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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Report: Qatar struggling to convert wealth into well-being for residents

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Despite spending vast sums of money on health, education and economic development, Qatar has come up short in improving the long-term prosperity of the country’s population, according to a recently released study.

However, the report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) noted that many oil-and-gas-rich countries are in a similar situation, and that Qatar is performing better than all its GCC peers.

Qatar boasts high employment rates, a stable economy and a healthy and well-educated population by global standards, but it lags behind in terms of social cohesion, civic activism and protecting the environment – factors that BCG said are important for a country to sustain its long-term prosperity.

“Qatar must focus on reversing the recent backward trend on dimensions such as environment and civil society or risk falling behind other GCC states,” said Douglas Beal, a partner and managing director of BCG Middle East and a co-author of the report, according to the Peninsula.

Results

BCG’s third sustainable economic development assessment report analyzes 148 nations, and attempts to quantify a country’s “well-being” using 43 measurements in three main categories:

  • Economic, such as GDP per capita;
  • Investments, such as health and education performance; and
  • Sustainability, which includes environmental quality and governance issues such as levels of violence, corruption and freedom of the press.

According to BCG’s 100-point scale, Qatar ranked the highest in the GCC with a score of 78.6. It was followed by the UAE (74.1), Kuwait (72.3), Oman (65.2), Saudi Arabia (65) and Bahrain (61.9).

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In an additional level of analysis, BCG took into account the financial wealth of each country to determine whether it was overachieving or underperforming when it came to ensuring the well-being of its citizens.

Presumably, rich states have more money to spend on educating residents and protecting the environment.

By this measurement, Qatar – and virtually every country that derives more than 10 percent of its GDP from oil revenues – is falling short, although it once again was ranked the best in the GCC.

Oil wealth ‘a double-edged sword’

Government officials in Qatar often stress the importance of building a sustainable economy that offers citizens a high standard of living even when the nation runs out of oil and gas.

This mindset has led to the creation of initiatives such as the Qatar Science and Technology Park and entrepreneurship support program Silatech, which aim to nurture the next generation of leading-edge firms.

Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport

The country is also spending large amounts of money to attract tourists and create an aviation hub in Doha through its support of Qatar Airways.

Its oil and gas revenues are also being used to create a highly skilled workforce. Qatar University and Hamad Bin Khalifa University both churn out educated graduates, while Qatar Foundation’s WISH and WISE conferences regularly attract some of the world’s top minds in health and education respectively to Doha.

According to BCG, all of these are long-term investments that will pay dividends in the future, as Qatar has only started to fully exploit its natural resources in recent decades and – like several other countries – may not have had sufficient time to use its wealth to improve residents’ well-being.

But timing aside, the report said Qatar and its peers suffer from poor governance scores in part because of “the double-edged sword of oil wealth.”

Citing World Bank research, BCG stated one potential reason is that substantial oil and gas revenues means governments have less need to tax, which reduces their obligation to be accountable to their citizens.

Environment

Like all Gulf states, Qatar’s strength came from its financial performance and investments in health and education. Also like its peers, the nation received much lower sustainability scores for its governance and environmental records.

Dust masks
Dust masks

The GCC countries are not alone in having strong economies alongside relatively high levels of air pollution and carbon emissions.

The report’s authors said their data supports the commonly held belief that rapid economic growth often comes at the expense of the environment.

Doha’s air quality was ranked among the worst globally by the World Health Organization last year.

But some of the major pollutants – such as dust created by the manufacturing industry and the soaring number of construction projects – are also considered signs of a thriving economy.

Thoughts?

28 COMMENTS

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Gaga
Gaga
5 years ago

“Like all Gulf states, Qatar’s strength came from its financial performance and investments in health, education and education.”

I was like, ‘Oh, Qatar really focused on education, they invest to it not once, but twice.’

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Gaga

and that got them… nada

sadam
sadam
5 years ago
Reply to  Gaga

don’t forget Arts and real estates in UK 😉

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Gaga

And in the next story on DN, A school for lower income expats is closed down….real investment in education…also anyone seen the PISA rates, anyone?

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
5 years ago

Didn’t we just read last week or so how terrible education is in Qatar? The kids are some of the lowest performing in the world?

sadam
sadam
5 years ago

What other export industries does QA have other than oil & gas & petro chemicals?

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

That’s because it is not easy. Particularly if you’re not willing to follow best practice. Singapore seems to have generally managed it though so it is definitely not impossible.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

Most obese nation outside of some tiny pacific island, huge diabetes problem, one of the worst performing education systems in the world,….

Are we to believe last weeks story or this weeks? Are we just stroking the locals with this one?

Joe
Joe
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

…words they sound good and mean NOTHING in Qatar.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

Qatar will do us all expats a big favour if it cuts the current rent rates by 50% 🙂

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago

Oh surprise surprise!

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago

..misleading article..if i have a land cruiser and a porsche cayenne then surely i have health & well being.
At night i can take the family out in the Nissan Patrol, so the kids can of course jump around in the car and exercise while im driving and park outside a food establishment and beep my horn to order my food..Can’t get much healthier than that!

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

You would do well to get to know some locals. You’d be surprised at how many aspire to better things than you describe.

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Ferrari’s? Lamborghini’s?
The locals and non locals treat this country as a garbage bin Pete, there is no respect for the country, the environment they live in let alone for the subservient people who are beeped at bullied and yelled at by people too lazy to get out of a car to order a take away meal.
There is so much opportunity & possibility in Qatar but i honestly can not say i have seen any aspiration for a better Qatar in real terms.. Its a country that likes shiny new buildings but lacks the ability and forward thinking to work out those buildings don’t stay shiny..

Lincoln II
Lincoln II
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

Please allow me to give a comment.

First of all I must say this to my own defence; I cannot express myself in short, but always long, long letters speaking my mind. Sorry.

I think it is because I respect you guys intelligence and because I realise that your opinion is as good as mine, but …… let me try this.
So I will comment on this:

The locals and non locals treat this country as a garbage bin Pete, there is no respect for the country, the environment they live in let alone for the subservient people who are beeped at bullied and yelled at by people too lazy to get out of a car to order a take
away meal.

There is so much opportunity & possibility in Qatar but i honestly can not say i have seen any aspiration for a better Qatar in real terms.. Its a country that likes shiny new buildings but lacks the ability and forward thinking to work out those buildings don’t stay shiny..

Finish quote.
____________________________________________________________________

Answer:

I certainly disagree. There is a great amount of respect as far as the country Qatar is concerned and the people, for your strive to improve your environment and life and you relationship to the rest of the world.

Things are not so easy that you can expect this “over night”. Nobody does good all the time and this we must admit. Who can say; “I do nothing wrong”? nobody can.

So this is the beginning of my; “speaking my mind”.

First of all: some people see “all the problems” and others look at “the problems” as opportunities. Let me take a number: 1, 2, 3, ……………………

1) Education, schools and so on. Here we are talking about the children, our future. Children like to go to school and study. Some needs help, some needs a little push and some needs “another way of learning”.

May I give you an example? I would like to introduce a famous writer to you, Hans Christian Andersen. Now, to understand “things” and life in his days, he wrote parables. In his fairy tales he let the “things” speak.

So, if a little toy figure can tell what is on the mind it is easy for a child to understand “the problem” (and adults as well).

Here I will tell about a way of learning by “stepping a little back” and give space for a theatre. In a play at the theatre all can happen and everyone can participate.

So in this way it (we) can improve learning a lot from 50 % – to 100%

2) Here “skippy 1111” also mentioned; something about “garbage”. Always we get offended if we are not taken serious. But there is always a way.

About garbage? I like to tell about how “garbage” can be turned into something valuable. It is called recycle.

If we all get involved in all the things we complain about we could improve things very much.

Finely; about “There is so much opportunity & possibility in Qatar ….”
quote.

Yes I think so and actually the world is waiting both to help and assist but also so see you in the future as a beautiful country.

Spirit
Spirit
5 years ago
Reply to  Lincoln II

You have good points but long comments don’t work on Disqus and condensation means your quotes are what we see first if we don’t click to read the whole thing. Why not at least get rid of the quotes by saying @skippy1111 and @Pete?

Lincoln II
Lincoln II
5 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Hallo Spirit.

Thank you for your opinion. Ok, the reason I write like I do is, I do not wish to play “ping pong”. My comments should have some substance and give true information to the reader, and just giving a small “point” is not my style.

If I shall learn from you and others I must have something like; if you invited me for a meal.

Hope you understand my “point”?

I wish you all the best.

Spirit
Spirit
5 years ago
Reply to  Lincoln II

I wish you all the best too.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

Who is this Skippy1111, he or she has taken my mantle? They say you have a twin somewhere in the world, and Skippy1111 you are mine…..

Whatever
Whatever
5 years ago

‘The country is also spending large amounts of money to attract tourists and create an aviation hub in Doha through its support of Qatar Airways.’
DN are you sure about this? I thought QA was an independent company operating entirely on its own without any subsidies from the Government.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Whatever

oops, cats out of the bag now.

Yousef
Yousef
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

someone has to fly “IS” into the country….first class would be the best place for them.

Gaga
Gaga
5 years ago
Reply to  Whatever

I wonder how Al Baker will react to this. Lol.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Whatever

“Support” isn’t a “subsidy”. *cough*

Spirit
Spirit
5 years ago

Rome was not built in a day.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Hmmm, and look what happened to them, once it was built…

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

I don’t think Qatar cares about the opinion of BCG. Who is that again?

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Only the highest wealth per capita makes sense until you think that the highest investment doesn’t always bring the best results.

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