Australia seeks strong ties with Qatar in education and investment fields

 29 May 2017 - 1:06

Australia seeks strong ties with Qatar in education and investment fields
Axel Wabenhorst

By Raynald C Rivera / The Peninsula

Australia is keen to further strengthen bilateral ties with Qatar in various areas particularly in the fields of investment and education, said Australian Ambassador to Qatar, Axel Wabenhorst.

Speaking to The Peninsula, Wabenhorst described the existing diplomatic relations as “very strong and growing.”

“We are very pleased with how it’s going,” he said.

Asked on which areas of cooperation he wants further bolstered, he said: “Certainly more acquaintance with Australia as an investment destination, but certainly one side of what we want to do is to strengthen Australia as a destination for education. We have a very good university system. Australia is an English speaking country, so that’s I think an opportunity.”

He stressed that there are many things Australia can offer to Qatar, from agricultural products and technology to engineering and healthcare services, among others.

“Australia produces and exports many agricultural products and people here can buy Australian meat, fruits and vegetables which are very prominent in supermarkets in Qatar. Also, Australia is an advanced country with all kinds of high-tech industries,” he noted.

Apart from product exports, the Ambassador underlined that Australia is also known for providing various services like healthcare and engineering.

“There are already many individual Australians, even Australian companies that are here in the engineering field particularly, so I think it goes to show that Australia is a country that can offer quite a lot to Qatar,” he said.

Wabenhorst expressed optimism over tourism from Qatar would grow as Qatar’s national carrier now flies to four Australian cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

“Qatar Airways now flies to four cities in Australia which people can visit and we’re hoping this will lead to more people from Qatar flying to Australia,” he said.

When asked on the possibility of having agreements signed between the two countries in the future, he said, “Yes, much certainly. We are very hopeful about that. We are working on them.”

Wabenhorst was speaking on the sidelines of the recent launch of Opals exhibition — the first exhibition hosted by the Australian embassy since it opened six months ago.

The exhibition, open until June 15, showcases nearly 70 pieces of the rarest opals in the world from the collection of the South Australian Museum including the Fire of Australia and the Virgin Rainbow-a National Treasure of Australia. With opal as its national gemstone, Australia dominates opal production with around 95 percent of the global output.

Wabenhorst said he hopes the exhibition will showcase a different side of Australia, its natural beauty, as well as open doors of opportunities for Australia’s opal industry.