Doha, June 18 (QNA) - In the framework of the evolving relations between Doha and Freetown, HE President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio commenced an official visit to the state of Qatar and it is anticipated that the visit would contribute to supporting and solidifying the bilateral relations in numerous fields, including economic and investment sectors for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.
HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is expected to meet HE President of Sierra Leone in the Amiri Diwan to further discuss strengthening of bilateral relations and ways of boosting cooperation aspects between the two countries, in addition to discussing a range of issues of mutual concern.
The visit is of particular importance in view of the distinctive role undertaken by the state of Qatar at the regional level which has succeeded during the past years in extending cooperation and coordination bridges, in addition to partnering with many African countries, including development, humanitarian and relief role which underscores the policies of the state of Qatar, including its various agencies and institutions within the African continent, especially during calamities, disasters and crises times.
Qatar-Sierra Leone relations have evolved and grown based on mutual respect and exchange of joint interests between the two peoples and countries, as the consecutive and the exchanged visits between the two countries have significantly contributed to strengthening these relations and opening new prospects for cooperation and coordination between the two countries.
In April 2018, HE President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio carried out the first visit to the state of Qatar since his inauguration in that year. HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and HE Julius Maada Bio held official discussions in the Amiri Diwan, where HH The Amir affirmed that the visit would push bilateral relations and mutual cooperation between the two countries into better prospects.
For his part, HE President of Sierra Leone indicated that his visit, which has been the first one to the region since his inauguration as president, underscores the robust relations and cooperation between the two countries. During the talk session, they discussed bilateral relations and prospects of promoting the cooperation between the two countries, particularly in agriculture, education, tourism and infrastructure spheres, in addition to boosting investment opportunities. The discussions also addressed the major issues at the regional and international arenas.
HE Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma also visited Doha in February 2018, HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and HE Ernest Bai Koroma held official discussions in the Amiri Diwan on the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries and ways of strengthening and promoting these relations in various areas, especially in economy, trade, agriculture and tourism spheres, in addition to discussing a wide range of regional and international issues of common concern.
During the visit, a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries were signed, including agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments, economic, commercial and technical cooperation agreement, air services agreement between the governments of the two countries, memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of culture, memorandum of understanding to hold political consultations between the foreign ministries of both countries on issues of common concern, as well as memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the areas of youth and sports.
Within the framework of the official visits between the two countries, HE Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma also visited Doha to participate in Fourth Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in December 2011. Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) also carried out a field visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone in August 2019 to further discuss ways of cooperation to initiate and develop development interventions strategies in Sierra Leone.
QFFD had signed seven agreements last March to support education sector in a number of least developed countries, including Sierra Leone for the sake of offering good education opportunities for out of school children (OOSC) and enroll them in regular schools via the global program of the Education Above All Foundation (Educate A child).
During his first visit to the state of Qatar in April 2018, HE President Julius Maada Bio urged Qatari businessmen to invest in his country and utilize the promising opportunities available, particularly in energy, tourism, agriculture, natural resources and banking spheres. During his meeting with a number of Qatari businessmen in Qatar Chamber, HE President Julius Maada Bio underscored that there are multiple sectors that attract investment in his country with a long coastline and green areas through which Qatari investors can cooperate to establish hotels, facilities and tourism utilities, in addition to the country's natural resources, including gold and diamonds, and other resources that can be extracted and manufactured via cooperation with the Qatari businessmen.
The state of Qatar represents a strategy of openness for the African continent with its friendly and sisterly countries. Furthermore, the most prominent indicators of this orientation were the trips made by HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to a number of the African countries during December 2017, April 2017 and April 2019 which had yielded numerous agreements and memoranda of understanding between the state of Qatar and the countries included in His Highness's trips that would evidently promote political, economic, trade and investment relations with those countries.
This orientation is primarily included in the framework of Qatari wide diplomatic activity in various world countries and continents and is an apparent indication of the increasing official and popular Qatari interest in the African continent which constitutes the strategic depth and natural extension of the Arab world, global gateway and hub, promising arena for building strategic, economic, trade and investment partnerships thanks to the potentialities of the countries of the continent, including raw materials and agriculture, especially with regard to food security.
Sierra Leone is located in west Africa on the Atlantic coast, with a total area of 71,740 square kilometers, and an estimated population of eight million. The country's economy is based on mining, especially diamonds, and the country is among the top ten diamond-producing countries, and has Sierra Rutile the largest natural rutile deposit in the world. (QNA)