Arabia tops the list of countries in terms of developmental assistance
as a percentage of gross domestic product.
It has given more
than SR263 billion in aid to 72 developing countries, including
several Arab states and many with Muslim minorities.
countries have been at the forefront of benefiting from the aid and
the credit line facilities offered by the Kingdom,” says a new book,
entitled “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: One hundred years in the
service of Arabs and Arab affairs”.
The book gives an
overview of Saudi history, with special reference to the Kingdom’s
role in helping to resolve regional conflicts.
The book explains
that Arab countries received 40 percent of the total foreign aid made
available by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has
emerged as the main arm of the Saudi government to formalize credit line
facilities to foreign countries. According to SFD’s statistics, more
than 62 countries have benefited from the SFD’s assistance, which
has thus far been utilized to finance some 300 projects.
received 13.6 percent of the total SFD’s loans granted so far, is
followed by Sudan with 10.5 percent, Jordan with 10.3 percent, Syria
with 9.6 percent, Morocco with 8.77 percent, and Egypt with eight
The Kingdom, it
says, continues to support a number of
regional financial institutions, contributing some 22.9 percent
of the capital of Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, 14.5
percent of the Arab Monetary Fund, 24.4 percent of the Arab Bank for
Economic Development in Africa and 76 percent to the budget of the
Arabian Gulf program to support the regional UN agencies.
This is in addition
to the billions of riyals in funds and loans made available to other
regional and international organizations, like the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency, the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees and the Red Crescent. Moreover, the Kingdom has also built at
its own cost thousands of mosques, Islamic centers and educational
institutions around the globe.
Referring to the
Kingdom’s role in finding solutions to the major regional conflicts,
the book states that Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Custodian
of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd, has been helping Palestinians and
exerting pressure on the international community to end the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian lands. In 1995, the Kingdom also mediated to
ensure reconciliation between Syria and Jordan.
Saudi Arabia also
mediated between Qatar and Bahrain over a territorial dispute that
recently saw the two countries bring their cases to the International
Court of Justice. The effort on the part of the Kingdom and its GCC
allies helped the two countries reach a peaceful settlement.
Kingdom was also instrumental in restoring peace between Egypt and
Qatar in 1997, and helped resolve the Lockerbie crisis in 1999.