Amid political unrest across the Middle East and north Africa, governments have to work even harder to convince investors to put money into their countries. Security and safety are primary concerns for both investment and personnel. Therefore Qatar, with its stable regime, should be the preferred destination for those wanting to invest in the Middle East. 

The Qatari government, however, is not looking for hefty financial investments from outsiders, but rather is seeking 'technology' investment, whereby the country can benefit from know-how and innovative solutions to diversify its economy away from the hydrocarbon sector, which has turned it into one the world’s wealthiest economies. Qatar’s total real gross domestic investment could reach as much as QR820bn ($225bn) by 2016, according to Qatar's National Development Strategy 2011-16 report.


At a time when the country is spending so much on infrastructure, not only for diversification reasons, but also in preparation to host the 2022 football FIFA World Cup, international and local companies are teaming up to form joint ventures to bid for contracting projects. Total spend on projects for the 2022 World Cup is estimated to be about $87m. State-of-the-art solar-powered, air-conditioned stadia and transport and accommodation projects are among the projects on the drawing board.

Although the Qatari government is able to self-finance these projects, it is expected that it could explore private financing or other innovative public-private partnerships. One industry source described the current state of affairs as a "feeding frenzy". Although no one is actually bidding for specific projects right now, it is about getting a foot in the door and having the presence in Qatar so that when projects do come up for tender, companies are in a position to bid for them directly, the industry source said.

The question now, however, is whether the recent allegations against FIFA officials will impact Qatar and its infrastructure plans.

Lucia Dore is the head of GCC and Middle East at mergermarket, part of The Financial Times Group. E-mail: