Skip to main content

Saudi economic relations with sub-Saharan Africa continue to grow

South Africa's president will soon visit the Saudi kingdom, and the Saudi Fund for Development recently agreed to help the Central African Republic develop solar energy.
The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) provided a soft loan to light roads using solar energy in the Central African Republic.

Two notable developments in Saudi-Africa relations occurred this week. 

The Saudi Fund for Development signed an agreement yesterday to finance a public lighting project utilizing solar power in the Central African Republic. The lights will be used on roads in the country’s capital city Bangui, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will also visit Saudi Arabia tomorrow to discuss bilateral trade and investment.

“The discussions would focus on export market opportunities for South African produce and on South Africa as an investment destination,” according to a statement from the South African government.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia has been pursuing better relations with several countries in sub-Saharan Africa recently. Last week, Saudi Minister of Industry Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef gave an interview to the South African TV station SABC News in which he expressed a desire to increase Saudi investment in the country.

Saudi Arabia is seeking better relations with other African countries as well. In September, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power agreed to build a water desalination plant in Senegal. In June, a Saudi royal adviser met with representatives of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to discuss boosting cooperation.

Know more: Other Middle Eastern states are pursuing stronger ties to sub-Saharan Africa as well, particularly the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Turkey

Africa has taken on significant geopolitical importance this century, particularly with regards to China. The People’s Republic is the continent’s biggest trading partner, for example, and this had won Beijing significant political political support there. 

Iran is also seeking to grow its influence in Africa, in part to counter Saudi Arabia, according to a report from the DC-based Middle East Institute last year. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial