On Monday, Interim Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar announced that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) intends to invest a substantial sum of up to $25 billion in Pakistan over the next two to five years.

During a media briefing, PM Kakar explained that Saudi Arabia’s investment focus will primarily encompass the mining, agriculture, and information technology sectors. This initiative aims to boost foreign direct investment in Pakistan, which is currently facing financial challenges. 

If this investment materialises, it will mark the largest-ever commitment by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. The country is grappling with a pressing need for funds to address its trade deficit and repay international loans in the ongoing fiscal year. 

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While specific projects earmarked for Saudi investment were not disclosed during the meeting, Barrick Gold Corp. expressed interest last month in partnering with Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund for the Reko Diq mine in Pakistan. 

Kakar emphasised that Pakistan holds substantial untapped mineral resources valued conservatively at $6 trillion. Additionally, the government intends to expedite two privatisation transactions, likely involving state-owned power sector entities, within the next six months. There is also a plan to privatise another government-owned company, preferably outside the energy sector. 

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It’s worth noting that privatisation efforts in Pakistan have faced challenges in the past, as the sale of state assets is a politically sensitive issue that previous elected governments have largely avoided. 

Currently, Pakistan is navigating a challenging path to economic recovery under a caretaker administration, following the approval of a $3 billion loan plan by the International Monetary Fund in July, which prevented a sovereign debt default. Islamabad is confronted with a balance of payments crisis and requires substantial funds to rectify its trade deficit and settle outstanding debts.