Bilawal wins $1b Saudi investment pledge



CAIRO:

Saudi Arabia will invest $1 billion in Pakistan as part of its plan to help revive the country’s economy that has been reeling from one crisis to another since the last few months.

The Saudi investment will give a boost to the government’s desperate measures to bring some semblance of stability in the fragile economy. The announcement from Saudi Arabia came following a telephonic conversation between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, issued a directive to invest $1 billion in Pakistan, in confirmation of the kingdom’s support of the Pakistani economy and the Pakistani people,” read the statement issued by the Saudi State media on Thursday.

The statement said the Saudi foreign minister informed the Kingdom’s decision to Bilawal during a telephone call. “In addition to discussing the strong Saudi-Pakistani relations and ways to boost them, regional and international issues of common interest are also discussed during the call,” the statement added.

In a tweet Bilawal confirmed the telephonic conversation with the Saudi foreign minister. Bilawal welcomed the Saudi commitment to invest $1 billion in Pakistan. He also briefed his Saudi counterpart on the damages caused by unprecedented floods. Bilawal thanked Farhan for the Saudi assurance to extend all possible assistance.

It is not clear where and when the latest investment would be made. Saudi Arabia is one of the key countries that Pakistan has been seeking financial support from. Riyadh has agreed to roll over a $3 billion loan later this year. The latest pledge from Saudi Arabia came on the heels of Qatar announcing $3 billion investment in Pakistan.

Islamabad is desperately looking for financial assistance from friendly countries to shore up its depleting foreign reserves. The expected release of $1.2 billion next instalment from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will certainly avert any possibility of default.

But Pakistan needs assistance from other countries and international financial institutions to keep its economy afloat.

With the ongoing devastation caused by floods in Sindh, Baluchistan and parts of Punjab, the country’s economic woes will certainly be compounded.





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