The State of Qatar is currently working according to 2030 vision which includes very ambitious national projects such as building new cities and big infrastructures.
H.E Yousuf Bin Mohammed Al-Hail joined the service in the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1997 and he is the current Qatari Ambassador to Nepal, a position he has held since 2016. His entire career experience has been within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as a diplomat he has held the position of the Qatari Ambassador in South Africa, Kuwait and the UK.
In an interview with Avant Shrestha, Ambassador Yousuf Bin Mohammed Al-Hail talks about his experience as Ambassador to Nepal as well as aspects of Qatar – Nepal relationship.
How important is the Qatar – Nepal bilateral relationship?
I can say that the bilateral relations are excellent; the two countries are cooperating in the international forums. We have signed several MoU’s and we were honored by a visit of Rt. Hon. Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari the President of the Republic. The Nepali community working in my country enjoys all the deserved appreciation from the leadership and people of the State of Qatar.
For the future, the objective is to increase the bilateral trade especially in the field of agricultural production. During my time as ambassador, Nepali fruit exports started to reach Qatari markets and is highly welcomed by customers. More effort is needed through exhibitions and mutual visits which we have already signed an MoU with Nepal Chamber of Commerce. Agriculture and Food Security will benefit both countries. After the blockade, the State of Qatar is more open for food production and collaboration, and that actually did a great job to achieve self-sufficiency.
How has the pandemic affected the bilateral relationship in regard to the issue of Nepali migrant workers?
Covid-19 is a global pandemic that has affected all businesses in the world. It caused hard effect on all countries due to lockdown policy, which is a necessity to combat the spread of the virus. The State of Qatar is giving all the care and support for the workers to protect them from infection as well as treatment of all infected citizens and expats is being done with the same medical care. Since State of Qatar recorded very low death rate due to corona, the bilateral relations and labour agreement is not affected by the pandemic. There is a joint committee responsible for updating the 2005 agreement.
What are the major challenges that you as an Ambassador have to face during the pandemic?
As I said, it’s a difficult time and I pray that it will end soon. Even during the total lockdown in the Embassy, I continued work with very minimum staff and limited duty hours and continue our communication with Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also one of the challenges is the suspension of international flights and I hope airports will open soon. However, the good thing is that cargo flights continued and as you may know Qatar Airways is among a very few companies that continued to transport people and medical supplies during these hard times.
It is reported that demand for manpower from Qatar will see a drop after infrastructures for the upcoming World Cup 2022 is completed, is that true?
Let me first express my appreciation for the Nepali migrant workers as they are doing very good in all sectors they are engaged in. The State of Qatar is currently working according to 2030 vision which includes very ambitious national projects such as building new cities and big infrastructures. And thus we will continue the cooperation with Nepal in this regard. During the past years, it’s proved clearly that Nepali migrant workers are among the best, honest and reliable people. And I hope to see more Nepali migrants in the skilled sectors also.
The Qatar Football Association signed a five-year collaboration agreement with the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on October 23. The agreement brings QFA and ANFA closer as they look into ways and means to develop the world’s biggest sport. Your thoughts.
Football is very popular in the State of Qatar and also here in Nepal. The agreement indicates the intention of the two Football Associations to work together for the development of the popular sport as you know both of us are under Asia Football Confederation. Nepal’s ANFA can benefit from the service ASPIRE Academy in the State of Qatar in terms of training, team preparation for tournaments and treatment of sports injuries, and experience sharing and friendly matches could have good effect for the common interests.
Are there any opportunities for Qatari investors in Nepal’s hydroelectricity, tourism and infrastructure development?
Hydropower is one of Nepal’s potentials and it is a very promising sector as the country is endowed with unique natural resources. I hope there will be lots of success for the Nepal government plans in this regard as well as tourism and infrastructure. The State of Qatar has expressed intention to cooperate in investments in Nepal as we have achieved good steps in terms of MoUs such as avoiding double taxation, Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture. I hope both countries would sign the protection of investments MoU to pave the way for the Qatari business sector to invest in Nepal.
How has Qatar achieve economic prosperity in such a short period?
The vision of the leadership and unified Qatari people for achieving development is key to our success. The State of Qatar is also open for global skills and experiences and using effective and updated management systems. I can say from experience that development success requires planning, patience and determination.