Nepal and the State of Qatar established diplomatic relations on 21 January 1977. The cordial and friendly relations between the countries based on mutual trust, respect, understanding and cooperation gained momentum on 11 July 2000, when Nepal established its Embassy in Doha. The relations were further cemented with the setting up of the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Kathmandu in August 2011. Qatar has been one of the popular destinations among Nepali migrant workers over the past two decades. Nepal-Qatar relations have continued to grow over the years encompassing different areas of mutual cooperation.
Exchange of Visits
Nepal-Qatar relations have been marked by the exchange of visits at different levels, which has contributed to further deepen the political, economic and cultural ties between the countries.
Visits from Nepal:
- President Rt. Hon. Bidya Devi Bhandari paid a state visit to Qatar from 30 October to 2 November 2018.
- President Rt. Hon. Dr. Ram Baran Yadav paid an official visit to the state of Qatar on 10-13 October 2011.
- Minister for Education, Science and Technology of Nepal Hon. Giriraj Mani Pokharel visited Qatar on 20 – 22 November 2019.
- Speaker of the House of Representative Rt. Hon. Krishna Bahadur Mahara visited Qatar on 6-10 April 2019.
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population Hon. Upendra Yadav visited Qatar on 13 – 14 November 2018.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat paid an official visit to Qatar in January 2017 to mark the celebration of the 40th year of diplomatic relations.
- Foreign Secretary Mr Shanker Das Bairagi visited Qatar on 23-26 January 2016.
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Bam Dev Gautam visited Qatar on 11-14 April 2015.
- Attorney General of Nepal Mr. Babu Ram Kunwar visited Qatar on 25-31 October 2014.
- Minister for Labour and Transport Hon. Ramesh Lekhak visited Qatar on 20 January 2008.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Ramesh Nath Pandey visited Qatar in 2005 and 2006.
- King Gyanendra and Queen Komal visited Qatar in 2005 to attend the Second G-77 Summit.
- King Birendra paid a private visit to Qatar in 1999.
- Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Girija Prasad Koirala paid an official visit to Qatar in 1998.
Visits from Qatar:
- Director General of Passports and Expatriates Affairs of the Ministry of Interior Brigadier-General Mohamed Ahmed Al Ateeq visited Nepal from 29 February to 1 March 2016.
- Minister of Labour and Social Affairs H.E. Dr Abdullah bin Saleh Mubarak Al-Khulaifi visited Nepal on 4-7 April 2015.
- Attorney General H.E. Dr Al Bin Fetais Al-Marri visited Nepal on 17-18 July 2014.
- Environment Minister H.E. Mr Abdullah bin Mubarak bin Abboud Al-Midhadhi visited Nepal on 5-9 April 2012 to participate in the Conference on Mountainous Countries.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani visited Nepal in 2009.
Nepal and the State of Qatar have modest level of bilateral trade. After the setback of 2015 earthquakes in Nepal setback, trade was gaining momentum before being impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. In recent years, Nepal has been exporting carpet, food products, and textile and leather items to Qatar whereas Nepal imports polyethylene, gold jewelries, electronic equipment and parts, and textiles from Qatar. The following table reflects the bilateral trade figures between the two countries in recent years:
|Year||Export to Qatar (N Rs)||Import from Qatar (N Rs)|
Source: Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), Nepal
In a bid to enhance business engagements and create an economic partnership between the business communities of two countries, Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Qatar Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018. An Agreement on Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation between the two countries is also in place since 2005.
Since the signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion in 2007, Qatar is exploring investment opportunities in Nepal. The country has shown interest in agriculture, energy and infrastructure sector in Nepal. Doha Bank, one of the leading banks in Qatar, opened its representative office in Kathmandu on 19 December 2018. The bank is expected to facilitate investment in Nepal.
Similarly, Nepali businesspersons in Qatar have formed Nepal Business Association Qatar (NBAQ) which was registered with Qatar Financial Authority in March 2021. The Association is expected to facilitate potential economic engagements between the two countries.
Nepali Diaspora in Qatar
Qatar is the first country to sign a labour agreement with Nepal. A Bilateral Agreement Concerning Nepali Manpower Employment in the State of Qatar was signed on 21 March 2005 and its additional protocol was signed on 20 January 2008. The agreement is aimed at protecting and promoting the interests of the workers in the State of Qatar and also regulating the supply of Nepali manpower to Qatar.
The Third Joint Committee Meeting, formed as per the provisions of the Agreement, between Labour Ministries of the two countries was held in Doha in March 2019. Previous Joint Committee meetings were held in June 2013 and March 2016 in Doha and Kathmandu respectively.
Qatar has introduced a number of labour reforms in recent years to secure the rights of the migrant workers in the country. They include establishment and operationalization of Qatar Visa Centers (QVC), non-requirement of exit permits, implementation of non-discriminatory minimum wages from 20 March 2021, among others.
Nepali community is one of the largest expatriate communities in Qatar. As of August 2021, there are more than 320,000 Nepalis in Qatar.
People to People Connections
Bilateral Air Service (Civil Aviation) Agreement was signed on 8 July 2002 between Qatar and Nepal. Nepal Airlines, Himalayan Airlines and Qatar Airlines operate regular flights between Kathmandu and Doha.
With an aim to promote tourism in both countries, an MoU on Tourism Cooperation was signed in 2011. Nepal has been one of the nearest and affordable tourism destinations not only for Qataris but also for the large expatriate community residing in Qatar.
Every year, a number of Qatari citizens and residents visit Nepal. Nepal is drawing attention of adventurers and mountaineers from Qatar in recent times. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the royal family, was the first Qatari national to climb Mt. Everest. He scaled the top of the world on 22 May 2013. He also climbed Mt. Amadablam on 11 November 2020 despite the travel difficulties amidst the Covid-19 crisis. Similarly, Mr. Fahad Badar became the second Qatari national to climb Mt. Everest when he achieved the feat on 22 May 2019. He also became the first Arab to climb two mountains in a single expedition when he climbed Mt. Lhotse the next day. Mr. Badar also climbed Mt. Amadablam on 14 January 2021 amidst the harshest winter conditions.
Embassy of Nepal