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Effects of COVID-19 on Qatari Businesses



The outbreak of the Coronavirus had caused the Qatari government to issue orders to its people to stay at home and self quarantine. The Shah family too, had decided to self-quarantine themselves at home due to the pandemic. They had been continually hearing about how Qatar had been affected by the measures the government had put in place. There was nowhere to go, and the family was making the best of the quarantine by having a family discussion on various topics.


Unsurprisingly, as the Shah's ran a family business, the topic turned to what would happen to the Qatari economy as all foreign trade was at a standstill. At that exact moment, a news story popped up on the TV, a panel of academicians and economists were going to have a panel discussion on the very same topic! Let us listen in as well, shall we?


Professor Alexis Antoniades, an associate professor and Director of International Economics at Qatar's Georgetown University, says that Qatar's Blockade has prepared the country to effectively combat the Coronavirus, as the 'Made in Qatar' scheme enables local manufacturers to produce the required products to meet the rising demand.


Since the blockade, Qatar has made significant progress in the food and agriculture industry, with research showing more than 400% growth in food production since 2017. Some experts say that the blockade has done more good than harm to Qatar as they tackled the problem strategically, keeping long time progress in mind.


However, the spreading of the virus has disrupted the global supply chain as more countries go into economic lock down, and the only way countries can save their economies from crashing is to implement strategies to mitigate risks to the supply chain effectively. Countries that rely mainly on China for their raw material supply will be the most affected, but countries with a more diversified supply chain need not worry as much. Additionally, countries with poor healthcare infrastructure, those who rely mainly on their tourism sector, and those who are not financially able to undertake significant fiscal stimulus will be significantly affected.


"Made in Qatar" was a campaign announced by the Qatar government to promote the sales of locally produced products. Both food and non-food products experience a high rise in demand after the supermarkets, and retail outlets have started placing "Made in Qatar" stickers to help customers identify them quickly. This initiative was made by the Ministry of economics and commerce for the ease of access to the local products by the customers by giving them extra crucial in marketing. This has led to people buying made in Qatar products to boost the country's economy. This showcasing has helped some products that were previously unknown to be made in Qatar too.


Dr. Antoniades, a professor at the QF partner university, said, "In less than three years since the blockade, the nation's manufacturing sector has bloomed, last we were out of hand sanitizers, but now we are fully stocked with locally produced bottles. That's the impact of "Made in Qatar."


Until now, the Qatari government has been successful in stalling the spread of the virus. However, the toll the virus has on the economy is inevitable; a recession is imminent. A large portion of revenue comes from the Liquefied Natural Gas industry, and the global shutdown on imports will seriously affect the Qatari economy.


However, Qatar is still very much a part of the global economy and which relies on the inflow of labour, products, and raw materials from other countries, mostly in Asia, which will also stop due to the risk of the Coronavirus. This is a huge economic concern. Most industries seem to be at a standstill and stand to lose massive amounts of money.


Though industries cannot benefit from this, individual companies can make the best out of it. After all, the mark of a good entrepreneur is their ability to grow their business in local markets while simultaneously supporting their country’s bid for self-sufficiency.


Seeing all this made the Shahs realize the importance owning a small business, especially one that produces essential goods without depending too much on other countries for raw materials. They understood the importance of a loyal, local customer base as well as the need to have a solid network of local producers to source their raw materials from. It was of paramount importance to think locally and act globally.


This is where we, Bethel Business Management Services come in. We offer a wide range of business strategies to guide you through even times as challenging as this. We are here to help you in every step of setting up and running your own business. With more than a decade of experience in Qatar, we are a well-established PRO firm with a wealth of knowledge and local connections, which will come very handy in times such as these. Partner with us to set up your own business right away. Call us at +974 40120333 or email us at info@bbms.qa.


We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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