Many leaders in Europe are looking to invest in Africa, and as Royal Central reported last month, Princess Astrid is making a trip to Morocco. At a joint business forum in Berlin on Friday, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, standing alongside Chancellor Merkel of Germany, pledged to invest ten million euros over the next five years into the German economy.
To a point, in recent years, Qatar has been isolated by the other Arab states and has also come in for some criticism over the conditions of foreign workers working on the stadia for the World Cup scheduled for Qatar.
It is understood that this investment from Qatar in Germany is to be in three key sectors; banking, high tech, and motor vehicles – three of the great stalwarts of the German economy. At present, Germany is the third largest trading partner after the United States and China; in addition to this deal at the same event, Chancellor Merkel announced the building of a liquified natural gas terminal in Germany, though some may say this is to lessen any dependence on gas pipelines from Russia. It is also worthwhile noting that Qatar is the leading exporter of natural gas.
Turkey also provides a link between the two countries’ diplomatic and economic friendship. Qatar recently announced an investment of $15 billion in Turkey, whilst there are strong ties between Germany and Turkey because of a high number of ex-pat Turks in Germany. In addition, there is an agreement between Turkey and the European Union to try and stem the tide of refugees coming into Europe via Turkey.
There are, perhaps, a couple of interesting dynamics about the situation; one is the fact that of all the European countries, Germany is the one with the least ties to the north or indeed any part of Africa as a controlling country and is so perhaps easier for Qatar to link to. The other is to consider the volatile nature of US foreign policy at the moment and wonder what effects this could have. The United States is engaging with trade wars with the European community and Turkey, plus, of course, the views of President Trump about the nuclear deal with Iran, a close ally of Qatar is well-known. It will be interesting to see who and where a move will be.