THE PATH OF ACCELERATION

Qatar 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

German firms are in a unique position to leverage their knowledge, technological mastery, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovative design to help Qatar diversify its broader economy.

Dr. Fabian Engels
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Fabian Engels is a senior partner and part of the leadership team of Roland Berger's Corporate Performance Practice Group. He joined Roland Berger in 2006, since when he has lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East. He has a track record of multiple projects in various industries related to strategy, post-merger-integration, M&A, performance improvement, organizational efficiency, and digitalization. His clients include global players and regional/local private companies, as well as semi-governmental entities. He holds a PhD from the University of Lueneburg in Germany.

What motivated Roland Berger to open an office in Qatar?

Roland Berger has been active in the country for over 10 years. We have successfully been advising Qatari companies and government entities on a variety of strategic and operational topics. I personally delivered the first project in Qatar in 2010. Qatar has been on a highly dynamic trajectory in recent years, not only in terms of economic growth. A clear vision of the future, a comprehensive transformation strategy, and a consistent implementation has laid the foundations for a diversified economy. That is why Qatar is a highly attractive market and is on track to continue its path of accelerated growth. What is more, Qatar and Germany have a time-tested relationship, a cooperation that only grows by the day.

What characterizes German-Qatari business relations?

Qatar and Germany have highly complementary business characteristics with a variety of historical parallels. In recent years, both countries have been working intensively on joint initiatives, such as the Qatari-German Joint Task Force to expand and deepen cooperation and promote economic ties as well as political relations between them. These initiatives have resulted in a surge in direct investments and several partnerships between Qatari and German companies. By connecting the business characteristics of Qatar with Germany's innovative ecosystem—built on its strong industrial competencies, technology-driven organizations, and international network—Germany could strongly support Qatar's business environment and facilitate the move toward a well-diversified economy. The German economy is driven by several key values such as entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as family-owned businesses (mittelstand). Germans focus on the development of successful ideas and concepts; however, equally important is the effective execution and implementation of these concepts and solutions. As true entrepreneurs, we put ourselves in our clients' shoes instead of watching from the sidelines. The German economy is built on consensual national and international relations, enabling intense collaboration and lasting partnerships, which is why we are confident that our strong German DNA can contribute to the success of the entire Qatari ecosystem.

What expertise can Roland Berger bring to the country?

Qatari organizations and companies have been growing rapidly and have embarked on their transformational journeys. We expect this to continue. In recent years, Germany and its organizations have been in similar transformational environments. Roland Berger—the only leading global strategy firm with German roots—has helped companies and public institutions to master these transformational challenges, and we strongly believe our expertise in strategy, innovation, and digitalization can support the diversification and enhance the resilience of the Qatari economy. Looking beyond 2022, our international network could be extremely valuable to Qatar. Roland Berger could link Qatar with leading companies to leverage their industrial expertise, open doors to global capital markets, and connect the country with the most innovative start-ups to accelerate business model and product innovation.

What does the future of Qatar look like?

In recent years, Qatar has taken the right decisions and started a number of pivotal strategic initiatives. By pushing the diversification of its economy, Qatar has laid the foundations for sustainable growth. This has been supported by several important initiatives such as the development of the country's free zones, the expansion of new air and sea shipping lines, and the start of operations at Hamad Port. We expect the services sector to become one of the most significant contributors to Qatar's economic growth, driven by industry segments related to the ongoing preparation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, such as transportation, public services, real estate, and financial services. However, the question is how Qatar will continue on this growth path beyond 2022. Qatar should further focus on the diversification of its economy and continue to transform into a knowledge-based society.