Category: Economy & Energy

Qatar’s State Cabinet Approves Reforms for Workers’ Rights

On October 17th, 2019, the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, H.E. Yousuf Mohamed Al Othman Fakhroo, announced that the State Cabinet approved several reforms related to foreign workers. The issues subject to further reform are Qatar’s minimum wage, it’s exit-visa requirements, and working conditions for employees.

Qatar’s Minister of Administrative Development speaking at ILOs Centennial

During the the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which was held at the Katara cultural village, the Minister stated that “the State Cabinet also approved a draft law to make rules to ease transfer of workforce to other employers during contract period to ensure the rights of both parties (employer and employees)…”

Previously, employees were required to gain approval from their current employer in order to transfer to another position within an outside company, increasing the chances of abuse. The draft law allocates increased rights to the employee while facilitating transitions for the employer.

The State Cabinet approved another draft law that terminates exit permits for workers who are not subject to or benefit from Qatar’s labour laws.

Most notably, the legislation included and instituted the following provisions: a wage protection system; a labour disputes settlement committee; a workers’ support and insurance fund; a law regulating entry, exit and residency of the expatriates and, lastly, a national committee for combating human trafficking. Additionally, the ILO stated the latest reforms were unanimously agreed by Qatar’s governing council of ministers (State Cabinet). The next step to implementation is the passage through the nation’s advisory (shura) council. Once that occurs, the Amir of Qatar is expected to approve the changes and issue a decree sometime in January.

The Ministry, with support and requested oversight from the ILO, has worked tirelessly to improve the working conditions and welfare of its workers. Qatar seems to be committed to creating a more holistic and secure work environment for all of its workers, and demonstrates the country’s reliability in implementing reforms to the international community.

 

 

(Image Source: Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy)

 

 

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Qatar Achieves Self-Sufficiency in Poultry and Dairy Products

On October 7th, 2019, Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, Assistant Under-Secretary for Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, stated that Qatar’s domestic poultry production satisfied 100% of the country’s internal market demand for fresh chicken.

This benchmark achievement wasn’t only confined to poultry production, in fact, Qatar has become self-sufficient in dairy products as well.

Qatar Agricultural Development Company Complex

Qatar’s self-sufficiency in the poultry and dairy sector is noteworthy for the two principal reasons: firstly, it demonstrates Qatar’s ability to achieve their food-security objectives, which in turn alleviated the negative economic affects of the blockade, and, secondly, it highlights the country’s internal market capacity and dexterity to tackle and/or adapt to external market pressures.

During his visit to National Group for Agriculture and Animal Products, Sheikh Dr. Al Thani commented, “we currently have a surplus of dairy products, where local production reached 109 percent, egg production also rose to 40 percent which will increase with the joining of other farms in the coming period.”

In addition, Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani noted that Qatar will seek to export its poultry and dairy surpluses to foreign markets, and expects to further integrate the country’s domestic agricultural sector via state-led initiatives. These state-supported measures will include the construction of greenhouses, the installation of efficient production inputs and irrigation systems/technology, feed, fertilizers and pesticides.

Furthermore, the Minister stated that local farm production is projected to increase from 10,000 tonnes per year to a staggering 90,000 by 2020 as a result of modern farms equipped with greenhouse technologies.

Currently, there are 1,300 active and productive farms in Qatar. Overall production and output is expected to increase as new greenhouses are being built to increase yields and to decrease water consumption.

 

 

 

(Image Source: Doha News)

 

 

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Qatar’s Booming Maritime Sector

The current container traffic for Hamad Port, Ruwais port and Doha Port, which has cumulatively surpassed the 1 million mark, illustrates Qatar’s robust and vibrant maritime sector. Compared to 2018, the results for this year’s January-September period indicate that there has been a two percent increase of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) containers traffic.

 

Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar) released the latest data about the ports’ performances for the January-September period: a total of 307,511 tonnes of general cargo was processed, which is a 23% increase from 2018; and a total of 54,555 vehicles were handled, which is a 7% increase from 2018. In addition, the ports processed 582,598 heads of livestock.

 

 

Compared to the other ports, Hamad Port is responsible for the majority of the container traffic because of its sophisticated and multi-purpose container terminal: it can process/service heavy equipment, livestock, general cargo, and provide offshore-supply services to support Qatar’s domestic oil and gas industry.

 

The container traffic for Hamad Port is expected to increase because of an expansion project: a second container terminal is being built.The incredible and constant growth of Qatar’s ports and container traffic/activity underscores the country’s capability and capacity to service and process large quantities of maritime traffic, and its reliability as a regional and international maritime terminal hub.

 

 

(Image Source: QatarLiving)

 

 

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Qatar’s 5G Network Available Nationwide by 2022

On September 30th, 2019, Vodafone unveiled its 5G network’s capabilities and area coverage, including key locations across Qatar and covering 70% of Doha.

Vodafone Qatar demonstrated its commitment to build and provide innovative and sophisticated infrastructure to support Qatar’s national long-term objectives, as outlined in Qatar National Vision 2030.

Currently, the company plans to successfully expand its 5G coverage area nationwide before the 2022 World Cup.

Commenting on Vodafone’s overall market position and qualitative performance in the region, Diego Camberos, Vodafone Qatar’s Chief Operating Officer stated, “If you see the performance of our network and compare with our brand’s networks in other countries, you will experience the difference and realise that we are much more superior to others.”

Additionally, Vodafone Qatar announced Qatar’s first Unlimited 5G Plans. Camberos commented that the company plans to provide a diverse array of data-packages to cater to the different needs of consumers.

 

There will be three variants of the Unlimited 5G plans that will allow a diverse set of consumers to  take advantage of the 5G network in Qatar.

Camberos commented, “Vodafone Qatar is proud to make the exceptional freedom of 5G connectivity available to more people, and in more homes and offices, through our market-leading plans and services for consumers and businesses, which set new standards for the industry.”

The quick emergence and establishment of Qatar’s 5G network illustrates the nations commitment to becoming both a regional and international technological hub.

 

 

(Image Source: Vodafone – Twitter)

 

 

 

 

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Qatars Efforts in Stemming the Impact of Climate Change – UNGA

On September 23, 2019, world leaders convened in New York for the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Prior to the start of the high-level debate, world leaders convened for the UN Climate Action Summit to discuss the damage that rapid climate change is causing on our ecosystems and societies.

 

Qatar’s Amir, HH Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al-Thani, participated in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 – specifically, for the Climate Finance and Carbon Pricing Coalition session. At the session, the Amir was joined by foreign counterparts, such as President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Jamaica, Andrew Holness.

During the session, the Amir reiterated Qatar’s responsibility and commitment to confront and resolve the transnational threats emanating from climate change.

 

This was displayed by Qatar’s ardent support for the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. At the national-level, the Amir declared that Qatar has implemented and pursued many measures to develop sustainable technologies. Qatar, under the Amir’s stewardship, has tackled clean energy, increased the overall efficiency in the gas and energy sector, aimed to improve waste-management and recycling processes, and to increase the usage of green technology in infrastructure. Many of these environmental policies and objectives are a part of Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

Most notably, the Amir referenced the transnational and indiscriminate effects of climate change by stating the following:

 

“…The phenomenon of climate change is undoubtedly one of the serious challenges of our time. It is a problem that is continuously exacerbating and causing many problems which intertwine in their economic, environmental and social dimensions and have very serious negative repercussions on all forms of life including human life and on both developed and developing countries alike, especially on the tracks of the sustainable development which all peoples aspire to.

This serious phenomenon makes it incumbent upon the international community to cooperate and double efforts to confront it and reduce its repercussions.

 

Within the same context, the Amir mentioned the importance and exemplary role that the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund has taken in combating climate change. The Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund is a founding member of the “One Planet” Global Sovereign Wealth Fund. The latter was established as part of an initiative with France’s President Macron. The fund actively promotes green investment activities and will seek to adopt low-carbon economic growth, which will complement the goals of the Paris Agreement and those of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Furthermore, as Qatar prepares itself to host the highly anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Amir highlighted Qatar’s commitment the make the mega-event a carbon neutral tournament. This will be achieved via the use of solar-powered stadiums and the application sophisticated cooling/lighting technology that will be water and energy efficient.

Lastly, the Amir announced Qatar’s financial contribution of $100 million to support small developing island states and least developed states to tackle the challenges of climate change, natural hazards, environmental degradation, and to support state/institutional capacity building initiatives that focus on countering the destructive impacts/effects of climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

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Over one million visit Qatar in June

As a result of investments in tourism by the National Tourism Council, the number of visitors traveling to Qatar has increased. According to the monthly statistics released by the Home Planning and Statistics Authority, 1.05 million people visited Qatar in June 2019. The number of visitors increased by 11% compared to June 2018.

According to the statistics, most of the visitors came from Asia (excluding the Arab countries) and Oceania (39%) and Europe (32%). In addition, the number of arrivals by both air and sea grew. The number of people that arrived at Qatari ports doubled from 53,714 in June 2018 to over 107,000 in June 2019. Arrivals by land were at zero due to the illegal blockade imposed on Qatar.

With the increased number of visitors, hotel room occupancy rates have also gone up. In June 2019, 65% of hotel rooms were occupied compared to 59% in June last year. 3-star hotels performed the best with a 76% occupancy rate, followed by 2- and 1-star hotels at 75%.

 

Furthermore, hotel apartments also performed well with 73% being occupied. With the higher occupancy rates, hotel revenue has grown, while average hotel room rates have decreased.

 

The increased number of visitors is a result of the investment made by the National Tourism Council that promote Qatari tourism. For example, the expansion of Doha Port was recently completed, which allows large cruise ships to enter the port.

In addition, the ‘Summer in Qatar‘ program series offer a vide range of indoor and outdoor activities for tourists. Through the program, Qatar Airways has offered discounted tickets, while hotels and resorts have provided discounted rates. Moreover, families, and family members of Qatari citizens have been able to apply for hassle-free visa for a visit to Qatar during ‘Summer in Qatar’.

 

 

(Image Source: Unsplash)

 

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QAI Supports Silatech on the Occasion of the World Youth Skills Day

July 15 marks World Skills Day for Youth. 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up 16% of the world’s population. The UN’s sustainable development goals require citizen participation from all age groups. Young people, as the decision-makers of the future, play an enormous role in this citizen participation. Young people are the key to building sustainable, just, inclusive and stable societies in order to avoid or address the threats of tomorrow. These include climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender equality, global conflicts, and exponential migration.

However, young people between 15 and 24 years of age are three times more likely to be exposed to unemployment than adults. In addition, they are continually exposed to lower quality jobs, greater labor market inequalities and longer and less secure school-to-work transitions.

Going further, women between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid and to work part-time or on temporary contracts.

 

Silatech, a non-profit company in Qatar, has a mission to include and connect young people around the world, especially in the workplace. Silatech provides innovative solutions in the field of youth employment. The company works with national, regional and international partners to provide financial, technical and operational contributions to young people who wish to develop their skills and employment opportunities.

In an interview between Forbes and Ms. Sabah Al-Haidoos – CEO of Silatech, on 29 January 2019, Ms. Al-Haidoos elaborated on the scope of Silatech’s work, the importance of the role of young people in the world and their values: “Without economic and social empowerment of young people after graduating high school, education won’t be as useful. Investing in innovative educational solutions and tools at the grassroots level is a worthwhile venture because it is the conduit to economic opportunities when all enabling factors align. (…) We also work with partner organizations that believe in our mission to empower and inspire youth to transform their lives for the better and lead the change in their communities. ”

The current challenge regarding youth employment is the central point of the organization’s values. Silatech believes that it is necessary to educate society on this global problem, to achieve the development of a political strategy for governments. In addition, Silatech proposes to launch media campaigns to encourage and support innovative and innovative employment methods for young people, but also for companies.

 

 

 

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Qatari Ministry of Transport and Communications Started Test Operation of Automatic Rapid Transit System

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) has conducted the first test operation of the Automatic Rapid Transit (ART) System. The test operation was witnessed by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, alongside with a number of ministers and senior officials.

The ART is a rail-less system for urban transport which is essentially a crossover between buses and trams. It can travel with a speed of up to 70km/h and has the capacity to carry 307 passengers. The ART is powered by electricity and provides a range of 25km with only 10 minutes of quick charging and 70km with 3 hours of full charging. Since ART trains do not run on rails, the vehicles use sensors that help their drivers to follow their virtual rail on road. ART vehicles have the same width as a normal bus, but they are 32 meters long, significantly longer than articulated buses.

“The trial operation of ART System is the first in the world. This transit mode, if the test operation is successful, will support the diversification of transportation sector in Qatar through using the world’s latest transportation system. This contributes to achieving economic and environmental balance in the transportation sector’s infrastructure projects.

 

It will also offer a distinct and unique experience during the various events Qatar hosts, particularly the FIFA World Cup 2022 as it will be an exceptional experience for fans and visitors with high-quality services that provide smooth mobility to stadiums, residences and tourist attractions” said HE Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti.

The innovative, modern and environment-friendly public transport system aligns with the pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030. The test operation of the transit system contributes to a list of infrastructural development projects done ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The ART will provide smooth mobility between stadiums, residences and tourist spots.

 

 

(Image Source: Ministry of Transport & Communications)

 

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President Trump Gives a Warm Welcome to Qatar’s Amir

On July 8th, 2019,  the Emir of Qatar, H. H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and other high-ranking cabinet officials, such as Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended a dinner hosted by Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Treasury, at the Treasury Department in honor of the Emir’s official visit to the U.S. The dinner was also presided by President Donald Trump.

At the dinner, Secretary Mnuchin acclaimed Qatar’s strategic partnership and efforts in the fight against terrorist financing by stating the following:

 

”I am pleased that you have joined us in the Middle East region to open the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center.  We are sharing intelligence and operational capabilities to ensure that our financial system is not used by those seeking violence… Our governments continue to work together on your counter-terror financing legislation, and we are grateful for your country’s commitment to uphold the U.N. counter-terror obligations.”

Furthermore, during the dinner, President Trump praised US-Qatar military-to-military strategic relations and cooperation by adding the following:

 

“I know everything is going to be very positive. You’ve been a great ally, and you’ve helped us with a magnificent military installation and military airport, the likes of which people haven’t seen in a long while.”

Instead, on July 9th, 2019, President Trump hosted  H. H. Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the White House for a bilateral meeting. At the White House, the President and the Emir discussed regional security in the Gulf region and their economic and military partnerships.

 

During the meeting, H. H. Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani highlighted and emphasized the close ties between respective countries by stating that:

“…our economic partnership has been more than $185 billion, and we’re planning to double this number…We have a lot of investments in the U.S.  We trust the economy here.  We do a lot in the infrastructure, and we’re planning to do more investments.”

 

Subsequently, the two leaders signed a commitment which includes, among other things, the purchase of Boeing Airplanes, the agreement between Chevron-Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Qatar Petroleum on petrochemical development in Qatar.

The Emir’s visit and the signing of the agreement illustrated the strength and vibrancy of bilateral and diplomatic ties between Qatar and the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

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Key Remarks by President Trump, HH Amir Al Thani, and Secretary Mnuchin

On July 8th, 2019, the Emir of Qatar was the guest of honor at a dinner thrown by Secretary Mnuchin, with both President Trump and Qatari Amir Al-Thani providing remarks. The following day, the Amir met with President Trump at the White House and both leaders proceeded to comment on the bilateral relationship between the United States and Qatar.

 

Remarks by President Trump and Amir Al Thani of the State of Qatar Before Bilateral Meeting

 

AMIR AL-THANI

“…our economic partnership has been more than $185 billion, and we’re planning to double this number…We have a lot of investments in the U.S.  We trust the economy here.  We do a lot in the infrastructure, and we’re planning to do more investments.”

– H H Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

July 2019

 

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP

“We have a great operation — military operation — right now in Qatar.  They built one of the great military bases, I would say, anywhere in the world.”

– President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump
July 2019

 

 

 

Remarks at Dinner Hosted by the Secretary of the Treasury  in Honor of the Amir of the State of Qatar

 

SECRETARY MNUCHIN

“We appreciate your support with us in the fight against terrorist financing and your support for our strategic military presence … I am pleased that you have joined us in the Middle East region to open the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center.  We are sharing intelligence and operational capabilities to ensure that our financial system is not used by those seeking violence… Our governments continue to work together on your counter-terror financing legislation, and we are grateful for your country’s commitment to uphold the U.N. counter-terror obligations.”

– Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin
July 2019

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP

“I have to say that the investments that you make in the United States — one of the largest in the world — but the investments that you make are very much appreciated.  And I know the planes you’re buying and all of the other things you’re investing in.  And I view it differently; I view it as jobs.  Because for me, it’s jobs…”

“I know everything is going to be very positive. You’ve been a great ally, and you’ve helped us with a magnificent military installation and military airport, the likes of which people haven’t seen in a long while.”

“…I understand there’s been another $8 billion invested [Al-Udeid Air Base]. Thank goodness it was mostly your money, not ours. In fact, even better — it was all of their money, not ours. That’s even better.”

– President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump
July 2019

 

AMIR AL THANI

“Qatar and the U.S. are working together to eradicate terrorism and its financing, wherever it may take root, to ensure a more peaceful and secure world.”

– H H Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
July 2019

 

“We continue our mutual commitment to remain closely invested in both military and security alliance, as we are expanding Al Udeid Air Base to accommodate U.S. troops and their families… And our political cooperation in the wider region creates stability so that economic development can flourish.”

– H H Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

July 2019

 

“Together, our two countries continue to seek more investment opportunities to further enhance our common prosperity.  Qatar is one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East, and American companies are a treasured part of Qatar’s success and development.  We have a long history of exchanging expertise and resources, and oil and gas, to make both countries top energy exporters.”

– H H Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

July 2019

 

“Our partnership also growing in many non-energy sectors.  One being the exciting back-to-back World Cup 2022 in Qatar and 2026 in the U.S.  This year, our mutual economic partnership is estimated at $185 billion — a number which we both intend to grow.  This has already created more than half a million American jobs.”

– H H Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

July 2019

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