The chief executive of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund pledged Monday $10 billion to assist the United States' ailing infrastructure, validating a key grievance raised by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign, Reuters reported.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, who heads the sovereign wealth fund known as the Qatar Investment Authority, has offered to allocate $10 billion towards rebuilding the infrastructure in the U.S. Thani, who also chairs the Ooredoo international telecommunications company, told Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin, among others, of the offer but has not mentioned a timetable for the investment.
The sovereign wealth fund of the oil-rich country on the Arabian Peninsula is estimated to amount to $335 billion. Thani announced last September that he would allocate $35 billion to improve "existing relationships and promote new partnerships" in the U.S. and thus shift Qatar’s focus away from Europe.
During his electoral campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised to kick-start an infrastructure improvement program. Infrastructure in the U.S. has received a D+ rating from the Society of Civil Engineers, which found that a majority of categories it studied were in the “poor” range. Those categories included roads, bridges, dams, and schools. The organization estimated the cost of improvements would be approximately $3.6 trillion.
Airports are another category that came in for particular criticism by Trump, including those Los Angeles, New Jersey, and New York. Praising airports he has seen abroad, Trump said during the campaign that those in the U.S. are "Third World."
Coincidently, Trump favors cutting U.S. aid to rebels opposed to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The rebels are also supported by Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states such as Qatar, while Assad is supported by Russia and Iran. Currently, the rebels are locked in a battle for Aleppo -- a key city in Syria -- and have yet to dislodge Syrian troops backed by Russian air assets and Iranian ground forces that may number as many as 140,000. Trump’s policy of energy independence, coupled with the drop in energy prices brough about by the fracking of natural gas and petroleum in the U.S., has had a negative effect on the bottom line for the oil-producing countries of the Middle East.
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