His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani paid a state visit to Nigeria yesterday on the second leg of his tour of the African continent which included a visit to Rwanda.
The Amir held talks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and senior officials on the bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them in various fields, in addition to a number of issues of common concern.
The Amir’s tour of the African continent enhances the leadership’s directions to build stronger relations and partnerships with the various countries and people of the continent and to gain exposure to its economic, agricultural and mineral potentials and areas of co-operation and investment, as well as means of political co-ordination between the two sides on international and regional issues of common concern.
The Qatari-Nigerian relations are developing on the basis of strong ties between the two countries for years, which have resulted in rapid development in many political, economic, commercial, cultural and investment fields. Over the past years, these relations have grown with common desire and keenness to expand and develop them in various fields.
The two countries adopt common positions on various Arab, African, international and humanitarian issues. They also belong to human communities, geographical areas that are co-operative and convergent politically, socially, historically and culturally.
The two countries also have memberships in many international organisations and are characterised by their production of energy, oil and natural gas. It is therefore important to co-ordinate positions and strengthen ties between Doha and Abuja in order to serve their common aspirations and interests in all fields.
In the framework of the exchange of visits between the two countries, President Muhammadu Buhari paid an official visit to Qatar in February 2016. During the visit, the Amir and President Buhari held a session of official talks on bilateral relations and ways of supporting and developing them, in addition to regional and international issues of common concern, especially the latest developments in the region. The Amir and the Nigerian president also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the governments of the two countries on the avoidance of double taxation, the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and an agreement in the field of air transport.
Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry also met during the visit with a trade delegation from Nigeria headed by President Buhari, and discussed the development of economic relations between the two countries, especially as there are many Qatari institutions and companies operating in the Nigerian market.
Qatari businessmen are looking to know about the good investment opportunities available in Nigeria to build stronger and deeper economic relations between the two countries, and increase the volume of economic co-operation between them. Nigeria’s air transport market is among the largest travel markets in sub-Saharan Africa. In this regard, co-operation between the two countries will enhance Qatar Airways’ flights to Nigeria. Qatar Airways has been ranked among the top 10 companies active in the Nigerian travel market by transferring more than 170,000 passengers from Nigeria in 2017.
Nigeria is located at a crossroads in the western part of the African continent. It has borders with Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, Niger in the north and the Gulf of Guinea in the south. Lagos was the capital of Nigeria until 1991 when the capital was moved to Abuja. Nigeria is the largest country in Africa in terms of population of up to 193 million people, with an area of more than 923,000 sq km.
It is the United States’ largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, where it imports eight percent of its oil imports, which account for half of Nigeria’s oil production.
Although Nigeria is the first economy in Africa, it has not yet eliminated its full dependence on oil. It is one of the most important African countries that produce oil, and ranks eighth in the list of the most important oil exporters in the world. It has oil reserves between 27 and 31.5bn barrels, while the reserves of natural gas reach to 4.5 trillion cubic feet. In addition to oil, Nigeria exports 7.83bn cubic feet per day of natural gas to the world in the form of liquefied gas.
Nigeria also exports cocoa, bauxite, aluminium, tobacco, rubber, bananas and peanuts, while imports cereals such as wheat and rice, automobiles, petroleum products and machinery.
Nigeria is betting on wide partnerships with its surroundings and around the world in order to overcome the economic difficulties. It has established the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) alliance and its capital Abuja is the headquarters of the economic organisation concerned with developing the economy in the West African region.
The Nigerian economy has been growing rapidly since 2010 thanks to continued expansion in the industrial and service sectors. According to economic reports, the country’s real GDP rose to 6.54% in the first quarter of 2014. In the future, it is expected to continue growing at rates ranging from 6% to 7%, making it one of the fastest growing economies on the African continent.
There are many non-independent resources in Nigeria, as it has great agricultural potential thanks to the vastness of its lands, its geographical nature and the nature of its climate. It also has a fish wealth, along with non-independent mineral wealth, such as tin, iron, lead and zinc
The tourism sector in Nigeria provides many promising investment opportunities, especially as it is characterised by a wide variety of tourist attractions such as wide beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and rivers suitable for swimming and sports. It is famous for the richness of the wildlife, where there are vast areas of pristine nature that range from tropical forests to magnificent waterfalls.
Nigeria is the continent’s largest foreign investment destination. Advancement of the economy to a broader perspective is the most important aspiration of President Buhari, who won a new term in February.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani being received by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja yesterday.
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