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By Satish Kanady
DOHA: Qatar is striving to raise its credit ratings to “AAA”, two levels high on par with a selected few advanced economies. Currently, the country is rated “AA” with stable outlook.
Opening the 7th edition of ‘Multaqa” here yesterday, the Minister of Economy and Finance H E Yousuf Hussein Kamal said: “The current rating of Qatar is ‘AA’. We are working on for ‘AAA’. The history of our economy is very strong. Qatar’s economy has advanced over the past few years to reach internationally competitive.”
He said Qatar would go ahead with the plans to establish the $1bn Regional Islamic Bank. Qatar will have 30 percent stake in it. Last April, Qatar signed a MoU with the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, a multilateral lender, and Saudi Arabia’s Dallah Albaraka Group to establish the bank with initial capital of $1bn.
Yousuf Hussein also said that Al Koot would be re-launched as a re-insurance company in which non-Qatari companies would be given opportunities to make stake.
Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector’s contribution to GDP began to rise and is expected to maintain its last year’s growth rate of 9 percent. “The growth of Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector is in line with the National Vision 2030, which aims to create a strong, sustainable and diverse economy based on the reinvestment for the state’s wealth accumulated from the hydrocarbon sector,” he said.
The most significant segments of the non-hydrocarbon sector are infrastructure, which is expected to see investment of $140bn between now and 2019. The services sector is expected to contribute 60 percent of the total growth in the country’s economy. Building and construction sectors are expected to register a 10 percent growth. Transport and communications are expected to register a 15 percent growth rate during the current year, he said.
On the insurance sector, Yousuf Hussein said the industry’s contribution to the country’s GDP is just 0.5 percent, which is an indication of the huge opportunities and the possibilities the future holds for this sector. Qatar believes that the insurance sector can greatly contribute to the GDP in the light of the stability of high average per capita income and the volume of planned investments to achieve the National Vision 2030. The fact that the general economic outlook for the next five years strong is another positive indicator.
Qatar’s economy has advanced over the past few years up the ranks of the world’s economies to become internationally competitive. The country’s economic growth accelerated to teach an average 13 percent during the period from 2008 to 2012. Then high international ratings given to the country’s economy confirms that a healthy financial climate exists in Qatar coupled with a stable economic outlook, he noted.