First Saudi-Ukrainian Agroforum was held in Kyiv

Tue, 27.11.2018 17:02

On Thursday, November 22, the first Saudi-Ukrainian Forum "Saudi Ukraine Agribusiness Investment Forum" was held in Kyiv. It was organized by the investment company SALIC, whose shareholder is the State Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the Continental Farmers Group and the Office of the National Investment Council of Ukraine.

During the forum delegations and their spokepersons have been considering the prospects and directions for the development of Saudi-Ukrainian investment projects in the field of agricultural production and food industries for the growth of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

“The purpose of this forum is to invite Saudi companies and demonstrate the existing opportunities in Ukraine,” the report says.

“In the past two years we have seen an improvement in the business climate in Ukraine. We believe that the political situation has stabilized, and we also see an increase in production efficiency in this country. I think now is the right time to come to this country. Because the company SALIC, which I head, works in the Ukrainian market, in particular, this is the latest acquisition of the agricultural holding Mriya. The situation as a whole contributes to inviting investors right now, and we confidently invite colleagues here, ”said Khalid Al-Abudi, managing director of SALIC (Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company).

Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of KSA Abdulrahman Al Fadhley said that the Kingdom approved the Sustainable Development Vision by 2030. Among the key tasks is to ensure food security in the country.

“Saudi Arabia’s government is ready to provide support for bilateral investment projects for sustainable development goals and ensuring food security. This conference has to become a collaboration platform in agriculture between two sides. We expect that investment in Ukraine will be successful”, - stated the

Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Olga Trofimtseva noted that there is a significant potential for the development of bilateral cooperation.

“We position Ukraine as a supplier, and we have a unique advantage: we produce more than we consume and therefore we have the potential to increase the export. Saudi Arabia is also interesting for Ukraine as a partner in the region to enter new markets in the Middle East and Africa”, – said Olga

Ukraine is interesting for Saudi Arabia not only as a supplier of grain but also for new agro-crops, such as alfalfa. Export of organic food and confectionery will be interesting. The export of meat products can also be a new promising direction.

According to the words of Olga Trofimtseva, further growth of the bilateral trade depends on the development of investment projects.

Investments are the primary driver of the bilateral economic relations between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. Without investments, we will not be able to talk about the growth of the level of bilateral trade. We are pleased that the export of agricultural production after nine months of the year 2018 is greater than in the whole year 2017, but we see significant potential in the development of the bilateral trade relations. Without bilateral business initiatives, without a strategic approach to investment development, we will not be able to achieve the desired results. Investors play the key role here", - she said.

Yulia Kovaliv, Head of Office of the National Investment Council, emphasized that after the economic crisis of 2014-2015 that was caused by the illegal occupation, the country has moved to the stable economic growth.

Over last five years, Ukraine has strengthened its position in the Ease of Doing Business index by 24 positions. GDP grows steadily in 9 quarters, and this is the result of the reforms aimed at improving business conditions in Ukraine. Powerful companies enter the Ukrainian market, said Yulia Kovaliv. “SALIC’s investment in “Mriya” is the largest in the field of agriculture in Ukraine. This agreement has shown the readiness of the Ukrainian authorities to be a system business partner. I see a great potential for further development in the transfer of modern technologies to Ukraine, in meeting the needs of the consumers in Saudi Arabia. The food industry is very promising. It is an enormous market, but for a stable position in it, technologies, good leadership, and capital are needed”, - she stated.

The forum participants noted that investment projects in Ukraine could have high added value and be very advantageous, given the resource, human potential, and favorable geographic location. It requires investments in the railway infrastructure, ports, and guarantee of the possibility of sustainable implementation of investment projects as well as protection of investors; interests.

It should be noted that THE SAUDI - UKRAINE AGRIBUSINESS INVESTMENT FORUM is a logical continuation of the strategic decision of two states to establish cooperation in the field of agricultural development. At the end of the year 2017, a memorandum was signed between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on investment cooperation in the field of agriculture during the official visit of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to the city of Er Riyad (KSA).

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