Interview: Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi, CEO, Manateq
What role will industrial zones and logistics parks play in raising Qatar’s profile as a preferred investment destination in the region?
FAHAD RASHID AL KAABI: Diversification strategies aimed at shifting the economy away from hydrocarbons dependency and the creation of a more vibrant industrial sector have been priorities for the government. We have put forth measures to attract investment and expertise and develop an entrepreneurial culture. Warehousing parks, logistics parks and industrial zones have been designed specifically to facilitate the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This is an important step in recognising that longterm and sustainable growth is best served by an indigenous private sector that is capable of competing globally and providing the country with future jobs and prosperity long after major infrastructure projects are completed. This should encourage local industrial capacity as we target locals to set up across a wide range of sectors, while attracting international tenants to function as anchors in logistics parks and industrial zones. With the right infrastructure, Qatar’s profile as a preferred destination will continue to rise.
How is value addition promoted and fostered within industrial zones following Qatar’s efforts towards industrial diversification?
AL KAABI: Qatar’s National Development Strategy 2017-22 aims to expand not only the hydrocarbons sector but also the country’s food, knowledge, environmental and pharmaceutical industries. The objective is to create a business environment which enables domestic and foreign investors to deliver value-added products and services to local, regional and international markets.
Selecting the areas for each project is of paramount importance, ensuring businesses have easy access to the port and to other vital areas of the country such as Al Majd Road. The strategic location of projects, their proximity to those gateways and the facilities’ fully integrated services enable logistics companies to reduce transport times and costs.
How is greater SME activity being promoted in Qatar’s downstream industries?
AL KAABI: There is a particular focus on promoting the creation and growth of SMEs — particularly those related to aluminium, steel, automotive, construction materials, and food and beverages — to accelerate the process of economic diversification. Hence, we are encouraging SMEs to set up manufacturing and warehousing facilities to meet the requirements of the industrial and services sectors, while we focus on the delivery of appropriate infrastructure.
What impact will increasing logistics and warehousing capabilities have on boosting Qatar’s overall business competitiveness?
AL KAABI: Increasing logistics and warehousing capabilities will undoubtedly boost overall competitiveness in the country, provided the right incentives are in place. At the logistics and warehousing parks we offer investors a range of services, including enhanced interconnectivity, integrated infrastructure, and an easy set-up process. We target the development of a wider range of sectors in the economy through the development of indigenous enterprises, while at the same time attracting international investment, businesses and partners.
Our logistics parks facilitate the establishment of non-hydrocarbons sectors and businesses as we offer around 2.8m sq metres for construction and building materials; 595,000 sq metres for the food sector; 230,000 sq metres for electronics and advanced technology; 83,000 sq metres for transport services and marine equipment; 77,000 sq metres for pharmaceutical storage; and around 3m sq metres for multipurpose storage and warehousing purposes.
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