Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund plans to shift into greener assets, according to Chief Executive Officer Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud.
“We’re not going to invest more in the coal business,” he said Wednesday in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos, Switzerland.
The $328 billion Qatar Investment Authority also doesn’t plan to significantly expand its holdings in oil and gas.
“We have some investment in oil and gas companies; this is a fact, and this is a sector that you cannot ignore,” Mansoor Al Mahmoud said. Still, given that Qatar relies heavily on income from natural gas, the fund needs to diversify beyond the energy sector, he said.
“So I don’t see that this part of the portfolio will expand that much,” he said.
Sustainability and climate change are a major theme at this year’s annual World Economic Forum, which has been held in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos since the 1970s. The event attracts the world’s most important lawmakers and wealthiest people and this year at least 119 billionaires are converging to join bankers, politicians and other grandees for the pilgrimage.
QIA focuses on opportunities outside Qatar in an attempt to diversify the country’s wealth beyond its vast natural-gas reserves, which its proponents say is a cleaner energy source than coal.
Al Mahmoud said the QIA will keep the climate fight squarely in view as it increases its investment in infrastructure, which is already an “important component of our portfolio.” He said 44% of the fund’s infrastructure projects are zero-emission investments.
The QIA chief also said he’s “very optimistic” about prospects for the global economy in 2020, particularly after the U.S. and China reached an agreement on the first phase of trade negotiations. Concern over trade prospects between the world’s largest economies “is one of the events that we are ranking number one in terms of risk management,” he said.
Governments will have to use fiscal policy rather than relying on monetary easing to keep the global economy humming, Al Mahmoud said.
“Central banks have reached their bottom and they don’t have any leverage” to stimulate the economy, he said.