By Peter Alagos
Qatar’s economy continues to experience rapid growth despite falling oil prices, according to the chairman of the Belgian Business Club in Qatar.
Luk Kelles said the range of business opportunities available in the country “serves an advantage” in helping many industries grow, and noted that “an ever growing number of Belgian companies are keen on investing in almost all sectors of the economy.”
“We don’t exclude any industry because the whole society is being built up and almost every sector is evolving; though there is a dip in the oil prices now and there is even scrutiny in the oil and gas industry, Qatar is still growing.
It is growing very fast and it will keep growing,” Kelles told Gulf Times.
Kelles said the recent visit of Belgium’s Princess Astrid during the Qatari-Belgian Economic Forum in March had showcased the wide scope of investment opportunities Qatar has opened to the international community.
He pointed out that Princess Astrid’s visit, which involved over 400 delegates and 267 Belgian firms, led to the signing of contracts and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) for opportunities in the fields of medicine, health, clean technology, education, and luxury goods.
Asked about the impact of the huge turnout of Belgian investors during the mission, Kelles said: “It shows increased interest and a growing ambition from Belgium in terms of taking on such a big venture. It also shows organisation and dedication from my country and its different government agencies; they didn’t leave any stone unturned.”
During the Qatari-Belgian Economic Forum, Qatar Chamber (QC) chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani lauded bilateral trade volume with Belgium, which stood at €1.2bn but stressed that “there should be more.”
Kelles, who is also director at KPMG Advisory, said the Business Club is ready to help increase trade relations between Qatar and Belgium by facilitating investment opportunities to the country and vice versa.
“Trade relations are booming, showing double-digit growth figures in several sectors from both an import and an export perspective. Next to the embassy and Belgian trade agencies, the club is one of the many players in an expanding infrastructure that supports the growing trade and business relations between Qatar and Belgium,” Kelles explained.
Kelles also emphasised that mega infrastructure projects related to Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup have also attracted interest among many Belgian companies.
“There is a lot of buzz around Qatar, especially with the preparations for the World Cup; and this is being felt in Belgium as more and more requests are being sent to the Business Club, including practical questions on how to set up shop in Qatar,” he said.
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