Interview with Jürgen Hogrefe in the Gulf Times: Ample scope for huge growth in Qatar-Germany partnership
09.09.2018, Gulf Times
Qatar and Germany have long-standing bilateral relations, with mutual respect for the views, concerns and eagerness to make the partnership stronger, the German Qatari Association president Jurgen Hogrefe told 'Gulf Times' in an e-mail interview.
Hailing the Qatar Business and Investment Forum in Berlin on September 7 and also the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the German capital, Hogrefe said Germans are very happy that Qatar is investing 10bn euros in their country and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is encouraging German companies to invest and work in Qatar.
Replying to a query on Germany's foreign policy, he said, Berlin wants to build on cultural relations, Germany would offer language courses to others while learning from other countries' cultural traditions. "This is one of the main tasks of the Goethe Institute," he said while explaining that there is a great interest among the locals in understanding the culture and traditions of Germany.
"As remarkably good business relations exist between the two countries, there are many friends of the German culture in Qatar. We still have some catching up to do in this regard," said Hogrefe.
Coming back to business, the forum chief said the construction sector in Qatar is very important and companies from Germany continue to see Qatar as a hub from which the entire region could be well-served. "German companies are very impressed with the offers for co-operation at the Investment Forum and such promising ventures like the Free Zone Authority, experienced leadership and excellent management have all together created an extremely attractive platform."
Responding to a query on the role of German professionals and companies in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Hogrefe said his country has been very active with its expertise and experience on that front. "Whether it is a question of sports safety or public relations, many Germans and several German companies are already active and their numbers may still increase from the present levels."
Now that the Supreme Committee has learned remarkably from the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia, Qatar could get down to business in a big way. "I can only call upon the experts among our people to travel to Doha and offer their best expertise learned from hosting two World Cups in the last 44 years. The SC, I'm sure, knows it is always worth talking to experts in Germany."
While expressing hope that more German construction companies would be able to bag more projects in Qatar, Hogrefe said: "We also have some of the acclaimed technical consultants who have done remarkably good jobs on some of Qatar's large projects. No doubt, there is still a lot of opportunities that German firms can draw upon.
The three core sectors of automobiles, machinery and equipment constituted a major share of the German exports to Qatar. Germany also has good capabilities in logistics, services and IT. He said Qatar has made great strides in development work in such areas as digitalisation and related topics and good infrastructure has also been developed in recent years. "We see a lot of room for furthering co-operation in this line in coming years."
The Association president is also pleased with the visits undertaken by various business delegations from Germany in the last one year, many of whom have expressed their keenness to do business in Qatar as it is an attractive destination.
Hogrefe also disclosed that TU Munich, one of the globally acclaimed technical universities has finalised an agreement with Qatar for intense co-operation and further development. "For quite sometime, I have been working round the clock to establish campuses of some of the renowned German institutes such as the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) or the Geo Research Center (GfZ) in Doha."