More foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows are expected to pour into Qatar following the end of the more than three-year Gulf crisis, enhancing further the LNG-rich Gulf country's image as an attractive FDI destination in the region, an official of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) has said.
According to USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat, the end of the rift “will lead to greater regional integration and more security in the region, which will enhance Qatar’s attractiveness as an investment destination for international investors.”
“As Qatar Financial Centre CEO Yousef al-Jaida said, ‘QFC is targeting $25bn in FDI in 2022’. We expect a good portion of this to be from the United States,” said Barakat in a statement to Gulf Times.
Barakat emphasised that Qatar “is already one of the premiere investment hubs in the region.”
“With transportation, logistics, and trade being a focal point of Qatar’s growth going forward, open borders will enable much faster, easier, and more efficient trade and commercial relations between Qatar and its neighbours. This not only applies to land borders, but sea and air, as well,” Barakat pointed out.
Following the 41st GCC Summit, which witnessed the signing of the “solidarity and stability” agreement by Gulf leaders, Barakat stressed that US investors “will understand these added benefits and will likely increase investor interest from the United States in doing business in Qatar; it will also be even easier for them to take advantage of the attractive surrounding markets, as well.”
Barakat said, “Because of, and despite the blockade, Qatar’s economy has grown considerably in strength and resiliency. Qatar has developed new supply routes, scaled up domestic production of goods and services, and expanded Hamad Port.
“The country has also become more self-sufficient in many areas of food security. This means that when US investors evaluate Qatar, they will see a strong, stable, and secure place to invest.”
Citing World Bank figures, Barakat said Qatar is forecast to achieve the GCC’s “best growth rate of 3% in 2021 and 3% in 2022.” “Evidence of strong economic growth is a key indicator for US investors, and we expect an uptick in interest from US companies following the Al-Ula agreement,” Barakat noted.
With President Joe Biden at the helm of the White House, Barakat said: “Regardless of the administration, the US and Qatar have demonstrated a powerful partnership in both commercial and security relations.
“While the Biden administration may have somewhat different priorities in the region, we are confident that this partnership between Qatar and the US will continue to grow and prosper.”
Barakat added: “Security and prosperity in the Middle East has been a key pillar of American foreign policy, and this is not expected to change with President Joe Biden’s administration. With the ‘US-Qatar Investment Forum’ planned for 2021, we only expect the bilateral business relationship between the two countries to advance and evolve going forward.
“Provided that the Biden administration follows similar Democratic party politics, such as those of the Obama administration, there will likely be more emphasis on seeking a return to diplomatic solution or agreement with Iran. This will increase investor confidence in the region as a whole.”