Saudi Arabia expands Caribbean presence with $80 million donation

Saudi Arabia expands Caribbean presence with $80 million donation

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has made concerted efforts to expand its geopolitical presence in the Caribbean region. The Gulf nation has increased diplomatic visits, opened new embassies and made significant investments in several countries. Now the kingdom has taken an even bigger step with an investment of $80 million in the Caribbean region.

Investment in education

January 17ethe Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the government of Antigua and Barbuda OK to fund the University of the West Indies Five Islands (UWI) expansion project in the Caribbean nation with an $80 million funding agreement. The Times Higher Education grading system places the University of the West Indies among the top 1.5% of universities in the world.

Saudi Fund for Development Expands Operations in Caribbean Countries with Agreement to Fund University of the West Indies Expansion Project at Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda |  business thread
Source: BusinessWire

The agreement would encourage scientific innovation and bring new educational facilities to the university, which would help the Caribbean region achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Seven energy-efficient buildings will be constructed as part of the investment agreement, which aims to make the campus more sustainable. The newly upgraded university would accommodate 5,000 students, a big increase from the previous 600.

Read more: Jamaica imitates Antigua and Barbuda to restore its image on the world stage

The development initiatives, taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the SFD, will significantly strengthen the education sector in Antigua and Barbuda. These efforts were recognized and appreciated by Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

The development of the project will also serve neighboring Caribbean countries, as UWI has campuses in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, and Barbados.

Saudi interests in the Caribbean

This is a remarkable investment by Saudi Arabia in the Caribbean after the Saudi Caribbean Investment Forum Last year. For the first time ever, more than 230 delegates attended the forum where 15 countries presented their investment-ready projects to the largest delegation of Saudi investors to ever visit the Caribbean.

The $80 million investment by Saudi Arabia is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.

Ministers and Business Leaders Reach Deals and Discuss Opportunities at Saudi-Caribbean Investment Forum |  Arab News
Source: Arab News

The project will further stimulate economic growth by generating more jobs and providing a more substantial educational base, in addition to increasing equal access to education for all residents of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. .

Saudi Arabia is currently showing a great deal of interest in the Caribbean in an effort to provide a potential counterweight to the continued push by China and the United States in the region.

Besides Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the second largest economy in the Arab world is exploring collaborative investment options with various Caribbean countries. The oil and gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar is also show interest in agribusiness, luxury investments in hospitality and real estate in the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Jamaica, and energy extraction.

Read more: Can Greece and the United Arab Emirates be the shoulders to lean on for the Caribbean?

The growing efforts of the Gulf countries have highlighted the growing importance of the Caribbean region. The region is strategically located near major markets in North and South America, and offers a variety of educational options ranging from traditional universities to innovative approaches such as e-learning and degree programs. abroad. By investing in the Caribbean education sector, investors can benefit from the region’s natural and cultural assets, as well as its growing population, growing middle class and growing number of international students.