Qatar National Vision
As arguably the world’s fastest‑growing economy, Qatar recognises the importance of diversification and sustainability. It also acknowledges the inherent challenges of a rapidly‑increasing population, further industrialisation and the resultant need for an ever-expanding infrastructure.
To confront and manage those challenges in an effective manner, an ambitious and far‑sighted policy document, Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030, was first published in 2008. Based on the guiding principles of the Permanent Constitution, it defined the nation’s medium‑to‑long-term objectives and created a framework for sustainable national strategies.
QNV 2030 rests on four pillars – Human, Social, Economic and Environmental Development – each with clearly defined individual long‑term outcomes yet important inter‑relationships.
Qatar’s human capital is recognised as its greatest asset. QNV 2030 stresses the important roles of education, health and sport in expanding the opportunities and capabilities of all the people of Qatar, enabling them to develop and sustain a prosperous knowledge‑driven society.
Under QNV 2030, all new projects should provide a high standard of living for future generations, with investments in education and research, healthcare, transport and industry. This will enable Qatar to sustain its own development by 2030. There are plans for a bold new future with the construction of an integrated transport system, a major overhaul of roads and highways, drainage and sewage, and the renovation of downtown Doha.
The first wave of specific actions and targets in the next chapter of Qatar’s transformation were defined in the Qatar National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011–2016.
NDS 2017–2022 was released in December 2017 by HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and has been prepared by the Planning and Statistics Authority and other entities. The strategy includes aspects related to 2022, continued implementation of QNV 2030, economical performance and future prospects.
The strategy also includes institutional development, providing services and financial management, strengthening human development, proper social development, sustainable development that preserves the environment, and managing strategic performance.
Qatar’s Economic Development plans aim to create and sustain a competitive and diversified economy capable of meeting the needs of, and securing a high standard of living for, its population now and in the future.
According to the International Monetary Fund in their 2019 Article IV Consultation (June 2019), the ‘availability of buffers has enabled Qatar to successfully absorb the adverse shocks from the 2014–16 decline in oil prices and the 2017 diplomatic rift’. Two new laws introduced in 2018, regarding tenders and public finance, are part of a plan to monitor public expenditures, improving efficiency and enforcing better management of investment spending.
Infrastructural spending is being further boosted in advance of Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup QatarTM, an event expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors and to increase tourism both before and after the event. The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs indicates that the demand for workers has been rising ever since Qatar’s bid victory in 2010.
The budget for 2019 shows the government potentially awarding contracts worth QAR48 bn for new projects during the year, while major projects have been earmarked QAR89.6 bn (43.3%), in key sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and transport. The transportation and communications sector is allocated QAR16.4 bn (7.9%), while infrastructure projects receive QAR33 bn (16%).
Qatar’s economy has historically been significantly boosted by growth in the oil, gas and petrochemicals industries. However the government is taking steps to diversify economic development elsewhere, especially in view of lower oil prices. Education, sports, medical and cultural tourism are being developed and Qatar is emerging as a major player in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market.
Conferences and Exhibitions
An influential player in the region’s MICE market, Qatar opened its first major facility in 2011. The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) and located in Education City, is an iconic venue in terms of design and green technology. QNCC is one of the largest, most technologically advanced venues in the Middle East, employing environmental and sustainability best practices including LEED gold certification.
Designed by Arata Isozaki, the venue features a 3D representation of the Sidra tree, symbol of QF. The total venue area of 200,000 sq m has 40,000 sq m of exhibition space, a conference hall for 3,800 delegates, a 2,300‑seat theatre, two multipurpose halls, three tiered auditoriums, 52 meeting rooms and 13 lounges and suites. QNCC has been named the Best Convention and Conference Venue by World Tourism Awards, and the Middle East’s Leading Exhibition and Convention Centre by World Travel Awards.
The Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) opened its doors in November 2015. The impressive world-class building sits on a 47,700 sq m site, and includes a state-of-the-art exhibition hall, modular wall system, high-tech meeting and conference rooms, a VIP hosting suite and a vast underground parking system.
Located in Al Dafna, Qatar’s commercial district, the venue boasts five exhibition halls ranging between 5,368 sq m to 7,160 sq m with the capability to use the space in its entirety as one exhibition hall totaling 29,000 sq m, thanks to a unique wall partition system. The impressive 18-metre high ceiling is the highest in the Middle East and is supported by a revolutionary cantilever roof meaning the whole space is pillar-free, making it more versatile than many other standard exhibition halls.
Annual business conferences and exhibitions include: Project Qatar, the trade construction, building, environmental technology and materials exhibition; QITCOM, the ICT‑industry expo; Cityscape Qatar, one of the region’s largest real estate events; and MEED Qatar Projects. Qatar has also hosted the Arab Future Cities Summit, the Green Building Expo, and the World Stadium Congress, as well as trade summits and conferences.
Developments to Infrastructure
The 2019 budget forecasts a surplus of QAR4.3 bn, the first for three years, and revenue is expected to reach QAR211.0 bn, up 20.5% against 2018. The budget is based on a higher average oil price of USD55 a barrel.
From a total expenditure of QAR206.7 bn, major projects will receive QAR89.6 bn (43.3%), down 3.6% from 2018 – the decrease is due to the completion of some projects, a trend that will continue in the next few years. The government aims to complete projects in such sectors as healthcare, education and transportation, as well as for the FIFA 2022 World Cup QatarTM.
Infrastructure projects, to cover road, water and electricity networks, and the development of new housing areas for nationals, is allocated QAR33.0 bn (16%). Transportation and other infrastructure projects receives QAR16.4 bn (7.9%), primarily for the Doha Metro. Hamad International Airport is earmarked QAR1.0 bn as part of a QAR10.0 bn expansion plan, and the Qatar Public Transportation Program is allocated QAR3.0 bn between 2019 and 2021.
During a Cabinet meeting in September 2019, HE Ali Sherif Al Emadi, Minister of Finance and Chairman of the ministerial group for coordination and follow-up of major projects (of strategic importance), presented the group’s latest update. Various entities have completed many of the roads and other projects relating to the FIFA 2022 World Cup QatarTM, metro networks, existing and new citizens’ land infrastructure, and projects in the healthcare and education sectors. The Ministry of Finance, in cooperation with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), is working towards linking targeted performance indicators with approval for new projects. This will be one of the main factors in determining future expenditure in conjunction with the country’s economic plan.
Commissed by The Big 5 Construct Qatar expo, also in September, the MEED Projects report stated USD4.5 bn worth of projects had been awarded in H1 2019. The construction and infrastructure sector is likely to accelerate in H2 2019 and beyond, and the country’s total overall projects market is valued at around USD75 bn.
The new public-private partnership (PPP) law, approved by the Cabinet in April 2019, is anticipated to be used to support projects connected to Qatar National Vision 2030 and the FIFA 2022 World Cup QatarTM. The PPPs will be used for a variety of sectors, including healthcare, education, sports, real estate and public infrastructure.
Public Works Authority
The Public Works Authority (Ashghal), was established in 2004 for the planning, design, procurement, construction, delivery, and asset management of all infrastructure projects and public buildings in Qatar. Various departments oversee roads and highways, drainage networks, and public buildings such as hospitals and schools. Key projects include the Expressway Programme, roads and drainage under the Local Areas Infrastructure Programme, and the Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy (IDRIS).
Ashghal launched its Corporate Strategy 2018–2022 under the authority’s new vision ‘Excellence in delivering and managing efficient sustainable infrastructure’. Under the strategy, Ashghal aims to be more self-reliant, and has set 10 objectives to accomplish its mission of ‘continuously enhancing customer satisfaction through leading project and asset management services and solutions’.
The ‘Qualification of Small-Scale Contractors’ initiative was launched in 2018 to support Qatari companies and encourage them to participate in road projects, providing training and assistance with project implementation.
Numerous expressway projects have brought great benefits to navigating around the country. The New Orbital Highway and Truck Route has been renamed as Al Majd Road: Road 2 links Mesaieed Industrial City with Lusail City, while Road 4 links Mall of Qatar with Ras Laffan. The eight‑lane Dukhan Highway East is nearing completion.
Overall, Ashghal aims to complete 1,543 km of road works, 2,000 km of footpaths and 1,028 km of bicycle tracks between 2018 and 2022. Much of this is under the second phase of the National Strategy for Traffic Safety (2018–2022). Under the first phase (2013–2017), the road network tripled.
More residential plots are to become available under the Citizens Residences Development scheme by 2021. Infrastructural development is planned in Al Wukair North, Al Mashaf, west of Abu Hamour/Ain Khaled, south of Al Shaihaniya, west of Umm Slal Ali, Rawdat Egdaim and Izghawa, west of Al Khor/Al Egda, west and south of Simaisma,
Al Wukair South and Rawdat Al Jihaniya.
The Refurbishment and Upgrading Works for Four Sewage Pumping Stations Project aims to provide sustainable solutions for improving the country’s sewage networks, with pumping stations in four vital areas within Doha. Ashghal is using ‘Made in Qatar’ materials for this project to support local manufacturers.
The Mesaimeer Pump Station and Outfall Tunnel projects began in May 2018 and will include a pumping station operating at 19.7 cubic metres per second, pumping water from Mesaimeer Tunnel to the new outfall tunnel. The project will provide a sustainable solution to discharge surface and storm water and cost around QAR920 mn. It is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2021 and is the second phase of the Mesaimeer Surface and Ground Water Drainage Tunnel Project.
Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation
The corporation, more familiarly known as Kahramaa, was established in 2000 under the Ministry of Energy and Industry to regulate and maintain the supply of electricity and water to its customers. Kahramaa transferred ownership of its stations to Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) in 2002. In November 2018 HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, assumed responsibility for Kahramaa as part of his remit to oversee the regular and sustainable supply of energy, power and water for domestic purposes.
An ambitious strategic plan for projects began in 2014. The first ‘transformation’ phase ended in 2018; the second phase started in 2019 and will end in 2023. Overall, Kahramaa plans to invest QAR38 bn in projects to meet the increasing demands made to the electricity and water supply, with a further QAR6 bn after 2022.
The commissioning of five mega water reservoirs to be online by 2026 will provide storage for 2,300 million gallons a day of water. One, the Umm Al Houl Power Plant, currently pumps 136 million gallons of water a day. The power generation phase will produce 2,520 megawatts of electricity. The plant will add around 30% water and 25% electricity of local demand once fully completed.
Kahramaa now installs smart electricity meters in all new buildings and is replacing old ones. These meters digitally send readings to the energy supplier to ensure more accurate energy bills. They also help the customer better understand their energy usage and is part of the Tarsheed initiative to rationalise consumption of water and electricity.
The use of about 1,000 smart digital devices to detect leakages in 10 places on the water distribution network has enabled savings of QAR6.42 mn, or 1.4 million cubic feet of water. The first remotely-operated smart power substation opened at Barwa Village in September 2018. It is connected to the main control room enabling it to be monitored and shut down quickly in the case of an emergency without human intervention.
Selected Megaprojects in Qatar
Qatar is undertaking a number of megaprojects to satisfy QNV 2030, as well as the much talked about football event. All this construction is good news for both local and international businesses. These include projects with Qatar Rail, Qatar Free Zones Authority, the North Field Expansion project under Qatar Petroleum, and the proposed expansion of Hamad International Airport.
Construction projects both planned and underway include upgrades to infrastructure, as well as projects in the following sectors: health; leisure; sport; hospitality; commercial and residential; oil and gas; education; heritage and culture; and government. Here are just a few of the biggest projects currently underway:
The 2022 FIFA World Cup QatarTM
No list would be complete without mentioning the enormity of the proposed sporting event coming to Qatar. With the ongoing scrutiny over the State being awarded the rights to host the competition, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) continues to issue assurances that the country’s preparations are on track.
Previously known as the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, SC has signed stakeholder agreements with Qatar Rail, Ashghal, Kahramaa, Aspire Zone Federation and Qatari Diar, for projects to deliver the infrastructure for the event.
The Workers’ Welfare regularly interacts with SC workers and a dedicated hotline was established in 2017 to deal with grievances. SC’s Workers Welfare Standards exceed Qatar’s laws in an attempt to ensure fair recruitment policies, payment terms, overtime provisions and accommodation standards. All contracted workers are registered with an integrated electronic medical records system and undergo medical screening by Qatar Red Crescent funded, by SC.
The Official Emblem was unveiled in Doha on 2 September 2019 at 20:22 local time, with the synchronised projection of the emblem onto a number of buildings, including Katara Cultural Village Amphitheatre, the Ministry of Interior, and Al Zubara Fort, the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Many of the eight proposed host venues are completed or nearing completion. The new stadiums have been designed by the world’s leading architects and reflect a different aspect of Qatari culture, and take into consideration three priorities: access and comfort, sustainability, and post-tournament legacy. Fans can potentially see more than one match a day, as the longest distance between venues is just 55 km.
- Khalifa International Stadium: originally built in 1976, the stadium was reopened in May 2017 following its renovation.
- Al Janoub Stadium: the Al Wakra stadium opened 16 May 2019 for the final of the Amir’s Cup. Designed by the late Zaha Hadid and inspired by traditional dhow boats, the 40,000‑seater venue will host matches up to the quarter-finals. After the competition it will become the home of Al Wakra Sports Club with 20,000 seats; the remaining 20,000 will be donated to football development projects overseas.
- Al Bayt Stadium: a 60,000 seater-stadium which will be home to Al Khor Sports Club. The design of the proposed host venue up to the semi-final matches is based on a Bedouin tent, and will have a retractable roof. After the tournament the stadium’s modular seating will reduce to 32,000 with the surplus seats donated to global football development projects. It is expected to be completed in December 2019.
- Al Rayyan Stadium: features an undulating façade and sand dune-shaped structures, using environmentally friendly building materials and practices – and a renewable energy generation system on site. The proposed venue up to the quarter-finals will be the new home of Qatar Stars League football team Al Rayyan Club.
- Education City Stadium: the 40,000-seat venue will host fixtures up to the quarter-finals, and will hopefully become the new home for the Qatar women’s national football team after the event.
- Al Thumama Stadium: capacity for 40,000 fans and will host matches up to the quarter-finals. The stadium, designed by Qatari architech Ibrahim M Jaidah, represents the traditional gahfiya, and won the MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Award in May 2018. In legacy mode, seating will be reduced to 20,000.
- Ras Abu Aboud Stadium: constructed from shipping containers, removable seats and other modular building blocks, the 40,000-seater stadium is the first fully reusable FIFA stadium.
It will host matches up to the quarter-finals.
- Lusail Stadium: seating 80,000, the stadium in Lusail City will host the opening and closing ceremonies, matches throughout the tournament, and the final, to be held on 18 December, Qatar National Day. Its design is inspired by the fanar lantern, as well as the motifs on bowls and other vessels seen throughout history in the Arab world. After the tournament, the stadium will be changed into a community space with schools, shops, cafés, sporting facilities and clinics.
Qatar Integrated Rail Project
Following its establishment in 2011, Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) is leading one of the largest rail projects in the world to meet the demands of Qatar’s dynamic and growing population. The company is responsible for the design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the entire network and systems.
The state-of-the-art railway network currently consists of Doha Metro, a rapid transit system connecting communities within Doha and its suburbs, and Lusail Tram, a service for convenient travel within the new city of Lusail.
The Doha Metro: Three lines covering the Greater Doha area with connections to commercial and residential areas throughout the city. In central Doha, the Metro will be underground, while at the outskirts it will mainly be at ground level or elevated.
The project is being conducted over multiple phases: The first will see the construction of three of four lines (Red, Gold, and Green) with stations expected to be open to the public in 2020.
- The Red Line (the ‘Coast Line’) is about 40 km running from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north, with a connection to Hamad International Airport. There are 18 stations, and passengers can transfer to the Lusail Tram at Legtaifiya, and Lusail stations.
- The Green Line (the ‘Education Line’) runs east from Al Riffa to Al Mansoura, in the west.
- The Gold Line (the ‘Historic Line’) runs from Ras Bu Aboud to Al Aziziya with 11 stations.
Future phases involve the introduction of an additional line (Blue).
Lusail Tram: An integrated transportation system to serve Lusail City. The state-of-the art network is a tram based system that will connect all the major points of interest in the city. The tram is designed to travel on streets, sharing road-space with other traffic and pedestrians. The project consists of 19 km along four lines and 25 stations, with interchange stations allowing passengers to continue on to Doha via the Doha Metro.
One of the largest projects in Qatar, costing an estimated QAR163.8 bn (USD45 bn), Lusail City is developed by Lusail Real Estate Development Company (LREDC), a subsidiary of the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, itself a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority.
Spanning 38 sq km north of Doha, Lusail City is master planned to accommodate more than 450,000 residents and visitors. The project was launched in 2004 and is mixed‑use, with residential and commercial districts, retail and leisure amenities, hotels, a golf course, and man-made islands.
Energy City will be the country’s centre for government ministries, and public and private company headquarters. Fox Hills district will cover 1.6 million sq m with housing for 40,000 residents, a 200‑bed hospital, 36 schools and 35 mosques. The expected completion date for the entire project is 2020.
Residents have begun moving to the city and work is proceeding apace on providing services such as petrol stations, health centres and schools, as well as developing roads, malls, shops and other facilities. Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and Kahramaa started operation of the main power transmission and power distribution stations in May, which has 14 main power transmission stations and 135 power distribution stations.
Msheireb Downtown Doha
Msheireb Properties is a real estate development company and a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation. Their flagship project, Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD), is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project, the QAR20 bn (USD5.5 bn) restoration of a 31 hectare site. Msheireb means ‘a place to drink water’ in Arabic, and is the historical name of downtown Doha. The entire development is aiming to achieve Gold or Platinum Certification for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED).
MDD is divided into five broad quarters:
- Diwan Amiri Quarter: Adjacent to the Amiri Diwan and Al Koot Fort, the Quarter is a group of three stone-clad public buildings comprising the Diwan Annexe, the administrative headquarters building for the Amiri Diwan, the Amiri Guard Building and the Qatar National Archive.
- Heritage Quarter: Includes the heritage houses which form Msheireb Museums – Bin Jelmood House, Company House, Mohammed Bin Jassim House and Radwani House.
- Retail Quarter: The largest of all five quarters, with the Galleria Mall. Sikkat Wadi Msheireb is a pedestrian-only street with cafés and small boutiques. Barahat Msheireb is the largest covered public square in the region and houses the Mandarin Oriental Doha hotel, cinemas, exhibition halls, galleries, and Alwadi Hotel Doha MGallery by AccorHotels on the corner of Wadi Msheireb and Jassim bin Mohammed Streets. In August 2019 the first residences were released at Sikkat Wadi Msheireb at the Wadi 1 residential building, with apartments featuring the latest smart home technologies.
- Mixed-Use and Residential Quarter: A combination of commercial, retail and residential properties overlapping the Retail Quarter.
- Business Gateway: Premium business amenities will be on offer in the low- and mid-rise buildings. A number of hotel options are available for convenient meeting and conference use.
Cars and other methods of transportation will be underground in several basement levels for a pedestrian‑friendly atmosphere. The project will also be served by a dedicated tramway and will be the central interchange for the Doha Metro lines.
The whole project is now more than 90% complete and some of it is open to the public, such as Msheireb Museums and two hotels. Commercial contracts have been signed with government entities, Qatar Financial Centre, Novo cinemas and Al Meera supermarket chain.