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Publisher: Maaal International Media Company
*By: Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
The Saudi-African Summit was held in Riyadh on Friday, November 09, 2023, marking a time of progress, positive development, and further cooperation between these neighboring regions. At this highly regarded conference, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih revealed that the Public Investment Fund, valued at over $700 billion, plans to make substantial investments in Africa. Al-Falih emphasized that these investments will have transformative effects on the continent’s economy, describing them as “game-changing,” projected to impact various sectors, and will aim to contribute to Africa’s long-term growth and development.
During Friday’s summit, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi Energy Minister, signed initial agreements with Nigeria, Senegal, Chad, and Ethiopia to enhance cooperation in the energy sector. These agreements aim to boost the energy industry in these nations and spur their economic progress by transferring advanced expertise, cutting-edge technology, and substantial investments from the KSA. At one point during the summit, the finance ministry of Mozambique announced a funding agreement of SAR 592.64 million ($158 million) with the Saudi Development Fund to finance infrastructure projects, such as creating hospitals and a new, much-needed dam, which forecasts a significant advance of Mozambique’s social and economic development by providing access to high-quality healthcare facilities and enhancing its water supply capability.
Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih later said at the conference the kingdom’s more than $700 billion wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, will make some “game-changing” investments in Africa. Saudi Arabia and African countries have established multiple joint committees, coordinating councils, and business councils to enhance their political, economic, and developmental cooperation. The economic relationship between them has proven strong, boasting a trade volume of SAR 74.735 billion ($20 billion), where SAR 53.071 billion ($14 billion) of exports and SAR 21.664 billion ($5.8 billion) of imports were recorded. Saudi Arabia exports metal products, plastics and their manufactures, fertilizers, and organic and inorganic chemical products to African countries. Coming from the other direction, imports from Africa consist of metal products, copper and articles, live animals, fruits, coffee, tea, and spices. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has invested SAR 49.5 billion (13.2 billion) in Africa over the last decade, particularly in developmental projects related to infrastructure, healthcare, education, and agriculture.
Africa’s rapid economic growth and abundant natural resources have made it a highly coveted region for global superpowers such as the United States, Europe, China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. In this race for power and influence, Saudi Arabia is emerging as a dominant player, investing heavily to establish strong ties with African nations. As the region’s economic and political significance continues to grow, this alliance between Saudi Arabia and Africa demands our unwavering attention. The implications of this strategic partnership shouldn’t be underestimated and are projected to be a beneficial relationship throughout the long term- particularly through the lens of Vision 2030 objectives. The discussions and agreements made during the summit are expected to have far-reaching effects, promoting greater cooperation and progress between the two regions for years to come.
*Saudi Academic & Writer