The conference “Economic Diversification in the Gulf States: Opportunities and Challenges” concluded in Doha today after two days of discussion and input from 16 researchers and economic experts. The second day's (Sunday 14 November 2021) sessions addressed the impact of regional and foreign resources in promoting economic diversification in the countries of the GCC and the Qatari experience in economic diversification.
Regional and Foreign Resources of Economic Diversification in the Gulf States
The third panel and first session of the day was chaired by Sahar Yousef, Assistant Professor on the Development Economics Program at the Doha Institute, and included two speakers. Kicking off the day, Abdullah Baaboud, Visiting fellow and Chair of the State of Qatar for Islamic Area Studies at the Faculty of International Research and Education at Waseda University, Tokyo, presented his paper “Economic Diversification in the Gulf: Regional Cooperation is the Missing Element in the GCC State's Various Vision Plans.” He stressed the lack of building viable and accountable institutions to ensure accountability and suitability and the near absence of any mention of enhancing regional cooperation and integration, which are essential in achieving economic growth and argued the importance of regional cooperation in helping to achieve GCC plans and visions.
Musalam Said Masan, Acting Assistant Secretary General for Committees and Information at Oman's Shura Council, followed, presenting his paper, “How to Exploit Foreign Direct Investment to Expand the Base of Economic Diversification in the GCC Countries.” The paper assesses the role of FDI flows in Oman and clarifies the challenges facing the non-oil sectors in attracting FDI, and concludes by suggesting some programs, policies and features that would enhance the role of FDI in consolidating economic diversification.
The Gulf Experience in Economic Diversification: The Case of Qatar
Panel Four was chaired by Mohammad Yaghi, Research Fellow and programme manager at the Regional Program Gulf States at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and included three final participants. Farid Elsahn, Professor of Public Administration Program at the Doha Institute, began with “Economic Diversification: A Sustainable Development Approach (Qatar as a Case Study).” He looked at Qatar’s efforts in adopting a new strategy for economic diversification based on productivity and competitiveness, while attributing great importance to the private sector to achieve targeted economic growth.
Frank Himpel, Director of the Institute of Logistics at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Germany, followed with his paper “The Successful Creation of Resilient Supply Chains Creates Potentials for Further Successful Economic Diversification: Qatar as a Case Study.” He focused on the effort made by Qatar to overcome the 2017-2020 blockade, and how its economic diversification attempts benefited from the positive effects of this effort, emphasizing the context of restructuring supply chains.
Associate Professor in the Development Economics Program at the Doha Institute, Ayhab Saad finished off the panel with his paper, “The Effect of the Blockade on Trade and Export Diversification in Qatar.” He examined the impact of the blockade on diversifying trade in Qatar using detailed trade data to quantify the impact of the blockade on exports diversification in Qatar by tracking a constructed measure of export diversification before and after the blockade.