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Sheikh Tamim meets Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome

Qatar’s Emir kicked off a tour of three African nations this week with high-level meetings in Ethiopia.

This is Sheikh Tamim’s first official visit to sub-Saharan Africa, besides visiting Sudan, since he became Emir in 2013.

While in Addis Adaba yesterday, Sheikh Tamim and Dr. Mulatu Teshome discussed ways to collaborate on infrastructure, educational and economic issues, QNA reports.


Capetown, South Africa

Following his two-day visit there, the Emir will head to Kenya and then South Africa, which hosted the World Cup in 2010.

He is due back in Qatar this weekend to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

What to discuss

All three African countries have relatively small representation inside of Qatar.

According to a 2017 population report, there are 22,000 Ethiopians living in Qatar, 14,000 Kenyans and only 6,000 South Africans.


Farm in Kenya for illustrative purposes only.

However, speaking to the Qatar Tribune, African diplomats said that there is much to gain by collaborating with the Gulf state.

The newspaper cited the Kenyan and Ethiopian ambassadors to Doha as saying issues such as counter-terrorism, scientific research and agriculture could all be advanced during high-level talks.


Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory/Facebook

The death of iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela, 95, has prompted an outpouring of grief from many Qatar residents this weekend, some of whom are marking his passing with online eulogies.

Others have been leaving tributes of flowers and other trinkets at the South African Embassy in Doha, which lowered its flag to half-mast on Friday out of respect for Mandela, the country’s first black president and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

On Saturday night, residents also congregated at the Corniche to pay their respects:

The anti-apartheid leader died at his home in Johannesburg on Thursday after a prolonged illness.

According to the Peninsula, there are an estimated 3,500 South Africans in Qatar.

Speaking to Doha News, an embassy representative said the general public is invited to sign a condolences book that has been placed outside of its gates in West Bay. Ambassadors, ministers and other VIPS will be asked to sign an official book on Monday at the embassy, from 10am to 2pm.

Meanwhile, QNA reports that Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, sent a cable of condolences to current South African president Jacob Zuma on Friday.

Symbol of freedom

Elsewhere in the Arab world, where Mandela gained respect for his vocal support of the Palestinian people, Egypt declared three days of mourning, with interim president Adly Mansour describing Mandela as a symbol of ���freedom, national independence and liberation.”

And Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, according to AFP:

“The Palestinian people will never forget his historic statement that the South African revolution will not have achieved its goals as long as the Palestinians are not free.”

Mandela will be buried on Dec. 15.


Section27, a South African watchdog group, has accused Al Jazeera and its host state Qatar of human rights abuses against people living with HIV.

In specific, the group calls out an incident involving a South African journalist who joined Al Jazeera as a senior editor in October 2010 and relocated to Doha. Within three months, he reportedly found himself chased out of a Doha clinic, briefly imprisoned, gratuitously searched, and then fired and ordered to leave the country.

All of this occured, Section27 says, without anyone informing the journalist – identified only as MR – that he had HIV, and that it was the reason for the abuse and termination he suffered.

Qatar currently has a policy to deny visas and/or work permits to those who are HIV positive, and a test for it is part of required medical screening to obtain residency.

Says Section27:

“These violations are contrary to key principles of South Africa’s own response to HIV as well as well as the strategy of the leading United Nations body dealing with HIV…”

“Qatar’s policies also deepen the stigma attached to HIV status.” 

The group is currently asking South Africa to take the issue to the International Labour Organization, in the hopes of launching an investigation.

What do you think, is Qatar’s HIV policy fair?

Credit: Photo by Joi Ito