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Plans For Investment in Qatar to Hit $170 Billion Over Next Decade

Middle East : 15 March 2011

The budget covering 2011-2012 begins on April 1 in Qatar and is forecasted to exceed targets for 2010-2011 with 40 percent earmarked for infrastructure, according to the Finance and Economy Minister, H.E. Yousuf Husseim Kamal.

Yousuf Hussein did not state an exact figure for the boost but said the decisions were not yet final as discussions between his ministry and others within the government are still ongoing.

The real GDP (or gross domestic product) for Qatar should grow by 18 percent this year if the price of oil stays from $70 to $75 per barrel. Should the prices exceed the $75 mark the growth recorded will be even higher.

Spending in the state was hiked up 25 percent for this fiscal year, reaching $32.4 billion thanks to expanded gas outputs and healthy gas prices. There will be even more money spent in the time leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The minister noted that Qatar has investment plans that range from $160 to $170 billion over the next decade focusing on infrastructure projects, as well as the oil and gas industry. In comparison, the amount allocated for infrastructure from 2004 to 2010 was higher than $75 billion and in 2008 alone a peak of $20 billion was reached. This past January saw projects totaling $85 billion in the development stage across Qatar and another $130 billion in projects are planned for the coming three-year period.

Minister Yousuf Hussein spoke at the conference MultaQa Qatar 2011, which is held for the insurance/reinsurance industries. It is a two-day affair with the title caption “Addressing the Prospects and Challenges of Growth, Competition and Regulation.” The QFCA (or Qatar Financial Centre Authority) hosted the event that drew in more than 300 senior level execs hailing from 26 nations.

At the conference attendees were set to examine what type of preparations the regional insurance/reinsurance industry should have underway for the coming phase of acceleration and growth. They dealt with this issue through a series of international speakers sharing their vision for and addressing the future of the industry and the challenges they are facing with regulations and competition.

The minister said that although on average insurance premiums in the GCC area grew about 28 percent from 2005 to 2010, growth is still in the forecast for this market as is a further spread into other regions. He noted that insurance premiums within the GCC market should double and climb higher than $27 billion from now until 2014.

It was also added that certain factors for growth within the insurance industry include the wider condition of the economy when compared to the current economic conditions globally speaking, as well as the large number of projects that will be underway dealing with infrastructure. The insurance sector also has a lower level of penetration within the regional economies, which is another factor of growth.

Premium penetration in the Gulf region currently sits at 1.9 percent, which is very low in comparison to the 7 percent seen globally. This condition means that the Gulf region’s insurance sector has massive potential for regional growth.

Yousuf Hussein commented that the whole of the GCC is ranked among the 20 strongest economies around the globe, mainly due to the steady growth rates that have seen the GCC surpass other nations over the last number of years.

The minister stated that the Qatar government intends to provide a healthy environment for growth within the insurance/reinsurance market. He also noted that new rules and regulations enacted that deal with the financial markets should help Qatar to attract industry professionals that will in turn help develop the insurance industry in the nation. The minister added that a license has been issued by the QFC allowing the first captive insurance firm and that further licenses will be issued for similar firms over the course of this year.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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