The best entrepreneurs would find it hard to emerge from the shadow of a state as capital-rich and omnipresent as in the GCC.
Steffen Hertog, associate professor at the London School of Economics, in a report titled, The Private Sector and Reform in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Like elsewhere in the Gulf, starting a business in Qatar is hard, as entrepreneurs have said. Part of the problem involves motivation, a key issue also explains why the nation has been struggling with its Qatarization drive for years.
In his report, Hertog painstakingly describes the “paradoxical” approach that many GCC governments have taken when its comes to the private sector.
On the one hand, there is the desire to shore up knowledge economies for the day that the natural gas and oil run out. But increasing nationals’ private sector participation is almost impossible because government jobs, with their high pay and low education requirements, are so much more attractive.
To truly further nationalization, Hertog said governments will have to do more:
Such leadership would have to tackle questions of taxation, distribution and employment in a comprehensive fashion, and would require willingness to make short-term sacrifices for the sake of long-term development.
For the time being, the position of Gulf business is probably too comfortable for such strategic moves to occur.
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