Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Maiga said he discussed the possibility of holding a Qatar-Mali economic forum for a comprehensive review of investment opportunities in the two countries. He said this during his meeting with the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) officials held in Doha on Saturday.
The meeting was attended by QBA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, First Deputy Hussein Ibrahim Al Fardan, board member Saud Al Mana and Deputy GM Sarah Abdallah.
The Malian side also comprised of Asimi Gueta, an economic advisor to the president, and Youssef Bathili, the economic advisor to the parliament and head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mali.
The Malian Prime Minister said his country can offer several opportunities to Qatari investors in sectors including agriculture, with the country boasting 2 million hectares of fertile land. The PM also highlighted infrastructure, energy, healthcare, mining and tourism sectors as high-potential investment avenues.
Maiga stressed that his country ranks first in Africa in cotton production, and exploits only 2 percent in manufacturing industries, which makes this sector important for foreign investments and the transformation of this field into textiles, as there is a huge market in West Africa consisting of 350 million consumers. He also referred to the mining sector, especially gold, where Mali is one of the richest African countries in this sector.
QBA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani spoke about the necessity of identifying the productive sectors that the Malian government wants to offer to the Qatari private sector, and which do not compete with the Malian businessmen, welcoming Mali’s visit to explore investment opportunities in the capital, Bamako.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim also indicated that the Qatari Businessmen Association and its members aim at translating Qatar’s foreign vision as they are interested in exploring global markets and are fully prepared to study investment opportunities in Mali, which confirms the strong relationship between the State of Qatar and Mali, and that the private sector can contribute with a positive role in these relations.
Developing the bilateral relations
QBA’s Hussein Al Fardan pointed out the importance of Prime Minister’s visit to QBA Office, which contributes to strengthening mutual relations of cooperation between the two countries, especially as it sheds light on investment opportunities that could attract Qatari businessmen.
He also noted that QBA supports the State of Qatar’s approach to strengthening cooperation with all countries of the world in line of its plans for economic diversification and the establishment of investments outside the country. He explained that Qatar is interested in increasing its investments in Africa, stressing QBA’s support of this direction and readiness to encourage Qatari business investors to invest in Mali and take advantage of these opportunities.
Saud Al-Mana, QBA Board member, said that there are distinguished relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Mali, and there are reciprocal visits at the level of the leaderships of the two countries. He also indicated that stability is important for launching private projects, stressing that the association will study the projects proposed by the Mali government and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, consequently the potential investment opportunities will be identified.
Mali controls a significant stock of natural resources and minerals, placing it among the most important African countries in production and stocks, most notably: uranium, gold, phosphate, salt, granite, kaolin represented by a pure white clay material, limestone, and bauxite.
Mali ranks third in Africa in terms of gold production with 61.63 tonnes after Ghana and South Africa, and despite its vast desert area that covers more than 60 percent of its total area, Mali is one of the African countries rich in agricultural crops and livestock that it is also considered an essential resource for underprivileged families.
It is also worth noting that Mali’s exports exceed $2.5 billion dollars, the majority of which are to China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India, while their imports range to about 2.9 billion dollars, with France taking the lead, then Senegal, Ivory Coast and China.