Q Life Magazine Q Magazine: A new chapter for growth | Page 18

Wintershall. Conversely, Qatari institutions have made considerable investments in German companies. Clearly, this is a relationship than can help to grow the economies of both countries. Last year was the Qatar-German Year of Culture. What did this mean to Qatar? Qatar-Germany bilateral relations: 45 years of partnership Qatar’s Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, shares his hopes for the Forum. C an you describe your priorities as Qatar’s Ambassador to Germany? What has your focus been since you started this role? It is a great honour for me to represent the State of Qatar to the Federal Republic of Germany, a country of profound civilisation that has the ability and knowledge to influence global economic, political, cultural and humanitarian issues. As Ambassador, I am committed to strengthening the relationship between our two countries, and I am continually exploring new ways to do this. While a lot has already been achieved, there is still plenty of untapped potential. 18 Why do you believe it is important for Qatar- Germany trade relations to grow? Relations between Qatar and Germany have a successful 45-year history. In this time Qatar became a key partner for Germany in the Middle East. Today, both countries are bearing the fruit of this relationship. Growing numbers of German citizens are living and working in Qatar, and German companies are increasingly opening branches in Qatar. There are over 300 German companies now operating in Doha including Allianz, Audi, Deutsche Bank, BMW, Siemens, Thyssen Krupp, Solar World and Culture is a vehicle through which different nationalities and faiths can meet, learn about each other and deepen their understanding of their respective traditions and values. For these reasons, the Qatar-German Year of Culture was a precious opportunity for us. We were excited to show our German friends the rich art scene in Qatar and to engage in a cultural dialogue. I was immensely proud to visit the ‘Contemporary Art Qatar’ exhibition at Kraftwerk Berlin, which highlighted Qatari artists. It was also great to see German artists exhibited at QM Gallery Al Riwaq and Doha Fire Station in Qatar. How do you think Qatar-Germany bilateral relations have grown in the past three years? Qatar is working to diversify its economy away from oil. Its ambition is to develop a knowledge-based, sustainable economy and to grow Qatar’s tourism industry. In this ambition we have found common ground with Germany, with whom we share a mutual interest in growing the chemical, construction and automotive industries, and developing new technology in the energy, environmental, and medical sectors. We have collaborated with Germany in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector, building on fruitful exchanges at this year’s IMEX conference in Frankfurt. How do you believe the Qatar – Germany Business and Investment Forum will expand the trade relations and investment with Germany? Trade with German companies is steadily rising and SMEs, as the backbone of the German economy, are particularly encouraged to take a closer look at investment opportunities in Qatar. German know- how is in strong demand and many current projects are already drawing on it. By the end of the year, in many areas of the increasingly diversified Qatari economy there will be additional opportunities for companies offering German technology and services. This Forum will offer an opportunity to explore future opportunities for both Qatar and Germany to offer their skills in areas of expertise according to comparative advantage. What do you hope to achieve while you are at the Forum? What are you most excited about? I have high expectations for the Forum. My aim is to present Qatar’s full potential and facilitate dialogue between Qataris and Germans. I am also interested in finding out from German SMEs how we can best help them secure investment from Qatar, and how to expand into our market. As Qatar continues its journey of economic diversification, we are keen to support innovators from around the world to advance our food, medical, energy and high-tech sectors. There is so much potential for these companies in Qatar right now. 19