The 4,720 million euros (5,000 million dollars) of investment in Spain announced this Tuesday by the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, will focus on two sectors: renewable energies and digitization. These fields will not be the only ones —the agro-industrial sector has also aroused the interest of the Qatari authorities—, but they will be the priority ones, according to official Spanish sources confirmed to this newspaper. “These are sectors that are of great interest to us as well as to them, and coincide with those to which the European recovery plan is directed,” these same sources underline.
The search for opportunities and the specific details of this millionaire injection will be based on the two memorandums of understanding that will be sealed in the next few hours: one between the sovereign wealth fund of the emirate (Qatar Investment Authority) Y Cofides [la Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo, una sociedad público-privada orientada a la internacionalización de la economía], and a second between the Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs of both countries. “It is a very important amount of money”, they emphasize from the Spanish Executive.
“The investment announced yesterday [por este martes] it is a great gesture of trust, not only in the Spanish economy but also in Spanish companies. Qatar is a country that is opening up to the world and Spain wants to and can participate in that opening”, stated the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, at a business forum organized by the CEOE employers’ association.
Along the same lines, the boss of the businessmen, Antonio Garamendi, has described the investment as “excellent news”, both for “the amount” and because it shows that Spain “is worth it” and that its companies “have a special appeal”. . One focus of those investments, he has recognized, will be energy. But it will also cover “more sectors and companies”. The association of businessmen from both countries, the leader of the businessmen has announced, will be led by Ignacio Sánchez Galán, president of Iberdrola —of which the Qatari fund is the largest shareholder, with almost 9% of the capital—.
With a global investment of around 300,000 million (a figure equivalent to a quarter of Spanish GDP) and the focus —almost from the beginning— on Asia, the Qatari fund sees in Europe —and, particularly, in Spain— an opportunity to diversify their positions in more mature and stable economies. On Tuesday night, the emir al Thani stated that the new investment package is proof of his country’s confidence in “the soundness of the Spanish economy”.
Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita income, and one of the main pillars of its economy is natural gas exports. The recent Western rejection of Russian fossil fuels, following the invasion of Ukraine, has opened a significant window of opportunity for the emirate, which not only benefits from the sharp rise in gas prices in the last year – a period in which it has quadrupled its price— but rather aspires to gain part of the market share of the Eurasian giant.
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