St. Vincent and the Grenadines has become the second Windward Island this month to announce that it will be benefitting from development financing to be provided by Saudi Arabia as that Middle Eastern country continues to search for investment opportunities in the Caribbean.
In this regard, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had two key, productive meetings in Saudi Arabia on November 15, 2023, the St. Vincent Times is reporting.
The first meeting was with Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) during which Gonzalves and the CEO signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will see St. Vincent and the Grenadines benefit from millions of dollars from the SFD for infrastructure projects in housing, education, health, sporting facilities, and citizen and community security.
The second meeting was with Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih during which Gonsalves proposed Saudi investments in three important sectors, including the creation of a new cruise ship port, hotel development in the Grenadines and on the mainland and the construction of a new modern city at Arnos Vale.
Minister Khalid Al-Falih Minister Khalid Al-Falih stated that the Saudis are searching for these types of investment opportunities in the Caribbean and indicated interest in Saudi nationals visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines for tourism and leisure.
On Friday November 10, 2023, the Government of Dominica received approval from Parliament for a US$41 Million (EC$111.3 million) loan from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to fund the Roseau Enhancement Project.
The Roseau Enhancement Project aims to change the city of Roseau into a contemporary and aesthetically appealing urban center by revitalizing roadways and bridges, constructing pedestrian walkways, and improving urban lighting infrastructure. The loan will be repaid over 28 years at an interest rate of 2.5 percent with a grace period of 8 years.
Prime Minister Gonsalves, who, along with his delegation, attended the Caricom Saudi Arabia Summit on November 16th, revealed that the funds for St. Vincent are being provided in two tranches. The agreements for the first tranche have already been signed while for this tranche, the agreements will be signed in December. No details of the terms of the agreements were provided.
Below is a video of a conversation between Gonsalves and the CEO of the Saudi Arabian Fund for Development.