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Story | Education
3 November 2019

Challenges and progress in Qatar’s development outlined at QF talk


The HBKU lecture saw a senior government figure discuss female empowerment, Qatarization, and the economy

The challenges and prospects for Qatar’s national development blueprint have been discussed by a senior government figure during a talk at Qatar Foundation, which tackled topics ranging from modernization and the preservation of cultural traditions to female empowerment.

His Excellency Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabit, President of Qatar’s Planning and Statistics Authority, spoke about the two editions of the country’s National Development Strategy (NDS) at the first lecture to be organized by Qatar Foundation member Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Public Policy, as well as answering questions from students and academics.

As part of a presentation entitled ‘National Development Strategy: A National Path Towards Qatar National Vision 2030 - Achievements and Challenges’, the audience was given an overview of why Qatar’s development vision was created, and the importance of unifying nationwide efforts to reduce oil and gas dependency, accelerate productivity and economic growth, and making better use of hydrocarbon revenues to build a sustainable future for Qatar.

The lecture saw His Excellency Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabit provide an overview of, and answer questions about, Qatar’s National Development Strategy.

Among the questions His Excellency Dr. Saleh fielded at the event, held at the Minaretein building at Education City, was from Dr. Amal Al Malki, Founding Dean of HBKU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as she focused on why the female empowerment pillar included within Qatar’s first NDS (covering the period from 2011-2016), was “absent” in the second edition of the strategy that spans the period from 2018-2022. “Have we already reached 30 percent of Qatari women in leadership positions, as stipulated under the NDS, or is female empowerment no longer considered as a real challenge?” she asked.

Our community is not static, and we are able to deal with any concerns related to the empowerment of individuals.

His Excellency Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabit

Responding by emphasizing Qatar’s achievements in empowering women. His Excellency Dr. Saleh said: “The goals that were not achieved in the first NDS were carried over to the second, which was designed based on the outcomes provided by various sectors, including the social sector.

“We believe that there are no specific obstacles related to the female empowerment objectives, as none have been raised. Any obstacles that may hinder the empowerment progress, whether for males and females, are being addressed for both Qatari nationals and residents.

“Our community is not static, and we are able to deal with any concern related to the empowerment of individuals. Our NDS is resilient, and can accommodate all issues, even if they have never been raised before.”

In his lecture, His Excellency Dr. Saleh spoke about the nature of the “constant and variable challenges” cutting across the first and second editions of the NDS. He highlighted modernization and preservation of traditions as ongoing challenges, as well as aligning the size and the quality of Qatar’s expatriate labor force with the path of development that Qatar has set out on.

We are very keen to ensure that talents and competencies find their way into a labor market that welcomes everyone.

His Excellency Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabit

Answering a question on how to balance the nation’s Qatarization policy, its expatriate labor force, and economic productivity, His Excellency Dr. Saleh: “I do not think that Qatarization is related to high or low productivity - productivity is about putting the right person into the right position, and prioritizing qualified Qatari nationals is a normal process.

“However, our Qatarization and appointments policy is based on objective criteria related to competence and capacity, to deliver on the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. We want to nurture national development and continue to absorb new challenges to deal with future variables. We are very keen to ensure that talents and competencies find their way into a labor market that welcomes everyone.”

The aim of Qatarization is to provide 50 percent or more of Qatari citizens with meaningful permanent employment. In order to help this happen, Qatar Foundation is dedicated to providing appropriate job opportunities for Qatari nationals, while fostering the potential of younger Qataris so that they can build rewarding careers.

Topics addressed in the discussion included Qatar’s economic productivity, its workforce, and the empowerment of women.

The discussion, which was attended by Dr. Ahmad M. Hasnah, President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, also addressed topics relating to the performance of the Qatari economy and the road to a sustainable, diversified economy, which His Excellency Dr. Saleh said “is a highly significant strategic goal”.

“Our focus is on humans as being a tool for development, and the main pillar on which we can build an economy based on research, development and innovation,” he said.

“Ultimately, we hope that the outcomes of innovation and developments in our business sector enhance Qatar’s competitiveness, and we are moving in that direction by supporting future generations through quality education, guiding students towards careers in targeted developmental areas, and providing them with grants and an incubating environment that encourages learning.”

The lecture was the first to be held by HBKU’s College of Public Policy, whose Dean, Dr. Leslie Alexander Pal, saying the college is designed to be “a center for innovative political thought”.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Leslie Alexander Pal, Dean of HBKU’s College of Public Policy highlighted the “active and important” role of the college in supporting the realization of Qatar’s developmental vision. “We are pleased to organize the first lecture at the College of Public Policy, which comes after launching the Master's Program in Public Policy, as we seek at this initial stage to build and consolidate our role as a leading regional and global college,” she said.

“We offer a center for innovative political thought which enables our students and graduates to effectively contribute to designing public policies while helping to identify what is best for Qatar.”

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