2nd edition, 2015

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Focus on the State of Qatar

Exclusive Interview with H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

image010Fltr: Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani

As we all know, a multi-sectoral Economic Mission to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will take place from 21 until 27 March 2015 under the chairmanship of HRH Princess Astrid, Representative of His Majesty the King. The Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg of Commerce seized the opportunity to conduct an Exclusive interview with H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.

ABLCC: The State of Qatar has the largest gas reserves and is the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, Qatar wants to diversify its economy and is now entering a new phase of diversification with a major project “Qatar Vision 2030”. Could you elaborate on this? Which sectors are to be developed?

H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani: Within the framework of “Qatar Vision 2030” the state of Qatar intends to manage wisely its natural resources in order to ensure the future generations may still be able to take advantage of these resources.

Natural resources have to be converted into financial wealth that is a mean to build efficient delivery mechanisms of public services, create a highly skilled and productive labour force and support the development of entrepreneurship and innovation capacities.

Yet, there are many challenges that have to be taken into consideration. The first one is to give the private sector the possibility of playing an essential role in achieving sustainable development. The second challenge would be to manage a way that leads to prosperity while avoiding economic stresses and imbalances.

The State of Qatar is aware of these difficulties but is convinced that the best way to achieve prosperity and welfare, and to maintain it, is affordable social protection mechanisms along with precautionary and strategic financial reserves.

Now referring to the diversification of economy, the Government of the State of Qatar has made considerable efforts to reduce its reliance on revenue generated from the gas & oil sector.

The State has invested and encouraged private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors such as financial, health, education, sport, and business-related tourism.

During the last few years, some significant developments have been made:

  • The increased funding and remit for the Qatar Development Bank to assist the development of the private sector.
  • The establishment of the Qatar Financial Centre to attract financial services entities to locate in Qatar.
  • The establishment of Qatar Science & Technology Park to generate opportunities for Qatar’s scientists and entrepreneurs.
  • Large investments have been made in education (education City) and health (Sira Medical and Reasearch Centre).
  • The Promotion of Qatar as a high-end tourist destination through investment and infrastructure in addition to hosting major conferences and sports events.
  • The increasing activity of the Qatar Investment Authority which invested in a range of sectors throughout the world.

image011Fltr: Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani, H.E. Marie-Christine Marghem, Federal Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development

ABLCC: What about synergies between Qatar and Belgium? How could these be further enhanced in the future?

H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani: Qatar and Belgium share a high standard of living together with a high range of services. They both enjoy good relations with other countries, play a major role in their regions, and have a diversified economy. All these elements make the two countries very similar and facilitates cooperation with each other.

Bilateral relations between the state of Qatar and Belgium are developing. Indeed, a certain number agreements were signed and mutual visits are organized regularly.

Relations could also be enhanced in new domains like health, new technologies, culture, sports, education, universities, and the like.

The state of Qatar and Belgium could exchange expertise and capacities in these domains as we are doing in politics. The first political consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs were held last February in Doha. This is an example of a successful cooperation where we meet regularly to exchange views about issues of common interest; which gives both sides the possibility to express their views on a given issue and helps having a better communication and understanding.

ABLCC: Your Excellency, bilateral relations between Qatar and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg are of increasing importance. Could you expand on this?

H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani: As you know, an Economic Mission, headed by H.R.H the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and H.R.H the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and led by Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, was organized in Qatar on 04-05 March, 2015.

Approximately 40 representatives of Luxembourg companies took part to this Mission.

The topics discussed focused mainly on the economic situation as well as on bilateral relations between the two countries and more specifically on banking and financial technology.

Following the recent visit to Luxembourg of HE Dr. Hessa Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, the question of cyber security was also addressed.

There will be an exchange of official visits in the coming months and another visit of Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna to Qatar is already planned.

image012Fltr: H.E. Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg Finance Minister, H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani

ABLCC: Belgium is one of the major trade partners of Qatar and bilateral relations between the 2 countries are in constant evolution. What is more, relations between Qatar and Belgium are set to get an additional boost in the coming months as a result of the Belgian Economic Mission at the end of this month. As a last question, could you tell us more about it?

H.E. Sheikh Ali Bin Jasim Al-Thani: The State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Belgium have been enjoying excellent relations since a long time and have always been working on developing and enhancing these relations by Mutual visits.

The Belgian Economic Mission to the State of Qatar, on 21-23 March, will be the biggest Mission ever in terms of Federal and Regional Ministers participating and businessmen and enterprises taking part in it.

The Mission headed by H.R.H Princess Astrid will meet with many high Qatari officials and hold many visits to monuments in Qatar.

This mission will be an occasion for both countries to seize the opportunity to explore new areas of cooperation in trade, economy, and so on.

Besides the cooperation in traditional fields like gas and petroleum, both sides will have the opportunity to explore, within the framework of this Mission, new fields such as clean technology, water treatment, food processing, and health.

What is more, a Mission is also an occasion to bring people together and to enhance mutual understanding. Culture plays a major role in this sense and the State of Qatar gives great importance to arts and culture. This is the reason why during this Belgian mission to Qatar many events will be held such as the visit to the Museum of Islamic Art, Khalifa International Stadium, etc.

Be sure that the State of Qatar and the Embassy are doing their best for this Mission to be a successful event , as we are convinced that it will have positive effects on both sides and at many levels.

We are also sure this Mission will bring bilateral relations to a higher level in all fields.

More information on regulations, procedures and concrete investment opportunities

Visit:

Contact:

  • Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Belgian Embassy in Qatar: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Embassy of Qatar in Belgium: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Economic and Commercial Attaché (AWEX & BIE) – Mr. Mounif Kilani: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Economic and Commercial Attaché (FIT) – Mrs. Charlotte Struye: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interview conducted by: Mrs. Sonia Devergnies, 16 March 2015

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