Saudi Arabia top global donor for humanitarian, developmental programs

Updated 21 October 2017
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Saudi Arabia top global donor for humanitarian, developmental programs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, which has extended SR54 billion ($14.4 billion) in humanitarian and developmental assistance to more than 80 countries in a year, ranks as the top donor among nations giving aid and assistance globally.
“This represents a gross national income ratio of 1.9 percent, the highest achieved by any country,” said Abu Baker Mohammed, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, on Wednesday.
Mohammed, who was speaking on the occasion of World Food Day, appreciated “the huge efforts, significant grants and humanitarian assistance that the Saudi government provides to the hungry, poor, and refugees worldwide.”
He pointed out that the Kingdom gives high priority to issues of food security, rural agricultural development and migration by developing and implementing strategic initiatives within the framework of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.
“The FAO is proud of its fruitful cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and the strategic partnership in providing technical and advisory support to implement the initiatives of the ministry,” said Mohammed.
The FAO celebrates World Food Day each year to commemorate the founding of the organization in 1945. It is celebrated as an opportunity to show global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal to achieve “Zero Hunger” by 2030.
Mohammed said that global figures show an ever-increasing number of people have been forced to emigrate due to conflicts, hunger, poverty and climate change.
“These factors affect the availability of the needed resources for a decent life … there are about 244 million migrants, while 763 million migrants are within their own countries,” he noted.


Saudi Arabia pledges $3bn to Pakistan, defers oil payments

Updated 24 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia pledges $3bn to Pakistan, defers oil payments

  • It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support: statement
  • Pakistan is seeking foreign aid to help plug a massive budgetary gap which the Pakistan prime minister has blamed on the mismanagement of the previous administration

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 billion in support to Pakistan and allowed for deferred oil payments to help stave off a budget crisis.

The deal came as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the opening of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Earlier Khan met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss bilateral issues. It was his second visit to the Kingdom in just over a month.

“It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“It was also agreed that a one-year deferred payment facility for import of oil, up to $3 billion, will be provided by Saudi Arabia. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.”

During his address to the gathering of global business executives, Khan also confirmed that Pakistan was in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new bailout.

Pakistan is seeking foreign aid to help plug a massive budgetary gap which the Pakistan prime minister has blamed on the mismanagement of the previous administration. During his election campaign, the former cricketer vowed to create 10 million jobs and establish an “Islamic welfare state.”

After a consultative visit last month, the IMF had warned that Pakistan needed to quickly secure “significant external financing” to avert a crisis. 

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have also discussed potential investment in mineral resources in Balochistan, the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

Further discussions were held about a refinery project in Pakistan, the Finance Ministry said in the statement.

Pakistan’s external balance of payments represents one of the biggest challenges facing Khan.

The country’s current account deficit has ballooned as its central bank’s foreign reserves dropped to about $8.1 billion in October.

That was barely enough to meet the country’s sovereign borrowings between now and the end of the year.

The IMF expects Pakistan’s economic growth to slow to about 4 percent in 2019.

Pakistan is seeking to attract increased inward investment to help shore up its finances and Khan used the event as platform to talk about opportunities in sectors such as tourism, minerals, coal and gas exploration.

He also highlighted what he said were the successes of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, which has brought peace and stability to the country, and pointed to the significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China has become an increasingly high-profile investor in Pakistan as Beijing pushes ahead with major projects such as the CPEC.