wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09RIYADH1447 2009-11-01 14:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Riyadh
Cable title:  

SAUDI ARABIA INVESTING IN ETHIOPIA TO IMPROVE FOOD

Tags:   EAGR ETRD ECON EINV PREL SA ET 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5693
RR RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
DE RUEHRH #1447 3051435
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 011435Z NOV 09 ZDK CTG SVC# 3381 3051519
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1817
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0350
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0161
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0232
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L RIYADH 001447 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARP
STATE FOR U/S HORMATS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/31/2019
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON EINV PREL SA ET
SUBJECT: SAUDI ARABIA INVESTING IN ETHIOPIA TO IMPROVE FOOD
SECURITY



1. (U) The Saudi Government is working with its private
sector to bolster the Kingdom's food security by investing in
agricultural production in Ethiopia. Representatives from
the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry,
Finance, and Transportation will participate in a forum on
November 14-15 in Addis Ababa to officially mark the
beginning of a cooperative project under which Ethiopia made
one million hectares of land available for Saudi private
companies to develop. Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia are also
holding an associated trade fair November 14-17, at which
more than 50 Saudi companies will be represented to showcase
industrial and commercial products, seeking business both in
Ethiopia and in neighboring countries.



2. (SBU) According to Ministry of Commerce officials, the
Saudi dairy and agricultural entity Al-Amary accepted the
Saudi Government invitation to invest in the entire project,
and will concentrate on growing wheat and barley. The
project is closely modeled on what British and continental
grocery stores are doing in West Africa, where local farmers
are given seeds, training and tools. The Saudi Government
will help Ethiopia upgrade some of its infrastructure,
including roads, silos and port facilities. Saudi Commerce
Minister Alireza has recently told Ambassador Smith that
Saudi Arabia is also building a port in Djibouti to increase
agricultural exports, and considering constructing a second
port south of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to receive them.



3. (C) Several Saudi officials have explained to Embassy
officers that this is part of King Abdullah's strategy to
improve both Saudi Arabia's food security and the welfare of
poorer countries, particularly in Africa. The King has
directed his officials to develop win-win projects. Saudi
Arabia has talked to a number of other countries about
potential investments along these same lines. On October 31,
Vice Finance Minister Al-Bazaiy told EconCouns that initially
bright prospects in Kazakhstan did not pan out for a number
of reasons. Similarly, Saudi Arabia decided not to pursue
investments in Ukraine. Turkish Embassy officials report
that Turkish Agricultural Minister Mehdi Eker will visit
Saudi Arabia the week of November 2 to discuss a potential
investment in state-owned land in Turkey's southeast.
According to the Turkish Embassy, the Saudi Government first
expressed interest in 2007 in potential investments, and
proposed an agreement. Follow up from Riyadh, however, has
been quite slow, leading the Turkish Embassy to expect it
will take some more time for any deal with Saudi Arabia to
mature. Commerce Minister Alireza told the Ambassador that
Saudi Arabia had decided not to pursue a similar project in
Pakistan, largely because the Saudi Government and its
companies did not believe they could manage the security
issues involved.



4. (SBU) Saudi Finance officials said that they would welcome
working with U.S. Government agencies on cooperative
approaches in regional agricultural development.
SMITH