Qatar and France have maintained relations since Qatar’s declaration of independence in 1971 and the mutual opening of diplomatic relations the following year.
The bilateral relationship began to develop in the early 1990s in the area of security and hydrocarbons. TotalEnergies (formerly Total) has been established in Qatar since 1936, and very soon became one of the key partners of QatarEnergies (formerly Qatar Petroleum) in the extraction and development of the country’s hydrocarbons resources.
Qatar’s wish to diversify the economy of the country and reduce its dependence on gas revenue has helped to broaden the scope of our cooperation to include the military and security fields (fighting terrorism and radicalization), the economic and investment sector (infrastructures with the Doha metro, aviation) and also culture (with Qatar Museums), education and higher education (HEC Paris campus in Doha). France and Qatar also want to strengthen cooperation in sport and on major global issues such as climate, global health, and smart, sustainable cities.
Consultations between the authorities, including at the highest level, are regular. The Strategic Dialogue, established in 2019, enables operational follow-up of the major projects which structure the bilateral relationship. The first round, co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers, took place in Doha on 28 March 2022.
Since 2017, the President of the French Republic has travelled twice to Doha. During his first visit on 7 December 2017, several agreements were signed in the areas of the economy, education, defence and the fight against terrorism and radicalization. The President of the French Republic travelled once more to Doha on 3 December 2021, as part of a visit to the Gulf, during which the issue of Afghanistan was a key focus of discussions. Two operations involving evacuation and the provision of humanitarian assistance were jointly conducted with Qatar.
French community in Qatar: around 5,500 French expatriates
The embassy has a consular section.
French Embassy website: http://www.ambafrance-qa.org
- 15 September 2017: Official visit to France by Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani
- 7 December 2017: Official visit to Qatar by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly
- 15 July and 3 September 2017: Visit to Qatar by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian
- 5 and 6 July 2018: Official visit to France by Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani
- 28 and 29 October 2018: Visit to Qatar by the Minister of State attached to the Minister of the Interior, Mr Laurent Nuñez, for the Milipol trade show
- 11 November 2018: Visit to France by Emir Sheikh Tamil Al Thani, accompanied by his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, for the Paris Peace Forum
- 11 February 2019: Visit to Qatar by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian
- 27 and 28 March 2019: Official visit to Qatar by the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, for the inauguration of the National Museum designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel
- 12 April 2019: Visit to France by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani
- 19 September 2019: Visit to France by Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.
- 24 and 25 November 2019: Visit to Qatar by the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly
- 4 March 2020: Visit to France by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani
- 9 and 10 December 2020: Visit to Qatar by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian
- 13 September 2021: Visit to Doha by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian
- 3 December 2021: Visit to Qatar by the President of the French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian; Minister for the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, Mr Bruno Le Maire; Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly; Minister for Culture, Ms Roselyne Bachelot, and a large delegation as part of the President’s tour of the Gulf States
- 18 December 2021: Visit to Qatar by the Minister of the Interior, Mr Gérald Darmanin, for the final of the Arab Cup and Qatar National Day
- 27-28 March 2022: Visit to Doha by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, for the Doha Forum and the first session of the Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (meetings with the Emir of Qatar and the Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad al Kaabi)
- 24 May 2022: Visit to Qatar by the Minister of the Interior, Mr Gérald Darmanin, for the Milipol trade show
- 29 May 2022: Official visit to France by Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani
- 11 July 2022: Visit to France by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammad Al Thani, for the Choose France summit
Our trade with Qatar totalled €1.6 billion in 2021, making Qatar France’s eighth-largest customer in the Near and Middle East. With €321 million in trade surplus, the emirate is France’s fourth-largest trade surplus in the region.
France also continues to benefit significantly from Qatari foreign direct investment (some €25 billion), behind the United Kingdom but ahead of the United States. The bilateral investment fund, “Future French Champions”, which aims to invest in innovative French SMEs and intermediate-sized companies, was created in 2013. It is a partnership between the Bpifrance and Qatar Investment Authority sovereign fund.
Today, more than 120 French businesses have set up in Qatar, including a number of CAC 40 companies and major French corporations. They have drawn on their experience in industries requiring a high level of expertise, such as construction, oil and gas development and water treatment to win major contracts which have contributed to the development of Qatar. Several major projects, for which contracts were signed during President Macron’s visit to Qatar on 7 December 2017 (defence, transport, aviation and clean-up), were put into service in 2019, such as the Doha metro and the clean-up of the Al-Karaana lagoon.
In the culture field, the Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture was a highlight of the bilateral relationship, marked by joint activities between the embassy and French and Qatari major cultural institutions: “Our World is Burning” at the Palais de Tokyo, in cooperation with the Mathaf Museum of Doha; Picasso’s studios at the Fire Station in Doha, the result of a cooperative project between Qatar Museums and the National Picasso Museum in Paris. Furthermore, the National Museum of Qatar, created by the Ateliers Jean Nouvel, was inaugurated on 27 March 2019 in the presence of the Emir, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, and the French Prime Minister, Mr Édouard Philippe, on a state visit to Qatar.
Qatar – with its 200,000 French speakers – has been an associate member of the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) since October 2012. In the same year, a project reintroducing the French language to public education was initiated and relaunched in 2022 by the Qatari Ministry of Education. The creation of a minor in French at Qatar University in 2016 was a major step forward in promoting the French language. The University has also joined the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie as an Observer member. Some 100 Qatari students are currently enrolled in French language centres and universities.
Two French schools have been set up in Doha: Lycée Bonaparte, under contract with the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), celebrated its 44th anniversary in 2020, and the French-Qatari Lycée Voltaire, AEFE-approved, which celebrated its 13th anniversary this year. Some 3,400 students are enrolled in the two schools.
In the field of higher education and research, Qatar has invited several major international academic institutions to set up an overseas branch in their “Education City”. HEC School of Management, Paris, is one of those institutions, and celebrated 10 years in Qatar in 2020. More than 720 students have graduated since 2010.
Furthermore, France and Qatar have built a trust-based partnership in the field of sport, with France providing assistance during the 15th Asian Games in 2006. During Prime Minister Édouard Philippe’s visit in March 2019, France committed to supporting Qatar for the organization of the 2022 football World Cup, particularly in the area of security.
Security and defence cooperation between France and Qatar is a pillar of our bilateral relations. The signing on 4 May 2015 of a contract for the purchase of 24 Rafale fighter aircraft, and then the activation of the option for 12 additional Rafale fighters in December 2017, have confirmed the close relations between Paris and Doha. The signing of an intergovernmental agreement on 15 March 2021 drawing up a security partnership for the 2022 football World Cup, demonstrates France’s commitment to supporting the Qatari security forces in the preparation and conduct of this global event. Significant progress was observed in 2019 with the signing of an agreement governing the status of the security forces.
Bilateral military exercises and training are organized on a regular basis in the emirate. Cooperation between France and Qatar to combat terrorism and its financing was deepened with the signing of a common declaration of intent and road map on 7 December 2017, during the French President’s visit to Doha. Qatar also took part in both “No Money for Terror” conferences to combat terrorism and its financing, held in Paris in 2018 and 2019.
Updated: 27 October 2022