Africa: Qatar Looks Towards Rwanda For New Ally
Rwanda is beginning to play a pivotal role for Qatar’s geopolitical interests in, one of the richest economies looking for strategic allies in the continued rash for interests in Africa.
The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar arrived in Kigali late Sunday to meet President Kagame for bilateral talks.
The two leaders had a Tête-à-Tête and later witnessed signing of four agreements in sectors of culture, sports, tourism and business events and aviation travel and logistics and ending the day with a State Dinner.
The Amir was welcomed by President Paul Kagame at Kigali International Airport.
While in Kigali for the three-day state visit, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will hold talks with President Paul Kagame on areas of mutual interest.
Qatar is determined to open new diplomatic fronts and economic ties after it suffered a blockade by several countries that accused it of supporting ‘terrorism’, maintaining too-close relations with Iran and meddling in internal affairs of their countries.
In May 2017, Qatar was served with surprising news that dozens of Arab countries had severed ties with this gulf state two days after US President Donald Trump met Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and set very tough demands.
Since then Qatar has embarked on an aggressive diplomatic campaign to make new friends and ensure the interests of Qatar are not affected by the economically deadly blockade.
For example in 2017, the Emir visited six West African countries and also South Africa. He has also been to Kenya.
However, close observers and global soft power analysts say that Qatar would not just sit and watch while other powers have made engagements with Africa.
Qatari considers the Emir’s visits connected towards the promising potential of the African continent in the field of natural resources, agricultural and economic potential.
Rwanda which is known to have vast deposits of natural methane gas beneath Lake Kivu, may court the Qataris to invest in the country’s energy sector.
Qatar’s oil and natural gas resources are the country’s main economic engine and government revenue source, driving Qatar’s high economic growth. For example Qatar hosts excess 25 trillion cubic meters representing 13% of global natural gas reserves.
President Kagame may want to learn from the Qatar Emir how he has made it possible to make significant gains in strengthening non-oil sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, and financial services, leading non-oil GDP to steadily rise in recent years.
Rwanda which seeks to vastly scale up its recreation and sports sector may also want to peep into how Qatar has managed to mobilize for hosting the world cup 2022.
The Emir of the State of Qatar is the monarch and head of state of Qatar, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Qatar Armed Forces and guarantor of the Constitution. It is the most powerful position in the country, and has a prominent role in foreign relations.