Qatar and South Africa have distinct ties through years of co-operation and common interests.
Qatari-South African relations have grown significantly over recent years and have become more diverse, noticeably in trade.
President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Doha in 2012 had its impact in advancing bilateral relations to new prospects with the signing of a number of agreements in various fields covering energy, construction, agriculture and infrastructure development.
The two-day visit of President Zuma to Qatar, starting today, reflects the keenness of the two countries’ leaderships on developing their relations further.
South Africa and Qatar enjoy good bilateral relations dating back to 1994 after the exclusion of the South African apartheid regime.
Diplomatic relations have developed rapidly in the form of visits at the highest level, which contributed to the signing of several co-operation agreements as well as to unify the visions regarding international peace and security issues.
The two countries enjoy common political visions regarding the achieving of security and stability in the African continent.
And through South Africa’s leading position in the African Union and its organisations, Qatar contributes to the efforts to resolve conflicts in Africa, including the Qatari mediation to resolve the crisis in Darfur.
Doha regularly hosts many African officials to discuss its mediation and support in resolving conflicts and crises as in Nigeria and Djibouti as well as its relief and humanitarian role in the continent’s countries such as Somalia, Niger, the Comoros and others.
South Africa agrees with Qatar’s efforts to reach a peaceful solution in Syria and lift the siege imposed on the Palestinian people out of the national reconciliation experience, founded by the late president Nelson Mandela.
South Africa has confirmed its commitment to Qatar’s success to host the 2022 World Cup and has shown on many occasions its willingness to transfer its experience in the organisation of the prestigious tournament to Doha.
South Africa was an important stop on the campaign trail of Qatar’s candidate to the post of the director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari.
On the economic level, the two countries are keen to remove all obstacles facing joint and mutual investments.
Qatar is the seventh largest trade partner for South Africa in the Middle East region.
The trade exchange between the two countries have touched more than 2bn rand from 1bn in 2012.
Qatar’s imports from South Africa were valued at $41mn last year while South Africa’s imports from Qatar touched at $4.8bn during 2015.
South Africa’s exports to Qatar include chemicals, base metals for plant products, machinery, medical devices, vehicles, vessels and transport equipment while South African’s import from Qatar include mineral products, chemicals, plastics and elastomers.
The total South African investments in Qatar, specifically in the energy sector, reach about $ 8.9bn through three major companies in the energy area operating in the country.
Qatar imports fresh fruits and vegetables from South Africa.
In December 2015, the Qatar Chamber hosted a delegation of businessmen in South Africa. The chamber stressed its readiness to support partnerships between the business and investment sectors of both countries.
About 6,000 South Africans expatriates work in various sectors in Qatar.
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