RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s trade relations with Africa have strengthened, marked by the Kingdom’s investment ministry hosting a series of roundtable talks.  

Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih and Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, the minister of environment, water and agriculture, held meetings with several heads of state on the sidelines of the inaugural Saudi-African Summit in Riyadh, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Presidents from the Republics of Chad, Somalia, and Nigeria attended the talks along with representatives from both sides’ private sectors, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The roundtable meetings addressed practices to improve investment relations between the countries and enhance efforts to develop economic ties, investments, and bilateral trade. Discussions also focused on devising strategies to stimulate quality investments and enable the private sector to benefit from business opportunities in both countries.

During Thursday’s Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference, Al-Falih said: “We see economic potential in Africa that is unmatched… We want our investments to draw more investments, in order for that to happen we need to de-risk for the investor.”

He further stated that Saudi relations with the continent span hundreds of years and are rooted in a shared history, similar cultures, and geographical proximity.

“We consider ourselves an extension of the African continent. We share many links that go back thousands of years,” the minister added.

The Saudi Fund for Development signed various developmental loan agreements with several African countries during the economic forum, amounting to SR2 billion ($533 million).

The forum also saw the signing of several memorandums of understanding between the Kingdom and African nations, including five targeting the energy sector.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan spoke at the forum and noted that the Kingdom’s relationship with African countries is “strong”.  

“Our partnership with African countries is strong and ever-growing in energy, education, and agriculture, amongst many others. The Kingdom considers Africa a strong investment destination and partner,” the minister said.

The meetings demonstrate a continuous effort by the Kingdom to facilitate growth in the region and strengthen its business relationship with the continent.

Saudi Arabia and the Ivory Coast expressed their intent to establish the Saudi-Ivorian Business Council to enhance trade and investment between the two countries.

The council will organize commercial activities and launch promotional campaigns to enhance trade and investment and joint economic ventures, providing a platform for Saudi and Ivorian businesses to introduce and promote their activities and establish partnerships.

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