Wikileaks: Saudi Arabia investing in Ethiopia to improve food security
Published: 01 Nov 2009
Posted in:  Ethiopia | Saudi Arabia | Wikileaks
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Viewing cable 09RIYADH1447, SAUDI ARABIA INVESTING IN ETHIOPIA TO IMPROVE FOOD

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09RIYADH1447 2009-11-01 14:35 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Riyadh
Original_wl_hour_glass_smallW
	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
Source:Wikileaks