'Brand Qatar' Facing Its First Crisis
BMI View: Qatar has faced international opprobrium over the last few months, as the spotlight has turned towards its problematic sponsorship ('kafala') system and the poor labour conditions faced by migrant workers. We warn that any permanent damage to the country's reputation could undermine the regime's ambitions to present the country as a regional hub of culture and education, and thus have tangible economic implications.
The last few months of 2013 have been a difficult time for Qatari policymakers, with the country facing intense international controversy over its labour practices and lacklustre enforcement standards. The opprobrium has largely overshadowed Qatar's successful leadership transition in June 2013, which saw 33-year Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ascend to the position of Emir. It also comes at a turbulent time for Qatari foreign policy, which has struggled to respond to recent developments in the region (see 'Increasing Backlash From Assertive Foreign Policy', May 20).
A Barrage Of Criticism
|Under The Global Spotlight|
|Qatar - Regional Map|