The London mayor Boris Johnson is on a trade mission in the region to lure Arabian Gulf investment into the British capital. Miguel Medina / AFP
The London mayor Boris Johnson is on a trade mission in the region to lure Arabian Gulf investment into the British capital. Miguel Medina / AFP

London mayor in Abu Dhabi to bang the drum for trade ties

The London mayor Boris Johnson met business leaders in Abu Dhabi yesterday as part of a mission to lure Arabian Gulf investment into the British capital.

The next stop will be Dubai, where the politician, who is known for his love of cycling and a good media opportunity, intends to combine both with a bike ride in the city.

"The Gulf's economy continues to grow fast and we cannot be complacent in what is now a fiercely competitive global economy, the mayor said in a statement. "I will be promoting the huge opportunities for inward investment into London, championing the mammoth potential for future trade and seeking to share expertise in areas of mutual interest."

The trade mission will include a trip to Qatar, already a major investor in a string of trophy buildings and property developments throughout the city.

In the UAE, the mayor is meeting officials including Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chairman of DP World, and Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar.

Both Masdar and DP World have billions of dollars tied up in London projects.

Mr Johnson's arrival in the UAE comes the week after the London Array offshore wind farm reached full capacity.

Abu Dhabi's Masdar has a 20 per cent stake in the project, which is expected to produce enough green electricity to power nearly half a million homes a year.

DP World, the Dubai-based global ports operator, is also developing the London Gateway deep sea port.

The mayor will break off from his trip to attend Baroness Thatcher's funeral tomorrow, before returning to the Gulf on Thursday to meet up with his business delegation and complete the Qatari leg of the trip.

Mr Johnson has served as mayor of London since 2008 and is a former journalist, coming to prominence as the editor of The Spectator in 1999.

He has been the subject of persistent rumours about his political aspirations and was most recently asked in a BBC documentary about his prime ministerial ambitions.

"I think it's a very tough job being prime minister," the mayor said. "Obviously, if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum - which it won't - of course it would be a great, great thing to have a crack at. But it's not going to happen."

Gulf states collectively represent the UK's seventh-largest export market and both the UAE and Qatar are becoming increasingly important sources of funding for infrastructure developments in the British capital.

"He's a great example of the British brand," said Jonathon Davidson, the chairman of the British Business Group. "He's been received very well and has had audiences with senior government stakeholders."

There has been a significant increase in UAE business arrivals over the past eight to 10 months according to Mr Davidson.

"Many use the UAE as a springboard to other countries such as Iraq, Kurdistan and Afghanistan."

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Most polluted cities in the Middle East

1. Baghdad, Iraq
2. Manama, Bahrain
3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
4. Kuwait City, Kuwait
5. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
6. Ash Shihaniyah, Qatar
7. Abu Dhabi, UAE
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10. Dubai, UAE

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report


1. Chad
2. Iraq
3. Pakistan
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Burkina Faso
7. Kuwait
8. India
9. Egypt
10. Tajikistan

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report