By Vision Reporter
Uganda’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, also the Country’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu has presented his credentials to Shk. Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, the Emir of Qatar.
Held at the Emir’s magnificent palace in Doha, Dr. Ssemuddu is now formally the Ambassador of Uganda to oil-rich Arabian Gulf country that holds considerable powers in the geopolitical and economic spheres in the world.
This brings to five, the number of countries where Dr. Ssemuddu has been formally inaugurated as Ambassador. These include: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait and now Qatar. Dr. Ssemuddu is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and non-resident Ambassador to Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain.
Dr. Ssemuddu meeting with HRH the Emir of Qatar was attended among others by Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Khalid Bin Muhammad Al Atiyah and the Chief of Emiri Diwan (Office of Emir in the Gulf Countries) HRH Abdallah Bin Hamad Bin Khalifah Al Thani.
The 34-year-old Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the 8th Emir of Qatar, who assumed office on June 25, 2013, warmly welcomed Ambassador Ssemuddu.
In his remarks to the Emir, Ambassador Ssemuddu spoke about several issues in fluent Arabic, preceded by a message from President Yoweri Museveni. He told his host that the President wishes Qatar to move forward on a path of stability and development adding that Uganda attaches utmost value to its diplomatic relations.
Emir described the relationship between Uganda and Qatar as important adding that the bond between the two countries can be traced back 40 years ago.
Ambassador Ssemuddu invited the Emir to visit Uganda to partake of the beautiful climate, hospitable people and natural diversity. The Emir agreed to visit although hastened to tell the Ambassador that he would soon send a formal invitation to the President to visit Qatar so they discuss matters of bilateral and regional importance. The Ambassador hold the Emir that President Museveni would honour the invitation.
He placed considerable emphasis on marketing Uganda as an investment destination to Qatari investors, concluding that Qatar should turn Uganda into its gate to investments in the heart of Africa. The Emir responded by promising to send an investment team to Uganda to explore investment opportunities in the country, stressing that his country would invest in Uganda.
Ambassador Ssemuddu thanked the Emir for the position of his government to support minister Sam Kutesa for the candidature of President of the United Nations General Assembly. The Emir affirmed his unwavering support of Kutesa now and throughout his term in office.
The warming diplomatic relations between Uganda and Qatar may not come as a surprise. The two countries have been quietly embracing each other in the business domain. Qatar Airways, the national flag career of Qatar flies to Entebbe although Uganda hasn’t reciprocated yet. While it’s not official, it’s understood that over 5000 Ugandans live and work in Qatar and remit millions of dollars in earnings back home.
Ambassador Ssemuddu has made a commitment to place emphasis on attracting Qatar investors to Uganda as well as support the export of Ugandan labour to the Arabian country in a well-organized system in which labour rights take centre stage. He also intends to encourage Ugandans to export to the Arabian Gulf country.