Much hinges on Qatar’s National Development Strategy and its smooth implementation. With an economy growing so fast, staying on top of new trends is of paramount importance. Michael Robinson reports
The minister of Development Planning and Statistics is charged with overseeing the oil and gas industry to ensure that Qatar’s economy is diversified and sustainable, guaranteeing a more prosperous future for its citizens in the coming years. Dr Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Nabit was appointed to head the ministry in June 2013, before which he was secretary-general for the General Secretariat for Development Planning.
How far advanced is Qatar in terms of sustainable development for the National Development Strategy?
We have been working hard towards making all of our developments sustainable and will provide future generations in Qatar with a good future and style of life.
Our main focus is to achieve the goals and aspirations of the National Vision. We review the NDS to make sure that there are no gaps or shortcomings and try to learn from our past experience. We also monitor the implementation of the NDS with all concerned parties, including other ministries and institutions and I think that we are on the right track.
In which areas of sustainable development does Qatar lead?
Creating sustainable development is always a challenge, especially if you are talking about countries that are depleting resources. However, Qatar is leading in terms of investing in human capital and human development to become a more efficient and competitive nation.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a government department?
The challenges that we face can be resolved in the medium term and we are concerned about the overall population and the composition of the population in terms of nationality, gender and the mix of families and singles. We think this should be adjusted to make sure that we find the right composition that can work for Qatar in the long term.
These are normal challenges that any government faces such as finding highly qualified and skilled employees where we want Qataris to be more involved. We have some good short term plans to educate and enhance the capacity of Qatari youngsters.
How do you juggle the conflicting needs of economic development, human development, environmental and social development?
The fact is that whenever you increase the exploitation of hydrocarbons, there are inevitably environmental issues. We have already put measures in place to limit harmful chemicals and gases. In the future, air quality will be better because hydrocarbon production will not increase and we are using new techniques to reduce and reuse emissions in different ways.
How comprehensive is the national development strategy?
I think it is very comprehensive. It is ambitious in terms of the numbers of projects and programmes. We will be working on any improvements needed.