Posted on February 09, 2018

Australian Ambassador to Qatar HE Axel Wabenhorst reiterated his country's preparedness to support and contribute to Qatar's efforts to food security during the celebration of Australia Day held at Shangri-La Hotel Doha on Wednesday. 

The event which also provided a peek into the available Australian food products in the Qatar market was graced by Minister of Municipality and Environment HE Muhammad bin Abdullah al Rumaihi, Chief of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs HE Ibrahim Yousuf Fakhro and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Eritrea HE Ali Ibrahim Ahmed. This was the first Australia Day event organised by the Australian Embassy in Qatar since its opening in 2016. "Australia is the world's driest continent. As a result, Australians have become experts in dryland farming. As food security becomes a higher priority for Qatar because of the regional dispute, Australia is well-placed to support Qatar to grow more of its own food," the ambassador said. 

The ambassador lauded Qatar for maintaining a welcoming attitude towards all residents despite the challenges brought by the GCC dispute. He expressed Australia's support to the mediation efforts of Kuwait in solving the conflict. Talking about the bilateral relations between Australia and Qatar, he noted that the total trade between the two countries is at AUS$ 1.77 billion per year, evenly balanced between imports and exports. The new shipping line between our two countries can further facilitate trade, Ambassador Wabenhorst added. He also mentioned Qatar's investments in Australia, including $450 million by Hassad Food in Australian farms as well as investments in electricity distribution infrastructure and real estate. 

"Qatar has embarked on a comprehensive programme of development through its National Vision 2030. Australia is helping Qatar realise these goals, through the expertise of its citizens, companies and through our strength in agriculture. There is scope to expand these areas of cooperation in future," he said. "Besides, Australia is working with Qatar on school curriculum design, including via provision of a vocational finance course in two Qatari high schools. Australian universities and research institutions are collaborating with Qatar National Research Fund. An Australian medical professor is looking to set up a medical innovation fund, which would accelerate commercialisation of solutions to real world health problems," he added. 

The envoy also mentioned the cooperation of Australia and Qatar in fighting terrorism through the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL and Qatar's hosting of the Al Udeid Air Base. He also mentioned that Qatar Airways which already flies daily to four Australian cities will add Canberra as its fifth destination next week.

source: Qatar Tribune