Despite a tightening of economic sentiment worldwide, there is one GCC country that has defied the economic slowdown, and has resisted the oil price slump along with the negative sentiment associated with slumping commodities and glacial retail growth.
That country is Qatar. Insulated by the bright lights of the FIFA World Cup 2022 around the corner, with an economy powering up to make the country a World Cup host to reckon with, Qatar is defying all odds to rack up positives.
At Xpress Money, we’ve seen a 20% growth in our Qatar business compared to the year before. And 2016 is no different, with September 2016 alone showing a 22% increase over the same month last year.
Qatar’s economic prowess continues to defy expectation. Small wonder that the country has also seen its population grow to an all-time high of 2.61 million1. Just to emphasise the magnitude of this growth, it’s worth noting that the figure reflects an 8% jump from October last year. In absolute terms, it means that the country’s population has grown by 200,000 in just over a year – which is a massive testament to the employment opportunities the country is creating through a diversified economic programme.
For Xpress Money, Qatar is currently best performing GCC market for 2015 and 2016. This is partly due to the country’s robust economy, and partly due to our investment in developing a strong network of over 100 locations nationwide to cater to an increasing demand for its services. This brand affinity comes from the fact that Xpress Money services are fast and secure with extremely competitive exchange rates and transfer fees.
Overall numbers back up Xpress Money’s success story in the country. In 2015, remittances from Qatar stood at $10.4 billion, with over 70% being received by South Asian countries. This trend is likely to continue in 2016 as well, with South Asian countries benefiting the most from Qatari remittances.
For instance, 2015 World Bank stats show that the India received USD 3.99 billion from expatriates in Qatar, with Nepal followed at USD 2.02 billion for the year, Bangladesh clocking in at around USD 525 million, Sri Lanka tallying USD 511 million and Pakistan totalling USD 427 million2.
But pure remittance numbers don’t tell the full story. Qatar is a benchmark for what can be accomplished by an ambitious leadership leading an economy determined to attract global talent and diversity. For us, remittance rises from Qatar aren’t an end in themselves. Rather, they’re a mere indicator of the incredible potential the country has in terms of spurring sustainable and diversified growth.