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Press Dossier    By Date   26/03/2024 Saudi Fund for Development in talks with Pakistan to collaborate on uplift projects

Arab News, Tue, Mar 26, 2024 | Ramadan 16, 1445

​​Saudi Fund for Development in talks with Pakistan to collaborate on uplift projects

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Fund for Development is in talks with Pakistan to collaborate on several projects across various sectors such as energy, health, education and infrastructure, a top Pakistan official said on Sunday.

The secretary of Pakistan’s Economic Affairs Division, Kazim Niaz, and SFD Chief Executive Officer Sultan bin Abdul Rehman Al-Marshad signed two loan agreements worth $107 million last week to finance hydropower projects in Azad Kashmir, supporting Pakistan’s efforts toward energy sustainability and economic growth.

“We already had a framework agreement with SFD. As the Saudi delegation concluded its visit (on Sunday), we have discussed a pipeline of numerous projects for future cooperation, in which they have shown keen interest,” Niaz told Arab News.

“These projects are in the energy, health, education and infrastructure sectors.”

Niaz did not provide more details on the projects, which he said would be shared after Saudi feedback on a list of initiatives shared by Islamabad for investment and cooperation. 

“They (Saudis) have taken these projects with them for examination and analysis,” the bureaucrat added. “Once their analysis is complete, both sides will proceed with signing.”

The Saudi fund provides development assistance and financial aid to developing countries through loans and grants. In the past, it has deposited money in Pakistan’s central bank to bolster foreign exchange reserves and funded various development projects in infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

A Pakistani delegation will hold meeting with SFD officials in Riyadh on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the Islamic Development Bank from April 27-30. 

On the loan agreements signed with SFD during its March 22-24 visit to Pakistan, Niaz said they would be used to fund two hydropower projects in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

“SFD will finance $66 million for 48MW Shounter Hydropower Project and $41 million for 22MW Jagran-IV Hydropower Project in the Neelam Valley District,” he said, adding that the projects would generate 70 MW of electricity, which would be transmitted to the national grid.

SFD has been one of Pakistan’s leading development partners since its establishment in 1974. 

“They are providing assistance in energy, health, education, and infrastructure projects and have really played a significant part with their support for the floods in 2022,” Niaz said. 

“From our engagements and discussions,” the top official said, “I can say that the future of this cooperation and collaboration is very bright and encouraging.”

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