Qatar’s financial center is aiming to attract $ 25 billion in foreign direct investment inflows by 2022, its chief executive, Yusuf al-Jaida, told CNBC in an exclusive interview Wednesday.
It comes a week after Saudi Arabia re-established diplomatic ties with neighboring Qatar, ending a more than three-year blockade against the small, gas-rich country.
Reconciliation means a stronger and more powerful Gulf Cooperation Council, al-Jaida said.
“I think the impact will be positive on trade, which means that the countries will work closely together,”
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, closed its land, sea and air borders with Qatar in 2017 after accusing Doha of links to terrorism. Qatar has denied the allegations.
The thaw in tensions – just weeks before the end of President Donald Trump’s term in the White House – is a major change in the region’s policy.
GCC Financial Center Competition
Doha competes with global financial centers in the region, including Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.
Dubai, one of the region’s transport and tourism hubs, faces new competition from Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is trying to attract multinational companies to the capital as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious Vice 2030 project to diversify the kingdom’s economy.
Skyline of Doha, Qatar
Sven Hansche EyeEm | Getty images
Al-Jaida said Doha’s advantage over its competitors was the impetus to develop Islamic finance and fintech, as well as financial services in general.
The financial center’s ambitious MFI target – along with the goal of creating 10,000 new jobs and more than 1,000 companies by 2022 – will be boosted by the GCC’s discharger, he said.
“From QFC’s point of view, multinational corporations are almost based throughout the GCC and that will mean more liberal travel, more market access. That will mean more foreign direct investment for Doha. So we are very optimistic about that.” , Casa Al-Jaida.
The GCC of six countries is a political, economic and social union that includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
According to the World Bank, Qatar’s economy is expected to grow by 3% in 2021 and is the best among the GCC countries.
Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world per capita, has also turned its attention to sports. The country is scheduled to host the 2022 World Cup and has asked the International Olympic Committee to join the “ongoing dialogue” to possibly host the 2032 Games.
Discharge in the Persian Gulf
Ties between Gulf neighbors are deep, and the blockade has left a rift that has affected trade in the GCC countries.
According to the Brookings Institution, flights between Qatar and its neighbors in the Persian Gulf were a total of 70 a day before the aftermath. Airlines hit hard by the global pandemic will benefit significantly from the cooling of tensions.
Prior to the blockade, trade flows between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were in the billions and millions with Bahrain, the think tank said.
Al-Jaida told CNBC that work still needs to be done to build trust between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors and Egypt, but “this is behind us and we are working for a better future for the whole region, so everyone is optimistic. “