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Qatar has emerged stronger after siege: Sheikh Ahmed

Tribune News Network
Despite the Saudi-led illegal blockade, Qatar has emerged stronger and more economically independent, Minister of Economy and Commerce HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed al Thani said in Sofia on Thursday.
The unjust siege has presented an opportunity for Qatar to make its economy more accessible to the world, he added.
Highlighting Qatar's economic prowess, Sheikh Ahmed said the country's total GDP increased to $220 billion in 2017, compared with $218 billion in 2016.
"The annual real growth rate of GDP reached 2 percent in 2017. This clearly demonstrates that the blockade has had no impact on Qatar's economy. It rather bolstered our determination to achieve sustainable economic growth and stability," he said.
The minister noted that Qatar has managed to overcome various regional and global challenges by implementing a strategy aimed at diversifying its revenue sources and positioning the private sector as an active partner in the accomplishment of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
He said the share of the non-oil and gas sector in the nation's GDP at constant prices was 52 percent in 2017, while foreign trade increased by 16 percent, reaching $103 billion, compared with $89 billion in 2016.
Total exports, on the other hand, grew by 19 percent to $68 billion in 2017, compared with $57 billion in 2016, the minister said.
As a result, trade surplus increased by 40 percent in 2017, reaching $35 billion, compared with $25 billion in 2016, which reflects positively on Qatar's ranking on several international indicators, the minister added.
According to the World Bank, Qatar's real GDP growth is expected to increase by another 2.6 percent in 2018, in line with the government's efforts to bolster foreign investment, Sheikh Ahmed added.
The minister also highlighted Qatar's global advanced rankings in the latest Global Competitiveness Index. The country ranks first in terms of safe business environment, second in terms of the impact of taxes on business, third in terms of the state's procurement of advanced technology products, and fifth in terms of the availability of investment capital, scientists and engineers.