Saudi Arabia Invests Heavily In Uzbekistan
Saudi arabia– Saudi Arabia is wishing to create a direct line of communication and trade with Uzbekistan and not depend on its other Middle Eastern partners. This message came across clearly at the Saudi-Uzbek Business Council meeting in Jeddah on August 17 where Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that Uzbekistan is a huge player in agriculture, real estate, hospitality, and human resources.
“We want to make this relationship one of the most important for Saudi Arabia. We are here to facilitate. We are here to serve,” said Al-Falih.
Uzbekistan till date is an attractive destination for investment and growth. As a central location on the Silk Route, this small but prosperous country is being seen as an attractive market due to its provisions for creation of new free economic zones with tax incentives that are now attracting foreign investment to Uzbekistan as a country with new market opportunities.
As of now, Saudi Arabia has signed 10 investment deals with Uzbekistan worth 45 billion riyals ($11.99 billion). But nothing concrete has been disclosed as of now. In a two-day visit, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has also signed some 15 cooperation agreements. Areas of investment could include energy, chemical production, pharmaceuticals, medicine, transport, logistics, along with infrastructure and housing construction.
The Kingdom is interested in making investments of mutual benefit without involving some key Middle Eastern nations which have been a key communication and transit route for the two countries.
Saudi-listed ACWA Power announced plans to sign a $2.4 billion deal for a 1,500MW wind project in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. The project aims to power 1.65 million households and offset 2.4 million tons of carbon emissions annually.
The mutual trade between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan reached $95 million in the first half of 2022, from just $17 million last year, and has added on to coffers of both nations.