Climate change solutions must not hurt ‘less empowered people’, Saudi minister says

The Saudi Fund for Development plans to sign agreements with African countries worth $533 million

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman in Riyadh in June. Reuters
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Climate change solutions should not come at the expense of “less empowered people”, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister on Thursday, as the kingdom announced potential agreements with African countries.

“Climate change is crucial, important, but it should not be attended to by crushing the bones and the future of the less empowered people,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said during the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference in Riyadh on Thursday.

“Africa has been and will continue to be part of our social capital,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

The Saudi Fund for Development will sign agreements worth 2 billion Saudi riyals ($533 million) with African countries, Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said at the same event.

The fund, which helps finance projects in developing countries, is working with partners to support Ghana and other African countries to reduce debt, he said.

The minister said the agreements would be struck with many countries and entities on the continent.

“Our partnership with African countries is strong and ever growing. In energy, education and agriculture amongst many others, the kingdom considers Africa a strong investment destination and partner,” he added.

Several Saudi officials were at the economic forum after the cancelation of the political summit due to the war in Gaza.

The conference is aimed at strengthening partnerships between Saudi Arabia and the Arab world with African countries in several economic and investment sectors, including agriculture, industry, mining, and commercial partnerships.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will make some “game changing” investments in Africa, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al Falih said.

“We want investments that go into Africa to also be sustainable in the long term and catalyse more and more investment.

“We want our sustainable investments to … grow additional investments and for that to happen, we need to de-risk the investments.”

In September, the UAE pledged $4.5 billion to help speed up the development of clean energy projects in Africa.

Abu Dhabi’s clean-energy company Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Etihad Credit Insurance, and Dubai-based renewable energy company Amea Power are expected to provide the funds.

Developing countries require about $1.7 trillion per year in the clean energy sector but managed to attract foreign direct investment worth only $544 billion in 2022, Unctad, the UN intergovernmental organisation that promotes the interests of developing countries in world trade, said in a report in July.

Updated: November 09, 2023, 10:31 AM