The nation of Qatar is a World Bank “high-income economy,” backed by the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves. It has the third-highest GDP per capita in the world (by purchasing power parity), with very high human development. Similar to other Gulf Cooperation Council states — which also include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain — Qatar has had to deal with the decline in global oil and gas prices after they first collapsed in 2014, and the situation has been made even more difficult by a Saudi-led embargo of the nation that started in 2017.
Because Qatar has a small population, substantial financial reserves and favorable business conditions for investment, it is in a better position than most to withstand the pressure. It has been working toward lowering its reliance on the export of oil and gas in favor of economic diversification. On Dec. 3, 2018, the nation moved one step closer toward that goal by announcing its withdrawal from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in order to focus more on its natural gas export sector.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar has also committed to a national financial technology strategy to diversify an economy that will be powered by the world’s second-cheapest solar energy in order to meet its goal of increasing the proportion of renewable energy in its total electricity generation to 20% by 2030.
Yousuf Al-Jaida, CEO of the Qatar Financial Center, explained:
“[COVID-19 related challenges] not only highlight the importance of tech and fintech, but also…
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