On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, the School of Economics, Administration and Public Policies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies organized a seminar on “Political, economic and cultural relations between Gulf and West African countries, with the participation of 11 ambassadors from eleven African countries, and in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Horr Director of the Diplomatic Institute at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The speakers reviewed the experiences of their various countries in the Gulf in general and in the State of Qatar in particular.
In his opening speech, Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Affendi, President of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, praised this initiative, which was coordinated between the ambassadors and the School of Economics, Administration, and Public Policies. He considered this seminar the first step to strengthen the relationship between the ambassadors and their countries on one hand and DI on the other hand, as the latter is hosting many students from West Africa. Dr. Al-Affendi added that half of the Arab world is part of Africa, and therefore there is a historical bond of language and religion with West Africa.
Dr. Al-Affandi stressed that the basic mission of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies is a scientific and academic that aims to enhance the status of the social and human sciences whose mission is to understand the human being and the political, economic, and social reality in our countries in a way that achieves the Arab-African renaissance and development. Therefore, the participation of the ambassadors in this academic and scientific seminar will help in a deeper understanding of the problems and challenges facing West African countries.
On behalf of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Azmi Bishara, and the President of the Institute, Dr. Hamed Ali, Dean of the School of Economics, Administration and Public Policies, welcomed the audience and praised the role of ambassadors for raising such issues related to food security and sustainable development, and introducing the Qatari community to the importance of West African countries historically, culturally and economically to the Arab region. Dr. Hamed also expressed his hope to hold in-depth scientific meetings and future dialogues with academic and intellectual elites and policymakers.
The ambassadors of Benin, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea, and the Chargé d'Affairs of the Ivory Coast embassy in Doha presented aspects of cooperation and agreements signed between their countries and the State of Qatar in various fields. They also explained the investment opportunities available in these countries, especially in the agricultural and tourism fields.
His Excellency the Director of the Diplomatic Institute at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Horr, praised the growing relations between the State of Qatar and West African countries, and the mutual interest to develop relations among them in various fields. H.E said, "There is now talk of "mutual interest" between the Gulf countries and West African countries, in the economic, investment and sustainable development fields, and not about providing humanitarian aid, which is a positive development.”
The United Nations defines West Africa as 16 countries with an area of 5,112,903 km2, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
The population of West Africa is estimated at 381 million who speak various languages, the most important of which is Hausa, which occupies the first place with 200 million to 230 million speakers.