World Economy

Qatar Says Economy Open for Business

Qatar Says Economy Open for BusinessQatar Says Economy Open for Business

Eight months after its Arab neighbors broke off ties with Qatar under Saudi pressure, the Persian Gulf state says regional isolation is making it stronger.

The country’s finance minister says Qatar’s economy is “resilient” and “open for business.” “Lots of people gave us a few weeks to survive this,” Ali Shareef Al Emadi told CNNMoney.

“Despite whatever we had in the eight months, we’re still [one of] the fastest growing” economies in the region, he added.

Last June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and transport links with Qatar. The three Persian Gulf states gave Qatari nationals 14 days to leave, and advised their own citizens to leave Qatar.

They accuse Doha of funding terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East, claims Qatar strenuously denies.

The tiny state had in the past relied heavily on Saudi Arabia and the UAE for much of its imports, including a third of its food supply. It also imported most of its construction materials from the two countries. But it was quick to find alternative suppliers, turning to Iran, Turkey and other countries further afield.

“This blockade and the challenges that happened, probably gives more opportunity to the state of Qatar,” Al Emadi told CNNMoney at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Today we are really focusing on other countries... We are getting our supply chain from more than 80 countries,” Al Emadi said.

After a country visit in August, the International Monetary Fund said Qatar was “adjusting to the shock” and the banking system “remains sound, with high asset quality and strong capitalization.”

The IMF expects the country’s economy to grow 3.1% this year, up from 2.5% in 2017.


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