Qatar’s economy is growing despite the ongoing crisis between the gas-rich country and its Gulf neighbors, said Wednesday a mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the IMF projections, Qatar’s GDP will exceed 3% in 2019 and stabilize around 2.7% annually between 2020 and 2023, fueled by gas exports and hosting the World Cup in 2022.

“Qatar’s economic performance continues to strengthen,” the IMF said in a statement at the end of its mission.

“Significant fiscal and external buffers have enabled Qatar to successfully absorb the adverse shocks from the 2014-16 decline in oil prices and the diplomatic rift.”

According to the delegation that visited the country between October 29 to November 4, Qatar plans to introduce a VAT “in late 2019 early 2020”.

Qatar has been the target of a blockade since June 5 2017. Four countries, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties with the gas-rich nation after accusing Qatar to support terrorist groups, allegations which Qatar has always strongly denied.

Most observers agree that the blockade has failed to achieve its objectives.  On November 7th, for the opening of the 47th session of the Qatari Advisory Council, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani mentioned a few examples that showcase Qatar’s resilience. Exports are up by 18% compared to a year before, the number of factories operating in Qatar has increased by 14% within a year, and Qatar has remained the largest source of natural gas in the World.

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Author

Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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