Qatar turns down Tinubu’s visitation request for business and investment talks

The Qatari authorities have turned down President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s request to visit the nation and hold a business and investment forum.

The rejection was disclosed in a leaked response from the Embassy of Qatar in Abuja to a Note Verbale from Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tinubu had requested to visit the Gulf nation on March 2 and 3, 2024.

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However, the Qatari government in the leaked letter said that it would not be able to welcome Mr Tinubu and hold the proposed forum due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between Qatar and Nigeria for the promotion of investment.

It also noted that its ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days Mr Tinubu desired to visit.

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“The Embassy has the honour to inform that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar apologises that it will not be able to hold a Business and Investment Forum as proposed by Nigerian side” because “there is no any agreement signed between the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Investment Promotion and Protection,” the letter sent to the foreign affairs ministry on February 22 stated.

The Gulf nation further stressed that its commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period” which makes him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian leader.

It added that its officials would be too busy because Qatar was hosting its own “web summit” the same time Mr Tinubu planned to visit.

“The State of Qatar will be hosting a web summit during the suggested period and the state’s authorities will be preoccupied with this event,” the letter indicated.

The Qatari government’s failure to reschedule the business forum to a more convenient period, perhaps, suggested its unwillingness to forge any economic alliance with Nigeria.

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For years, Nigeria and Qatar have demonstrated efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and boost economic activity. In 2021, Qatar announced plans to invest $5bn in Nigeria’s economy following discussions with the oil-rich country in partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

Last year, the United Arab Emirates authorities faulted an announcement that a visa ban on Nigerians had been lifted after Mr Tinubu visited the UAE leader, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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