Around 10 to 15 contracts and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed between Qatar and Belgium during a two-day high-level economic mission to be held in Doha, Belgian Foreign Trade Agency director general Marc Bogaerts said.
The delegation would be led by Belgium’s Princess Astrid, who is scheduled to meet with high-level government officials, during the Qatari-Belgium Economic Forum 2015 to be held from March 22 to 23 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Doha.
Comprising 400 delegates, including 267 Belgian firms, Bogaerts said the contracts and MoUs to be signed will involve investment opportunities in the medical and health fields, as well as in the clean technology (cleantech), luxury goods, and education sectors.
“This is what we know so far because we are still consolidating our data, but we would be able to provide details of the other types and total value of the contracts to be signed during the economic mission when the high-level meetings have started,” Bogaerts told Gulf Times.
While Belgium recorded 475 participants in a previous economic and trade delegation to China, he described Princess Astrid’s visit to Qatar as a “record mission” with the participation of 267 Belgian companies compared to the 220 that joined in the China trip.
“We will focus on sectors that would create a win-win situation for both countries,” Bogaerts said, adding that the niche industries include sports infrastructure, construction and building, information and communications technology (ICT), energy, environment and cleantech, and food and beverage.
Charlotte Struye, who heads the Economic Department of the Flanders Investment & Trade, underscored the role of Belgian companies specializing in clean technology in supporting Qatar’s food security program.
“One of these companies has a good relationship with Qatar University and QSTP (Qatar Science & Technology Park), and it is one way of strengthening the existing ties between the two countries. But on the other side, one of the goals is for Qatar to become self-providing when it comes to growing vegetables and fruits in the future,” Struye explained.
She added, “I hope this would result in a long-term collaboration with Qatar instead of only importing fruits and vegetables from other countries. I believe it would be beneficial to focus on this initiative in order for the next generation to be self-providing in terms of food.”
Aside from the high-level meetings, Struye said the economic mission will be also highlighted by presentations and seminars on various industry sectors, including energy and sustainability.
“We will focus on waste management, clean air, and a presentation on a ‘carbon-neutral’ Qatar. Hopefully, the Belgians can hold best practices sharing sessions with their Qatari counterparts, especially with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
“In the field of agriculture, the session will also provide significant inputs where Belgians could share best practices and knowledge-transfer for the future. In Europe, Belgium is known ‘the garden of Europe’ because we have a long history in agriculture, including irrigation systems, how to work water for agriculture. We have very nice weather here in Qatar but water is necessary,” Struye further said.