The Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Nigeria, Dr. Ali Al-Hajri, says his country has stepped up efforts to increase investment in Nigeria with expectations to hit about N500 billion before the year ends.
Al-Hajri said this at the Qatar-Nigeria Economic Forum on Friday in Abuja, saying that the Forum represented the most important economic event between the two countries.
According to him, public and private investors from Qatar are looking forward to finding more opportunities between the two countries to increase the volume of trade, technology transfer, and raise the level of the bilateral relations.
He said that through the Forum, sponsored by Qatar Development Bank, Qataris and Nigerians would find potential opportunities to build bridges of cooperation and partnerships in economic, cultural and trade fields.
“We are expecting that the Qatari Investment in Nigeria would reach by the end of this year more than N500 billion (one billion dollar).
“This forum plays a role in creating a platform for all participants which reflects the wise leadership represented by the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Al Thani, and President Muhammad Buhari to deepen the bilateral relations,” Al-Hajri said.
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 had made significant progress in the area of STI and called for more Qatari investment in the sector.
“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 said.
He also emphasised the need for investment in renewable energy, leather technology, vaccine development, space science technology, manufacturing, capacity building and technology transfer.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Oga, said that Nigeria was an attractive investment destination for global investors including those from Qatar.
Oga said that Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa with GDP 514 billion dollars and 57 per cent economically active population with over 44 minerals in commercial quantities in different locations.
“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 said.
“The government is increasing private sector investment in the mining sector with the aim of industrialising Nigeria,” Oga said.
Mr Ali Alkuwari, Manager, Qatar Development Bank, said that Qatar aimed 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.
“Qatar provides access to finance to its exporters and support service companies in their collaboration with their counterparts in Nigeria,” Alkuwari said.
NAN reports that also present at the event were Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Mayram Katagum; the Ambassador of Nigeria to Qatar, Yakubu Abdullahi among others. NAN