South Africa and Qatar elevate bilateral relations
20 May 2016
President Jacob Zuma is back in the country after a successful state visit to the State of Qatar, the Presidency said on Friday.
The state visit to the oil rich gulf state saw the two sides signing several agreements and commitments in the field of defence, police as well as arts culture and heritage.
The agreements will enhance and elevate bilateral relations between the two countries to a strategic level.
Photo: South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane meeting with Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, before the commencement of the State Visit of President Jacob Zuma to Doha, Qatar.
The President met with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani where they held bilateral talks on trade and economic relations between the two countries.
He also paid a courtesy call on Father Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
SA-Qatari Business Forum
President Zuma also addressed the South Africa-Qatari Business Forum roundtable, which further promoted Business-to Business cooperation, aimed at diversifying the economies of the two nations.
President Zuma indicated that there was growing excitement on both sides to grow the economy and to undertake joint projects, which would contribute to job creation, industrialisation and development.
In this regard, South Africa and Qatar agreed to establish a Joint Investment Committee to oversee the implementation of agreements, in addition to the structured Bilateral Consultations.
It was also agreed that a Qatari business delegation would visit South Africa soon.
"The Middle East region is one of the most important regions in many respects. Firstly, the region has experience in conflict resolution and secondly, in developing its economies by utilising its natural resources such as oil," said President Zuma.
President Zuma indicated that this was his fourth visit to the region this year as the Middle East region is regarded as an important investment partner for South Africa.
In three months, President Zuma has visited Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, and now Qatar.
Qatar also views South Africa as a strategic partner on the African Continent and as a preferred investment destination and gateway to the region.
The two sides also discussed the potential for cooperation in the Ocean Economy, including in shipbuilding since both countries qualify as maritime nations.
“Cooperation in the areas of agriculture, energy, construction and infrastructure development are also envisaged,” the Presidency said.
President Zuma said there is a large South African expatriate community in Qatar working in various sectors, as well as a number of South Africa companies operating in Qatar, mainly in the Petrochemical-related sector.
"This is indicative that South Africa's relations with the State of Qatar have grown significantly over the recent years and have become more diverse, notably in the field of trade, " said the President.
Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup
During discussions, the Qatari side discussed its preparations for the hosting of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
They invited South Africa's expertise and capacity in participating in this legacy project.
The visit also presented an opportunity for the two leaders to exchange views on the recent developments in the Middle East, including the Middle East Peace Process and the Palestine question. South Africa and Qatar agreed to cooperate on aspects related to peace, security and stability.
President Zuma stated that the Middle East has a meaningful role to play in finding lasting peace to the various conflicts in the region as development can only be achieved when there is security and stability.
President Zuma was accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa. - SAnews.gov.za