27 May 2014

Liberia Rallies With Qatar

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has returned from Qatar, where she led a delegation of Liberian officials to meetings with the Qataree Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and authorities.

Liberia's Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, says the Liberian delegation met with the head of the Qatar Foundation, Qatar Investment Authority, people from the charity side and investors, who intend to come and invest in Liberia.

Mr. Ngafuan announced that there will be a delegation to Liberia from the Qatar Investment Authority including business people to identify investment opportunities "In our various sectors." During President Sirleaf and her delegation's meeting with the Qataree authorities, the Liberian Foreign Minister says both countries signed agreement on manpower and labour.

Additionally, he says people from the Qatar Care and the Qatra Foundation headed by the mother of the Emir, have agreed to come to Liberia to identify areas of investment, including health, education, sanitation and others.

"And at the end of the day we signed some agreements of cooperation between Liberia and Qatar- one for economic and technical cooperation; the other one for air services cooperation," Minister Ngafuan disclosed. He told journalists at the Roberts International Airport or RIA on Thursday, 22 May that the air services cooperation will eventually lead to Air Qatrar extending its operation to Liberia.

But the Minister however made it clear that for now, there is not a monetary value in the agreement signed because "the engagement is technically invaluable... [And] it's going to lead into the future."

Instead, what he says the government is doing is to create the basis whereby Qataree investors will come and see Liberia's potential, naming the Qatar Mining Authority and people from hotels and tourism, among others as some of those that have already promised to come here. He says the Liberian Government is going to give Qatar lot of data concerning the potentials that exist here, and then they will make their own strategic decisions.

Picturing Qatar as a small country with a citizens population of around 250,000, while its total population is upward a million, the Liberian Foreign Minister says the country attracts workers with skills from other countries including Nigeria, Ghana and others.

"But there is an arrangement whereby some of your skills can go through an arrangement that respects the laws of both countries. So it's one of the agreements we signed," he said further.


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