Construction boom puts Qatar in spotlight

Occupying a land area of just 11,571 square kilometers – to put it in context, that’s around seven times smaller than the UAE – Qatar is one of the smallest countries in the world. Still, what it lacks in size, it more than compensates for with its monumental hydrocarbon wealth.

Bordering the Gulf Sea and Saudi Arabia, Qatar holds the world’s third largest reserve of natural gas (26 trillion cubic meters or around 14% of global total). It is also home to a fast growing and mostly affluent population currently estimated at over 1.9 million as of January 2013, 20% of which are Qatari nationals, according to the Qatar Statistics Authority. By 2020, the country’s population is expected to expand by over 47% to 2.8 million.

Buoyed by its natural gas riches, the tiny Gulf state has managed to leave its financial footprint across the world over the past few years. In 2010, Qatar secured the top spot in Forbes’ ‘The World’s Richest Countries’ list. In 2011 and 2012, it continued to impress by having the world’s highest GDP per capita at USD 102,000, according to Economist Intelligence Unit.

Qatar’s fiscal growth has been predominantly driven by its oil and gas industry, but like other countries in the petrodollar-rich GCC, it is conscious of the need to diversify its assets in order to achieve economic sustainability.

During the last decade, Qatar has established an economic policy geared towards strengthening the non-oil sector, and increasing private and foreign investments in various industries including construction.

Zawya Projects Monitor estimates that more than USD 240 billion worth of real estate and infrastructure projects are currently under way in Qatar, of which infrastructure claims a 70% share.

The uptrend is expected to continue in the near term, with Zawya’s data indicating that more than 55,000 residential units and 630 buildings and towers are expected to be delivered till 2019.

As Qatar prepares to host a series of international events over the next 10 years, with the FIFA World Cup 2022 taking top billing, the domestic construction industry is very much alive and kicking.

@zawya, May 13, 2013