Rather than put a dent on Qatar’s economic growth, the ongoing economic blockade imposed on Qatar has failed to stop the continuous momentum witnessed by the country’s private sector, according to industry leaders and stakeholders.
In just 72 hours after the blockade was announced on June 5, 2017, the State was able to call on government ministries and agencies, including different private and semi-private organisations to mobilise resources, thus shielding the economy from the impact of the “unjust siege” against Qatar, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani earlier said.
Since the past 1,000 days after four of Qatar’s neighbours called for a sea, land, and air blockade, the country has only seen “a positive transformation” and a revival of its investment climate, as well as an enhanced private sector contribution to the state’s economic growth, reiterated Qatar Chamber first vice-chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari.
It can be recalled that only a few days after the blockade, agencies like Qatar Development Bank (QDB) organised events, such as the “Buy Local Products” expo, which opened a wide range of opportunities for local companies, suppliers, and manufacturing firms.
An official of a participating company at the expo had even noted that because of increased demand for locally-manufactured products, business operations of domestic companies “improved further” because of the blockade.
As with other local firms operating in Qatar, he said, the blockade “made the company stronger” amid the government’s assurance and efforts to promote the local manufacturing industry, thus encouraging other businesses to expand their operations.
Also, organisations like the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) have supported efforts to instil the culture of business continuity and resilience, as well as risk management systems.
QBA board member Saud O al-Mana had earlier said that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) “were dependent on regional markets, and were at the receiving end of the impact” caused by the economic blockade.
He said larger companies in Qatar managed to adjust quickly to the crisis, but assured that the QBA wanted to make sure that SMEs had overcome the challenges of the economic blockade, and for them to depend 100% on the international market instead of the regional market. Locally sourced and Qatar-made products are not only making rounds in the country but in foreign markets, as well, according to Qatar Chamber, which recently concluded a successful edition of the “Made in Qatar” exhibition in Kuwait.
Sheikh Khalifa said the expo is a testament to Qatar’s economic resiliency, and highlighted the progress achieved in Qatar’s industry since the blockade. From 2017, he said the number of factories in Qatar increased to 800, while projects that started production have now reached 116, he added.
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