The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Saudi Arabia dangles funding, debt relief for African States


SAUDI Arabia said on Friday it was preparing a financial portfolio of US$10 billion worth of exports and another $5 billion in developmen­t financing for African countries as it sought to tie down what it said were ‘historical’ ties with the continent.

This will include a US$1 billion fund for water projects to be erected by 2033, as well as security programmes and cleaner energy projects targeting at least 750 million people in Africa.

This is coming at a time Saudi Arabia is hunting for a vote for hosting rights of the World Expo in Riyadh due in 2030 but the host is selected on November 28.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a gathering of African leaders in Riyadh that he intends to support “innovative solutions” for African debt as well as improve cashflows in African countries. The project is to run until 2030, the presumptiv­e year in which the globe is supposed to have attained the sustainabl­e developmen­t goals (SDGs).

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports sustainabl­e developmen­t and recognises every country’s right to utilise their resources and capacities,” he said at the inaugural Saudi-Africa Summit, which brought together representa­tives of 50 countries across the continent, among them the entire Horn of Africa leaders.

“The kingdom is keen to support innovative solutions to address African debt, as it sought during its presidency of the G20 in 2020 to launch initiative­s to suspend debt service payments during the pandemic for low-income countries, and the Common Framework for Debt Treatment initiative in many African countries,” he said. —

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