Qatar has witnessed sizable economic growth over the past few decades. The country’s prudent economic policies, diversification efforts, and leadership have allowed it to thrive in an ever-changing global economy. Qatar’s strategic investments in various sectors, including infrastructure, finance, and tourism, have also positioned country as an attractive hub for international & UK businesses seeking new opportunities in the region.
The UK maintains a strong relationship with Qatar in terms of trade and investment. Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Qatar was reached GBP 13.5 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023, an increase of 117.3% or GBP 7.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022. The UK’s expertise in various sectors, combined with Qatar’s growing economy, has laid the groundwork for successful collaborations and partnerships.
A few business trends and opportunities in Qatar for UK SMEs post the 2022’s FIFA World Cup is as follows,
- Diversification Efforts
As part of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, the country has been actively diversifying its economy away from oil and gas dependence. The government’s emphasis on developing sectors including healthcare, education, technology, and renewable energy presents excellent opportunities for UK SMEs & exporters looking to tap into emerging industries.
- Infrastructure Projects
Qatar hosted and delivered the FIFA World Cup in 2022, arguably one of the most expensive Football World Cups to date. Prior to the FIFA World Cup, the construction sector experienced record growth, thus making it an attractive prospect for companies in the engineering, architecture, and construction industries.
For instance, UK businesses and SMEs won contracts worth over GBP 1 billion, with the Department for Business & Trade (DBT) supporting more than 35 British firms to deliver goods and services for the tournament. Additionally, UK construction firms such as Turner & Townsend were responsible for coordinating the construction of new multibillion-pound rail & road network to get fans to and from matches quickly and easily.
- Entrepreneurship and Startups
The Qatari government has been nurturing a conducive environment for startups and entrepreneurship. With incubation centres, funding programs, and supportive regulatory frameworks, Qatar is quickly becoming a startup oasis in the region. Tech startups, in particular, are finding ample opportunities to grow and expand.
- Tourism and Hospitality
Qatar’s focus on attracting tourists has led to a flourishing tourism and hospitality sector. The country’s unique blend of modernity and tradition, along with its attractions and high-quality hotels, has made it also one of the preferred destinations in the region for leisure and business travellers alike. With the government also working to develop new attractions and experiences that will appeal to a diverse range of visitors, this presents an array of opportunities for UK SMEs operating and able to create memorable leisure experiences and solutions.
Qatar’s business landscape continues to evolve, presenting numerous opportunities for UK and international businesses. In Q1 2023, Qatar’s GBP 353.7 billion sovereign wealth fund indicated it was looking to rebalance its portfolio and was considering investments in football, finance and technology. The country’s post-FIFA World Cup 2022 strategic focus on diversification, infrastructure development, and entrepreneurship, makes it an appealing destination for UK SMEs seeking to expand their horizons. By understanding Qatar’s business landscape and building strong partnerships, UK SMEs and businesses can position themselves to contribute further to the country’s growth story; while reaping the rewards of a dynamic and flourishing market.
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