PM Shehbaz departs for Saudi Arabia to attend WEF moot

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has left for Saudi Arabia today (Saturday) to attend the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development in Riyadh.

During his two-day visit from April 28 to 29, the premier will meet Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to discuss Riyadh’s investment prospects in the country along with the dignitary’s Islamabad visit.

The premier, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, is also expected to meet International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, wherein he would exchange views over the prospects and details of the new economic package being sought out by Pakistan.

“The prime minister and the ministers will participate in WEF discussions on issues related to trade and investment measures, new investment frameworks, restructuring of supply chains, sustainable growth, and the energy landscape,” the Foreign Office said in a statement today.

Furthermore, the premier will also hold bilateral meetings with world leaders, including the Saudi leadership, heads of international organisations and other prominent figures on the sidelines.

The forum will provide a key opportunity for Islamabad to showcase its priorities specifically in global health architecture, inclusive growth, revitalising regional collaboration and the need for striking a balance between promoting growth and energy consumption

The two-day event will see more than 700 leaders coming together for “a comprehensive dialogue on leveraging global cooperation for economic development, promoting a global energy transition that underpins sustainable development and furthering technological advancement”.

PM Shehbaz is also expected to brush shoulders with technology mogul and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The premier’s trip comes after last month’s visit by Kingdom’s Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud which was followed by the visit of a high-level delegation led by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan earlier this month.

During the Saudi delegation’s two-day visit, Islamabad pitched 25 projects with estimated desired potential investments of over $32 billion before a high-powered visiting delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including a rail link connecting major mining sites and Gwadar with an investment of $2 billion, The News had reported.

Pakistan also identified the much-awaited Diamer Bhasha Dam with an equity investment of $1.2 billion. Pakistan has also sought an investment for conducting the feasibility of a luxury five-star hotel for which the land is available with the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s scheduled meeting with IMF’s Georgieva comes ahead of the Washington-based lender’s April 29 meeting wherein it will meet to discuss the approval of $1.1 billion funding for Pakistan.

The funding is the second and last tranche of a $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF, which it secured last summer to avert a sovereign default and which runs out this month.

The South Asian nation is seeking a new long-term and larger IMF loan — the country’s 24th bailout from the lender.

Finance minister hoped Islamabad could secure a staff-level agreement on the new programme by early July.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *