Saudi fund signs agreement with Oman to develop $320m infrastructure project

The Saudi Fund for Development will finance undertaking in Al-Dhahirah Special Economic Zone

Muttrah, Oman. Saudi Arabia and Oman are working to boost investment and trade ties. Getty Images
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The Saudi Fund for Development has signed a preliminary agreement to back an infrastructure development project worth 1.2 billion Saudi riyals ($320 million) in Oman.

Under the agreement, the Saudi fund will finance the project for Al-Dhahirah Special Economic Zone in Oman, which the two sides will develop, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The project includes the construction of infrastructure, roads, electrical installations, water and sewage networks, treatment of industrial waste, and the setting up of basic facilities, in addition to providing engineering consultancy services, according to a report in the state-run Oman News Agency.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Saudi-Omani Investment Forum, which is being held in Riyadh from February 1 to 4.

“The agreement contributes to strengthening bilateral development relations between the two sides, appreciating the efforts that seek to achieve sustainable development goals between the two countries,” said Zahir bin Al-Abri, an official representing Oman’s ministry of finance.

About 20km from the Al Rub El Khali border checkpoint with Saudi Arabia, the special economic zone in Al Dhahirah Governorate in Oman is expected to contribute to sustainable economic growth, increase trade and create quality industries in the country, the agencies said.

It is also expected to enhance bilateral partnerships while reducing the cost of production and export of various goods between the two countries.

“These development projects and programmes contribute to achieving the ambitious visions of the two countries, to achieve economic growth and social prosperity," said Sultan Al-Murshid, chief executive of the Saudi Fund for Development.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment also signed 13 preliminary agreements with Oman in sectors including biochemicals, energy, mining, financial investment, logistics, maritime transport and information technology, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia has been investing in various projects in Oman in recent months, deepening economic ties between the two countries.

In December, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, better known as Sabic, signed an agreement with Oman’s state energy company OQ and Kuwait Petroleum International to set up a petrochemical complex in the sultanate to manufacture petrochemical products for markets linked to the energy transition process, clean technology, mobility, and construction, among others.

In the same month, Tadawul Saudi Arabia and Riyadh’s Securities Depository Centre Company (Edaa) joined forces with the Muscat bourse and the sultanate’s Clearing and Depository Company, respectively, to allow companies to dual list in the Saudi financial market and its Omani counterpart.

In December 2021, Saudi Arabia and Oman also announced the opening of the first land crossing between the two nations to promote trade exchange.

The Saudi Fund for Development has been working for about 45 years to finance and support development projects in Oman, SPA said.

The projects come within the framework of development co-operation between the two countries to collaborate in areas such as infrastructure, higher and vocational education programmes, and the water sector, in addition to development projects in the energy sector, it added.

Updated: February 01, 2023, 3:42 PM