Somali Magazine – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has $533 million worth of trade agreements with African countries during a special conference in a significant boost to the Kingdom’s ties with the continent.
Some of the areas the trade deals covered are; energy, roads, and health, and will be financed through the Saudi Fund for Development.
The Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference, held in Riyadh, also saw the signings of multiple memorandums of understanding, as well as the lifting by the Kingdom of a ban on red meat imports from South Africa.
There was even the revelation that more was still to come, with Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih telling the event that the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund is eyeing up deals in the continent.
“PIF is looking at Africa with great interest and I believe they will be in due course making some game-changing announcements about their intent to invest in Africa,” he said, adding that Ma’aden and PIF’s joint venture – announced in January – is going to “invest in the critical minerals in Africa.”
Al-Falih described the $75 billion of Saudi investment already deployed in Africa as “only scratching the surface” given the great potential for more trade and economic support.
Breakdown of Saudi-Africa MOUs
• Nigeria in the oil and gas sector.
• Senegal, Ethiopia, and Chad respectively for cooperation in the field of energy.
• Egypt to establish “high level financial dialogue.”
• Gambia on the avoidance of double taxation of income and prevention of tax evasions.
• Rwanda to implement the oil sustainability program initiatives.
• Guinea, for a mother and child referral hospital.
• Malawi, for the construction and rehabilitation of the Manchogi – Makanjira road.
• Burkina Faso, for the Manga Regional Hospital.
• Burundi, for the rehabilitation of King Khalid University Hospital in Bujumbura.
• Sierra Leone, for the construction and equipment of Riyadh Referral Hospital.
• Tanzania, for the Benako to Kyaka transmission line.
• Niger, for the construction of secondary schools for girls in several regions.
As a way of strengthening industrial, mining, and commercial partnerships, there were discussions at the conference, along with sustainable energy, food security, and investing in business development, infrastructure, and human capital.
Trade between the Kingdom and Africa has witnessed remarkable growth during the past five years, according to the Saudi Press Agency, with non-oil exports to the continent.
Industrial and mining activities lead Saudi non-oil exports to Africa, with the chemicals and polymers sectors top, followed by packaging, building materials, and food products.
Imports from Africa came from a number of sectors, including precious metals and jewelry.
The conference also saw the signing of an agreement to lift the ban on red meat imports to Saudi Arabia from South Africa.
The decision to change the law was agreed upon in 2022 when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa met with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during his state visit to the Kingdom.
During the conference, this was realized as the Kingdom signed an agreement for technical requirements of importing cattle and goat meat, as well as their products, with South Africa.
The formalizing of the ban’s removal was signed by representatives of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and South Africa’s Department and Trade Industry, overseen by the Kingdom’s investment minister.
Speaking to Arab media outlets, South African Minister of Trade Ebrahim Patel – who also witnessed the signing – noted this is just the beginning of a budding trade relationship.
“I think we can unlock a lot more Saudi investment through three key means. One is we are exploring the idea of a joint fund where both governments put some money together that can unlock investment expansion projects,” the minister added.