Mar 28, 2017 12:10 PM EDT
Qatar has announced plans to invest £5 billion in the UK in transport, property and digital technology over the next three to five years. The Middle Eastern country is optimistic about the future of the British economy even after it has left the European Union.
Qatar has already invested more than £40 billion in the UK with its wealth fund - Qatar Investment Authority. It has also bought big assets such as the Shard building and Harrods department store. The Arab country also has a stake in the London Stock Exchange and in Canary Wharf, as well as an interest in the Milford Haven liquefied natural gas terminal in South Wales. In addition, Qatar owns part of the Olympic Village after the London 2012 Olympics.
"Currently the UK is our first investment destination and it is the largest investment destination for Qatari investors, both public and private," Ali Shareef al Emadi, the country's finance minister, told the BBC. The UK government depends on foreign investment for infrastructure projects and although nothing has been decided, Al Emadi did not rule out the possibility of putting money into HS2. The announcement comes as a positive sign for prime Minister Theresa May, who is preparing to begin the formal process of Brexit.
Qatar claims that Brexit will have no impact on its investment efforts as the country is looking into the long-term view. In another note, Al Amadi did not fail to address the depreciation of the value of the pound. He said this has already caused a negative effect on the assets of Qatar Investment Authority in the UK. Brexit may be both a negative and positive thing for its investment strategies.
Meanwhile, previous promises of investments made by Qatar in the UK infrastructure have not always materialized. Back in 2013, there was a discussion of investing £10 billion that did not push through. Qatar, however, clarified that the £5 billion is not part of the £10 billion and that the current investment is a standalone one.
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