Posted on April 12, 2011

Qatari investment is welcome in Poland especially in the fields of energy, real estate, tourism and banking, a very senior official of Poland’s central bank has said.

“Poland’s electricity network is dated and in need of investment for modernisation. I think Qatar, with its financial muscle, can make use this investment opportunity,” Governor of the National Bank of Poland, Marek Belka told Qatar Tribune in an interview.

The big investment needed by Poland’s power sector can come from GCC countries, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, he said. These investments would gradually open the window for investment in other sectors of the Polish economy as well, he added.

Belka, an internationally respected former IMF economist, said Qatari institutions like QIA can also invest in hotels and real estate in Poland. “Poland has a strong and untapped tourism potential and Qatar can invest in our hospitality sector,” he said. Asked if Poland was open to Islamic Banking, the Central Bank Governor chose to be indirect. “I don’t think Islamic banking will overwhelm Polish banking systems, however, certain ideas of Islamic banking are very attractive and if banks around the world had adhered to it, we would have never had any financial crisis.”

In a reply to a question if any Qatari has evinced in setting up operations in Poland, Belka replied in the affirmative. “Almost every bank in Poland is private and dominated by some big outside partners. Many banks are now divesting because of the crisis, and we think Qatar is one country which can invest in this segment,” Belka said. He however declined to disclose any names.

Belka, who since assuming control of the central bank has been playing down the risks of a spike in inflation and holding the line against early monetary tightening, said he such a spike could harm Poland’s fragile economic recovery. He, however, said that he supported his government’s longterm strategy of taking Poland into the euro zone but added, “we are not obsessed with the common currency. The plan is on the back burner due to the global crisis and more recently the euro zone’s own woes,” he said.

On the contrary, he favoured a common GCC currency saying that the countries of the group are similar. “If the countries in the GCC converge in economic development rather than diverge with strong discipline in fiscal policy, I think the GCC countries are better suitable to adopt the common currency. “In my opinion adopting the common currency in the GCC should be relatively easier than the European union as all the countries here are pegged to the US dollar. I think it has a big chance of being successful,” Belka added.

source: Qatar Tribune