(CNN) – Qatar can be simply defined in the 21st century as the “little state that does.” From near bankruptcy 20 years ago in the face of declining oil reserves and a record budget deficit, the Gulf Arab state with a population of up to 1.6 million, roughly one-fifth of them Qataris, is punching well above its weight.
Qatar’s foray into the global investment arena is hard to miss. Its sovereign fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has only been around since 2005, but its footprint is a long and wide one. The QIA has taken high profile stakes in German auto giants VW and Porsche, global banks Barclays and Credit Suisse, the London Stock Exchange and British supermarket giant J. Sainsbury and it even bought outright the luxury icon Harrod’s. The big splash year was 2009 when it invested $32 billion on a variety of transactions.
According to Jones LaSalle, the building and real estate group, Qatar was the largest property investor globally in 2010. It has taken high profile positions across London in the Canary Wharf financial district, Chelsea Barracks near the Thames River, and is owner of the current U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square.
At the core of this effort is the desire to avoid an “Iraq-like” situation where the country collapses and the Libyan rebel movement is without funds to pay government salaries, provide urgent medical care and food – the staples of day-to-day living.
At a press conference in Dubai this week, Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s Ambassador to the UAE and Operations Coordinator for the Libya Stabilization Team said they want to “achieve stability and peace as quickly as possible and to achieve a normality of life in all sectors of life.”
To that end Mahmoud Jibril, head of the NTC's executive committee, was originally seeking to get a commitment for $2.5 billion before this weekend. After meetings of Contact Group officials in Doha, the ante has reportedly been doubled.
(CNN) - Protests have rekindled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on a grand scale. Hundreds are expressing their frustration at what they see as a snail’s pace of change after the Arab uprisings that began in Tunis six months ago.
Now is a good time to take stock since Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruit seller, lit himself on fire as he was unable to see a way out of poverty. Protestors took to the streets, putting their lives on the line, and expectations were high that change would follow. But we are witnessing a dangerous reality gap of what protestors expect and what governments have been able to deliver.
Mustapha Kamel Nabli Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia says that reality gap has widened and he is urging regional and global investors to speed into action to assist in the recovery effort.
“If we do not act now we will see failure after the success of the uprising,” said Nabli during a World Economic Forum webinar with government and business leaders.
The Troika trying to manage Greece’s path to normality – the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – struck an upbeat tone as they broke out from meetings in Brussels Friday, but the reality is one of long lasting pain for the Hellenes with little progress after a five year austerity plan.
The Troika and the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou are now at least singing from the same hymn sheet and the numbers look like this in the final package: $40 billion in higher taxes and cuts in spending until 2015. Privatisations have been put down to raise $72 billion and at late night Thursday the new Greek finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, closed a $5 billion budget short fall with a final burst of tax increases and spending cuts. Final tally now: $117 billion.
(CNN) – A surprise attack from an unlikely source sent oil prices reeling Thursday.
The International Energy Agency, the Paris based research arm of 28 industrialised countries, held an emergency press conference to announce that its members would release 60 million barrels onto the market – allocating two million barrels a day for a month. Half of the total will be coming from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
It is only the third time the IEA tapped reserves; the first was in 1991 during the Gulf War, then again in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina wiped out some production in the Gulf of Mexico.
This move triggered memories of G-7 currency interventions in the mid-1980s, the fabled Plaza and Louvre accords, when collective action by central banks was taken to either raise or lower the U.S. dollar.
The Russian government is trying to woo the world as it seeks to increase foreign investment into the country.
In an attempt to diversify from the oil and gas industries, the country is putting money behind investing in new companies.
CNN’s John Defterios reports on the initiative from the St Petersberg International Economic Forum.
Austrian President Heinz Fischer talks about his country's relationship with Russia.
Fischer said: "I know some European countries, because of ther history, are very suspicious vis-à-vis Russia, (but) we have a trustful relationship and we believe it can be expanded economically, politically and strategically."
He says Russia's infrastructure needs development, including the health services, tourism and the energy sector.
Fischer also said it would be better if Russia was a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The State Hermitage Museum is synonymous with St. Petersburg, playing an important cultural and economic role in the Russian city often called the Venice of the North.
Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the museum, said: "This is a great symbol of culture and Russian history.
"Economy of culture is a very import part of the world culture and the economy of the city, we bring a lot of tourists here."
Armenian export was worth 20% of GDP in 2000 but it is only 12% of GDP today; the trade balance is still negative.
Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan says the Armenian economy is not sufficiently diversified and he wants to boost the country's industrial base.
He says promoting export is still a primary concern and he also discusses the country's complex relationship with neighbor Turkey.
Among the BRIC nations, which now includes South Africa too, Russia has a bad rap for its business climate.
It is enjoying the white nights or long days of summer, but it is not considered a bright light when stacked up against its peers.
In the latest World Bank "Doing Business" survey, Russia is at the bottom of the pile of BRIC countries , the bottom of the G-20 list and also in the broader rankings of the major industrialised countries.
CNN's John Defterios takes a look at Russia's economy and the restructuring plans set out by its political and business leaders.
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