The private sector in Qatar is looking to identify available investment opportunities in Greece
Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Katrougalos, conducted a tour of the Gulf region at the beginning of May, successively visiting Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, in which regional development were at the heart of his contacts, with an emphasis on the crisis in the Middle East and developments in the Gulf region, as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greek diplomatic initiatives were also at the centre of the talks, as well as their positive effect on the region’s stability. In addition, the deepening of economic cooperation between Greece and these three countries were sought and concentrated upon with an emphasis on increasing Greek exports and attracting investment in areas such as infrastructure, energy, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
More specifically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs initially travelled to Muscat, Oman where he had a meeting with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, as well as with the Ministers of Tourism Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi and the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy.
On the following day, Minister Katrougalos travelled to Doha, Qatar, where he met, inter alia, with his counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, as well as with the President of the Qatar Foundation for Education and Science, Sheikha Moza and with the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari.
Whilst in Doha, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the Hellenic Republic’s commonalities represent a solid base to enhance economic and trade ties. Speaking at the opening of the Qatar-Greece Business Forum, he stressed the State of Qatar’s commitment to invest in Greece, expressing hope of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the future as Qatar continues with the bid to diversify its economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the meeting of the Qatari-Greek business represents a tributary-level of cooperation between the two countries, at a time when economic issues are the top priority of the countries. In this sense, the countries are seeking to strengthen the role of the private sector and call for foreign investment to contribute with its financial and technical potential in the national economy.
He stressed that the State of Qatar has spared no effort in providing the required legislative and institutional environment, developing cooperation between the public and private sectors, providing support to the private sector to increase its role in various economic sectors and opening up opportunities for local and foreign investments.
Sheikh Al-Thani added that Qatar, within the framework of its comprehensive development renaissance, is keen to continue implementing major infrastructure projects in the main sectors such as education, health and transportation, in addition to projects related to hosting the World Cup 2022. He called on the private sector of the Hellenic Republic to explore the many investment opportunities of Qatar, which will contribute to enhancing economic cooperation and investments between the two countries during the next stage.
His Excellency said that the business and investment environment in the State of Qatar offers great advantages to the foreign companies operating in the country, indicating that Qatar enjoys an advanced position on the business environment indicators according to the World Competitiveness report of the World Economic Forum.
In his address, Foreign Minister Katrougalos said that the historic ties between Greece and the Arab World are built on understanding and respect, but maintained that the trade volume with the countries, including the State of Qatar, does not reflect the level of political ties. He especially called for an enhancement of bilateral relations between the two countries’ private sector.
The Greek Head of Diplomacy pointed out that there are many opportunities for cooperation between the State of Qatar, which has become an economic leader in the Middle East, and Greece, which was able to overcome the economic crisis that it faced, reviewing the economic advantages of the country and its geographical location that can serve as a link between Europe and Asia and Africa.
The Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Greece’s economy depends in part on the activities of small and medium enterprises and the economic and social opportunities they provide, noting that the meeting of business representatives from Greece and Qatar at the forum represents an important platform to explore opportunities for cooperation between them.
Minister Katrougalos noted that Greek companies have a strong presence in Qatar, but that they look forward to enhancing cooperation between the two sides by taking advantage of forums such as the one that he was addressing.
For his part, Chairman of Qatar Chamber, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani said that the two countries’ private sector is working on supporting economic ties, with 2018 trade volume standing at $84 million. He pointed out that the private sector in Qatar is looking to identify the available investment opportunities in Greece and study the possibility of creating alliances and establishing joint ventures in the two countries, noting that there are about 8 Greek companies and about 56 joint companies operating in the Qatari market in a variety of sectors such as trade, contracting, engineering, construction, industrial consultancy, decoration, shipping and marine services.
He also discussed the Qatari private sector and its ability to overcome the unjust blockade imposed on the country since the mid-2017. He said that the private sector was able to enhance its contribution to productive projects instead of relying on imports of goods from neighbouring countries. Sheikh Al-Thani further noted the competitiveness of the Qatari economy, which has succeeded in overcoming the blockade and making Qatar an attractive destination for investments.
On the last day of his trip, the Minister for Foreign Affairs visited Manama and held talks with a number of Bahrain officials, with an emphasis on regional issues and the economy.