Saudi Arabia In Africa – OpEd

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On November 10th the first ever Africa +1 summit took place in Riyadh. The summit concluded to cement strategic cooperation, geopolitical, and cultural historical ties, and to strengthen economic and diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Africa. The summit was attended by 
50 leaders of Africa including the representative of African union. 

The summit ended with the formation of working groups on military affairs, terrorism, extremism, economic affairs, cultural, communication, maritime security, humanitarian, healthcare, and educational working groups. Over 50 agreements signed of tourism, logistics, finance, mining, energy. While, 533 million dollar debt relief was provided to Ghana and other countries. In the summit 500 million dollar of new projects were pledged in Africa. In which 158 million dollar will be spent on hospital and Dama in Mozambique. 

The KSA has already been eying on penetrating in Africa and has provided development support of 45 billion USD to 46 African countries in past 5 decades. Saudi Arabia has also committed to spend 50 billion USD in different projects across the continent. According to 2030 plan Saudi Arabia has plan to invest 25 billion USD in Africa by the end of this decade. Currently, Saudi experts to the continent are 10 billion USD. In addition, Saudi Arabia had already appointed secretary of state for African affairs in 2018. It has been involved in peace negotiations in Sudan. 

The meeting declaration condemned Israeli attack on Palastine and demanded from Israel halting attacks. 

The concept of Afrabia is a new buzzword in Saudi media. Saudi Arabia is wishing to establish warm relations between Arab world and Africa. Saudi Arabia also wishes to increase trade with African countries so that to lauch itself as global leader for which it has also joined BRICKS too. For the accomplishment of its aim Saudi Arabia has started enhancing peace with its rivals. For instance, Saudi relations with Iran restarted after 8 years. The KSA also initiated good relations with Syria which became the member of Arab league again. The Kingdom has also initiated Peace efforts in Yemen. 

The corridor politics is a win-win situation for all and mostly support the underdeveloped. The Saudi  Arabia approachent will also be a win win situation for Saudi Arabia and African countries. Saudi Arabia will have access to energy and trade markets of African states while the African countries would witness development. It will be a big step in accomplishing the Saudi ambition of 2030. Like China, Saudi Arabia is also influencing and inroding states through Soft power penetration and the current move testifies it.

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai is a M.Phil scholar and writes as a freelance columnist.

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