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Assessing Qatar’s Readiness and Potential for the Development of a Knowledge Based Economy: An Empirical Analysis of its Policies, Progress and Perceptions

FETAIS, SALEH,MOHSIN,A,R (2013) Assessing Qatar’s Readiness and Potential for the Development of a Knowledge Based Economy: An Empirical Analysis of its Policies, Progress and Perceptions. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Post-industrial societies are distinguished by the development of knowledge and its use both as an economic commodity and as a means to create new technologies in order to attain and maintain a competitive edge. With the support of economic strength, effective institutions that include labour, product, and capital markets, and human capital, developed industrial nations have transformed their economies into knowledge-based economies (KBEs) through the allocation of funds for research and development (R&D), innovation, and technological development. The open nature of these economies with enhanced competition policies has also contributed to the development of a KBE in these particular countries.
Qatar, as one of the oil-rich countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), has been focusing on strategies to diversify its economy beyond its traditional emphasis on oil and gas. Although these sources of revenue have been instrumental in the unprecedented success of the Qatari economy, even to the extent of avoiding the notion of the ‘resource curse’, the sustainability of generating wealth via alternative methods remains a challenge for Qatar and other similar countries. Indeed, the development of a KBE is perceived as such an alternative for Qatar; for which the country has initiated a number of strategies among its economic, financial, education, and regulatory sectors.
This study, thus, aims to explore the notion transforming Qatar into a KBE as a means to enhance economic diversity, thereby investigating the nature of, and developments in, the macro and micro business environments of the country and its economy. The policies of the Qatari government are also similarly explored, so as to identify Qatar’s readiness to become a KBE. Further, this study aims to gauge the perceptions of Qatari university students towards the idea of a KBE, detailing their awareness of the Qatari government’s policies for such an economy and their expectations for the future of Qatar.
To fulfill the research aims and objectives of this project, a quantitative research method is predominantly employed to analyse the primary data. Initially, the World Bank’s specialist Knowledge Assessment Methodology, or KAM, will be used in relation to secondary data, so as to assess Qatar’s readiness for becoming a KBE in comparison to other potential economic competitors. Despite the demonstration of Qatar’s strength arising from its economic variables, the KAM results show that when compared to other countries, Qatar faces certain challenges, including in the areas of innovation and human resources. Although the recent institutional changes have been encouraging, additional policies should be developed to reiterate these efforts. Correspondingly, developments related to education and training should also be continued in order to support this transformation into a KBE.
The research was further expanded to investigate the opinions of Qataris with regard to Qatar’s need for a KBE and its readiness for this transformation; an enquiry was similarly made into these individuals’ understanding of ‘knowledge’, the concept of a KBE, and into their own efforts towards this transition. To this end, a questionnaire survey was conducted in order to gather primary data from university students; the results indicate that their awareness and attempts to develop themselves are rather limited. Further, the results illustrate that this demographic group is not absolutely convinced by the positive impact of Qatarisation, even though most of the students questioned thought that Qatar should adopt a KBE. And yet these same students’ knowledge of Qatar’s policies for the creation of a KBE was limited.
Qatar’s policies for diversifying its economy should ultimately be perceived as a step in the right direction; the transition to a KBE, however, still requires further strategic planning and the bold implementation of these strategies. The economic strength of the country is considered to be a foundation on which such an aforementioned future can be built, notwithstanding the obstacles posed by human resources at present, especially when given the lack of trust displayed for the policy of Qatarisation by the participants of the questionnaire. The shortcomings in institutionalisation in the economy should also be considered as an important obstacle.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Knowledge based economy; Knowledge Assessment Method; Survey Analysis; Qatar
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Oct 2013 09:56

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