By Arab News
Saudi Arabia will support African countries with investments and loans worth about $1 billion this year to help their economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said on Tuesday.
The projects will be carried out by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Prince Mohammed said in a six-minute televised speech to a debt relief conference in Paris.
“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that supports COVAX and the Kingdom is one of the countries that supports exporting vaccines to developing countries,” he said, in reference to a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 jabs.
Last year’s Saudi-hosted G20 Summit launched initiatives to support the African economy while the SFD offered loans to African countries.
He also said the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), had invested around $4 billion in the energy, mining, telecoms, food and other sectors in Africa and that it would continue to look for opportunities in other sectors in the continent.
Prince Mohammed said his country has paid $122 million to combat terror along the African coast.
“We are aiming that this summit concludes with solutions to the debts of African countries,” the crown prince said.
Saudi, he added, has offered loans and grants to more than 45 African countries.
Saudi Arabia was among lender counties which met in Paris on Tuesday to find ways of financing African economies hurt by the pandemic and to discuss handling the continent’s billions of dollars in debt.
The summit brought together some 30 African and European heads of state, as well as the heads of global financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.
‘Saudi Arabia has announced a Euro 200 million worth initiative to redevelop the African coast’ Prince Mohammed told the attendees.
“The impact of the pandemic on low-income African countries was severe, as it widened the financing gap needed to achieve development goals. It is important to continue joint international efforts to overcome this crisis,” the crown prince said.
He said the Kingdom is currently working closely with its partners at Southern African Development Community and mainly with South Africa to strengthen the capabilities of Mozambique’s security forces to fight extremists and reinforce stability.
Prince Salman said many African countires would be involved in the Kindom’s Green Middle East Initiative, which aims to remove 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions
Earlier during the conference, IMF member countries agreed to clear Sudan’s arrears to the institution, removing a final hurdle to it obtaining wider relief on external debt of at least $50 billion.
Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s third-largest creditor with about $4.6 billion in debt, has said it will press strongly for a broad agreement on debt, to help a country emerging from decades of sanctions and isolation under ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir.