Saudi Crown Prince to Announce $20B Investment Projects in Pakistan

Saudi Crown Prince to Announce $20B Investment Projects in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is set to make his first state visit to Pakistan on Saturday, where he is expected to announce investment projects worth up to $20 billion, a senior official told VOA.
The unprecedented Saudi investment is being viewed by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nascent government as a major boost for cash-strapped Pakistan, which is facing an economic crisis and balance of payments pressure.
It will also send a strong message to other international investors to come to Pakistan, said Haroon Sharif, who chairs Pakistan’s Board of Investment, (BoI) which promotes and facilitates investors.
“At this stage, we are expecting serious Memorandums of Understanding [for concrete projects] between $15 billion to $20 billion worth of investments from Saudi Arabia in the area of oil refining, petrochemicals, energy sector, alternate energy and the mineral sector,” Sharif told VOA. However, these number are subject to technical feasibilities, he emphasized.
The Saudi prince, often referred to as MBS, will be accompanied by a high-powered delegation, including members of the royal family, key ministers and leading businessmen. He will hold meetings with Prime Minister Khan and other top officials, as well as Pakistani military leaders.
Sharif said that the anticipated Saudi investment includes an oil refinery to be established in the southwestern coastal city of Gwadar, where China has built a seaport as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative. The proposed refinery is estimated to cost around $10 billion.
Officials say the refinery will be in place “in 3-5 years” and it will help meet Pakistan’s needs of refined oil products, which it currently imports. The surplus, they say, will be exported from Gwadar to other buyers.
Saudi investment also intends to target food and agriculture sectors in Pakistan.
Pakistan has traditionally maintained strong political, cultural, economic and defense ties with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Kingdom hosts hundreds of thousands of Pakistani expatriates, and is a key source of oil supplies to Islamabad on deferred payments and cash grants to help Pakistan’s traditionally struggling economy.
Pakistani officials insist the Saudi intended investment has no strings attached to it such as asking Pakistan to send its troops to assist in Saudi war in Yemen.

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