In the three years following the blockade, Qatar has adapted extremely well to the challenges, which positively impacted the country’s overall self-reliance, predominantly its sustainable economy, said Mazhar Khan, a prominent Indian business executive.
The Qatari economy is sound with no sign of any major slowdown or cancellation of any committed projects.
The country also forged stronger trade and commerce relationships with several other countries across the world.
Diplomatically, Qatar dealt with the crisis and endeavoured to develop new policies and procedures for self-reliance with substantial zeal, noted Khan, a long-time Qatar resident.
All prime initiatives were put on top priority, he said and noted the Hamad Port, which opened within three months of the imposition of the blockade, now serves as a key infrastructure that facilitates smooth imports and exports for the country.
At the same time, the Hamad International Airport (HIA) initiated priority clearance of air-cargo for FMCG and perishable goods.
Khan said, “When I look back at the area that impacted my industry (branding, signage, advertising) I believe think institutions like Ashagal, QDB, MoTC, Ooredoo, GWC are outstanding examples of how Qatar is now meeting its needs and being self-sufficient, and even exporting. I, remember how Ashghal implemented ‘Taheel’, a fast-track vendor registration process local suppliers and QDB’s financial sustainable support for SMEs”
“Over the last three years, I believe, what we’ve seen is a rediscovery of Qatar, which has led to a real strengthening of the relationship. We have witnessed some positive changes, in relation to abolition of exit permit for a vast majority of expatriates, or on the freedom of mobility of labour, which is a positive development.
“Qatar also introduced permanent residency for foreigners and announced moves to make it more open for visitors. By easing labour laws for people to change jobs, the country is ensuring that expatriate population feels home in Qatar.”
Khan noted that the society really come together, both nationals and expatriates, in response to the challenges following the blockade and turn those around positively.
By investing on projects and initiatives to attain self-sufficiency, Qatar was able to provide basic necessities like dairy and foodstuff for its people. Besides the import of thousands of dairy cows, Qatari farms have also enhanced their production of fresh vegetables and built additional 'seasonal greenhouses' and hydroponic systems.
Resilience in the face of the crisis was clearly seen as expatriates were one with the locals since day one of the blockade. And despite the crisis, Qatar still rose four spots in the World Happiness Index—claiming the 32nd spot out of 195 countries.
With the country's commerce and financial sector emerging stronger amid the crisis, the unjust blockade on Qatar also impacted the business climate in the country in a positive way that has seen a record number of start-ups mushrooming.
In the area of tourism, Qatar has put in a lot of efforts to promote itself as a unique destination through efforts by Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways.
Qatar is also well connected with the rest of the world as its national carrier Qatar Airways flies to some 160 key business and leisure destinations globally on more than 250 state-of-the-art aircraft, Khan added.
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