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UAE, Saudi Arabia race for investment in Pakistan

Both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are prepared to develop closer business ties with less red tape, but experts caution that the Gulf nations stand to benefit most.
Karachi port

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have accelerated the pace of investments in Pakistan. If Abu Dhabi decides to invest further in Pakistan, it is quite likely that Riyadh will follow suit as part of their unspoken rivalry.   

Since 2021, the kingdom has been giving incentives to multinational companies to headquarter at Riyadh. Therefore, even though Dubai is an established regional business hub, Riyadh is becoming its top competitor as a leading logistics center.  

If a UAE-Saudi business race starts off in Pakistan, Islamabad will have to balance both of its close allies. 

In search of a viable long-term solution to prop up its ailing economy, cash-strapped Islamabad has created a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), which has offered 28 high-value projects worth billions of dollars to friendly countries. The main focus is on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.  

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