Qatar Financial Center wants to attract $25 billion of foreign investments by 2022 as Gulf rift ends

Qatar Financial Center wants to attract $25 billion of foreign investments by 2022 as Gulf rift ends

Qatar Financial Center wants to attract $25 billion of foreign investments by 2022 as Gulf rift ends

Qatar Financial Center is seeking to attract $25 billion of foreign direct investment inflows by 2022, its CEO Yousuf Al-Jaida told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

It comes a week after Saudi Arabia reinstated diplomatic ties with neighboring Qatar, ending more than three years of blockade against the tiny, gas-rich nation.

The reconciliation means a stronger, more powerful Gulf Cooperation Council, Al-Jaida said.

“I think the impact is going to be positive on trade, which means countries are going to be working closely with each other,” he added.

Saudi Arabia, together with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, sealed off land, sea and air borders with Qatar in 2017, after accusing Doha of links to terrorism. Qatar has denied those allegations.

The thawing of tensions — just weeks before the end of President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House — is a major shift in the politics of the region. 

Competition for GCC’s financial hub

Doha competes with global financial centers in the region including Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.

Dubai, one of the region’s transport and tourism hub, is facing fresh competition from Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is trying to attract multinational companies to the capital as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious Vision 2030 blueprint to diversify the kingdom’s economy.

Skyline of Doha, Qatar

Sven Hansche | EyeEm | Getty Images

Gulf detente

Ties between the Gulf neighbors run deep, and the blockade left a gap which impacted trade across the GCC.

According to Brookings Institution, flights between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors totaled 70 per day before the fallout. The airlines sector, hit hard by the global pandemic, stands to benefit significantly from the cooling of tensions.

Before the blockade, trade flows between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were in the billions, and in the millions with Bahrain, the think tank said.

Al-Jaida told CNBC, that there’s more work that still needs to be done in building trust between Qatar and its neighbors in the Gulf and Egypt, but “this is behind us, and we’re working towards a better future for the entire region, so everybody is optimistic.”

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