ㄑ Belt and Road ㄑ Opinion

Belt and Road Initiative to boost Saudi Arabia's economic, social development, says Saudi minister

Xinhua | December 12, 2022

The deep synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 will bring advanced science, technology and ideas to the country, and boost its economic and social development, said Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef.

Workers communicate at the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF) in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Haizhou)

In a recent interview with Xinhua, the Saudi minister highlighted the high complementarity between the two countries in the fields of economy and trade, saying that while China stands at the forefront of world innovation and high-tech development, Saudi Arabia is endowed with abundant mineral resources.

The minister noted that the mining industry plays a pivotal role in the kingdom's Vision 2030 because mineral resource development and exploitation, as well as the production, processing, and export of semi-finished products, are critical steps for the kingdom to lessen its reliance on oil and gas resources and diversify its economy.

Speaking highly of the "impressive" performances of Chinese companies, he said they have rich experience in the area and hoped "the Chinese side can pass the experience on to the Saudi young men and women so that they will lead our surveying projects in the future."

Moreover, Alkhorayef expressed his confidence in the broad prospects of bilateral cooperation.

Besides the energy and mining industries, the minister said Saudi Arabia also boasts a unique geographical location and complete infrastructure with start-up businesses thriving, which can make it an important hub for China's investment and trade in the Middle East and North Africa.

He called on China to take part in building Saudi Arabia's railways, ports and expressways.

The minister also urged the two sides to expand their partnership in people-to-people exchanges, such as language teaching and vocational training.

People visit a photo exhibition showcasing the friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and Arab countries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 7, 2022.(Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

"China is not only an important partner of our kingdom in the economic field but also in many other areas," he said.

With its beautiful natural scenery, Saudi Arabia sets great store on tourism development, said Alkhorayef, adding that he welcomes more Chinese tourists because friendship between countries lies with the people.

Speaking of the first China-Arab States Summit held in Riyadh on Friday, he said it will further advance the China-Arab community with a shared future.

"The Arab countries are all keen to raise the standard of living and achieve social and economic development for their peoples," said Alkhorayef, adding that the success story of China "gives it great credit in transferring its experience to many countries."

The Saudi official also praised the Global Development Initiative put forward by China, noting that no country can stand alone and achieve development without help from others at a time when the world is confronted with many challenges.

For example, the vision pursued by international communities to protect the environment, develop renewable energies and achieve carbon neutrality cannot be realized without concerted efforts by all countries, he added.

The initiative is not only focused on the economic sector but also touches on a number of areas in the social sphere, said Alkhorayef, adding that it will also promote the recovery of the global economy, restore the world economy to the level before the pandemic, and realize people's well-being.