Pipeline of Qatar projects worth $34 billion
atar’s GDP is estimated to have doubled between 2006 and 2010, analyst contends.
July 2, 2010 9:50 by Rasha Reslan
Qatar’s population has more than doubled since 2004, new data from Qatar Statistics Authority shows.
The preliminary report of the 2010 Census shows that the population in Qatar has grown from 744,029 in 2004 to 1,696,563 in 2010 with 76 percent being male and 24 percent female.
Ali Al-Saffar, an expert on Qatar with the Economist Intelligence Unit, told The Media Line that the new number was not surprising. “The huge population increase is due to manual expat laborers,” he explained. “They (Qatar) have the ability to finance but not to build.” “It’s not surprising when you consider what happened to the economy between 2006 and 2010, during which GDP (gross domestic product) has doubled,” he said.
“There are several reasons for this; one is the LNG (liquefied natural gas) production has soared. The LNG production has tripled in the last four years and oil production has increased by 25 percent,” Al-Saffar explained.
“$34 billion of projects are coming online in 2010, from roads to LNG plants to financial centers; any type of infrastructure,” he said. Ganesh Seshan, professor of economics at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar agreed with Al-Saffar.
“Qatar’s economy is driven by exports of gas and oil,” Seshan told The Media Line. “If prices of these commodities rise, it contributes to a boom in the economy, which also fuels an expansion in the construction or real estate sector.” “This tends to lead to a higher inflow of migrant workers to meet the demands of the sector and other supporting services; hence the rapidly rising population,” he said.
However, while the gas and oil exports have led to a sharp economic growth, inflation has grown as well, Seshan pointed out. “Inflation also goes up with additional liquidity from higher oil and gas revenues,” he said. “Over the past 5 to 6 years, Qatar has benefited from higher commodity prices, which has led to double digit economic growth as well as double digit inflation.” Seshan said that when it comes to Qatar’s future there are some areas of concern.
“It’s not obvious that the economy is becoming any more competitive. There is not published data on productivity changes…though it did fall with the recent global recession and rising world demand for it.”