The seventh edition of ‘Premios Amigos de España’ (Friends of Spain Awards) was recently organised with enthusiasm at W Doha hotel.
The award celebrates the promotion of the relations between Spain and Qatar. It gives a special recognition to those companies and individuals who have shown great friendship towards Spain over the years and made great efforts to bring both nations closer.
Organised by the Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Qatar, the recipients of the 2019 awards are HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, as individual awardee, and Agrico represented by Ahmed Hussain al-Khalaf, Chairman and Owner of Agrico in corporate category.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani was reognised for his business acumen as chairman of Qatari Businessmen Association, chairman of Al Faisal Holding, founder of Al Faisal Foundation, chairman of Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani centre for Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and founder and chairman of Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani Museum.
José Vicente, chairman of the chamber of commerce, in his welcome address congratulated the award recipients and highlighted their achievements. He said: “In February this year, we were officially recognised as a chamber of commerce. The purpose of the award is to recognise the business achievements, future growth and having special connection with our country Spain. It is important to give recognition to those companies and individuals who show great friendship towards Spain and make great efforts to bring two nations closer.”
He added: “The success story of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani as a businessman reflects the story of Qatar. Agrico has helped a lot to achieve food security in Qatar. Since its beginning, the company has ties with Spain.”
Speaking on the occasion Belen Alfaro, Ambassador of Spain to Qatar, said: “It is a great pleasure for me to be here for two reasons. First, because it is the first year that the awards take place as an official Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Qatar, having replaced the Spanish Business Council. Second and foremost, this year’s awards have been bestowed upon two relevant members of the Qatari community, who have a very old and strong connection with Spain.”
She added: “From the economic and commercial perspective, the relations between Qatar and Spain are increasingly growing, with the intense activities of more than 170 companies present in Qatar, from the infrastructure to the services sector. Spain is also an attractive destination for investments, since it is the perfect gateway to Europe, the Mediterranean and Latin-America. Spain is world leader in areas such as renewable energy, fashion retail, plasma production, marine medicine, thermoelectric energy, production of desalinated water, hospital building and transplant surgery.
“The bilateral trade between Qatar and Spain grew by 5% in 2018, up to 1.2 billion euros and during the first 8 months of 2019 bilateral trade rose by 21% driven by the increasing demand of Qatari products from Spain.”
The ambassador highlighted and appreciated the achievements and contributions made by Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani as businessman and Agrico as a Qatari agricultural development company.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani thanked the ambassador and the chamber of commerce for the invitation and the award. “I started business when I was very young. In 1966, I opened my office in Beirut. My father used to like Spain very much and used to go there very often.
“I have very strong relationship with Spanish parties I do business with throughout year. I once again thank the ambassador and everyone for this opportunity.”
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