PM Abiy Holds Talks with Saudi Crown Prince in Riyadh

Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz over bilateral and regional matters.

The two leaders met on Friday on the sidelines of the inaugural Saudi Arabia-Africa Summit being held in Riyadh City.

“We discussed bilateral and regional matters including Ethiopia’s development and economic reforms as well as the role played by Ethiopia in the region,” PM Abiy said.

The meeting comes a day after Riyadh and Addis Ababa signed a cooperation agreement in the petroleum and energy sectors.

Prime Minister Abiy said that Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia have “many strategic interests to cooperate on”.

“To this end, we have reached an understanding to establish a high-level joint ministerial committee; for Saudi support on Ethiopia’s macroeconomic reforms through debt restructuring; energy cooperation and development finance and investments,” he added.

Abiy and his delegation are attending the Saudi-Africa Summit aimed at bolstering the strategic and economic ties between Saudi Arabia and African countries.

Saudi Seeks Strong Economic and Trade Ties with Africa

According to the Saudi Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia provided more than $45 billion for humanitarian projects and development in 54 African countries.

In his opening remarks, the Saudi Crown Prince announced the launching of various development and economic programs to strengthen bilateral relations with Africa including a new $1 billion initiative to bring water to African countries over a period of 10 years.

“We also look forward to launching new Saudi investments worth over $25 billion in various sectors,” he said. “We are keen to develop cooperation and partnership and trade ties.”

Saudi Arabia would also finance $10 billion in exports and provide an additional $5 billion in development financing to the African continent until 2030, per the Crown Prince.

“The Kingdom is keen to support innovative solutions to address African debt, as it sought during its presidency of the G20 in 2020 to launch initiatives to suspend debt service payments during the pandemic for low-income countries, and the Common Framework for Debt Treatments initiative in many African countries,” he said.

The Gulf nation plans to increase its embassies in Africa to more than 40, Per the Crown Price.