A special economic zone near Hamad International Airport (HIA) moved one step closer to reality this week, after a local company was awarded a contract to build housing there.
Manateq announced the QR550 million agreement with Ismail Bin Ali Group yesterday.
It said the company will build and operate accommodation and recreational facilities for the 8,700 people who will be working in factories and warehouses in the zone.
The complex will contain rooms and one- and two-bedroom apartments for workers, supervisors and technicians.
It will include catering, laundry, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and community areas. Additionally, a public retail center, mosque and medical, banking and administrative facilities will be available onsite.
Work on the housing will begin this month, and take up to three years to complete.
In a statement, Manateq CEO Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi said the zone will “play a crucial role in transforming the country into an industrial and logistics hub for the world.”
He added that the tie-up with the Ismail Bin Ali Group demonstrates how “public and private sectors can have a beneficial contribution on the economic success of our country.”
Ras Bufontas zone
Currently, plans are afoot to build three special economic zones (SEZs) in Qatar.
They are in Ras Bufontas, by the airport; Al Karana, south of the Industrial Area; and at Um Alhoul near Mesaieed.
SEZs are typically set up by governments to provide incentives for foreign investment, as well as create jobs and boost trade.
The project is part of Qatar’s economic diversification plans, to attract more international companies to do business in the country.
To woo them, plans are underway to allow these firms to repatriate all their revenue, investments and capital overseas.
The Ras Bufontas zone is the smallest one, at 4.01 square meters. It will be built in two stages, with the first phase due to be finished at the end of next year and the second in 2019.
The zone will be a hub for businesses specializing in technology, business services, logistics, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, the automotive industries, healthcare and medical devices.
In addition to showrooms and shopping, it will have hotels, service hubs and public spaces, Manateq previously said.
The second zone in Umm Alhoul is a 33sq km that will be a light manufacturing site.
It aims to attract businesses in petrochemicals, building materials, maritime, metals, logistics, food processing and automobiles, tools and machinery.
Finally, the Al Karana site will be the largest at 40sq km in size and is situated about halfway between Doha and the Abu Samra border with Saudi Arabia.
It will target businesses involved in building materials, machinery and fabrications, specialized spill over industries, safety and maintenance and specialized warehouse/logistics activities.