Driven by the development of the country’s infrastructure, increased availability of financing, as well as further improvements in its already strong policies on tax and trade, Qatar has topped the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region in Economist Intelligence Unit’s business environment rankings. The country has scored 7.5 on 10 in the region for the forecast period of 2013 to 2017, EIU said.
Qatar earned the top slot in a region that comprises some 16 more countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
In EIU’s global ranking, Qatar has moved one rank higher- from 21st to 20th position. “The domestic political environment remains stable, despite upheavals in other parts of the region. Its political stability, political effectiveness and policy towards foreign investment are among the best in the region, and the country’s corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in the world.
“Qatar’s lowest score remains in policy towards private enterprise and competition because of entrenched local business interests in some sectors.”
According to Economist Intelligence Unit, Qatar Government will focus on economic diversification and may temper its high-profile foreign policy. Government expenditure will continue to rise, with projects related to the 2022 football World Cup beginning during the forecast period, but high energy prices will ensure that the fiscal account remains in surplus.
With the expansion of liquefied natural gas output complete for now, The Economist Intelligence Unit expects real GDP growth to slow to a still-robust 5.5% a year on average in 2013-17.
Inflation is expected to rise steadily over the forecast period, from an average of 3.5% in 2013 to just over 5% in 2016-17, as work on world cup-related projects intensifies in Qatar.
On Qatar economic policy outlook, EIU said: “There have been no changes to our economic policy forecast. Qatar has hired international firms to plan two economic zones to boost the diversification of the economy. Related to this, a new helium producing plant opened, making Qatar one of the largest producers globally.”
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