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Gulf investment company looks to Georgia for real estate investment opportunities

It is looking to invest some $100 million in the country which lies at the strategically important crossroads where Asia meets Europe.

The Qataris are interested in the fact that it ancient cultural heritage, famous traditions of hospitality and its popularity as a holiday destination for East Europeans and Russians mean it could be one of the next hotpots.

Indeed it has been described as a combination of the French Riviera and Switzerland thanks to its high mountains, sunny beaches and cuisine.

The Qataris have toured a number of sites, eyeing both state owned property assets and private investment projects and are particularly interested in real estate and tourism, according to government officials.

‘They mostly took an interest in real estate projects in Tbilisi and Batumi. The Black Sea shore was assessed as a potential valuable investment,’ said Economy Minister Zurab Pololikashvili.

At a meeting at a plush hotel, Georgian private firms such as the Georgian Reconstruction and Development Company, Rakeen Georgia and the Silk Road Group unveiled their present and planned projects for the Qatari businessmen.
The Qataris are also interested in infrastructure and one project likely to receive financing is the construction of the new Vake-Saburtalo Highway in Tbilisi, said Parliamentary Economy and Economic Policy Committee Chairman Giorgi Meladze, following a meeting with MPs.

The visit followed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s visit to Qatar at the beginning of November to publicize Georgia’s investment opportunities for local investment funds.

In the past three years Arab capital has dominated the Georgian market. In 2007 and 2008 the United Arab Emirates was the top foreign investor. Last year UAE invested up to $306.6 million or 19.6% of Georgia’s total FDI.

‘Following a decline in fuel prices, Arab countries, mostly from the Persian Gulf, are attempting to diversify their capital by investing in various countries.

Georgia with its liberal investment environment and geopolitical location looks really appealing,’ said Teona Gabunia of the National Investment Agency of Georgia.