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The Financial Express

Qatar aims to invest $3.0 billion to support ‘cash-strapped’ Pakistan

| Updated: August 25, 2022 15:23:11


Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed al-Thani meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Doha on Wednesday –Reuters photo Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed al-Thani meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Doha on Wednesday –Reuters photo

The Qatar Investment Authority aims to invest $3.0 billion in Pakistan, the Qatari ruler's office said on Wednesday, lending support to the South Asian nation's cash-strapped economy.

Pakistan is in economic turmoil and faces a balance of payments crisis, with foreign reserves having dropped as low as $7.8 billion, barely enough for more than a month of imports. It is also contending with a widening current account deficit, weakening rupee currency, and inflation that exceeded 24 per cent in July.

"The Qatar Investment Authority announced its aspiration to invest $3.0 billion in various commercial and investment sectors in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan," the Emiri Diwan said, without giving details, reports Reuters.

The announcement was made during a visit to Doha by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who held official talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Wednesday after a meeting with the QIA on Tuesday.

Doha has shown interest in an airport management partnership and the Roosevelt Hotel in New York's Manhattan owned by Pakistan International Airlines, two Pakistani aviation officials involved in the talks told Reuters.

The officials said Pakistan has offered a 25 per cent stake in the hotel. It shut down in late 2020 during the slump in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic and has remained closed, in part due to a lack of financing and management disputes.

"Qatar has shown interest in taking over terminal and cargo services at Islamabad airport," one of the officials said, adding other airports, such as Karachi, could also be considered later on.

Sharif's visit to Qatar comes ahead of an International Monetary Fund meeting next week that is expected to approve more than $1 billion in financing that has been stalled since the beginning of the year.

The prime minister on Tuesday invited QIA, Qatar's $450 billion sovereign wealth fund, to invest in Pakistan's energy and aviation sectors. He had previously mentioned renewable energy, food security, industrial and infrastructure development, tourism and hospitality among sectors of interest.

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