Pres. Ali arrives in Riyadh for inaugural CARICOM-Saudi Arabia Summit


President Dr Irfaan Ali has arrived in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the first CARICOM-Saudi Arabia Summit slated for tomorrow.

The President is accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd and other Cabinet members.

This landmark summit arises from the keen interest of the Government of Saudi Arabia in cultivating enhanced relationships with nations across the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

The primary focus is on fostering investment and trade, particularly in key sectors such as infrastructure, hospitality, energy, climate change, and environmental sustainability.

The summit will be co-chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Chairman of Caricom, Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit.

The event will also see presentations of Heads of State and Governments from Caricom, along with the Caricom Secretary General.

Back in September 2021, the Guyanese Head of State met with His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

During that engagement, the two countries discussed partnership and collaboration in oil and gas as well as issues relating to COP26 and the development of a nuanced approach to a decarbonised world.

In 2020, Guyana applied to the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) seeking financial support for the Hinterland Electrification Programme, and intends to use some of the proceeds to fund the construction and rehabilitation of two small, hydropower plants at Lethem, Region Nine.

These are a 1.5-megawatt (MW) plant at Kumu and a 0.7 MW plant at Moco Moco.
The IsDB is one of Guyana’s newest development partners; Guyana joined in 2016. Its goodwill was demonstrated when the bank offered Guyana a US$900 million package for mainly infrastructural development works in the period 2018-2020.

In addition, President Ali had met virtually with IsDB President, Dr Bandar Hajjar in June 2020 during which they discussed plans for rebuilding in the aftermath of the countrywide floods.

However, in September last, Saudi Arabian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Climate Envoy Adel Al Jubeir and a team visited Guyana and met with President Irfaan Ali.

During the meeting, President Ali shared his vision for Guyana and discussed investment opportunities in the country, infrastructural development, renewable energy, agriculture, the oil and gas sector, and economic cooperation.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd joined the President at the meeting.

Meanwhile, only recently, the Arabian Drilling Company of Saudi Arabia was awarded the second deep-water block – D1 following the oil block auction. Guyana established formal diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 22, 2012.