Qatar signs deal to invest $127 million in Bulgaria
AFP & REUTERS
SOFIA QATAR eyed Bulgaria investment opportunities on Thursday as the two countries signed a framework agreement at the start of a visit by the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani.
“I believe that there are viable opportunities to invest in Bulgaria,” the Qatari premier told a press conference after signing an investment framework agreement with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov, adding that the government in Sofia “interacts with us seriously and responsibly.” The deal could see the state-owned Qatari Investment Fund put as much as 100 million euros ($127 million) in different projects in Bulgaria.
Under the deal, Qatar will invest €100 million ($127.08 million) in agriculture, tourism and infrastructure and other projects in Bulgaria — the European Union’s poorest member state — for over a year.
Separate memorandums of understanding were also signed for cooperation in the farming, cattlebreeding, food trade, spa and tourism, real estate, mining, health and culture sectors.
“I hope to see the launching of concrete projects by the end of this year,” the premier said.
Qatar has also decided to deposit $200 million in Bulgaria’s central bank BNB as proof of its seriousness about investing in the Balkan country.
“Today we agreed to deposit $200 million as a proof of our seriousness.
We want to prove that you have longterm partners you can lean on,” the prime minister told reporters after signing the investment agreement.
Borisov welcomed the possibility to do business with Qatar as “a huge chance for Bulgarian industry and farmers.” The two men are due to hold trilateral talks near the Black Sea city of Varna on Friday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with cooperation in energy and road infrastructure topping the agenda.
Sofia last week opened for potential investors a project to build a new 300-kilometre (186-mile) motorway between its southeastern border with Turkey and the northern border with Romania, with Qatar said to be interested.
Bulgaria is also keen to diversify its energy sources by linking its gas network to that of neighbouring Turkey, which will enable it to receive gas from the Middle East and Caspian regions.