Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Sunday expressed optimism about Pakistan’s economic future even as he signed agreements to invest $20 billion (Rs 1.42 lakh crore) in the cash-strapped country, Dawn reported. The crown prince is on two-day visit to Pakistan.

Salman said Pakistan was a “dear country” to all Saudis, and had a great future to look forward to “with a great leadership”. Addressing a dinner reception at the Prime Minister House, Salman noted that the country’s economic output had grown 5% in 2018.

“We believe that Pakistan is going to be a very, very important country in the coming future and we want to be sure we are part of that,” he said. Salman said Saudi Arabia was waiting for a leadership like that of Prime Minister Imran Khan to partner with the country.

“Pakistan is an important friendly country for Saudi Arabia [and] the brotherhood between the both countries will be further improved in coming days,” Salman said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his welcome speech said Saudi Arabia had always been a “friend in need” to Pakistan. “For Pakistanis, this is a great day,” Khan said. “I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in [a] bad situation.”

The two countries signed seven agreements, including Memorandums of Understanding in power, petrochemical and mining sectors. “The amount of that kind of investment is $20 billion,” Salman said. “It is big for phase one and definitely it will grow every month, every year in bigger numbers and it will be beneficial for both the countries.”

After Pakistan, the crown prince will visit India, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. He is expected to conclude his trip with a visit to China on Thursday and Friday.