Saudi Arabia keen on investing $10b in 15 Bangladesh projects

Saudi Arabia has shown interest in investing more than $10 billion in 15 large- and small-scale projects in Bangladesh.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud is expected to discuss the projects on his two-day visit to Dhaka starting today.

Saudi Arabian Oil Company, popularly known as Aramco, has shown interest in the construction, operation and maintenance of an oil refinery, which is expected to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion.

But it is the Saudi company Engineering Dimension II LLC that appears to be gung-ho on Bangladesh: it is keen on investing in seven projects and has committed to channel in about $1.685 billion during the International Investment Summit held in Dhaka in November last year.

Engineering Dimension is one of the parties that have shown interest in the construction of the Dhaka East-West Elevated Expressway, said Sirazul Islam, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

Some Saudi investments are already in the pipeline such as the flagship proposal to develop the Patenga Container Terminal under a public-private partnership by Red Sea Gateway Terminal.

"Further Saudi investment will largely depend on how successfully we can handle those in the pipeline," he told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday.

Boeing-accredited Al-Salam has proposed to invest $1.2 billion to establish an aerospace industrial area, while internationally reputed energy company ACWA Power, which has close business ties with Aramco, has submitted an expression of interest to invest about $600 million to build a 730 MW combined cycle power plant in Chattogram.

Al-Hokair Group, a renowned hospitality company that owns 45 hotels, resorts and theme parks, wants to invest about $300-$500 million to develop Bangladesh's tourism.

Al-Fanar wants to invest $100 million in the construction of a 100 MW IPP solar project under a joint venture, while Al Bawany wants to invest about $10 million in the employment of skilled human resources for construction and engineering project.

Ma'aden and Hanwha has proposed a revised letter of intent for the supply of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) to Bangladesh after the existing one with the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) expired in October 2020.

One aspect of Saudi investment is that it is "more inclined to the public sector", Islam said.


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