Presidents and ministers from Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) revealed that the deep and comprehensive cooperation between the two sides began to emerge in light of the political will to establish bridges between the Middle East and the Caribbean.
Speaking at the Saudi-CARICOM roundtable, Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid al-Falih stressed the will to strengthening the partnership between the two sides, noting it will establish for new chapters of strategic relations.
According to the Ministry of Investment, the meeting aimed to enhance strategic partnerships and mutual economic growth between the two parties.
Falih stressed that the Caribbean is a high-priority economic investment and business opportunity for the Saudi private and public sectors.
Many Saudi leaders and influencers from major companies will join the meeting to participate in the discussions.
The Minister explained that the aim is to build on steps within a long-term strategic partnership between the Kingdom and the Caribbean countries, adding that the relationship was led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, followed by Minister of Tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.
Khateeb visited the Caribbean countries, which are a “wonderful part” of the world, adding that during his two visits, he listened to the demands and concerns of those nations.
In his speech, Khateeb addressed four vital elements, including climate and climate change, resilience and sustainability, agriculture, and attracting investments in partnership with the private sector to explore opportunities for cooperation in tourism and energy.
During his tour, the Minister pointed out that he listened to the demands for funding projects for airports, schools, public roads, and hospitals.
Over the past year, 25 projects were implemented in the Caribbean region.
The meeting in Riyadh would focus on maximizing cooperation to sustain the tourism and aviation sector and attract investment, said the Minister, stressing the serious work to explore opportunities to connect the Middle East and the Caribbean region.
He noted that the tireless work of the Caribbean countries to ensure the Saudi hosting of Expo 2030 is one of the most important fruits of the partnership.
For his part, Jubeir said Saudi Arabia began a strategic journey to deepen the ties with the Caribbean countries within a long-term vision through bilateral dialogues.
The Minister asserted that the Kingdom looks forward to boosting ties beyond trade, coordinating political positions on topical issues, and ensuring adherence to international laws to protect sovereignty and non-interference.
Jubeir asserted Saudi Arabia’s belief in working on a common understanding in the multilateral climate negotiations during COP27 and the upcoming COP28.
He indicated that Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean nations have strong cultural, philosophical, and artistic commonalities, among other areas they will try to develop.
He stressed that Saudi Arabia is committed to partnering with Caribbean countries by building bridges, enabling transformation, and achieving Vision 2030 while seeking to improve the quality of life by enhancing economic diversification and attracting local and international investments.
The Kingdom is one of the few countries that has fulfilled all UN decisions on climate, which was reflected positively in the gross domestic product and the increase in investments in CARICOM, according to the Minister.
Saudi-CARICOM agreements are worth more than $370 million, with other deals valued at $200 million under negotiations.
The Minister indicated that Saudi Arabia launched several climate initiatives in light of the commitment to increase efforts to confront climate challenges.
The Kingdom allocated more than $160 billion to finance initiatives to convert waste into energy, launched afforestation operations, and pushed the work of international institutions to provide water, urban planning, cities, transportation, reduce pollution, adopt a carbon economy, and recycle and store it, said the Minister.
Jubeir believes it is necessary to achieve a just global system and provide public solutions to protect the Saudi environment, indicating that the world is moving around a methodology that allows it to confront all problems, deal with them responsibly, and find ways to support climate change.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Observer of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to the UN, Colin Murdoch, described the meeting as “one of the most important meetings of the Caribbean’s vital partnership with Saudi Arabia.”
Murdoch told Asharq Al-Awsat that it is a new phase of economic and political development, expecting the advancement of several sectors within bilateral cooperation, such as energy, gas, technology, industry, real estate, infrastructure, and transportation logistics.
CARICOM President Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit saw excellent investment opportunities with the Kingdom’s government and the private sector.
Skerrit explained that the Caribbean region is one of the most tourist-attractive regions in the world, and there are many areas of cooperation.
He described the Kingdom as a “reliable partner,” appreciating the Kingdom’s keenness and sincerity to extend the hand of friendship.
Furthermore, CARICOM Secretary-General Carla Barnett said the Community “looks forward to deepening collaboration” with the Kingdom while confirming that the Caribbean region is open to sustainable and innovative partnerships that contribute to economic transformation.
The Caribbean region is a high-priority investment and trade opportunity for the Saudi government and companies, said Barnett, adding that after each visit to the area, it is confirmed the region is full of growth and investment opportunities.
She indicated they look forward to the important international role in providing development financing through the Saudi Fund for Development, which has provided nearly $20 billion through 753 loans in 90 countries.