Qatar’s new five-year development plan pledges to ‘rationalise energy consumption and encourage development of renewable energy while raising self-sufficiency levels for farming and fishing production.’
Qatar launched a five-year development plan in March that focuses on making the tiny country more self-reliant in the face of a boycott by other Arab states. The National Development Strategy for 2018-2022 pledges to “rationalise energy consumption and encourage development of renewable energy while raising self-sufficiency levels for farming and fishing production”. The 333-page plan, released by Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, aims for Qatar to satisfy 30 percent of its demand for farm animals and 65 percent of its demand for fish domestically by 2022, partly through fish farms. The document does not give figures for Qatar’s current level of self-sufficiency in these areas, but the desert country of 2.7 million is heavily dependent on food imports. Only 6 percent of its land is arable, the document says.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge which Doha denies. The boycott disrupted Qatar’s imports, many of which used to come across its border with Saudi Arabia. There have been few signs of any resolution to the diplomatic dispute, and a senior UAE official has said Qatar’s isolation could last years.
Qatar’s economy and financial markets were hurt as imports plunged about 40 percent from a year earlier in the first weeks of the boycott. But the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas developed new trade routes and deployed tens of billions of dollars from its sovereign wealth fund, estimated to have about $320 billion of assets, to protect its banks, Reuters reported.