World Bank to work with Saudi Arabia on energy initiative

June 24, 2008

The World Bank has agreed to work with Saudi Arabia to implement an energy initiative to help impoverished countries cope with the burden of high oil prices.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz proposed the initiative at the Jeddah energy forum June 22. He also announced that Saudi Arabia is allocating $500 million in soft loans to help developing countries carry out energy and other projects.

“We will work with the Saudi government to explore how best to support the initiative announced by King Abdullah to address the energy needs of the world’s poorest countries,” said World Bank President Robert Zoellick in a statement yesterday.

“The combination of high fuel and energy costs is having a devastating impact on the poor, putting an especially large burden on the 1 billion people who live on less than $1 a day, many of whom spend two-thirds of their income on food for their families and on energy and transport,” Zoellick said.

Representatives of more than 36 producing and consuming countries attended the Jeddah meeting, as well as seven international organizations and a number of major oil companies.