Riyadh, November 09, 2023, SPA -- Saudi-African relations go back for decades, converging on many political, economic and cultural issues.
In order to boost relations between the Kingdom and African countries, both of geopolitical importance, 16 joint committees, two coordinating councils and seven business councils have been established, and more than 250 cooperation agreements in political, economic and development fields were signed.
The Kingdom plays a pivotal role in international and regional efforts to establish security and stability, resolve conflicts, fight terrorist groups and extremism, and improve the security capabilities of African countries.
Out of responsibility toward Arab and African countries, and of keenness to preserve the interests of their peoples, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, has been supporting international and regional efforts to establish security and stability, and resolve conflicts in the African continent. These efforts resulted, for example, in the signing of the historic Jeddah peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
They also contributed to making the parties to the conflict in Sudan resume talks in Jeddah, with the aim of reaching a political agreement that would achieve security, stability and prosperity for the Sudanese; Saudi Arabia hosted representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and of the Rapid Support Forces in Jeddah in May 2023.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US have urged the parties to seriously engage in talks to achieve an effective short-term ceasefire, facilitate emergency humanitarian access and the restoration of basic services, and prepare a timetable for expanded negotiations to permanently halt hostilities.
The Kingdom expressed deep concern about the developments in Niger and Gabon, and their repercussions on the security of the African continent and world peace. It urged all involved to use reason and wisdom to preserve higher national interests.
It also stresses its keenness to preserve the interests of the Libyan people and their desire to achieve security, stability and development.
Due to the Kingdom's pivotal role in advancing development and economy in African countries and the keenness of the Prime Minister to support the economy of the African continent, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has launched several projects and investment activities in African countries in the sectors of energy, mining, communications, food, and others with a total of SAR 15 billion. These projects reflect HRH the Crown Prince's keenness on the importance of continuing to search for new opportunities for investment in the African continent, whether directly or indirectly.
The Kingdom's great interest in the future of the African continent and its countries and peoples emerged through the participation of HRH the Crown Prince in the summit to address the challenge of Africa's funding shortfall held in Paris 2021.
The Kingdom and African countries have economic relations. The volume of trade exchange between the two sides amounted to SAR 74.735 billion, of which exports represented SAR 53.071 billion, including metal products, plastics and their manufacturers, fertilizers, organic chemical products, and inorganic chemical products. Imports amounted to SAR 21.664 billion. It included metal products, copper and articles, live animals, fruits, coffee, tea and spices.
Due to the Kingdom's special interest in the African continent, its total investments in Africa during the last ten years amounted to SAR 49.5 billion. The number of Saudi companies operating there reached 47 businesses working in the fields of renewable energy, food and beverages, business services, financial services, and consumer products.
In support of African countries, the efforts exerted by the Prime Minister during the Kingdom's presidency of the G20 in 2020 contributed to the launch of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments. These two initiatives provided urgent liquidity to 73 of the poorest countries, including 38 African countries that received more than $5 billion.
Based on the Kingdom's active and pioneering role in achieving comprehensive development sustainability, the Saudi Fund for Development's support to the continent of Africa constituted about 57.06% of its total development activity worldwide. It has supported 46 developing countries in Africa by financing 413 development projects and programs to support the development sectors through soft development loans with a total value of about SAR 40113.81 million.
The development sectors financed by the SFD in the beneficiary countries covered transport and communications, (roads, seaports, railways and airports), social infrastructure, (education, health, water and sanitation, housing and urban development), agriculture, energy, industry and mining, in addition to international organizations.
Within the framework of its humanitarian and relief assistance to the countries of the African continent, and under the directives and follow-up of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and HRH the Crown Prince, the Kingdom carried out humanitarian evacuation operations of 8,455 citizens and nationals of brotherly and friendly countries from the Republic of Sudan in order to preserve their lives from the consequences of the armed conflict in Sudan.
Stemming from its humanitarian role, the value of Saudi aid provided to 54 countries in the African continent, according to the statistics of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), amounted to $45,333,508,756. The number of implemented projects reached 1884 projects, represented in development, voluntary humanitarian assistance, charitable, and general humanitarian assistance.
The Saudi assistance included education, health, food and agricultural security, water and environmental sanitation, nutrition, logistics, shelter and non-food items, safety and protection, early recovery, support and coordination of humanitarian operations, and in multiple sectors.
The assistance was represented in the sectors of industry, mining and mineral resources, support for public programs, support for budgets, transport and storage, agriculture, forestry and fish, water and environmental sanitation, energy, education, and health, in addition to many other sectors.
The KSrelief also provided $100 million to the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, which operates in Uganda, Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Togo, Comoros, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, Guinea, Mauritania and Morocco.
The Kingdom spearheaded international endeavours to guarantee the prompt and fair worldwide dissemination of vaccines, with a particular focus on low-income African nations, during its G20 presidency in 2020. This was accomplished through the establishment of the initiative to expedite access to tools for combating the Coronavirus, to which it contributed significantly as one of the leading donors and supporters.
Out of concern for cultural relations between both sides, and based on statistics from the Ministry of Education, the number of Saudi male and female students on scholarship studying in African universities has reached 3,956. Twenty-three Saudi government universities are hosting 2,795 male and female students from 49 African countries.
In confirmation of the close relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and African countries, several African nations supported the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's request to host the Expo in Riyadh in 2030.
To mitigate the effects of climate change and curb the most influential sources of gas emissions into the atmosphere, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince launched several initiatives, including the Green Middle East Initiative. The initiative encompasses multiple African countries and aims to plant over 50 billion trees and reduce more than 10% of global carbon emissions.
The Kingdom, through the Saudi-African Summit, scheduled in Riyadh tomorrow, looks forward to strengthening international efforts to find innovative solutions that enable the African continent to leverage its wealth and internal capabilities, maximizing the positive impact of the Kingdom's investments and development projects in African countries, both economically and socially.
The Kingdom contributes to reducing unemployment and poverty rates, while reinforcing the partnership of the Kingdom and Arab countries with African nations. Hosting the summit underscores the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and HRH Crown Prince's commitment to enhancing the Kingdom's international partnerships in a manner that serves its political, economic, and development goals, thus realizing the objectives of Vision 2030.
The Kingdom seeks to bolster relations with African countries, expanding them to broader horizons, and establishing a fruitful partnership across various political, economic, and developmental domains. This summit is an extension of the Kingdom's hosting of summits and ministerial meetings with various international blocs, including the Gulf Summit with the Central Asian countries, the Gulf Summit with the Association of ASEAN, and the Arab Ministerial Meeting with the Pacific countries, showcasing the Kingdom's leadership role at regional and international levels.
14:12 Local Time 11:12 GMT