The Mayor will arrive to Qatar on Thursday with his business delegation. During his visit, the Mayor has a series of high-level meetings with political, state and business leaders, including senior members of the Royal families, sovereign wealth funds and investment authorities. He will also visit Katara Cultural Village in support of the Qatar-UK Year of Culture.
Collectively, the Gulf states represent huge inward investment and bilateral trade opportunities for London: it is already the UK’s seventh largest export market. The scale of domestic growth plans by the Gulf countries and planned investment into the UK as part of economic diversification, opens up huge commercial opportunities for London. For example, the Qataris state that their cumulative investment in the UK is £20bn and the hope is that by further strengthening our relationship they will add to their investment in the capital.
While in Qatar, the Mayor will also address key business audiences including the Qatar British Business Forum. He will meet major investors, many of which already have a major interest in London, including Mr Khaled Al Sayed, acting CEO of Qatari Diar, investors in London’s Olympic Village. He will also meet Sheikh Saoud, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee.
Boris Johnson will be joined by a delegation of senior business leaders representing key sectors in London’s economy including financial services, sport, architecture, infrastructure, technology and creative industries. He will also be accompanied by Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor for planning and Dr Gerard Lyons, his Chief Economic Adviser. The visit is part of a series of targeted overseas trips planned by the Mayor to key markets that are important for London and that can help to spur jobs and growth in the capital.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
I want London to continue to be the number one city of choice for investors from this dynamic region. With strong historic ties in place, we already have fruitful trading partnerships between the Gulf and this city notably in finance, infrastructure, tourism, education and culture. These collaborations have resulted in several recent mega projects to benefit London’s economy and jobs market such as the stupendous Shard and the London Gateway, set to be the UK’s first deep sea container port.
The Gulf’s economy continues to grow fast and we cannot be complacent in what is now a fiercely competitive global economy. I will be promoting the huge opportunities for inward investment into London, championing the mammoth potential for future trade and seeking to share expertise in areas of mutual interest.’
Gulf economies are growing at a comparable rate to BRIC countries with the IMF predicting further strong growth averaging four per cent over the next six years. Rapid growth has brought unprecedented levels of economic prosperity to the Gulf. For example, UAE (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi) is the UK’s largest export market for goods in the Middle East and North Africa and it is investing in large infrastructure projects as part of a drive to diversify the country’s economy away from energy. Investments in London stemming from this region include DPWorld’s £1.5bn into London Gateway and Masdar’s £1.7bn into the London Array.
Qatar’s GDP per capita makes it the wealthiest country in the world with commercial opportunities flowing from hosting the FIFA 2022 World Cup alone estimated at $220 billion including stadium construction, rail, roads, ports, airports and accommodation. Qatar investment in London includes ownership of Harrods; the Shard; No 1 Hyde Park and cultural ventures with the British Library and the Tate.