By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- At the sidelines of the just concluded III ASPA Summit in Lima, Peru, earlier this month, Special Envoy of the President of Suriname, Ambassador Liakat Ali Errol Alibux, held a bi-lateral meeting with the assistant secretary general of the Arab States of the Gulf (Gulf Cooperation Council), Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg, to explore investment and financing of several projects in Suriname.
According to a release from the office of Alibux, these projects will very much have Suriname’s input, especially that his country is in good economic and financial health, which allows Suriname more command in charting its economic future. Alibux reiterated his government’s policy that the people of Suriname are central to the economic and financial growth of the country, and that important social, educational, health, youth, sport and social projects will be implemented in this regard.
Alibux noted also that Suriname is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), an organ of the OIC, of which all GCC and Arab League countries are members of. This provides Suriname more opportunity to seek investments from the oil rich GCC countries by diversifying its international partners in light of the global financial crisis according to Alibux.
According to Alibux, Saudi Arabia has made available US$500 million, of which $200 million are especially for investments in the energy sector of the UNASUR countries and $300 million for the investment of renewable energy sources in South America.
In light of these developments, Alibux reiterated his government’s commitment to expand and accelerate ties with the ASPA group, the OIC and the IsDB. To effectively utilize its membership in these multi-lateral organisations, the OIC, ASPA and the IsDB, to benefit Suriname, especially in the area of economic development and finance, and to build on the government’s commitment to South-South economic cooperation Suriname will open an embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2013.
And in a related development, the OIC secretary general, Dr Ihsanoglu has been invited by the president of Suriname for an official visit, which most likely will take place in early 2013. Paramaribo has also cleared all outstanding dues to the OIC, signaling President Bouterse’s commitment to enhance ties with the OIC and the IsDB. The IsDB has provided over US$20 million in financing various projects in Suriname.