Ambassador of Qatar to Ethiopia, Hamad bin Mohamed al-Dosari, has underlined that the official visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali to Doha comes within the framework of promoting and strengthening the bilateral relations and co-operation between Qatar and Ethiopia.
In statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), ambassador al-Dosari said that the talks covered key issues of mutual concern, mainly with regard to co-operation and co-ordination to achieve stability and ensure peace and security in the Horn of Africa, as well as combating terrorism in all its manifestations.
The ambassador noted that this is the first visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed after taking office, and said that the reform efforts made by him in the political and economic fields have enhanced the positive perspective of the international community on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa in general.
He highlighted the keenness of the Ethiopian prime minister on building strong relations with the friendly countries, including co-operation in the political and economic fields, which is consistent with the vision of Qatar, especially in view of the movement and serious political volatility of the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
The ambassador added that Ethiopia caries political and economic weight in the Horn of Africa as it is one of the most prominent countries allied to international decision-makers, and plays a pivotal political and security role in the region, especially after the Ethiopian prime minister pursued a policy of openness and stability and regional integration.
He noted that the Ethiopian government’s focus on attracting foreign investments and promoting the role of the private sector open up new horizons of co-operation between the two countries, given that Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and the world and has a diplomatic movement through which it seeks to promote regional integration in all areas.
There is no doubt that this visit will elevate the Qatari-Ethiopian relations to the highest levels, he said.
The ambassador said that the Qatari investments in Ethiopia are increasing, most of which are joint ventures with local and international businessmen and are active in the industrial, agricultural and engineering sector.
In 2016, the bilateral trade reached about $4.73mn.
Qatar’s exports to Ethiopia reached QR3.99mn while imports reached QR730,000, mostly in agricultural products.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian imports from Qatar increased by 5.76% in 2017 to $4.23mn.
Ambassador al-Dosari noted that there are mutual visits between Qatari and Ethiopian companies.
During the past year, a delegation of 16 Qatari companies visited Addis Ababa and held meetings with their Ethiopian counterparts to discuss trade opportunities and ways of enhancing the relations.
A second visit is expected to take place during the coming period.
He highlighted the co-operation between Qatar Chamber and Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce to promote the role of the private sector in both countries, noting that a delegation from Qatar Chamber will visit Ethiopia soon to explore investment opportunities and co-operation between the two countries.
He praised the recent visit of HE Director of the Local Portfolios at Qatar Investment Authority Sheikh Faisal bin Thani al-Thani to Ethiopia where he held meetings with Ethiopian officials to discuss the opportunities of establishing investment and development projects in Addis Ababa.
Ambassador al-Dosari said that the political and diplomatic relations between the two countries have witnessed a remarkable development since the visit of His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to Ethiopia in April 2013, which marked the beginning of a new era of distinguished relations between the two countries, and resulted in the signing of a number of co-operation agreements and memorandums of understanding in various fields.
He underlined that the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Addis Ababa in April 2017 consolidated these distinct relations and resulted in the two governments’ agreement on building a strong relationship based on mutual respect and co-operation and the promotion of the development process in the two friendly countries.
Moreover, the visit of former Ethiopian prime minister to Doha in November 2017 also contributed to developing the bilateral relations and included the signing of three agreements: the defence co-operation agreement between the Ethiopian and Qatari ministries of defence, an agreement on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and private passports, and the mutual promotion and protection of investments agreement, the ambassador added.
Meanwhile, the establishment of the joint technical committee between Qatar and Ethiopia contributes to the consolidation of bilateral relations.
The first session of the committee was held in Doha in October 2014 to review and evaluate the agreements signed between the two countries and exchange views on co-operation opportunities in the sectors of agriculture, culture, tourism, mining and energy.
The second session was held in Addis Ababa in February 2016, he noted.
Ambassador al-Dosari underlined the growing relations between the two countries at the political and economic levels, thanks to the common visions in many areas, in addition to the political openness between the two countries, the exchange of visits between officials and the adoption of a road map through which programmes and joint projects are implemented on the ground.
He noted that the bilateral relations between Qatar and Ethiopia are based on the political and economic awareness and understanding of the common interests, which ensures a promising future that will bring many positive factors, create a balance in the equation of regional interests, and take advantage of the Qatari economic potential by exploiting the promising investment opportunities in Ethiopia.
Qatar’s ambassador reiterated that Addis Ababa offers an investment climate favourable to Qatari businessmen in terms of cheap labour, pristine farmland and industrial parks.
Its location gives it a strategic dimension and a starting point in the Horn of Africa because of its proximity to the Middle East and its markets, and the government’s focus on direct foreign investment through tax incentives granted to investments in priority sectors along with tax exemptions on the import of raw materials as well as on exports, as well as land grants for the establishment of factories under the lease system for decades against nominal prices and reducing bureaucracy in paper transactions and much more.
The ambassador said that the economic reforms initiated by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed are expected to increase the flow of foreign direct investment.
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