He was received at the Hamad International Airport by Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, (non-resident) Qatar’s ambassador to Botswana, Abdullah Hussein al-Jabe, and Botswana‘s ambassador (non-resident) to Qatar, Manyepedza Lesetedi.
Dr Masisi has been invited to visit Qatar as part of the Gulf country’s keenness to promote friendly relations and co-operation with all countries in the world. He is scheduled to meet His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Monday at the Amiri Diwan to discuss bilateral relations.
It is expected that the visit of Dr Masisi and his talks in Doha will open wide horizons for co-operation between the two friendly countries in various fields, especially the economic, trade and investment sectors, as Botswana is one of the fastest growing economies in the African continent, and it is a major gateway to the markets of countries associated with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) comprising more than 293mn people.
Diplomatic relations between Qatar and Botswana were established in 2006. An air transport agreement between the two countries was signed in 2013. Last week, Qatar Chamber hosted a trade delegation from Botswana headed by Secretary General of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The head of the delegation said her country looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Qatar and attracting Qatari investments in sectors such as agriculture, industry, tourism and infrastructure.
A delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana visited Qatar and held talks with Qatari officials on trade and economic co-operation between the two sides and the promotion of co-operation between businessmen.
Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70% of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. A landlocked country of about 1.9mn people, it is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast.
Botswana is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. Around 10% of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the poorest countries in the world, Botswana has since transformed itself into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its economic development has contributed to improving living standards for nearly two-thirds of the population.
Its economic standard is similar to that of Turkey and Mexico. It is ranked first in Africa on the scale of transparency and anti-corruption, and has attracted a large number of technical and commercial companies.
Behind this success are bold decisions taken by the government that curbed corruption, with an economic and developmental vision focused on education and free healthcare, and granting reclaimed agricultural land to young people and rural families, building a solid infrastructure using state-of-the-art technology in communications and logistics, and adopting a tourism economy different from neighbouring countries. The government also gets revenues from mineral resources such as uranium, gold, copper and oil. It is one of the largest diamond producing countries in Africa.
Natural reserves are also one of the strengths of Botswana with tourism accounting for 12% of the country’s GDP. More than 2.7mn tourists visit the country a year for safaris and other activities. National parks, wildlife reserves and nature reserves cover about 40% of its land area.