On the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through its Ministry of Water Environment and Agriculture, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya, the Secretary General of COMESA led a team of delegates on an official mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the programme were meetings with various organizations including ministries, parastatal institutions, private sector organizations and private businesses. The purpose of the mission was to initiate “Knowledge, Innovative and Learning based” cooperation relationships between the Kingdom and the COMESA Region. The mission was respectively undertaken in both the capital Riyadh and the second economic city of Jeddah.

The COMESA team had meetings with the Hon. Engineer Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, Minister of Water Environment and Agriculture, where they reviewed ways of establishing and strengthening relations between COMESA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the field of water and agriculture among others.

The Secretary General of COMESA in his address highlighted competitive advantages of COMESA Member States, and new developments such as the Tripartite Free Trade Area. He pinpointed the appetite for investment in the region and noted the Kingdom as a strategic partner for development, a partner not guided by political motives but of development and people’s wellbeing. This was followed by 14 other official meetings and 2 official dinners as well as several one to one meetings. All the key stakeholders met in the Kingdom showed interest to enhance partnership with Africa in general and the COMESA region in particular. A compendium of 100 projects in 9 sectors was also distributed and presented to different visited institutions that promised positive feedback.

A debriefing session was held during an official dinner hosted on behalf of the Crown Prince of the Kingdom, His Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, represented by his brother. The importance of strengthened ties between the KSA and COMESA region was again stressed.

The mission focus was to explore possibilities of agriculture blocks/Agro-processing Parks in Africa and encourage Saudi Arabia farmers to be involved, borrow expertise in horses breeding that can be shared as an opportunity that the private sector in COMESA region can built on, develop linkages of Information exchange on exportable and importable products in both regions among other concepts to strengthen ties between the two regions.

Story by Lillian Nyaga
Communications Consultant