The government is continuing conversations in regards to partnership and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Minister of Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis said yesterday, explaining that a delegation is set to visit both countries next week.
While the government considered exploring linkages with Saudi Arabia on oil and gas purchases, Halkitis only mentioned that the delegation headed to the Middle East could discuss tourism and funding for green energy.
The government opened talks with Saudi Arabia in February. Halkitis said discussions of this nature between governments often takes some time to conclude.
“As you know with these sorts of things, it takes a while when you’re talking about these government-to-government discussions, and we’re continuing those discussions,” said Halkitis.”We’re actually having a meeting next week.”
In February, The Bahamas was invited to visit Saudi Arabia to experience its developments and the “aggressive plans” its government has for investment, as a blueprint for where The Bahamas could take its own development. Government officials also met with a delegation from Saudi Arabia that month, headed by the Saudi minister of tourism.
The Bahamas has been looking closely at the Middle East for economic opportunities ever since the government took a delegation to Dubai for World Expo 2020. The Bahamas’ Non-Resident Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the State of Qatar Tony Salim Joudi said earlier this year that the UAE needs new markets to invest in and contended that The Bahamas could become such a market.
Joudi said The Bahamas has many untapped and under-tapped markets to present as export opportunities to the UAE. He cautioned Bahamians to rely less on the sun, sand and sea economic model and begin to explore more technology and artificial intelligence markets that will expand the country’s economic offerings.
“Sun, sand and sea is no good anymore, whether artificially made or God granted it,” said Joudi.
“What we need to focus on is artificial intelligence and other technologies.”