The State of Qatar has forecasted its level of investment in Nigeria to hit about N500 billion before the end of the year with current renewed efforts at strengthened bilateral relations.
The Ambassador of the country to Nigeria, Dr. Ali Ghanem Al-Hajri, gave this projection in his address during the Qatar-Nigeria Economic Forum, held in Abuja on Friday.
The envoy while noting that the Forum represents the most important economic event between the two countries, said:
“The Qataris from public and private investors are looking forward in their deliberations to find more opportunities between the two countries to increase the volume of trade, technology transfer, and raise the level of the bilateral relations.
“We are expecting that the Qatari Investment in Nigeria would reach by the end of this year more than (500) Billion Naira (one Billion Dollar).”
He said through the Forum, which is sponsored by Qatar Development Bank, Qataris and Nigerians will find potential opportunities to build bridges of cooperation and partnerships in economic, cultural and trade fields.
He added that: “This forum plays a role in creating a platform for all participants which reflects the wise leadership represented by “His Highness Sheikh / Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and His Excellency President / Muhammad Buhari, to deepen the bilateral relations.“
The Forum followed the match-making event that held in Lagos between March 2 and 3 that brought together Nigerian and Qatari manufacturers to deepen collaboration.
Minister of State, Science Technology and Innovation (STI), Mohammed Abdullahi, who spoke on “Available opportunities to collaborate in the Science and Technology Sector,” said Qatar has made significant progress in the area of STI and called for more Qatari investment in the sector.
He said: “We should have more collaboration in science and technological development, R&D, post service agro-allied processing of food, medicals, pharmaceuticals, Nano technology, methanol industry in Nigeria and machinery for mining agriculture.”
He also emphasized the need for investment in renewable energy, leather technology, vaccine development, space science technology, manufacturing, capacity building and technology transfer.
Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Oga, said Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa with GDP 514 Billion dollars and 57% economically active population. He added that with over 44 minerals in commercial quantities in different locations, “Nigeria is an attractive investment destination for global investors including delegates from Qatar.
“We have open doors for more entrants into the Nigerian economy and we welcome Qatar investment as a sure way for the diversification of the Nigerian economy to create jobs for millions.”
He added that the government is increasing private sector investment in the mining sector with the aim of industrializing Nigeria.
Manager of the Qatar Development Bank, Ali Sultan Alkuwari, who focused his remarks on the “available opportunities for economic cooperation,” noted that Qatar aims to build a diverse economy by enhancing and improving products and services that are competitive in the global market.
“Our objective is to promote export development, export promotion and match making events like the one which recently happened in Lagos,” he said adding that Qatar provides access to finance to its exporters and support service companies in their collaboration with their counterparts in Nigeria.
Other dignitaries that graced the event include; Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Mayram Katagum; the Ambassador of Nigeria to Qatar, Yakubu Abdullahi.