Prime Minister Dr the Hon Keith Rowley, along with other regional leaders, met with His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the inaugural CARICOM-Saudi Arabia Summit on Thursday 16 November in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir met with CARICOM heads at the Forty-Third Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in July 2022 and proposed initiatives to deepen ties between the region and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yesterday’s engagement is a result of those efforts.
The high-level meeting builds on the strategic alliance between the Caribbean nations and Saudi Arabia and signals a commitment by all parties to the continued development of an enduring relationship.
Earlier, the Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih, hosted leaders to an investment roundtable meeting which provided an opportunity for discussions with leading Saudi private sector entities.
Minister Al-Falih highlighted the Caribbean as a high-priority economic investment opportunity for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Agriculture and food security, renewable energy, climate change, finance and tourism were among the areas identified for collaborative attention.
Several high-profile Saudi private sector companies were present at the roundtable forum including the Public Investment Fund, Aramco, Saudi National Bank, SABIC and the Saudi Fund for Development.
Prime Minister Rowley also held bilateral discussions today with Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman which focussed on opportunities for both countries to work together to create energy security for the region.
Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs the Hon Dr Amery Browne and Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon Stuart Young accompanied the Prime Minister to today’s meetings.
Meanwhile, according to Saudi Arabia’s press, while addressing the event, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, said, “The partnership between the Kingdom and Caricom marks a new and exciting chapter with the historic and important inaugural Saudi-Caricom roundtable meeting.”
During the forum, Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) CEO Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, said the SFD has been giving long-term loans to Caricom over the last 40 years, with over 25 projects in various sectors, including education, health and energy.
He said looking ahead, the SFD is willing to prioritise Caricom’s development priorities, with technical teams ready to be mobilised to the respective countries to evaluate the development projects and help assist with preparation needed for loan approvals.
During yesterday’s meeting, two developmental memoranda of understanding were signed with St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Kitts and Nevis.
The deal signed with St Vincent and the Grenadines involves providing $50 million for the rehabilitation of several pieces of infrastructure damaged by natural disasters.
In the second deal, the fund will allocate $40 million to the Needsmust Power Plant expansion project in St Kitts and Nevis. This initiative is focused on bolstering the energy sector, improving energy quality and access to its people.
Meanwhile, to further strengthen ties, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment, Khalid Al-Falih, pledged to discuss implementing a direct flight between his country and Caribbean nations through the new established Riyadh Air airline.