Qatar will invest £5 billion ($6.23 billion) in the UK over the next five years in a boost for the post-Brexit economy, Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani announced on Monday.
“Over the next three to five years Qatar will invest £5 billion in the UK economy through various investment funds and relevant parties in Qatar – which will constitute another addition to its already successful investments in the UK,” he said at the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum in London.
The investments will focus on energy, infrastructure, real estate and services, Sheikh Abdullah announced shortly after appearing at the investment forum, which brings together over 400 British and Qatari business leaders and senior politicians.
Qatar has already invested more than £40 billion ($50.1 billion) across the UK, including in iconic real estate including London’s Shard building and the Harrod’s department store.
UK Trade Minister Liam Fox was also present at Monday’s event, which moves to the central England city of Birmingham on Tuesday for its second and final day.
Fox was keen to show the world that the UK is open for business despite leaving the EU, and said that Qatar made an ideal post-Brexit trading partner.
“We have to stop viewing things through the prism of Brexit,” he told the forum.
“Qatar and UK are natural allies and I believe that private sector growth in both countries can enhance ties and promote foreign direct investment.”
The minister insisted that Brexit would “accelerate the changes the UK has to undergo in a globalised world”. He added that other European Union members would also have to adapt to the shifting landscape of international trade.
Qatar, which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is a major natural gas producer that also pumps crude oil.
Qatar has investments totalling billions in the UK in sectors including construction, retail, banking, energy, and transport.
On Sunday, reports emerged that Qatar, and other Gulf states, were looking to sign a free trade agreement with the UK to secure preferential deals once Brexit comes into place.
SOURCE: The New Arab