(MENAFN - Arab News) Achieving a balance between investment and sustainable development as a path toward a more secure and stable future is not a new concept, but in light of the recent global economic crisis it is one that is now being given more careful consideration by countries all over the world.
Through its vast natural resources and the ever increasing global demand for energy, Qatar is in an economically more favorable position than most. However, as the implementation of Qatar's National Vision 2030 demonstrates, the importance of using this wealth to build a competitive economy capable of providing a more sustainable future for its people has not only been given serious consideration, it is also being put into practice.
As a result, Qatar is aiming to increase the role of its non-hydrocarbon sector to 80 percent of the economy by 2015. Significant investment is being made on projects such as the New Doha International Airport, Pearl Island and Mesaieed Industrial City's port. Qatar has established a strong reputation in the transportation, media and real estate space, with the Qatar Science and Technology Park now housing more than 30 ventures in areas such as life sciences, oil and chemicals, environment, electronics and software engineering.
Qatar's financial sector has also seen rapid development serving the needs of a larger and more complex economy. Qatar's banking sector has expanded significantly. By the end of 2000, the country had 96 bank offices (headquarters and branches), and by the end of 2009 that number had doubled. Bank assets grew from QR50 billion in 2000 to QR484 billion in March 2010, a jump from 78 percent to 123 percent in the ratio of bank assets to GDP. Qatar's equity market is also developing rapidly.
These developments and industry success stories are being underpinned by a huge investment in infrastructure that will bring advanced road and rail systems to Qatar.
However, the greatest of all investment is being placed on human development - specifically in health care and education. Qatar is transforming these sectors to ensure that in time its greatest resource becomes its people, and that their health and well-being is a top priority.
Qatar is a work in progress as it continues on its path toward delivering the Vision 2030, but even still, it is ahead of many countries across the world that are yet to spell out their own visions for a more sustainable future.
It is therefore fitting that this month Qatar is hosting the third World Investment Forum (WIF 2012) from April 20-23. The forum take place in tandem with the 13th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII), which will be held from April 21-26 at Qatar's National Convention Centre. Given the nation rebuilding that is currently under way following the Arab Spring, it is also fitting that these events are taking place in a region where a path toward a more sustainable future is needed by many.