Saudi Arabia announces shift in foreign aid strategy

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Saudi Arabia will no longer provide unconditional foreign aid and grants.

He stated that the country is shifting its approach to assisting other nations and will now work with multilateral institutions to ensure that reforms are implemented in exchange for aid. Al-Jadaan emphasized that as the kingdom is taxing its own citizens, it expects other countries to do the same.

He also spoke about “Vision 2030” as a turning point in how Saudi Arabia approaches its economy, social fabric, and fiscal discipline, and highlighted the importance of long-term planning and investments.

He also noted that the kingdom’s early investments in technology helped it adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it was able to successfully manage inflation. He reassured that Saudi Arabia remains committed to enhancing international cooperation and bridging divides.

Saudi Arabia foreign aid history

Saudi Arabia has a history of providing foreign aid to countries in need, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. The country has provided aid to countries affected by war and natural disasters, as well as to countries in economic need. Saudi Arabia’s recently offered financial aid to Pakistan of up to $11bn as they are on the brink of defaulting foreign debt after devastating floods.

However, in recent years, Saudi Arabia has been criticized for being selective in the countries it provides aid to and for attaching political conditions to its aid. It has been seen as using aid as a tool of foreign policy to gain influence in other countries. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has been criticized for not providing enough aid to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, despite playing a key role in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia is also been facing economic challenges due to low oil prices as a result of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which has led to a reduction in its foreign aid budget. The finance minister of Saudi Arabia has announced that the kingdom will not give away anymore unconditional foreign grants, and the country is changing the way of providing assistance and developing assistance to foreign countries. This comes as consumer prices in Saudi Arabia came close to almost 3.3 per cent year-on-year in December, with higher housing costs being the major factor in driving up inflation in Saudi Arabia.


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