(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Lani Rose R Dizon I The Peninsula
The United Kingdom, a world leader in sectors such as tech, financial services, healthcare, and education, is committed to supporting Qatar in diversifying its economy, said George Hollingbery (pictured) , the UK's Minister of State for Trade Policy, Department for International Trade (DIT).
In an interview with The Business Year Qatar 2019, Hollingbery reiterated that it is an exciting time ahead for both nations as the UK sets up its independent trade policy for the first time in more than 40 years, and as Qatar continues to drive forward its National Vision 2030.
He added: 'The UK and Qatar have a long and rich history together, and our relationship continues to grow from strength to strength. Our bilateral partnership extends to many areas, notably in trade and investment, culture and education, prosperity and security. We see 3,900 Qatari students choosing British universities, and over 70,000 Qataris visit the UK each year, while Qatar is home to over 600 British companies.
To date, Qatar is one of the largest investors in the UK. The Minister said the UK already sees more than £50bn of investments from Qatar. The figure is expected to continue to rise after a commitment by Qatar in 2017 to allocate £5bn additional investments over a five-year period, half of which has already been invested in the UK. Further, trade between the UK and Qatar has also reached £5.3bn in 2018.
Hollingbery has already visited the World Cup 2022 Legacy Pavilion and said he was impressed by the significant progress that has been made in preparation for the tournament.
He added: 'DIT has already helped British companies to secure £940m in British-Qatar World Cup-related exports and aims to secure at least a further £500m before the competition kicks off in 2022. As a country, we have a long track record of delivering the world's biggest sporting events.
At Brazil's 2014 World Cup, UK firm Blue Cube provided the seats on which fans cheered their teams, while at the Rio Games, British company PKL provided temporary kitchens to feed the athletes, staff, and fans. The 2022 Fifa World Cup is the first of many opportunities for the UK to support National Vision 2030, which includes £140bn of infrastructure development and offers significant collaboration opportunities for UK companies.
Both countries have also signed a number of agreements recently. On the occasion of London's hosting of Qatar Day in April, both parties signed a membership agreement between Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and the UK's global FinTech community Innovate Finance.
Under the agreement, Innovate Finance renews its commitment to supporting the development of FinTech ecosystem in Qatar, as well as the approval of QDB's membership of the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).