Qatar, Vietnam set up US$1b fund, eye agriculture, paper

Intellasia | Reuters | 04-Sep-2008

Natural gas exporter Qatar and Vietnam have set up a US$1 billion fund to invest in sectors including agriculture, a Qatar-based newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority will provide 90% of the fund's equity, Gulf Times reported, citing Phung The Long, Vietnam's Ambassador to Doha.

"We have exchange ideas about setting up an animal farm for breeding cattle and lambs," The Long said.

"We like to have cooperation in this field. Qatar can provide the finance to grow food grains in our land and these can be exported to Qatar."

Gulf government funds, with windfall income from oil and gas exports, have set up several joint funds, some designed to improve access to food supplies.

The desert states in the world's top oil-exporting region rely on imports of food --a factor that has stoked inflation to multi-decade highs this year as global commodity prices soared.

Last month, the QIA set up a US$1 billion fund with Indonesia to invest in energy and infrastructure, and possibly agriculture. Saudi Arabia's BinLadin Group plans to invest at least US$4.3 billion in Indonesia's agriculture, an Indonesian official said in August.

Kuwait also said last month it was talking with Asian countries including Cambodia, Laos and Burma about securing food supplies and investing in agriculture.

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