Category: Qatar

Recent Qatari Investment Measures

qatar-airwaysQatar Investment Authority, is paying for S$3.4 billion ($2.5 billion) to become the new proprietor of BlackRock Inc.’s Asia Square Tower 1, which has a prime location in the region’s central business district.  According to a statement made by Qatar Investment Authority and BlackRock Monday, this move has been hailed as Singapore’s largest ever office transaction.  Qatar Investment Authority is the sovereign wealth fund in the region.

In other news, Qatar Airways launched its first ever commercial flight to Atlanta, USA.  Flights will be scheduled every day, featuring non-stop services between Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha.  This move was celebrated by operating the inaugural flights with one of its Airbus A380 aircraft.  Skytrax reigned “Airline of the Year.”

Customers have wanted this for some time since the Doha-based carrier’s statement read: “The inaugural inbound and outbound flights were sold out, demonstrating the need and desire for the new international service to and from Atlanta.” This sentiment was echoed by Akbar al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways who said: “From our very first flight, we see that our services are essential to this city, even in a major aviation hub such as Atlanta. We are broadening the horizon and giving seasoned business and leisure travellers convenient access to many new and important destinations around the world. Atlanta is home to dozens of Fortune 500 companies that conduct business around the world – businesses that need the convenience that only our flight, with connections in Doha, can provide. The first Qatar Airways departure proves the point that hundreds of passengers on the first flight from Atlanta took advantage of convenient connections to reach more than 40 destinations out of the airline’s global network of more than 150 destinations. The majority of connecting passengers flew on from Hamad International to India, Southeast Asia and African destinations, such as Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Asmara and Khartoum.”

Also, in the 17th Asian Junior Athletics Championship 2016, Qatar’s Ibrahim Moaaz Mohamed set the first championship record with a 60.49m effort in the men’s discus throw final in Ho Chi Minh City.

These examples above indicate that Qatar is fast becoming recognized as an impressive global entity.

Tags : , , , ,

Art World Booming in the Middle East

While many are worried about the violence and instability in the Middle East, one area seems to be booming – the art auction world. A recent auction in Dubai proves the region’s increased interest in all things art. The latest auction by Christie’s actually broke 42 world auction records.

Interest Through Christie’s

As Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East explained, “The solid results for both the art and the jewelry sales are an indication that the art market in the Middle East continues to mature and attract an increasingly international and local following.”

Bonhams’ 7th Auction

Bonhams, which just had its seventh auction in the area, also saw very strong results. As Jonathan Horwich, the Global Director of the Picture Department at Bonhams said, “We saw good results and increased levels of competitive bidding across the estimate range. With the addition of online live bidding this year we saw even wider participation from international collectors than we have previously experienced.”

Both Bonhams and Christie’s entered the Middle East market relatively recently. Christie’s first came to the area in 2005 and Bonhams made its start in 2007. In 2010, Dubai actually became Christie’s fastest growing sales centre with a 153% increase over what they had seen in 2009.

Transformations in the Art Market

As Michael Jeha explained, “The regional art market has rapidly transformed before our eyes. You only have to look at the catalogue for our Middle Eastern art sale on April 19 and compare it with our first sale catalogue in 2006 to appreciate how the quality of the works has developed with each sale season. The pool of collectors interested in bidding in the sales has expanded too and in 2010, bidders in Christie’s Dubai sales came from 25 countries.”

Tags : , , , ,

Obama Meets with Emir of Qatar

Last Thursday, President Obama met with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, expressing his appreciation for the Emir’s leadership about democracy in the Middle East and the work that they have done to try to promote a peaceful transition in Libya.

Obama’s Words at the Meeting

As Obama said at the meeting, “Qatar is not only supportive diplomatically but is also supportive militarily, and we are very appreciative of the outstanding work of that the Qataris have done side by side with the other international coalition members. In addition to our efforts in Libya, we have a strong relationship between our two countries. It is an economic relationship. It is a military relationship. It is a cultural relationship.”

Obama also congratulated the Emir for having the World Cup coming to Qatar in 2022.

Obama’s Off-the-Record Words

Thursday evening, during a political donors event in Chicago, Obama has other words to say about the meeting. While meeting with the donors at the q-and-a session, Obama didn’t realize that he was speaking on an open mike.

As Mark Knoller of CBS News recorded, Obama said, that evening that, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was a “Pretty influential guy…”He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform — you’re seeing it on Al Jazeera.”

Obama went on to put his foot in his mouth when he said, “Now, he himself is not reforming significantly. There’s no big move towards democracy in Qatar. But you know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict.”

Tags : , , ,