Spain, Qatar eye $1bn Latam investment fund in 2017

Updated 27 November 2016

Spain, Qatar eye $1bn Latam investment fund in 2017

DUBAI: Spain and Qatar hope to sign early next year an agreement to form a $1 billion joint investment fund that would help the Gulf state invest in Latin America, the Spanish ambassador was quoted by Qatari media as saying on Sunday.
Negotiations on the agreement have been stalled for almost a year by political uncertainty in Spain, but could resume once a new minister of trade has been appointed, Ignacio Escobar said, according to the media interview.
Mariano Rajoy was sworn in for a second term as Spain’s prime minister on Oct. 31, giving the country a fully functioning government for the first time in 10 months after two inconclusive elections and fruitless coalition talks.
Officials hope, Escobar said, that the investment deal can be signed during a high-level visit to Qatar by Spanish officials in the “first semester of 2017.”
“This is very interesting for Qatar because the QIA (Qatar Investment Authority) has said many times that they want to invest in Latin America,” Escobar said, in reference to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
“It is a new market for them and it is full of opportunities, and Spain is the perfect gateway for Latin America.”
The QIA has in recent years been seeking to diversify its portfolio away from European assets, announcing in 2014 it would put $20 billion into Asia. In September 2015, the QIA said it would be involved in Qatari plans to invest $35 billion in the US.
Hassad Food, the agricultural arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, said in February 2015 it was looking at possible purchases of Brazilian sugar and poultry assets, although its website does not list any investments on the continent.


Leaders descend on Beijing for Bloomberg problem-solving forum

Updated 21 November 2019

Leaders descend on Beijing for Bloomberg problem-solving forum

  • The two-day event aims to encourage solutions from the private sector to some of the big challenges the global economy faces today
  • Some 500 senior leaders will attend the gathering, of which about 200 will come from Chinese institutions

Thought leaders from the business world and the global political scene are descending on the Chinese capital Beijing for the New Economy Forum (NEF) run by the information and media giant Bloomberg.

The two-day event aims to encourage solutions from the private sector to some of the big challenges the global economy faces today — trade, climate change, technology and financial volatility. It will also prioritize issues of inclusion, urbanization and governance.

Justin Smith, chief executive officer of Bloomberg Media, told Arab News — which is a media partner for the event — that some 500 delegates would attend the forum, with about 200 coming from institutions within China.

“The reason we’re bringing people together is to produce a platform for discussion between people who represent the new global economy. There is a whole new class of people from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America who are not represented well in the ‘legacy gatherings’ that take place, which are typically more American and European oriented.

“The idea is to enable people at a principle level — chief executives, ministers, leaders — to have substantive conversations to find solutions to global problems and help mitigate the big issues the world faces. This is not just a talking shop,” he said.

Some 500 senior leaders will attend the gathering, of which about 200 will come from Chinese institutions. “There will be a big Chinese involvement, but this is because of how important China is in the global economy. This really is a one-of-a-kind gathering,” Smith said.

The opening keynote will be delivered by a senior member of the leadership of the Peoples Republic, whose identity has not been officially disclosed amid tight security at the conference venue outside Beijing city center.

While the issue of trade wars between China and the US will be a big issue at the gathering, Smith said that it was not the most important one. “This is not a US-China gathering — it is a global gathering located in Beijing,” he said.

Americans attending the event include former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, as well as Hank Paulson, who was Treasury secretary during the global financial crisis, and Janet Yellen, former chair of the US Federal Reserve.

There is a significant delegation from the Middle East, including Saudi business leader Lubna Olayan, as well as executives and policy-makers from other Arabian Gulf countries.

“The Middle East’s role in the new economy is critical. It has increasingly deep ties with China, but also has strong links with Europe and the West. They are in between western capitalism and state capitalism,” Smith said.