bond issuances, infrastructure funding, debt restructuring and sovereign wealth fund planning.

In Qatar, the Bank quickly built up a reputation as a key economic partner, with the Paribas branch expanding activities rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. The Bank collaborated on several major projects in this period, including the region s first olefins43 derivative project, which was part of a two-way investment agreement between France and Qatar.

In the 1990s, the Bank was instrumental in the financing of several cross-border deals involving Qatar, including currency hedging for international companies working in the country, and financing for chemical and hydrocarbon projects. Paribas also played a key role in the financing of the power industry, helping to set up a loan agreement for expansion of Qatar s electricity network.

Christian de La Touche, Head of the Doha branch from 1997 to 2001, recalls the strong reputation the Bank had built up as one of the most committed international banks in the country: We had a small share of the purely domestic market in Qatari riyals. Nevertheless, we were the most high profile bank, both locally and internationally, because of our major involvement in these huge projects.

LNG fuels diversification drive

BNP Paribas designated 2005 its Qatar Year. The country was enjoying spectacular growth and was on its way to becoming the richest nation in the world in terms of per capita GDP. Qatar was not only developing from an economic point of view, but also taking a more prominent role on the international stage, hosting the Second South Summit44 of the G-77 in Doha in June 2005, and the 15th Asian Games in December 2006.

Qatar s government was successfully implementing an ambitious US$100 billion investment programme in the 2000s, with US$60 billion dedicated to the production of gas reserves the third largest in the world and US$40 billion for infrastructure development.

As the programme unfolded, BNP Paribas stepped up to offer its experience in the field of project finance, solidifying its close relationships with local institutions and major global

43. Olefins also known as alkenes are unsaturated hydrocarbons containing double bonds

44. The South Summit is the supreme decision-making body of the Group of 77 nations (G-77)


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