The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is showing a keen interest in investment opportunities in the CPEC (China-Pakistan economic corridor), confirmed by Pakistani Communications Minister Hafiz Abdul Kareem. Saudi Arabia’s interest in the project has a great potential to change the political and economic landscape of this region.
While meeting with Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Ahmed Al-Malkiy, Pakistan’s Minister for Communications Hafiz Abdul Kareem briefed the delegation about the investment potential the CPEC might hold for Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistani Minister stated that in cooperation both countries enjoy close brotherly relations and expressed the country’s hope for Riyadh to play a major role in the economic growth of Pakistan.
Communications Secretary Siddique Memon said that both dignitaries discussed matters of common interest and that the Saudi delegation was briefed about the current road and rail infrastructure projects in Pakistan.
Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Ahmed Al-Malkiy confirmed the country’s interest in the China-Pakistan Corridor, as well as the Gwadar Port Development. While talking to state-run media, the ambassador said that being such a huge project, CPEC boasts several investment opportunities and has the potential to strengthen and increase Saudi-Pakistan relations.
During the meeting held earlier this month, both envoys spoke on the issue of brotherly relations between the two countries, as well as strategic and bilateral trade relations. Both parties stated that solid steps are already being taken in order to improve and enhance Saudi-Pakistan trade.
While the exact scope of Saudi Arabia’s participation in CPEC still remains unclear, its involvement in the project could significantly transform both the political and the economic landscape of the region.
Connecting The Strings
Most foreign policy analysts agree on the fact that Pakistan’s economic and strategic ties to its Islamic neighbors will play a most significant position in mending the broken relations in the region, especially those between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Earlier this year, Iran said that the country was interested in joining CPEC “with its full capabilities, possibilities and abilities.” Saudi’s newly formed interest in the multi-billion-dollar project could make way for the two countries’ bilateral relations to improve.
Qatar, a long-serving friend of Pakistan, has seen all its ambassadorial and trade ties with Saudi Arabia severed this summer. Given the interest both countries have shown for joining CPEC, Pakistan could be the force that put back together the diplomatic disaster that many believe has started to impact the region.
Both Islamabad and Tehran have expressed interest in increasing their bilateral trade, and the recent lifting of the UN economic sanctions will enable new trade deals to be made. The support and involvement of such an energy-rich country could significantly impact the speed and efficiency in which the CPEC is brought to completion.
Saudi Arabia’s major step in their Vision 2030 plan
Saudi Arabia’s participation in the multi-billion-dollar infrastructure venture could provide the country with the outlet they need to bring their Vision 2030 sustainability plan to life.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s new economic plan which focuses on transitioning away from a combustion financial system, while in theory a rock-solid plan, in practice lacks a part vital to its successful realization – infrastructure.
Aramco, the kingdom’s national oil company, plans on investing in renewable energy sources and diversifying into non-combustion chemicals. With an abundance of petroleum, the government plans to implement initiatives that will create a thriving market for small- and medium-sized businesses producing petrochemicals and petroleum products.
A production-oriented economy can’t thrive without sufficient infrastructure to hold up its exports, which is where CPEC steps in. The future corridor will solve the problem of Pakistan’s infamous undeveloped infrastructure, giving Saudi Arabia a direct line to China.
Getting clear access to what has recently been a mostly untouched market could help the oil-dependent economy stand on its feet and stabilize its growth. Joining CPEC would give Saudi Arabia uninterrupted access to the Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, effectively boosting their exports and enabling easier and cheaper import.