Qatar has large gas reserves and considerable oil reserves, but in the absence of much else in the way of natural resources, the government is aiming for an economic diversification programme that will allow the country to develop as a knowledge-based rather than commodity-based economy, according to Oxfords Business Group’s latest report.
The states ambition is to become a world centre for research and technology, and knowledge-based industries in a matter of decades. It is a bold target for a country with such a small population. However, Qatar does have the advantage of substantial financial resources and of strong relationships with some of the world’s largest companies.
The knowledge economy is being developed under the sponsorship of the Qatar Foundation, and the first step was the establishment of Education City as a centre for International universities that would provide young Qatari’s with a specialised international education at home and establish Qatar as a educational centre.
The next move was the Qatar Science and technology Park (QSTP), where the government hopes to see international companies carrying out their own research and development (R&D) and also assisting local entrepreneurs in setting up technology-related business.
QSTP has already marked up a number of significant successes. In 2006 the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) signed an agreement to establish a centre for training and R&D at the park to be known as the EADS Competence Centre of Qatar. The centre will offer training and certification programmes for non-destructive testing technologies, as well as internationally accredited training courses in air-craft maintenance and related activities.