More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Cooks looking to Saudi Arabia for funding

Monday 28 August 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


Cooks looking to Saudi Arabia for funding
Possible funding for Cook Islands infrastructure projects is on the agenda of this week's visit from a Saudi Development Fund delegation, while the chairman of the fund will arrive next month. 23082526

A delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has landed in Rarotonga to explore how the Middle Eastern country can help fund infrastructure projects in the Cook Islands.

Ever since the Cook Islands and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia formalised diplomatic relations by signing a Joint Communiqué in April this year, the two nations have had multiple discussions on the possibilities for bilateral and multi-lateral co-operation.

The arrival of a Saudi Development Fund (SDF) delegation on Thursday follows talks about collaborating on infrastructure projects with Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management Secretary Garth Henderson in May.

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) is preparing for a visit from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Tourism Minister and SDF chairman Ahmed Al Khateeb and his delegation next month.

"Our engagements with Saudi Arabia this year offers the Cook Islands a pragmatic and responsive partnership," MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Hermann said.

“We have, for several years, collaborated effectively with Saudi Arabia in the multi-lateral space such as at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) – where Saudi Arabia have been supportive of Cook Islands leadership in elevating Smaller Islands Developing States (SIDS) priorities.

"And, at the International Maritime Organisation – where the Cook Islands have long held that the transition to cleaner shipping cannot come at the cost of SIDS like the Cook Islands, who are at the end of the shipping supply chain and face the highest shipping costs in the world.”

Hermann also met virtually with Sultan Al-Musallam, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Tourism for International Affairs, last week in a follow-up discussion to a meeting held in July.

Talks between the two nations have focussed on infrastructure development; financial services; investment; green technology; oceans and seabed minerals development; transport links; education; tourism; and people-to-people links.

"In our discussions in recent months, Saudi Arabia have been attuned to the acute vulnerabilities that Pacific SIDS, like the Cook Islands, are confronted with," Hermann said.

"But more importantly, they have demonstrated the wherewithal to calibrate their support without further exacerbating the financial scarring and catastrophic impact Covid, climate change, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis has had on the Cook Islands."