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Saudi-Africa summit billed for 2019

07.03.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Africa remains a fertile ground for her external partners. Since the dawn of time, the African continent has been defined as the ‘’Cradle of Humanity’’. Analysts and independent researchers see the largely black continent as a land of many opportunities due to its endowment in both natural and human resources. Over the years, many foreign countries have been turning to the African continent either to seek economic, military, religious or cultural ties. Pundits have however likened this to the ‘’recolonization’’ of Africa, over fifty (50) years after most African nations got their independence. Nonetheless, minds have always argued that Africa remains politically, economically, socially dependent. The values instilled by their colonial masters are still very prevalent and part of the African people. Recently, Africa has witnessed a growing presence of foreign nations like China, India, Saudi Arabia and Russia, among other states

Like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have announced their respectively and independent summits with the African continent in the year 2019. According to them, the gathering will mend or solidify the already existing ties between they share with Africa.

Pending Saudi Arabia-Africa summit

Africa has gained favour in the eyes of the Kingdom of Riyadh, as the Gulf state is en route to expanding its ties with the African continent, especially in areas of Defense and security. Just like France- Africa or China –Africa summit, the Saudi Authority King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz has disclosed his intention to bring Saudi Arabia and Africa under one platform to be dubbed Saudi-Africa Summit.  Even though the agenda of the pending cooperation meeting is yet to be disclosed, the first edition is slated for October or November 2019, at a place yet to be agreed upon. Riyadh and Jeddah are the possible host towns.

Saudi minister of African affairs

Prior to announcing the first every Saudi Africa Summit, King Salman introduced a new government post to relate to relations between the oil reach nation and the African Continent.  The first of its kind, Ahmed Abdul Aziz Kattan officially assented to the position of Minister of state for African Affairs On February 26, 2018.  He has been the intermediary between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Africa.  Minister Kattan led a Saudi team to the donor coordination conference to finance the Priority Investment Programme (PIP) of the Group of Five Sahel countries (G5 Sahel) for 2019-2021. The conference took place in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott. Reports noted that the presence of a Saudi delegation was a milestone by Riyadh, reiterating its readiness in enhancing development and stability and also its willingness to join in the fight against radicalism and terrorism in Africa’s Sahel region.

Arguments

Several questions have been advocated as to why the oil-rich nation of Saudi Arabia has turned to Africa to seek ties including economic and security ties. Answering this question, a journalist with Afrique Media TV who spoke on condition of anonymity said ‘’It is not today that Saudi Arabia is coming to Africa, it has a long history with Africa, the only thing that made the relationship subtle was the fact that Riyadh did not extend its presence in many African nations, it concentrated only in nations where Islam was dominant (Africa’s the Maghreb)’’.  However, in contemporary Africa, ties between the Gulf States and Africa have become more explicit after Saudi Arabia together with some Gulf states severed ties with Qatar. Riyadh is present in Mauritania, Algeria, and Libya and also in Djibouti where it announced the opening of its military base in the area. That notwithstanding, the pending Riyadh-Africa summit is a forum where these partners would define their new relation.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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