BERLIN: Qatar and Germany further consolidated their long-standing partnership yesterday with the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani committing to invest â‚¬10bn into German economy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the energy sector offered promising opportunities to expand business ties and Qatarâ€™s LNG supplies would help diversify Germanyâ€™s supply sources.
â€œIn expression of our confidence in the strength of the German economy and the importance of investing in it, I declare the intention of the State of Qatar to inject investments worth Â¤10bn into the German economy over the next five years as another addition to our successful investments in Germany,â€ H H the Amir announced while opening the Qatar-Germany Business and Investment Forum in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Maritim Hotel.
H H the Amir and German Chancellor attended yesterday the signing ceremony of establishing the Qatari-German Business Council between Qatari Businessmen Association and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, during the Investment Forum. Chairman of Qatari Businessmen Association Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani signed the agreement on the Qatari side, while CEO of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce Martin Wansleben signed it on the German side.
With the H H the Amirâ€™s announcement to pump â‚¬10bn additional investment in Germany, Qatar has emerged as the GCCâ€™s biggest investor in this European powerhouse. Together with yesterdayâ€™s commitment, Qatarâ€™s investment in Germany now stands at a significant â‚¬35bn.
H H the Amir said the relationship between Qatar and Germany has been strengthened over the past several years, especially in the field of trade, investment and construction.
H H the Amir said that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries has doubled between 2011 and 2016 to reach about â‚¬2.8bn, mostly in favour of Germany, which has become the third largest world exporter to Qatar. â€œThis volume of exchange decreased in 2017 due to temporary regional reasons, which were imposed on us, leading to a short-lived drop in Qatarâ€™s imports from various countries.â€
H H the Amir said the German companies operating in Qatar play a significant role in the development of Qatarâ€™s economy. â€œMore than 300 companies are active in vital sectors such as construction, infrastructure and consultancy services.â€ H H the Amir urged the private sector in Germany to explore the promising Qatari business environment which is teeming with plenty of projects in various fields.
â€œQatarâ€™s current investments in Germany cover vital projects in the automobile, information technology and banking sectors. The air transport plays a key role in extending the bridges of cooperation and bilateral interaction in commercial, tourism, investment and cultural fields between our two countries,â€ H H the Amir said.
H H the Amir said that Qatar Airwaysâ€™ many flights to Germany have contributed to a rise in the number of German visitors to the State of Qatar, which increased with a high rate in 2017.
H H the Amir said that during 2000-2014 Qatarâ€™s GDP reached unprecedented levels of growth worldwide. â€œThis growth was coupled with macroeconomic indicators pertaining to national savings, domestic investment, current account and public budget, which have done us proud.â€
â€œThese growth rates have subsequently dropped because of the collapse of oil and gas prices. But Qatarâ€™s economy has proven its resilience vis-a-vis this decline and against the backdrop of the difficult circumstances our region is passing through. However, Qatarâ€™s GDP per capita is still among the highest in the world, if not the highest. The World Bank expects our economy to grow by 2.8 percent in 2018 and by 3 percent in 2019 and 2020,â€ he said
â€œAlso the credit rating and competitiveness reports released by international institutions have continued to place Qatar at high international rankings.â€
H H the Amir said Qatar economyâ€™s main driver at this stage is the non-oil sector, which relies mainly on massive investments in infrastructure – especially education, health, transportation and constructions required for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup – and on achieving progress in economic diversification as a result of implementing the First National Strategy 2011-2016, and starting to execute the Second Strategy 2018-2022.
â€œThe Second Strategy will focus on increasing the private sector investments in these projects by providing incentives, enhancing capacities, offering public-private partnership projects and attracting direct foreign investments.â€
Over the recent years, Amir added, Qatar has developed and made pivotal amendments to a number of legislations to achieve this end, including the commercial companies law, the non-Qatari capital investment regulation law, the new free zones law, and the procedures for the development and expansion of industrial areas and logistics zones.
He said that development projects in the State of Qatar provide great opportunities for German companies to increase their contribution to the development of Qatarâ€™s economy in other sectors, in addition to the infrastructure and construction sector, especially in education, training and research sector as well as in small and medium enterprises, as Germany is a pioneer in these two fields.
â€œWe will witness today the signing of an agreement to open a German university in Qatar under the supervision and administration of the Technical University of Munich, in cooperation with the Qatarâ€™s private sector.
â€œI refer also to the cultural events witnessed by the Qatari-German cultural year 2017, which culminated in the establishment of the Arab Cultural House â€˜Al Diwanâ€™ in Germany to be a center for cultural interaction and a bridge of communication between our peoples,â€ H H the Amir said.
On Germanyâ€™s â€˜positive standâ€™ on the blockade imposed on Qatar by the Arab quartet, the Amir said: â€œIt is important to note here that I and my people still remember with great appreciation and respect the moral attitude expressed by the Federal Republic of Germany in rejecting the ongoing illegal measures imposed last year on the State of Qatar by some of its neighbours.â€ The Forum witnessed the signing of a slew of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in different sectors, ranging from transportation to tourism sector.
Source: The Peninsula Qatar