How would you assess your company's contribution to the development of Qatar?
We have seen a drastic change both in our company and in the broader industry. Some 20 years ago, landscaping was purely soft landscaping, which would involve only planting and irrigation of installations. Today, however, the definition of landscaping is completely different, with hard landscaping that includes walkways, granite and pavement installation, lighting, and water features. Every external element of a building is part of modern landscaping. Additionally, we have managed to go beyond this as a result of our capacity. We have started to do infrastructure projects for landscape areas, which means we are able to complete infrastructure jobs that are part of our landscaping projects.
How have your World Cup projects progressed, and what is the timetable for their completion?
We are extremely pleased to be engaged in these signature projects. It is great to work with the Supreme Committee, as it is one of the most professional clients in Qatar. It wants to send the world a message that Qatar is well prepared to host an excellent World Cup. We are being pushed to deliver faster, and we are on track to make this happen. Additionally, we are being monitored by specialists in order to ensure that the highest-quality methods and materials are being used.
What is the significance of the World Cup in showcasing to the world what Qatar is capable of?
In 2010, when Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup, it was a dream come true. No one outside the country took Qatar seriously as a host before it was chosen. Many Qataris knew it was possible, though we knew we would need to prove it to the international community. Qatar will be better prepared for the World Cup than any other organizing country. Three stadiums will be completed in 2019. Two years before the first kickoff in November 2022, seven of the eight stadiums will be ready. The eighth will likely be completed more than a year ahead of time, which is extraordinary. The World Cup will have an excellent impact on Qatar, showcasing to the world Qatar's ability to organize and execute one of the largest sporting events in the world. Additionally, hosting the World Cup is a major driving force toward the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
How will you further develop the company, and what areas will remain interesting for the next five to 10 years?
Peak landscape construction has yet to come; this will be in the last two-plus years before the World Cup. However, there is need for a vision to think beyond the World Cup, which is why we plan to develop our maintenance business. Additionally, Qatar is gearing up to become more of a tourist destination, which means there is significant room for further growth.
What other major investment opportunities are there for international investors?
Qatar is extremely focused on sports, education, health, and tourism. These areas all offer excellent areas for investment moving forward. Additionally, the blockade has spurred interest in food security. Investments in this area would undoubtedly lead to great opportunities. Self-reliance is becoming extremely important across many different areas.
What are your main objectives for the coming year?
Our objective is to continue to play a part in making the country more verdant and beautiful. There is still significant room for growth. There are many beautification projects in the pipeline. We started operations with less than 100 people and now employ around 4,000 people. Our group employs almost 6,000 people and has a portfolio of nearly USD1 billion. This has not been an easy process. Getting to the top is difficult; however, staying on top is more difficult. We need to continue to work hard. Nakheel Landscapes is proud to be a part of the country's success story.