Saudi Arabia, Russia to Establish Giant Center to Develop Vaccines

Asharq Al-Awsat, 14.04.2020

Russia is currently discussing with Saudi Arabia a strategic partnership to build a giant vaccine production and distribution center for the entire Middle East and Africa region, according to a high-ranking Russian official.

CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, announced that Riyadh is discussing with one of Russia’s largest influenza vaccine producers building a production and distribution center in Saudi Arabia for the entire MENA region.

Dmitriev told Asharq Al-Awsat that the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the need to increase global capabilities to produce vaccines, noting that the project involves plans that will contribute to combating pandemics in the future.

"We are considering several projects with our Saudi partner, the Saudi Agricultural Investment and Animal Production Company (SALIC), and they are interested in investing in large poultry farms in Russia with the possibility of exporting," said Dmitriev.

The CEO also hinted that there is an opportunity for the two countries to develop their grain trade, especially considering the big potential of exporting Russian wheat to the Kingdom after sending its first shipment earlier this month.

Dmitriev explained that Russia agreed to put differences aside with Saudi Arabia and work together to reach a deal that includes members of OPEC + and other oil producing countries.

Moscow is ready to cooperate with Riyadh, in order to stabilize global oil markets, starting from their joint responsibility towards OPEC + producers and consumers, stressed Dmitriev.

"Russia and Saudi Arabia, which have been working closely with the United States and other countries, can restore stability to global energy markets."

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) was created in 2011 to co-invest alongside top global investors, acting as a catalyst for direct investment in Russia.

Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) was established as a Saudi joint stock company that is owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). It is involved in the field of investments in agricultural and livestock production.