Matters pertaining to the conclusion of an air services agreement, financing of major projects through Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and exploring avenues to strengthen the island’s Tourism Investment Fund were discussed during a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb.
During the talks with Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley at Ilaro Court recently, Al-Khateeb, who was accompanied by a delegation, expressed an interest in bringing a team of Saudi investors to the island to assist with the development of projects identified by Government.
He gave a snap shot of the major developmental projects at various stages of development in his homeland, such as the Qiddiya – a sports, entertainment and cultural city, which is fully funded by the Saudi Fund for Development.
The Tourism Minister also gave other highlights about the oil-rich nation, including a booming tourism industry and a financial system that is “very fast”.
Prime Minister Mottley thanked Minister Al-Khateeb for the comprehensive overview of his country’s development, adding that since coming to office, she has “been adamant that Barbados had to move beyond traditional North Atlantic relations that we have had for several years” and pursue opportunities in other territories.
“It is no accident that we have set out a very ambitious programme and even in the middle of an IMF programme we have made some decisions…. That is why for example … we have a presence in the UAE; we now have a presence in Ghana, in Kenya and in Panama and we hope to continue to expand as we go forward, especially given the fact that in today’s world, technology means that we are able to establish a presence that is not as onerous as it might have been before,” Mottley stated.
She also informed the Saudi Tourism Minister about Barbados’ Offshore 3D Seismic Survey and the plans to expand the search in 12 blocks.
The Prime Minister said her Government was “more than happy” to work with Saudi Arabia on a range of issues, particularly in tourism, and in the setting up of a green investment bank to fund alternative energy projects in Barbados and the region.
Barbados and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic ties on December 17, 2007. (BGIS)