Emir’s visit to Africa: A step in the right direction
23 Apr 2017 - 15:57
The recent visit of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to several African countries was a step in the right direction, Africa being an important continent for the Arabs in general and the Gulf countries in particular.
Its importance comes from its vitality and the continent is rich with different types of resources which are waiting for investors to utilize.
The moment the Emir landed in Ethiopia, the media of General Abdul Fattah Al Sisi’s unleashed criticism not only against the Emir’s visit to the Federal Republic of Ethiopia but also his visit to countries in the Horn of Africa including Kenya.
We know that there is a problem between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Dam of Renaissance which is under construction at the sources of Nile. It is a project which may greatly affect Egypt’s interests if its share from the Nile water is reduced as Egypt and Sudan heavily depend on the water flowing through the Nile from the Ethiopian Plateau.
Ironically, some of the drum beating journalists in Cairo have gone to the extent of claiming that there is conspiracy against the dear country Egypt. I am not going to argue against the Egyptian media, but my hope was that Egyptians would take advantage the Emir’s visit to Ethiopia to raise their concerns in coordination with the Qatari leadership. Instead of utilising the position of Qatar and its reputation in mediating in disputes to resolve the Egyptian – Ethiopian differences over the construction of the dam, why do they engage in a such media controversies which have no benefit for any of us.
Ethiopia is one of the important counties in Africa with a population of more than 94 millions, 48 million out of this are Muslims (around 55 to 65 percent).
Unfortunately most of the Arab countries are not paying this country the kind of attention deserving its status. Arabs have relations with Ethiopia since the early days of Islam, which is known with the first migration ( Hijra) of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from Makkah to Abyssinia, the land which encompassed the current Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Iran never get tired of expanding its Persian Empire in all directions. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Mohammed Kharazi visited Ethiopia in 2002, and followed by visit of the Foreign Minister Ali Akbr Salehi next year and both the ministers met with the Ethiopian leaders.
Kharazi presented eight big buses to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia as gift from the Iranian government. The Irani government has established cultural centers to promote Shia doctrine, and encourage needy people to embrace Shiism. Tehran is working through its cultural attaché with support from the foreign ministry which is seeking to open a section for teaching the Persian Language in the University of Addis Ababa, which is the largest university in Ethiopia with over 70,000 students.
Where are the Arabs while all the Irani movements are involved in the Horn of Africa and in the content in general?
Reports related to the visit of the Emir to Ethiopia (which was preceded by the visit of the Father Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani), mentioned that the Emir discussed many issues including bilateral relations and issues of Arab and international interest. The two parties signed several agreements for cooperation in different areas.The call is open for all Arabs to strengthen their ties with the neighboring Ethiopia, and intensify their presence there instead of leaving the African content to Iran to implement its agendas.
During the visit the Emir instructed to establish loan portfolio for supporting small and medium projects aiming to create job opportunities for the Ethiopian youth . The Emir also ordered to fund construction of a specialty hospital in nephrology which is one of the projects the country needs.
Another important African country visited by the Emir was South Africa, which concluded his visit to Africa. No doubt there is similarities between the political history of the people of Palestine and the people of South Africa. As Palestinians are still resisting the white racist regime of Zionism which occupied Palestine and displaced its people, South Africans have also passed through very similar situation of struggle against the Apartheid regime.
The hot issues of the Middle East including Palestine, situation in Libya, Syria and Yemen were on the top of the agenda during the meeting.
South Africa is the biggest, the most developed and richest country in Africa, with a population of 54 millions, livestock estimated at 30 million with a huge agricultural potential as well as minerals including gold. It is a country ranked first in production of uranium , diamond and many other precious minerals where there is scope for investment. The two sides signed economic agreements aiming to increase trade exchange to more than one billion dollar by 2022.
Along with Ethiopia and South Africa, The Emir also visited Kenya, which obtained its independence in 1963 and has a population of 36 million. Kenya is one of the most beautiful African states, rich with natural resources and wildlife.
It is the East African gate to Central Africa and it is the country which has the potential to lead the East African states in the near future.
Iran realized the importance of Kenya and its status in East Africa, therefore established a cultural center to promote relations.
The center conducts weekly cultural activities promoting Shiism. Iran is heavily investing in the country under the guise of cultural relations to control brains of illiterate people in order to make them supporters of Iran in the future.
All this is happening while the Arabs are ignoring the importance of Kenya and its status. No doubt that the Qatari leadership realises the importance of this country, and the visit has come to enhance the cultural and economic ties.
The visit of the Emir came after the visit of the Kenyan President , Uhuru Kenyatta, to Doha during which Qatari and Kenyan businessmen signed a number of economic agreements.
Finally, I hope Arab counties would pay more attention to Africa which is a supporter of issues of related to justice and human rights.