Saudi Arabia grants $1bn to help African countries fight Covid-19

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says pandemic has had severe effects in low-income African countries

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. SPA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday said the kingdom would provide African countries with $1 billion to help them cope with Covid-19.

“The impact of the pandemic on low-income African countries was severe, as it widened the financing gap needed to achieve development goals," Prince Mohammed said in a televised address.

"It is important to continue joint international efforts to overcome this crisis."

He said that the G20 countries under the Saudi presidency last year realised the need to support low-income countries in Africa and the rest of the world to address the pandemic.

“The statement of the G20 countries at the extraordinary summit held in March 2020 considers strengthening the health system in Africa as a basis for the integration of the global health system,” Prince Mohammed said.

The summit brought together lender countries, 30 African and European heads of states, the IMF and the World Bank to help African economies.

“This historic initiative provided urgent liquidity to 73 of the poorest countries, including 38 African countries, that received more than $5bn,” Prince Mohammed said during the summit in Paris.

“We are aiming that this summit concludes with solutions to the debts of African countries.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that supports Covax and the kingdom is one of the countries that supports exporting vaccines to developing countries.”

He said the projects would be assisted by the Saudi Fund for Development.

“The fund also announced an initiative of €200 million ($244.6m)  to develop the Sahel countries, in partnership with the French Development Agency.”

Saudi Arabia has spent €100m to battle terrorism in Africa and continues to work with countries under the Sadak community, led by South Africa, to strengthen Mozambique’s security forces to help the fight against extremists.

Prince Mohammed said Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has projects and activities in the sectors of energy, mining, communications, food and others, with a value of $4bn.

“Saudi Arabia has given 580 loans and grants to more than 45 African countries with a value exceeding $ 13.5 billion,” he said.

Prince Mohammed said his Green Middle East Initiative, which aimed to plant more than 50 billion trees and reduce more than 10 per cent of carbon emissions in the world, included many African countries.

More on Saudi Arabia