As part of strengthening bilateral relations and strategic partnerships between Qatar and the African continent, Gambian President Adama Barrow began a three-day official visit to Qatar on Tuesday.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is scheduled to meet with President Barrow at the Amiri Diwan Wednesday to discuss ways to enhance bilateral relations in various fields, besides issues of common concern.
The visit reflects the desire and keenness of both countries to cement and expand the bilateral relations, which have been witnessing outstanding development and promising growth for years in various fields.
The diplomatic relations between Qatar and Gambia began in 1978 through non-resident representation, which was developed later with the opening of embassies in each other’s countries.
The relations have been further developed, especially at the level of mutual visits, exchange of views, co-ordination and consultation on issues of common concern.
Qatar and The Gambia have signed many agreements and MoUs.
They include agreements between the foreign ministries, in the field of workforce, maritime navigation, avoidance of double taxation and prevention of financial evasion related to income taxes, economic, cultural, commercial and technical co-operation, and air services, and promotion and mutual protection of investments.
The MoU concerns the development of co-operation between the two countries in all educational and scientific fields, including higher education, scientific research and technology through universities and institutions in both countries.
There is a twinning arrangement between Doha Municipality and Banjul City Municipality.
Qatar participated in the International Conference to Support Gambia, hosted by the European Commission in Brussels last May.
The conference was devoted to support national development after the election, which was won by President Barrow and the international donations amounted to 1.45bn euros.
To fulfil its commitments to the Brussels Conference, Qatar and The Gambia signed a $3mn grant agreement at the Qatar embassy in Banjul last October.
The agreement seeks to promote transitional justice and the rule of law and establish a comprehensive democracy in The Gambia.
The Gambia is the smallest country in West Africa, with an area of just over 11,000sq km.
The River Gambia flows through the centre of the country and empties into the Atlantic Ocean, which forms the west border.
Gambia has a population of more than 1.5mn, of whom 90% are Muslims, and English is the official language.
Industrial activities include shoes and vegetable oil production, trade and fishing from the Atlantic and the River Gambia.
A large number of the population work in agriculture, which accounts for about 33% of domestic production.
The Gambia is a major producer of peanuts, which represents about 80% of the country’s exports.
There are other crops such as cotton, oil palm and rice. Fish, titanium and tin are the most important sources of natural wealth.
The Gambia’s economy has improved significantly in recent years thanks to increased fiscal discipline and support from the international community.
Imports and exports have increased, with strong growth in the transport and construction sectors and telecommunications projects.
Gambia is seeking to open its doors to global tourism, as it is described as a very large nature reserve, with tropical forests and Savannah forests which are home to lions and antelopes.
The capital Banjul is the largest tourist centre in The Gambia, where tourist facilities are available at affordable prices. Banjul attracts tourists especially in the dry season. Tourism contributes 71% of the country’s income.
The Gambia is keen to provide an appropriate environment to attract foreign investment and has many facilities to attract investment, especially in services, tourism, agriculture, real estate and land development. Page 2