HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani welcomes Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the Indonesia-Qatar Business and Investment Forum. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed.
By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
Qatar and Indonesia have decided to “reactivate” the $1bn Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF), which is expected to fuel growth in infrastructure and energy projects between the two countries.
Speaking to Gulf Times here yesterday, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno LP Marsudi said the JIF was first established in 2008 but was “shelved for a number of factors.”
“However, both governments have sorted things out and we are ready to move on with the fund,” she said.
The JIF was among the focal issues discussed by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who led yesterday’s Indonesia-Qatar Business and Investment Forum held in Doha.
“Since trade volume between Indonesia and Qatar has not reached its full potential, the discussions revolved around economic relations. The president and the Emir also discussed strategies on how to improve the trade and investment climate for both the countries,” Marsudi said on the side-lines of the event.
She also said a high-level Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) delegation will visit Indonesia shortly to explore investment opportunities in the country.
Indonesian ambassador Deddy Saiful Hadi said under the JIF, Qatar would contribute 85% of the funds, while Indonesia would account for the remainder. He said the fund would be used for a range of infrastructure and oil and gas projects.
HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani said bilateral trade between the two countries now account for nearly QR5.5bn a year.
“The relationship between Qatar and Indonesia is at its best…I believe there is a big opportunity for the business communities of the two countries to grow. Trade between us is about QR5.5bn a year, I think it is a humble number… but there is a big opportunity to increase it,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
“The way is open for Qatar’s business community to investigate investment opportunities in Indonesia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Qatar Chamber senior official Ali al-Misnad described the high-level talks with Indonesian delegation as a “fruitful.”
Al-Misnad, who called on President Joko Widodo, later said the Indonesian leader invited Qatar Chamber to send a delegation to visit the Southeast Asian country and explore investment opportunities in real estate and in the oil and gas sectors.
“The forum is a very important gateway opened by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Indonesian President Joko Widodo that encourages the growth of both private sectors.
“Indonesia has a stable GDP growth, which is advantageous to many international investors. They have a lot of resources and opportunities to offer. Qatar’s private sector is keen on investing there and also bringing their Indonesian counterparts to Qatar, especially in the SME sector,” al-Misnad said.