The Midlands at the heart of Britain’s offer to Qatar

  • 7Birmingham hosts the second day of the joint Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum
  • Qatar commits to investing £5 billion in the UK over the next three to five years
  • First time a Qatari delegation has visited a UK city outside London
  • The forum showcases high-profile, ‘investment-ready’ projects from across the city of Birmingham
  • Last year the Midlands exported £144.3 million to Qatar

The second day of the joint Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum was held in Birmingham (Tuesday 28th March), with the city hosting the largest ever Qatari business delegation as part of the Government’s drive to create a global Britain.

The forum was attended by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Qatar Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.

The event marked the first time that a Qatari delegation led by the Qatari Secretary of State, Minister Rumeiheh, has visited a UK city outside of London, with the delegation shown ‘investment-ready’ projects across Birmingham, including Curzon HS2.

Strong links between Qatar and the Midlands already exist with the Qatari Al Rayan Bank having a strong presence

in the region and Qatar Airways flying directly from its Doha hub to Birmingham Airport.

In 2017, Alduwaliya Asset Management acquired One Eleven Edmund Street in a £22.5 million deal. Over the last year, the Midlands has exported £144.3 million to Qatar.

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said:

“The forum demonstrated why the Midlands is at the heart of a global Britain’s offer to the world. The investment-ready  projects showcased have a value in the billions and will help the Midlands reach its untapped potential in growth. These projects are central to boosting productivity and I am confident that not only do they demonstrate to investors that they get a return on their investment, but that an investment in the Midlands, which will drive growth and allow our businesses to expand, is an investment in the UK.”

The Midlands is already home to world-leading businesses and sectors, such as the automotive, advanced manufacturing and life sciences industries, and is earmarked to lead the way for the UK on next-generation technologies.

Greater Birmingham and the rest of the Midlands has attracted record levels of foreign direct investment, with 253 new foreign direct investment projects in the Midlands in 2015/16.

And the region is working hard to build on this momentum, undertaking trade missions to the US & Canada, China and India – the leading economies in the world.

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

“I’m delighted the forum met in Birmingham, giving us the opportunity to promote current investment and trade opportunities. I see it as a strong signal of confidence from Qatari investors in the city and the wider region. It’s vital to build links and trade with the rest of the world and seize all the opportunities available to us.

“The Forum is key to securing greater bilateral trade between Qatar and the UK and a chance to showcase the best of British industry. The collaborative, ambitious projects being delivered by Birmingham will help drive global Britain towards economic prosperity.”

Steve Hollis, Chair of GBSLEP, said:

“The conference provided a fantastic platform for us to showcase some of the many investment opportunities that this region has to offer and to highlight the benefits of doing business with local firms. We hope that the event will not only lead to increased levels of Foreign Direct Investment and exporting, both critical to further grow the local economy, but also to raising Greater Birmingham’s profile as a global city region.”

Sultan Choudhury, CEO of Al Rayan Bank, said:

“Birmingham is a growing city, with first-class modern infrastructure and excellent transport links. With nearly 50,000 people employed in financial services and related professional services, Birmingham is a major financial centre and has the talent to support the growth of Al Rayan Bank, an increasingly important conduit for Gulf investment into the UK.
Labour and occupancy costs are significantly lower in Birmingham than London, yet the capital is just over an hour away. Also with daily non-stop flights from Birmingham Airport, we are within easy reach of the Gulf. These factors, combined with the strong support of the local authorities provide a compelling proposition for any financial services organisation.”

28th March 2017

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