First minister Carwyn Jones was in Doha at the weekend to develop Wales’ economic relationship with Qatar.
Following Qatar Airways’ decision to invest in a new direct service from Cardiff to Doha, the first minister has been meeting with the airline’s CEO, HE Akbar Al Baker, as well as senior officials from Qatar International Islamic Bank, the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar National Bank.
Qatar is a relatively small country, but one of the richest in the world with a very high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head. This affluent market with its growing population offers opportunities for UK businesses across a wide range of sectors.
It has significant oil and gas reserves, and also has one of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes in the world. It plans to invest up to US$220bn in infrastructure over the next seven years - many of these projects are as a result of Qatar hosting the 2022 football World Cup.
First minister Carwyn Jones said: “The direct service between Cardiff and Doha is a huge boost for Wales. It will open up Wales' links with the rest of the world and deliver new economic, leisure and travel opportunities for Welsh businesses and the people of Wales.
“Providing a direct route into the world's fastest growing hub airport, Hamad International, will also bring Wales closer to leading global markets such as India, China, Singapore and Australasia.
“My visit to Doha this weekend, alongside the new service, is the beginning of a special relationship with Qatar and the Middle East.
“We will maximise the opportunities created by this new route and use it as catalyst for increased Middle Eastern investment, including from sovereign wealth funds, into new infrastructure projects in Wales.
“As we prepare for a future outside the EU, it is more important than ever before to sell Wales to the world and meet with potential investors across the globe to show them exactly what Wales has to offer.”
Read more about Wales’ new Qatar service here.