News story

New UK-Saudi Arabia partnership to boost livelihoods and economic development in world’s poorest countries

UK and Saudi Arabia announce new partnership on Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia's first visit


The UK and Saudi Arabia are building a new long-term partnership to improve livelihoods, boost economic development and create vital infrastructure to support some of the world’s poorest people in drought and conflict-stricken countries. This includes a commitment to work together in East Africa, which will in turn strengthen global prosperity.

The partnership – announced during the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’s visit to the UK – is the first of its kind between the Department for International Development and the Saudi Fund for Development. It will see British development experts working closer with Saudi counterparts, including in the Horn and East of Africa where both countries are already helping to lift people out of poverty.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

Global Britain is rightly recognised as an international leader when it comes to helping the most vulnerable, saving lives and tackling global challenges.

The Saudi Fund has a long record of investing in successful development projects around the world. We are sharing the best of British expertise, and our collective efforts will help create jobs and livelihoods to support the poorest people to stand on their own two feet. This in turn will help to boost global prosperity which is in all our interests.

By building critical infrastructure for some of the world’s poorest whose lives are threatened by drought, disease and conflict, together we can make a bigger difference and ensure that everyday tasks like collecting drinking water are made much easier.

Today both countries signed the Joint Cooperation Memorandum recognising the collaboration between DFID and KS Relief to strengthen both countries’ humanitarian efforts.

During meetings with the Saudi delegation, the UK noted that it was encouraged by the easing of restrictions into Yemen to ensure vital food and other supplies get through Hodeidah and Saleef ports to those in need.

While the UK recognises Saudi Arabia’s legitimate security concerns and will continue to provide support to prevent illegal arms smuggling into Yemen, there is no excuse to prevent humanitarian and commercial supplies from reaching those in need.

This builds on the International Development Secretary’s visit to Saudi Arabia in December, where she called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to restore and maintain full access for humanitarian and commercial imports and find a peaceful solution to stop Yemen falling into famine.

Notes to Editors

  • Both the UK and Saudi Arabia are already providing support to progress economic development across the East and Horn of Africa. Today’s partnership will see a joint commitment of £100 million between the two countries to further these efforts – the UK’s contribution will include allocations from existing country budgets.
Published 7 March 2018