Doha, May 17 (QNA) - Qatar and South Africa have distinct ties through years of cooperation and common interests.
Qatari-South African relations have grown significantly over recent years and have become more diverse, noticeably in the field of trade.
President Jacob Zuma's visit to Doha in 2012 had its impact in advancing the bilateral relations between the two countries to new prospects by the signing of a number of agreements in various fields, including energy, construction, agriculture and infrastructure development.
The upcoming visit of President Zuma's to Qatar reflects the keenness of the two countries' leaderships on developing partnership relations.
The two countries' relationship also witnessed a growth in various fields through the frequency of visits between officials of the two countries, and through their cooperation in order to serve the interests of the two countries, especially in trade, economic and investment fields as well as in the field of energy and other critical areas.
South Africa and Qatar enjoy good bilateral relations dating back to 1994 after the exclusion of the South African apartheid regime. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have developed rapidly in the form of visits at the highest level in addition to the exchange of ministerial visits in both countries, which contributed to the signing of several cooperation agreements as well as to unify the visions regarding international peace and security issues.
The two countries has consensus political visions regarding the achieving of security and stability in the African Continent, and through South Africa's leading position in the African Union and its organizations, the State of Qatar contributes to the efforts to resolve conflicts in Africa, including the Qatari mediation to resolve the crisis in Darfur. Doha is also hosting many African officials to discuss its mediation and support in resolving conflicts and crises as in Nigeria and Djibouti, as well as its relief and humanitarian role in the continent's countries such as Somalia, Niger, the Comoros and others.
South Africa agrees with Qatar's efforts to reach a peaceful solution in Syria and lift the siege imposed on the Palestinian people out of the national reconciliation experience, founded by the late President Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
South Africa has confirmed its commitment to the success of the State of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and have shown on many occasions its willingness to transfer its experience in the organization of the 2010 World Cup to Qatar.
South Africa was also an important stop on the campaign trail of HE Qatar's candidate to the Post of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, where he visited Pretoria and met with senior officials there.
On the economic level, the two countries keen to remove all obstacles facing the joint and mutual investments, and offer several facilities to attract investors and develop relations between the Qatari and the South Africans businessmen in order to succeed in their investment.
Qatar is the seventh trade partner for South Africa in the Middle East region. The trade exchange between the two countries reach more than 2 billion rand after the trade between the two countries was within a billion rand in 2012. Qatar's imports from South Africa reached $ 41 million last year, while South Africa's imports from Qatar reached to US $ 4.8 billion during 2015.
The South Africa's exports to Qatar include chemicals, base metals for plant products, machinery, medical devices, vehicles, aircrafts, vessels and transport equipment while South African's import from Qatar include mineral products , as well as chemicals, plastics and elastomers.
The total South African investments in Qatar specifically in the energy sector reach about $ 8.9 billion through three major companies in the energy area operating inside the country. At the level of exchanging food products, many fresh fruits and vegetables as well as foodstuffs were exported from South Africa to Qatar.
In December 2015, Qatar Chamber hosted a delegation of businessmen in South Africa, where the meeting discussed trade and economic cooperation relations between the business owners in the two countries and ways of boosting them, especially in the field of agriculture, industry and food security.
The Chamber stressed the readiness to support South African companies to enter the Qatari market and establish genuine partnerships with Qatari business owners for the benefit of the economies of both countries, and encourage the Qatari business owners to explore the available opportunities, especially in the areas of construction, food manufacturing and agricultural investment.
About six thousands of South Africans are living in Doha who work in education and nursing sectors as well as pilots, trained athletes, engineers, and bankers.
South Africa has a population of about 50 million people. The South Africa's economy has doubled in recent years, reaching more than $ 351 billion in 2013. The South African exports was also doubled to reach more than $ 88 billion, mostly to China, America, Japan, Germany and Britain. (QNA)