Since 1995 and Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s coming to power, Qatar has established itself across the world as one of the most attractive nations for investors. An attractiveness that goes beyond economic and financial frameworks alone. With the next football world cup organization, the small emirate wants to mark the spirits at the cultural, sporting and tourist levels. A country as big as Corsica.
Suppose Qatar is a particularly rich country, in particular because of its large gas reserves. In that case, the emirate remains by its size (with an area of 11,586 km²) a small country with a recent history (the country has been independent since 1971).
But with the highest GDP per capita globally and determined to diversify an economy largely dependent on its natural gas exports, the Emir of Qatar has decided for twenty years to give a new strategic direction to his country to attract capital and know-how to its country.
The boomerang effect
A small country, Qatar has since relied on soft power and influential diplomacy to gain a place in the panorama of the large globalized economy. A winning formula. With for foundation the creation of the news channel in Arabic, Al-Jazeera diffused worldwide, which made of this small country the main transmitter of Arabic-speaking news.
The result is better known with many investments made around the world. In France, we can note, for example, the acquisition of stakes in LVMH, Le Printemps, Hotel Concorde, Lafayette and especially in the football club of Paris Saint-Germain, a real showcase of Qatar throughout the world.
With this investment and upscaling policy, Qatar’s attractiveness has gradually increased in international investors’ eyes. Doha is now a leading financial and tourist center.
FIFA’s choice to entrust the organization of the next football world cup to Qatar illustrates the new international attractiveness of the emirate, particularly in terms of sport and more specifically in the organization of major sporting events.
Because if FIFA has chosen Qatar as the host country of the World Cup, it is after observing the involvement and the growing know-how of the emirate in sport. Not content with having made Paris Saint-Germain one of the most beautiful teams in Europe, Qatar has organized several events that have marked the spirits in recent years.
The emirate has organized each year since 1993 the Doha Tennis Open, an event on the ATP tennis circuit and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Doha, the Tour of Qatar (UCI professional circuit), or a Masters of golf. Qatar has also successfully hosted the 2015 World Handball Championship and the World Athletics Championships are due to be held there in 2019.
These successes are worth in Qatar certain enmities or jealousy, in particular in the bordering countries. From the summer of 2017, tensions escalated in the Gulf, leading Saudi Arabia to close its border with Qatar and Bahrain to ban overflights of its territory.
In 2018, the International Monetary Fund noted that these blockages would not prevent economic growth of 2.5%. More recently, press headlines by Rupert Murdoch, close to the United Arab Emirates, sought to destabilize the emirate on the conditions for the attribution of the 2022 World Cup, information denied both by FIFA and by the reporter of the New York Times specialized on the subject. As the saying goes, better to be envied, than pity.