The Qatari ambassador to Việt Nam Mohamed bin Ismail Al Emadi writes for Việt Nam News on the National Day of Qatar.
Qatar’s National Day is celebrated on December 18, on which Qatari people commemorate the founding of modern State of Qatar in 1878 by the late Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani.
This year’s Qatar National Day comes in extraordinary circumstances. As with the rest of the world, State of Qatar has had its share of struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak. Indeed, the country was impacted by dual shocks with a decline in economic activities across various sectors and the immense shock of lower energy prices.
However Qatar’s government adopted a COVID-19 National Response Plan. The plan set out actions required to ensure that the health, wellbeing, and prosperity of Qatar’s people were well protected.
So far, 85 per cent of Qatar’s total population is fully vaccinated. Besides that, authorities began the fourth and last phase of gradual lifting of precautionary restrictions on October 3, as part of a four-stage plan to lift its COVID-19 preventive measures.
On October 1 the State of Qatar held its first-ever legislative elections to elect members of the Shura Council (Parliament).
The Shura Council elections come as part of Qatari leadership’s efforts to promote democracy through participation of citizens in the political process.
By establishing an elected legislative body along with the executive and judicial bodies, the State of Qatar has completed establishment of all institutions as stipulated in its constitution.
The State of Qatar has played a vital role in the Afghan crisis. Thanks to its close ties with the United States and the Taliban alike, Qatar encouraged both sides to reach an agreement that guaranteed withdrawal of US and allied troops from Afghanistan. Also, Qatar and the US signed an agreement under which Qatar as a “protecting power” will represent American interests in Afghanistan, including, providing certain consular services and monitoring the condition and security of US diplomatic facilities in the country.
The year 2021 will be a year of recovery for Qatar’s economy from the COVID-19 impact, and GDP is expected to grow by 2.2 per cent following a decline of 2.6 per cent in 2020 as a result of precautionary measures taken by the state to combat the pandemic.
Although Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, has faced pressures due to pandemic complications as well as rising costs of completing all facilities and infrastructures for World Cup 2022, it managed to overcome all difficulties, thanks to its foreign reserves and sovereign fund’s assets. Moreover, Qatar’s economy benefited from improved global oil demand and higher gas prices.
Credit rating institutions such as Standard & Poor’s and Fitch affirmed their credit ratings of Qatar with a stable outlook, which reflects a strong sovereign net foreign asset position and a flexible public finance structure.
Regarding Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, construction of all stadiums and facilities were completed well ahead of time with the implementation of strict health and safety protocols to protect all workers from COVID-19. And in a true test for its abilities to host the long-awaited World Cup, Qatar successfully hosted the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 with the participation of 16 teams.
The tournament provided a great opportunity for football fans to experience the spirit of Qatar and enjoy its magnificent stadiums.
Qatar attaches great importance to its bilateral relations with Việt Nam. Both countries have been working closely on deepening relations in various fields, such as in areas of politics, labour, and the economy. As part of promoting investments between the two countries, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Việt Nam’s Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) held an online meeting on November 30 to discuss investment opportunities in the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam. Both sides agreed on more in-person meetings in the near future.
Importantly, as part of the educational cooperation between Qatar and Việt Nam, the Embassy of State of Qatar in Hà Nội offers several scholarships every year to Vietnamese students to study the Arabic language.
Moreover, there is bilateral cooperation in the media sector, and the two countries are currently benefiting from a cooperation agreement between Qatar News Agency and Vietnam News Agency.
Bilateral trade turnover during January to November 2021 reached more than US$512.2 million . Qatar exports to Việt Nam reached $328.2 million, with main export items including plastics, aluminum and miscellaneous chemical products. While imports from Việt Nam reached $184 million, with the main import items including electronic equipment, sheets of iron or steel, footwear, gaiters and the like.
Although COVID-19 negatively affected socio-economic activities all over the world, we still have room for further boosting bilateral cooperation and exchanges in areas of our common interest.
With Qatar World Cup 2022 around the corner, we look forwards to welcoming, with open arms, all Vietnamese people who are interested in attending this unique event.
The Embassy of the State of Qatar in Hà Nội looks forward to further developing bilateral relationships with the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam in all aspects. VNS