The Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) has held fruitful meetings in Berlin with various government entities and top tier German companies like Siemens Group and European software giant SAP.

The visit, organised in co-operation with the German Industry and Commerce Office in Qatar (AHK), focused on many sectors, such as technology, artificial intelligence (AI), healthcare, tourism, and industry.

QBA’s delegation also conducted many interviews with German officials, including the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action-BMWK, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, and senior officials in the tourism sector.

The German-Qatari Joint Task Force for Trade and Investment also held a meeting at the headquarters of the Federation of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry during the visit.

The QBA delegation comprised board members Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal al-Thani, Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser al-Thani, and Saud Omar al-Mana, as well as QBA members Omar Hussein Alfardan, Salah al-Jaidah, Sheikh Turki bin Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, Nabil Abu Issa, Sheikh Tamim bin Faisal bin Qasim al-Thani, Yousuf Ibrahim Yousuf al-Mahmoud, and Hakan Ozdemir. QBA deputy general manager Sarah Abdullah and Ilef Ajra of the AHK also attended the meetings.

The QBA delegation visited the headquarters of SAP, where they were briefed on the company’s modern technology in the field of software, which contributes to the development of commercial and service businesses. The delegation also met with German startups that pitched their projects in the fields of robots, electric aircraft, and drones for medical purposes.

The delegation held meetings with major German tourism associations, such as the Federal Government Coordinator for Maritime Economy and Tourism at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action-BMWK, Visit Berlin, German Tourism Association (DTV), and German Medical Wellness Association (DMWV).

Alfardan, who is also vice-chairman of the Qatari Hotels Association (QHA), said Qatar’s tourism sector is one of the five priority sectors in the diversification strategy of Qatar’s economy. He said tourism provides profitable opportunities for developers and investors, noting that Qatar’s tourism strategy aims to attract around 6mn international tourists annually by 2030.

Sheikh Turki said the QHA includes representatives from the private sector and Katara Hospitality, an organisation that has local and international investments and is considered one of the world’s leading companies in tourism.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed to prepare QHA’s participation in the ITB Berlin Exhibition, the largest tourism exhibition in the world, which will be held in March 2025.

QBA also organised a business dinner in honour of distinguished businessmen in Germany. It was held in the presence of the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Franzisca Giffey, who is also Senator for Economy, Energy, and Public Enterprises.

In a speech, Giffey emphasised that Berlin is putting all its capabilities into supporting Qatari businessmen who wish to invest in Germany. She also noted the strength of the Qatari economy, especially as Doha continues its foreign investments with all its capabilities, which is clearly evident in the cooperation between Qatar and Germany in various fields.

Sheikh Nawaf spoke about the economic transformation Doha is currently experiencing and the various investment incentives being offered by the country, in addition to the new free and logistical zones, the financial services sector, and the establishment of a global business environment by providing a supportive platform for local, regional, and international growth.

The QBA delegation visited the headquarters of Siemens in Berlin, where they were briefed on the Siemens City of the Future 'Siemensstadt Square', which is a smart, environmentally friendly city currently being established in Berlin.

Ozdemir, who is also CEO of Siemens in Qatar, said the company is a strategic partner in the economic and social development of Qatar through its presence in the country since 1970. He explained that the company contributes to consolidating the foundations of the knowledge-based economy, achieving more economic diversification, transforming its industrial sector, and adopting a strategy with a long-term vision to achieve sustainable development.

The German-Qatari Joint Task Force, which was established during the official visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Germany in 2018, held its fourth meeting with the attendance of a number of Qatari and German joint task force members.

Dr Volker Trier, chief executive of foreign trade in the Federation of German Chambers and head of the task force’s German side, underscored the strength of German-Qatari relations and lauded the exchange of ideas during the meeting, which reflects the development of bilateral relations and their tendency to be more dynamic. He also stressed the importance of benefiting from the meeting to overcome any obstacles that investors from both sides may face.

Sheikh Nawaf, who heads the Qatari side of the task force, stressed that Qatari investors are fully aware of Germany’s great potential. He said, “We expect from Germany, as a strategic partner, that bilateral cooperation will add value to the Qatari economy and benefit from its experience in enhancing our capabilities and transferring knowledge to the Qatari market.”

The QBA delegation reviewed a number of investment opportunities presented by 12 German companies, including startups and family companies, in various medical, industrial, and technological fields that rely on modern technology.

Sheikh Hamad stated that there are important opportunities that will be studied and followed up in the near future, stressing that QBA’s visit to Germany achieved its goals by promoting Qatar as a country that enjoys all the elements of successful and secure investment, in addition to exploring more about what is going on in the business community by adopting modern technology and AI.

The visit to Berlin concluded with a meeting with State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action-BMWK Udo Filipp, who discussed the successful visit of German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy Robert Habeck to Doha recently, which led to a long-term contract in the field of energy.

Filipp also reviewed Germany’s economic relations with other countries and major economic organisations and emphasised the German state’s interest in attracting foreign investments in various economic sectors that achieve mutual profits for both parties.

He also expressed his interest in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), adding that the German government is working to develop new tax laws that would stimulate foreign investment.