In an exclusive interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Qatar chief executive Yousuf Al-Jaida said that Qatar’s financial center is seeking to attract US$25 billion in foreign direct investment by 2022.
A week ago, Saudi Arabia resumed diplomatic relations with neighboring Qatar, ending the blockade of this small natural gas-rich country for more than three years.
Jadi said that reconciliation means a stronger and stronger Gulf Cooperation Council.
He added: “I think this will have a positive impact on trade, which means that countries will cooperate closely with each other.”
After accusing Doha of being linked to terrorism, Saudi Arabia blocked its land, sea and air borders with Qatar in 2017, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. Qatar has denied these allegations.
In the weeks before President Donald Trump’s term in the White House ended, the thawing of tensions was a major shift in politics in the region.
GCC Financial Center Competition
Doha competes with global financial centers in the region, including Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Dubai is one of the transportation and tourism centers of the region, facing new competition from Riyadh.
As part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious “Vision 2030” blueprint, Saudi Arabia is trying to attract multinational companies into the capital to achieve Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification.
Skyline of Doha, Qatar
Sven Hansche | EyeEm | Getty Images
Al-Jaida said that Doha’s advantage over its competitors is to promote the development of Islamic finance and financial technology and overall financial services.
He said that the financial center’s ambitious foreign direct investment target and the goal of creating 10,000 new jobs and more than 1,000 companies by 2022 will be moderated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“From the perspective of QFC, multinational companies are basically located in the entire Gulf Cooperation Council, which will mean more free travel and more market access. This will mean more foreign direct investment in Doha. Therefore, we are very optimistic about this,” Jaida said.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, composed of six countries, is a political, economic and social alliance, with members including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
According to data from the World Bank, Qatar’s economy is expected to grow by 3% in 2021, ranking among the best in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Qatar is one of the richest countries per capita in the world, and it has also set its sights on sports. The country was originally scheduled to host the World Cup in 2022 and has submitted a request to the International Olympic Committee to join the “dialogue on the possibility of hosting the Olympic Games in 2032.”
The ties between neighboring countries in the Gulf have deepened, and the blockade has affected the gap between the two countries.
According to the Brookings Institution, there are a total of 70 flights a day between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors. The aviation industry, hit by the global pandemic, will benefit greatly from the cooling of tensions.
Think tanks stated that before the blockade, trade flows between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE amounted to billions of dollars, and trade flows with Bahrain amounted to millions of dollars.
Al-Jaida told CNBC that there is still much work to be done in building trust between Qatar and its Gulf and Egyptian neighbors, but “this is already behind us, and we are working for a better future for the entire region. , So everyone is optimistic.”