Qatar economic forum eyes billions

Qatar, the tiny emirate rich in natural gas, has announced plans for a forum next month to raise foreign capital for a $130 billion five-year investment project.

    Qatar is the world's largest provider of natural gas

    Shaikh Mohammed bin Ahmad Al Thani, the Qatari finance and trade minister, said the conference, intended to attract investment for Doha's energy and tourism sectors, would be held on 17 and 18 April.

    "Our development work is based on the exemplary utilisation of our natural resources so that we can build a diversified and balanced economy," he said on Sunday.

    "Qatar wants to turn itself into the ideal oasis for investors."

    Shaikh Mohammed confirmed the emirate's plan calls for "investments of $130 billion over five years", and said US investments in Qatar, notably in the gas sector, reached $40 billion last year.

    New investment plan

    The new investment plan is believed to allot $80 billion for the gas sector, $20 billion for tourism, $10 billion for infrastructure and $10 billion in property projects, according to officials in Doha.

    The forum will allow business people to become acquainted with Qatar, said Rauf Abu Zaki, director of the Lebanese Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal group, which is a co-organiser of the conference.

    Qatar hopes that the forum will attract investors for joint ventures in the energy sector and telecommunications, Zaki said.

    Business people, multinational corporations, ministers from Qatar, Libya and India, as well as Amr Mussa - the Arab League chief - are expected to attend, the organisers said.

    Qatar, which has 750,000 residents, is the world's largest provider of natural gas after Iran and Russia.



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