A Transformative State in the Wake of COVID-19: What Is Needed to Enable Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Education in Qatar?
AuthorBen Hassen, Tarek
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Economic diversification is vital in achieving sustainable economic development, especially for countries relying on nonrenewable natural resources, such as oil and gas, in the case of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Moreover, the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the significance of boosting resilience to adverse shocks. Indeed, the pandemic highlighted the need to promote nonhydrocarbon sectors by strengthening the fundamental pillars of the knowledge-based economy: ICT, innovation, R&D, education, entrepreneurship, and the economic and institutional regime. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown how important it is to mobilize these pillars in record time. Like the other GCC countries, Qatar is seen as a transformative state, suggesting that, although oil and gas provide its primary export revenue, the government has also pushed to diversify its economy toward a knowledge-based one. Indeed, in 2019, hydrocarbons dominated Qatar’s economy, accounting for 90% of government income and 80% of export profits. However, this reliance exposes Qatar to fluctuations in the global oil and gas markets. Accordingly, economic diversification has come to the top of the government’s priority list. Preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar was already in the middle of an economic transition. The economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the drop in oil prices prompted the Qatari government to increase its diversification efforts. Qatar has a solid basis for transitioning to a knowledge-based economy based on its macroeconomic stability, suitable growth rates, and good governance. However, Qatar confronts several challenges in implementing the structural changes necessary for this transition. This paper has three objectives. Firstly, it aims to present the pillars of the knowledgebased economy and their link to the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondly, the paper aims to analyze the present state of the knowledge-based economy in Qatar, including its strengths, drawbacks, and its prospect for the future. Finally, the paper presents some structural reform recommendations to enable innovation, entrepreneurship, and education in Qatar.
- International Affairs [77 items ]