East Asia

Envoy hails expanding Italy-Qatar ties, economic diversification push

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi.

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi.

Italian ambassador Paolo Toschi has ensured Italy’s full support for Qatar’s initiatives and programmes to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons into key sectors like technology and manufacturing.

Toschi lauded the country’s economic transformation plans, citing recent announcements such as Third National Development Strategy (NDS3), which is the final phase of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“We are currently witnessing the Qatari economy diversifying further…at this moment on the economic front, Italy commends Qatar’s economic diversification, and will continue to support it and be part of it,” Toschi told Gulf Times.

Toschi also noted that the strength of Italy’s delegation at the Qatar Economic Forum underlines the keen interest of Italian companies in participating in Qatar’s diversification plans.

“We had a record participation of Italian businesses at the recently concluded Qatar Economic Forum, which clearly indicates Italy’s commitment. By far, this was the highest number of Italian companies and this is a sign that we are here to continue partnering and supporting this diversification,” he remarked.

Toschi also praised the directions laid out by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, which focus on sustainability, energy diversification, high technology, and manufacturing.

“This presents a very clear picture of what the government is laying out, which we will continue to support,” affirmed the ambassador, who added that Italy will also back Qatar’s investments in education, higher education, artificial intelligence (AI), and efforts to attract tech startups.

On high technology, Toschi underscored the need for ensuring safety through proper governance when harnessing the power of AI, citing Italy’s “double approach,” which combines ethical guidelines and regulations with accelerating AI R&D.

The ambassador also lauded the pioneering work of the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) in areas like large language models (LLMs), underscoring the keenness to expand Italy-Qatar collaboration on AI.

“We want to expand our conversation with Qatar on artificial intelligence. Qatar has an important institution like Qatar Computer Research Institute that is leading the regional conversation on artificial intelligence, including large language models, which is something we’re extremely interested in,” he stressed.

On Qatar-Italy trade, Toschi revealed Italy’s agri-food and food and beverage (F&B) exports to Qatar surged over 40% year-on-year in the first few months of this year versus the same period in 2023, citing “huge enthusiasm” for Italian F&B products.

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