such as corporate solutions, HNI solutions, and financial services for special purpose companies.

Advantages of Starting Business in Qatar Financial Centre

  • One of the world’s fastest-growing economies
  • 100 percent foreign ownership
  • 100 percent repatriation of profits
  • 10% corporate tax on locally-sourced profits
  • No restrictions on the currency used for trading
  • Competitive tax environment
  • Onshore jurisdiction with an independent court, regulatory tribunal and dispute-resolution center
  • Legal environment based on English Common Law
  • Access to Qatar’s extensive double-taxation agreements network

Accelerating innovation through Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP)

Inaugurated in March 2009, the Qatar Science Technology Park (QSTP) is the home for the technology-based startups and companies coming to Qatar from all around the world. QSTP is located in the Qatar Foundation’s Education City alongside several major university campuses and serves as the state-of-the-art, high-tech base for technological innovation the country. Companies can lease state-of-the-art offices, and laboratories or commission their own buildings to be designed and built by QSTP. The facilities available in QSTP are

Innovation Center's Offices

Ideal for small, start-up companies, the center provides fully-furnished offices from 45 sq. meters with meeting rooms, business services, and expert advice on site. The Innovation Center is also the science park's communal hub, featuring cafes and open public spaces.

Tech Centers

A pair of two-story buildings suited for medium and large companies. Tech Centers are able to accommodate both heavily equipped laboratories, and modern offices. The customizable spaces are available in increments of 500 sq. meters. 

Technology Startup Incubator

In addition to this, QSTP offers technology startup incubator that nurtures technology-based enterprises and startups. QSTP also offers funding for innovations that are commercially viable, mentoring program with one-to-one guidance from experienced technology business innovators. 

Foreign Ownership & Investment

The Qatar government Cabinet has approved the draft law on regulating non-Qatari ownership and use of real estate. This law legally permits the non-Qataris to own and use real estate, in the areas and in accordance with the conditions, controls and benefits specified by a decision from the Cabinet and based on the suggestion of the commission for regulating non-Qatari ownership and use of real estate.

Things to consider while setting up a Business in Qatar

Setting up a business in Qatar has its own procedures, after all there are certain things to consider before starting a new a new business venture.

  1. Market Response
  2. Business Structure
  3. Selection of the right location
  4. Selection of business partner
  5. Business Incorporation

With a massive shift away from hydrocarbons, Qatar has continued its role in addressing the change through all possible ways and means, by encouraging investors and businessmen to direct their investments to the industrial and food sectors, in addition to supporting small and medium enterprises.

Furthermore, business opportunities in Qatar for other industries and sectors are open to foreign players for exploitation. With the strong support from the government has generated great international interest in the investment climate in Qatar and high confidence in the Qatari economy. Consequently, the entrepreneurs and investors around the world are looking to Qatar as the emerging destination to start their business operations. If you are interested in known more about starting your business in Qatar feel free to contact us for any queries-we’d be glad to assist.

Categories: 

About the Author

narayanan@bsworldwide.com's picture

Narayanan has been a ghostwriter for the past 4 years. As an undergrad in Electrical & Electronics Engineering, he has a well-founded interest in developing sustainable solutions with innovative technology. Intellectually curious, he has a wide range of interests ranging from Renewable Energy, Electronics, Technology, Military Science, Geopolitics, International Relations, and world history.