By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
Investments in research and development (R&D) and other government initiatives have helped raise public awareness on the importance of renewable energy and sustainable development, Belgian ambassador Christophe Payot has said.
The ambassador said sustainable development is among the top priorities on the agendas of both the public and private sectors in Qatar hence, “the sizeable investments and efforts to find new technologies to diversify the economy further.”
“I think sustainable development and ‘green’ technology are key elements towards this goal, and the government and Qatari business community have understood that. Aside from finding new technologies to conserve natural resources, they are also interested in trying to find ways to make the best use of clean energy and R&D,” Payot told Gulf Times.
Belgium is a forerunner in “clean tech,” according to Payot, who said the country will support Qatar in fulfilling sustainable development goals under the Qatar National Vision 2030.
“There is an important evolution and awareness within the society about the importance of finding solutions that are sustainable. Belgium supports this because we have a lot of experience in technologies like ‘clean tech’ and recycling, and we are ready to share that with Qatar.
“There is no need to reinvent the wheel because we have a long experience in this field, which is why our companies in Qatar are very active in that sector,” noted Payot, who stressed that the country saw an increase in Belgian companies specialising in water and waste management.
Payot said the trade mission led by Belgium’s Princess Astrid during the Qatari-Belgium Economic Forum 2015, which saw a string of contracts signed between the two sides, has encouraged more Belgian companies to open offices in Qatar.
“We are convinced that the economic mission had also played a role to boost our trade relations. Because of the trade mission and the contacts established between the Belgian business community and their counterparts here, some companies have increased their activities here. We have different types of companies in Qatar so our economic ties have definitely strengthened,” he said.
Payot said while 35% of Belgium’s exports to Qatar comprise of machineries, pharmaceuticals, and transport materials, the country wants to export “more know-how in ‘clean tech.’”
“We want to export more ‘clean tech’ in the fields of water and waste management where we have a lot of active companies. In the last few months, we have seen increased activity in this sector in terms of sustainable development and recycling. We don’t necessarily have the products but we have the know-how and the technology to share with Qatar,” he said.
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