The CEO of the German Association for Small and Medium Businesses (BVMW) Markus Jerger described His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani's visit to Berlin as a historic opportunity to achieve further development in Qatari-German relations.
Jerger added, in an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), that the trade exchange between the two countries, which reached QR11.2bn in 2021 compared to QR6.4bn in 2020, is likely to increase significantly during the coming period thanks to the strong friendly relations between the two countries.
The CEO of BVMW confirmed that he had very positive impressions from his recent visit to Doha last November and his meeting with a large number of officials in Qatar, praising the investment environment that Qatar enjoys and its investment capacity, as well as the infrastructure inaugurated by the country within the framework of its National Vision 2030.
Jerger revealed the association's intention to open a regional office in Doha, in order to fully develop relations with Qatar and the Middle East, stressing that this office will be an investment window that attracts all future investment fields, such as investment in health technology, the pharmaceutical industry, clean energy and environmental fields, water and other important areas to create a sustainable future.
He added that the role of the Association will be to choose the most appropriate companies capable of investing in Qatar and who have experience in this field, pointing out that investing in the electric car industry and energy conservation and providing solutions in the field of food using artificial intelligence have become inevitable areas, noting that Qatar is a fertile environment to incubate those industries of the future thanks to their directions and dynamism that characterise them.
Jerger explained that German Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck visited Doha last March and returned with positive impressions that helped pursuing investment and economic relations development between the two countries.
He explained that there are three main factors pushing towards an ideal development of economic relations between Qatar and Germany, the first of which is the political openness between the two countries during the recent period, in addition to the desire of the State of Qatar to achieve comprehensive development focused on the field of sustainability and the future economy, in addition to the role of the Association through its intended representative office that will open in Qatar in the coming period.
Regarding the Association of Medium and Large Companies and its goal, Jerger said that the idea of the Association came about 45 years ago when around 30 entrepreneurs began thinking about am association to transfer experience between them that would help in the field of work, adding that the number of its members increased from 30 members 45 years ago to nearly 900,000 members now.
The Association has now become the voice of businessmen for the government and tools of decision-makers, the explained.
He explained that the Association provides services to all its members - legal, economic or other services - and this appeared during the Covid-19 crisis through the Associations role in introducing companies to how to manage their affairs and their employees, noting that the Association has 500 employees in addition to its offices throughout Germany as well as 75 offices around the world; the office number 76 will be in the State of Qatar.
He stressed that the Association's main goal is to achieve the interests of the Association's medium and small entrepreneurs and help them inside and outside Germany.
The CEO of BVMW added that 99% of companies in Germany are medium and small companies, while the remaining 1% is for large companies such as Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Mercedes and others.
Not all medium and small companies are able to invest and enter the Qatari market, so the role of the Association is to know the companies eligible to enter this market and give them useful information in this field, he said.
Regarding the classification of medium and small companies, he said that this matter differs from one country to another.
In China and Africa, you find medium and small companies in large proportions.
As for Russia, if it concludes any contract with a major Russian company, this company brings with it hundreds of small companies to implement these contracts.
It is different for Germany, he explained, as the medium and small company is the main in the co-operation.
On the reasons for medium and small companies control on the German economy, he said that Germany was completely destroyed in WWII and family companies or small companies built the country after the war, adding that large companies such as Siemens, Porsche and others took a long time to rebuild themselves after war, so small businesses are the backbone of the country's economy.
Jerger added that among the 900,000 companies that are members of the Association, there are 350 companies that are considered the elite in the medium-sized companies, as these companies have 1.2mn employees and a production of about €120bn annually.
In addition to that, 60% of the workforce in Germany work in medium and small companies, and the remaining percentage work for the government and only 1% work in major companies.