Which key sectors will shape Qatar’s future economy?

As Qatar moves into the final phase of Qatar National Vision 2030, these are the key industries and sectors shaping the nation’s future economic strategy.

For more than 20 years Qatar has enjoyed unparalleled prosperity with exceptional economic growth.

Following the economic boost the country gained from hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar’s economy will expand even more as liquefied natural gas (LNG) outputs surge in the second half of the decade.

In their concluding statement in January 2024, the IMF Executive Board said “Qatar has remained resilient to the recent global shocks and its economic outlook is favourable… The nation’s favourable medium-term outlook is supported by the significant expansion of LNG production in the North Field and expected gains from the implementation of NDS3.”

‘NDS3’ refers to Qatar’s Third National Development Strategy

In 2008, the government launched Qatar National Vision 2030, a long-term state-building strategy focused on investing in future generations. Three subsequent National Development Strategies have launched, including the latest, NDS3 (2024–2030), to help Qatar on its journey to realising its national vision.

NDS3 outlines Qatar’s bold and transformative initiatives and reforms and reveals the key sectors, in energy and beyond, that will define the future of Qatar and its people.

The future of energy in Qatar

Qatar is one of the world’s leading LNG exporters, and since the late 1990s this versatile and lower-emission fuel has become an integral part of the state’s future economic strategy, helping countries meet their energy requirements while reducing emissions.

To this end, long-term energy deals have been signed with countries around the world. Qatar recently signed 20-year-plus gas supply deals with companies in China, India, Italy, the Netherlands and France.

To keep up with demand, Qatar is expanding its North Field operations (the world’s largest natural gas field), to increase LNG export capacity from 77 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 142 MTPA before 2030, representing an increase of almost 85% from current production levels.

At the same time, Qatar has made significant investments in renewable energy resources.

In April 2024, Kahramaa (Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation) launched the Qatar National Renewable Energy Strategy (QNRES) to increase and diversify the use of energy sources such as solar power to fuel the domestic electrical grid.

Qatar’s key future growth sectors

As part of NDS3, there are outstanding tourism opportunities in Qatar, and the country has ambitious targets and development projects underway, building on the legacy of the first Middle East nation to host a FIFA World Cup. Qatar’s future ambition for the sector is to welcome six million visitors annually by 2030, helping the tourism industry contribute to 12% of national GDP.

Transport & Logistics
Complementing Qatar’s tourism objectives is the country’s rising position as a major global logistics hub. At the heart of Qatar’s future plans are Hamad International Airport (HIA) and Qatar Airways, recognised as the “World’s Best Airport” and the “World’s Best Airline” respectively in 2024 by Skytrax. In addition, Qatar’s main gateway to world trade, Hamad Port, includes 30 shipping lines that connect the port directly and indirectly to more than 100 maritime destinations worldwide.

Qatar’s future enabling sectors

IT & Digital
The IT & digital services sectors will continue to play a pivotal role in driving Qatar’s digital economy. In February 2024, the Ministry of Communications and Information and Technology (MCIT) launched the National Digital Agenda (NDA) 2030, a comprehensive programme to accelerate impactful digital change across all industries of the national economy through mastery of the global ‘hyper-powers’: HyperConnectivity, HyperComputing, and HyperAutomation.

Financial services
In November 2023, Qatar Central Bank (QCB) launched its Third Financial Sector Strategic Plan to enhance its financial and capital markets to lead the region in innovation, efficiency and investor protection. Ultimately, the goal is for the financial sector to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.7% until 2030, with the sector contributing 84 billion QAR (23 billion USD).

Investing in human capital is a cornerstone of Qatar’s aspirations for current and many future generations to come. The country’s education landscape is a leading regional centre of high-quality learning, including numerous international institutions that have a presence in Qatar.

Qatar’s resilient future sectors

Having a healthy population, both physically and mentally, is one of the main pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030. Comprehensive, effective, and affordable services are accessible to everyone, and Qatar’s healthcare sector ranks 1st in the Arab world according to Numbeo’s Healthcare Index in 2024.

Food & Agriculture
Qatar’s summer climate has necessitated a robust food security and agricultural strategy.  The key ambition for this sector is to enhance food security at home and develop long-term specialisations such as agritech. Qatar has achieved almost 100% supply security for essential items, including 100% self-sufficiency in fresh poultry and milk.