Qatar, the world’s richest country per capita, has finally been upgraded from “frontier market” to “emerging market” status by a leading global index, giving it a new sense of legitimacy in the business world.
The upgrade, which the UAE has also been granted, is expected to pave the way for an influx of some $430 million dollars worth of investments into the country.
The New York-based MSCI Emerging Markets Index released its 2013 Annual Market Classification Review late last night. Both Gulf countries have been bidding for emerging market status over the past six years, but were passed over due to restrictive foreign ownership rules, among other issues.
However, the mood was more upbeat in the days leading up this year’s MSCI decision, following an HSBC report identifying key changes both countries had made to allay previous concerns.
Last week for example, Qatar’s finance minister said that many of the country’s publicly listed companies have increased the number of shares available to foreign investors past the 25 percent limit.
Not all countries fared so well this year. Economically troubled Greece was downgraded from “emerging market” to “developed market” status; and Morocco has been reclassified as “frontier,” a step down from the “emerging market” it once was.
Qatar and the UAE’s upgrade will take effect on May 31, 2014.
Credit: Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius