The year 2023 has been an eventful and fruitful year for Qatar, with a string of achievements that can be credited to the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin

Gulf Times

Hamad al-Thani.
Qatar has established itself in 2023 as the world's main mediator, leaving a clear imprint on the map of negotiations and peace talks, and settling crises and disputes that great powerhouses remained unable to resolve.
These painstaking mediation efforts have earned Doha international confidence and credibility, turning Qatari diplomacy into a milestone in world politics.
Over the course of a decade, Qatar has entered a new, completely different political phase with pivotal dispute-resolving roles both regionally and globally.
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Notably, Qatar mediated in various conflicts, including brokering peace talks in Darfur, Mali, Afghanistan, and facilitating dialogue between rival parties in Lebanon, and Israel and Gaza. Qatar has also been able to find a solution to the US-Venezuela dispute, leading to the release of detainees held in both countries.
Doha’s diplomacy has also succeeded in reuniting Ukrainian children with their families, through two swap deals based on a mechanism agreed between Moscow and Kyiv.
Qatar has mediated in detainee exchange between the United States and Iran in August 2023. The deal included the release of 5 Iranians detained in the United States, lifting the ban on $6bn of Tehran's funds frozen in South Korea . Reciprocally, Iran released five US prisoners who arrived in Doha and were then transferred to the United States.
Since 2013, Qatar has succeeded in mediating over ten major regional and global issues, including Sudan.
Qatar is also playing a major role in the ongoing efforts to stop the war currently being waged between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
In the economy sector, Qatar’s general budget for 2024, which expects a revenue of QR202bn and expenditure of QR200.9bn, has 20% of its total allocation for key health and education sectors.
The 2024 budget sees an increase (of 1%) from 2023 due to provisions for rise in the allocations for salaries and wages, which will obviously benefit the citizens.
The budget highlights Qatar's commitment to pay the equivalent of approximately QR7.3bn of public debt dues in 2024, which will be covered from last year’s surplus.
Qatar’s energy sector saw a quantum leap in October this year when His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani laid the foundation stone of the North Field expansion project, which will raise the country’s LNG production capacity from the current 77mn tons per year (MTPY) to 126MTPY by 2026.
The project includes six mega trains, each with a production capacity of eight MTPY of liquefied natural gas, four of which are part of the North Field East expansion project, and two part of the North Field South expansion project, contributing a total of 48MTPY to the global LNG supplies.
By 2029, Qatar will account for about 40% of all new LNG supplies, which means the country will be a key provider of the “cleanest” hydrocarbon source of energy by the end of this decade.
A major milestone in Government’s strategic economic diversification was recently achieved when the Qatar Free Zones housed 400 firms, with 1mn sqm of land leased, representing more than $3bn in total investments and creating more than 6,000 jobs.
Qatar has shown global leadership by pledging 20% of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) holdings towards IMF’s PRGT and RST mechanisms. It demonstrates Qatar’s leadership role in supporting least developed countries overcome economic shocks and challenges.
Qatari banking sector has had an impressive 2023 with local lenders recording a growth in their assets, overall loan book and deposits in most part of the year.
Qatari banking sector recorded a growth in its overall loan book and deposits up to October.
The sector’s total assets increased 1% MoM (up 1.8% in 2023) in October to reach QR1.93tn.
Recently, Qatar Central Bank (QCB) issued instructions for the loan-based crowdfunding regulation in the country.
This is for the purpose of licensing and regulating loan-based crowdfunding activities and services in Qatar.
All companies wishing to work in this field must apply to obtain the necessary licence from QCB.
Qatar’s banking sector will see the advent of new products to support growth in priority sectors, expansion of trade and export finance for corporates, special finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and savings and investment products for expatriates.
QCB’s third financial sector strategy, which was unveiled recently aims to enhance the financial sector's contribution to QR84bn in gross domestic product as part of efforts to unlock the full economic potential of the country.
It highlighted the select growth areas within the banking pillar such as tailored financing, specialised advisory services and digital banking and payment solutions.
Qatar's port management company QTerminals Group acquired a majority stake in Kramer Holding, a provider of integrated logistics and container services in the Port of Rotterdam.
QTerminals Group signed the extension of the Concession Agreement by QTerminals Antalya for the operation of Antalya Port (Port of Akdeniz) in Turkey for a period of 19 years until 2047.
Qatar has been making significant strides in the sports arena. Notably, Qatar hosted the best-ever FIFA World Cup in 2022,marking the first time the tournament was held in the Middle East.
The country has been investing in sports infrastructure and promoting sports development locally and internationally.
Qatar has been a preferred destination for hosting international conferences and events. The country's state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Qatar National Convention Centre, DECC and world class hotels and a five star national carrier (Qatar Airways) have made it a hub for global gatherings in various fields.
Qatar has consistently ranked high in human development indices, with a focus on education, healthcare, and overall quality of life for its residents.
Efforts have been made to attract and retain skilled professionals, contributing to the country's growth and development.
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