Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are Looking Beyond Trade Partnership

Mon May 20 2024
author image

Mohsin Janjua

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

A high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia, led by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, visited Pakistan from April 15 to 16, 2024, to discuss economic cooperation between the two nations. The delegation included Saudi Minister of Water and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadli, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef, Deputy Minister of Investment: Badr AlBadr, Head of Saudi Special Committee: Mohammad Mazyed Al Towaijri and Senior officials From the Ministry of Energy and Saudi Fund for General Investments.

The visit was aimed to fast-track the implementation of agreements made between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during their recent meeting in Makkah. The primary objectives were to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation Between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, finalize investment deals Worth $5 billion in sectors like energy, IT, mining, agriculture, construction, and human resource development. This is the first all encompassing and comprehensive visit by a delegation which has laid down the foundation for future cooperation between the two nations.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed warm relations since 1947. The two countries have developed a unique synergy for mutual development, with Saudi Arabia hosting the largest number of Pakistanis. Saudi Arabia has long been a hub for Pakistani expatriates, with over 2 million Pakistanis living and working in the Kingdom. This significant presence has contributed substantially to the development of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the fields of construction, engineering, medicine, and finance.

In recent years, the two nations have sought to expand their partnership beyond traditional security and political ties to encompass geo-economic cooperation. This shift in focus has the potential to transform the regional economic landscape and cement Pakistan’s position as a key player in the Middle East. One of the most significant areas of cooperation between Pakistan and KSA is energy. Pakistan has long struggled with energy shortages, while KSA has vast oil reserves. In 2019, KSA agreed to provide Pakistan with $3.2 billion in oil imports on deferred payments, helping to ease Pakistan’s energy crisis.

Saudi Arabia is investing in various sectors in Pakistan, including energy, infrastructure, and agriculture. The trade volume between the two countries is increasing, with Pakistan exporting goods such as textiles, food products, and construction materials to Saudi Arabia. The economic growth of both countries is interdependent, with Pakistan providing labor and expertise to Saudi Arabia’s development projects. In 2020, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at increasing bilateral trade to $10 billion.

One area where KSA can greatly benefit from Pakistan’s expertise is agriculture. Pakistan’s agricultural sector has made tremendous progress in recent years, and KSA can leverage this expertise to enhance its own food security and economic growth.

The future of economic and trade cooperation between Pakistan and KSA looks promising, with both countries keen to expand their economic ties. The diversification of trade, regional trade, and economic integration are key areas of focus for the future.

Pakistan-KSA geo-economic relations have the potential to transform the regional economic landscape. By leveraging their complementary strengths and resources, the two nations can enhance energy cooperation, boost trade and investment, and promote regional economic integration.

Mohsin Janjua

About the Author. Mohsin Janjua is a PhD scholar in Quaid-e-Azam University. He can be reached at [email protected]

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp