Council leader to ‘bang drum for Brum’ in Qatar
Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy is to head a four-day visit to the Gulf state of Qatar to meet potential investors in the areas of urban regeneration, education, science and research.
Cllr Clancy will fly to Doha on Saturday with a small delegation of senior officials from the city council and inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham and will return on Wednesday January 18.
The trip follows successful talks between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar last year, and will help set the scene for the UK-Qatar Trade and Investment Conference, which will be held in Birmingham in March.
Birmingham will be the first city to host a Qatari Trade Conference outside London – a strong signal of the confidence shown by foreign investors in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
The Birmingham conference will provide an opportunity for business leaders and senior UK and Qatari Ministers to network and promote current investment and trade opportunities.
Cllr Clancy said: “The conference is an important step in our plans to increase bilateral trade between Qatar and the UK, which currently stands at over £5 billion per year and a chance to showcase the best of British industry. The collaborative, ambitious projects being delivered by Birmingham will help drive a post-Brexit Global Britain towards inclusive economic prosperity.”
Cllr Clancy’s visit to Qatar is the latest example of a proactive policy to sell Birmingham to potential investors around the world in an attempt to secure large-scale financial backing for new homes and jobs.
Last year, during a visit to the Far East, Cllr Clancy signed an agreement with Chinese property development company Country Garden, worth up to £2 billion to the Birmingham economy to deliver new homes and other regeneration projects.
Cllr Clancy added: “I’m delighted to be visiting Qatar to explore partnerships and to promote current investment and trade opportunities in Birmingham. My intention is to bang the drum for Brum.
“It’s vital to build links and trade with the rest of the world and seize all the opportunities that are opening up to us as we exit from the EU.
“I want to bring new, big capital spend to the city, as quickly as possible. This is about building houses, jobs and futures for young Brummies and families across the region.”
The British Ambassador to the State of Qatar, HE Mr Ajay Sharma, said: “I am delighted that such a senior delegation from Birmingham is coming to Qatar. Our bilateral relationship is already deep and diverse. But there is so much more we can do together from trade and investment to co-operation on healthcare and education.
“London has naturally been a focus for the relationship between our countries. But other parts of the UK are also extremely interested in developing further their co-operation with Qatar. I hope that the visit by this delegation will lead to a new page in the relationship between Qatar and Birmingham.”