Emir’s West Africa tour a qualitative leap in bilateral ties
His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s recent six-nation West African tour has been a resounding success.
The tour has firmly established Qatar’s strategic partnership with the region, based on promoting common interests, and further strengthened its role in the humanitarian and development sectors in Africa.
The Emir visited Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Ghana from December 20 to 24, emphasising the strategic importance of the Qatari-African relations.
Since the imposition of the unjust siege on June 5 on Qatar by the Saudi-led quartet, the Emir has visited four continents – Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
Prior to his latest West African tour, the Emir visited Turkey, Germany and France, New York, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia at the invitation of their leaders.
The latest tour – and those the Emir undertook following the imposition of the siege – confirm that Qatar has overcome the blockade and has further strengthened its relations with America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The Emir’s tours also send a clear message to the countries that have imposed the unjust siege – that their attempts to isolate Qatar internationally have failed miserably.
It is worth mentioning that the African Union, of which the current chairperson is Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, has reaffirmed its support for Kuwaiti mediation efforts to resolve the Gulf Crisis through dialogue.
In Ivory Coast the Emir was presented with the country’s highest honour – the “National Medal of Merit” – by its President Alassane Ouattara.
The outcome of the Emir’s tour to the six West African nations has underlined the political and economic success of Qatar and its ability to create strategic relations with various countries in order to open new markets and diversify investments.
The tour also represents a qualitative leap in bilateral relations with these six countries. The Emir witnessed the signing of 21 agreements and memoranda of understanding with them.
The comprehensive and diverse nature of the agreements signed – they covered sectors such as health, education, investment and trade, economy, youth, sports, civil aviation, maritime transport, culture and development – is indicative of their significance.
On the economic level, Africa has huge deposits of natural wealth and a wide market for many products, and the agreements and MoUs signed during the tour will enhance co-operation between the business sectors of Qatar and these countries.
In Burkina Faso, a senior Qatar Chamber official said that a meeting between the countries’ president and Qatari businessmen encouraged business owners in the two countries to strengthen economic and trade relations. He also expressed hope that the talks would help advance trade exchanges in the coming period.
The tour also highlights Qatari contribution to the establishment of welfare projects and its support for development of these countries, especially as the African continent needs more attention to education and infrastructure development sectors.
Emphasising this, in Mali, the Emir and the Malian president witnessed the signing of a memorandum supporting education ties between Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and the Malian government.
According to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lulwa al-Khater, Qatar has previously funded projects and provided material support to West African countries through the QFFD, including projects in Mali totalling QR129mn.
Organisations such as Qatar Charity and Qatar Red Crescent Society have implemented a number of welfare projects. These include projects pertaining to healthcare, education, water and sanitation, as well as special projects carried out during Ramadan and construction of mosques.