Celebrating 30 years of SA-Qatar diplomatic relations – ANC

Party reiterates its dedication to Pillar One of their guiding principles: contributing to building a better Africa

ANC celebrates 30 years of SA-Qatar diplomatic relations

14 November 2023

As the African National Congress (ANC), we proudly celebrate three decades of thriving diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, which began on 10 May 1994. This milestone marks a journey of mutual respect, cooperation, and shared values.

Our formal diplomatic ties were established on the historic day of President Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, symbolising our commitment to fostering international relations based on democratic values, liberty and human rights. The opening of the Qatari embassy in Pretoria (2003) and the South African embassy in Doha (2002) have facilitated dialogue and bilateral cooperation.

President Nelson Mandela’s landmark visit to Qatar in 1995 set the tone for high-level exchanges, followed by reciprocal visits from Qatari and South African leaders, including President Jacob Zuma (2012) and His Highness Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (2017). President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent state visit in November 2023 underscores our continuous efforts to strengthen these ties.

Bilateral trade has surged remarkably, from R5.6 billion in 2012 to R18.5 billion in 2022. Qatar is now our 22nd-largest trading partner globally and the fifth-largest in the Middle East. South Africa’s exports, including diamonds, vehicles, machinery, and chemicals, reflect our diverse economic strengths. In contrast, Qatar’s exports to us, primarily in crude oil and petrochemicals, have been vital for our energy needs. Our substantial investment in Qatar’s petrochemical sector, approximately $8.7 billion, exemplifies our commitment to long-term economic partnerships.

Our shared concerns over global issues, particularly the situation in Palestine, underscore our dedication to peace and stability, aligning with the ANC’s stance on human rights and international cooperation.

Several agreements, including bilateral consultations, tax avoidance, and cooperation in education, tourism, and culture, have laid a solid foundation for continued collaboration.

The growing South African community in Qatar and increasing Qatari tourism to South Africa testify to our solid people-to-people relationships. Our shared experiences hosting FIFA World Cups (South Africa in 2010 and Qatar in 2022) further cement our cultural and sporting bonds.

As we mark 30 years of South Africa-Qatar diplomatic relations, the ANC reiterates its dedication to Pillar One of our guiding principles: contributing to building a better Africa and a better world. This commitment, deeply rooted in ANC resolutions, reflects our aspiration to be part of a global order that protects our shared interests. We align with nations and regions striving for liberation and progress, seeking to break free from the historical constraints of colonial plunder and oppression.

The ANC remains dedicated to strengthening these ties, fostering economic growth, and promoting peace and stability, both regionally and globally. The future holds immense potential for both our nations, and we are committed to exploring all avenues of cooperation for the betterment of our people and the world at large.

Issued by Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, Spokesperson, ANC, 14 November 2023