By Middle East Affairs
Qatar, despite facing a boycott from its neighbors since last June, is experiencing rapid economic growth, its finance minister told Reuters.
As the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas, Qatar’s economy, Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi said, is set to grow 2.6 percent this year and closer to 3 percent in 2019.
This growth is significant as Qatar has been facing a boycott from Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates since last June for alleged ties to terrorist groups, which Qatar denies.
The boycott led to a halt in imports and billions of dollars withdrawn from Qatari banks. Yet Qatar moved swiftly and developed new trade routes, as well as deposited state money in its banks.
“We are still doing very well and will make sure economic growth outpaces that of the region,” al-Emadi told Reuters.
Al-Emadi had said before that the political crisis had not damaged investments and that Doha was engaged in the market.
“We haven’t seen any change in financial institutions’ behaviour towards us. It is business as usual,” he said. “If we see a good opportunity we will go out.”
Qatar’s banking sector is still “very liquid and can provide funding options for Qatari firms, while some of the more developed companies in the country have already accessed international bond markets,” Reuters reported the minister as saying.
He said Qatar was “moving on fast with spending” in preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup, and that 90 percent of infrastructure work for the games would be completed by 2019.