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Saudi Arabia to invest $500m in African development

Saudi Arabia's new development fund was involved in supporting more than 400 projects related to water, roads and schools Reuters/Mike Hutchings
Saudi Arabia's new development fund is involved in supporting more than 400 projects related to water, roads and schools
  • More than 400 projects backed
  • Drive to help boost ‘Africa’s voice
  • Mining and agriculture major interests

Saudi Arabia is to sign agreements worth more than SAR2 billion ($533 million) with African nations to invest in development projects and help boost “Africa’s voice” in international affairs. 

“Today we’ll witness the signing of agreements between the Saudi Fund for Development and a number of African countries for projects exceeding 2 billion riyals,” the Saudi finance minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, speaking at the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference in Riyadh on Thursday, said. 

He said the fund was involved in supporting more than 400 projects related to roads, water and schools. 

The minister also said Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and leading regional economy, had helped ensure aid for Chad and Zambia in debt repayment during its G20 presidency in 2020.

Riyadh is currently working to help Ghana and several other countries. 

The Saudi Fund for Development signed an agreement in Oman in September to provide more than $53 million of funding for small and medium enterprises in the sultanate, part of a deal to invest up to $5 billion in Oman. 

Al-Jadaan said energy, mining and agriculture were major Saudi investment interests in Africa. “The kingdom considers Africa an investment destination,” he said.

“The Saudi port authority is enhancing its links with African ports, as we are with aviation routes.” 

Saudi Arabia also wants to help Africa play an increased role in world affairs through supporting the African Union, Al-Jadaan said. “We believe the African continent will play a major role in dealing with global challenge. Africa’s voice is important in all international events,” he added.

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