A remarkable year for KSA in face of COVID-19
Greetings to all readers, and happy 90th National Day to Saudi Arabia.
This year has been a remarkable one for Denmark and Saudi Arabia. On Feb. 1, they marked the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations. It has been 45 years of interesting developments and continuously strong bilateral relations — politically and commercially.
Denmark and Saudi Arabia have ambitions in the field of renewable energy, which is a major priority for Denmark and has a prominent position in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. By that year, Denmark aims to cover 100 percent of the national energy demand by renewable energy, and Saudi Arabia aims to cover 50 percent.
One of the latest initiatives by Saudi Arabia towards realizing its ambitions in renewable energy was to sign a deal with the Danish company Vestas to deliver wind turbines for a 400 MW wind farm in Dumat Al-Jandal. The wind energy farm will become Saudi Arabia’s first utility-scale wind-power source. I am excited to follow this development, and will be looking forward to witnessing the Danish wind turbines spin in northern Saudi Arabia in 2021.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on all of us this year. When we first entered the new decade, we were not expecting that 2020 would become deeply affected by a global pandemic, economic recession and social strains. The crisis has forced global leaders to initiate strong countermeasures to combat the pandemic and mitigate the effects of a long and devastating economic recession.
The authorities in Denmark and Saudi Arabia reacted rapidly to the pandemic with drastic measures such as full lockdowns and social distancing, and the swift reactions delivered results. Danish and Saudi societies have reopened and resumed a somewhat normal situation for a couple of months now, while cautiously monitoring developments until we have an efficient vaccine.
“Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency has created significant international attention.”
Ole E. Moesby
Due to travel restrictions, people around the world have enjoyed domestic tourism to a new extent this year. An unexpected aspect of the COVID-19 situation was that I enjoyed a staycation in Saudi Arabia this year. I had the pleasure of a hiking trip to the beautiful Asir region in the south. I enjoyed beautiful nature, outdoor cooking and sleeping, as well as remarkable conversations around the bonfire. Saudi Arabia offers various climates, nature and wildlife, and it has extraordinary potential for tourism.
I have enjoyed my three years in Saudi Arabia. I have vivid memories of the King Abdullah Camel Festival and Formula-E. These experiences offered insights into a beautiful and extraordinary culture, as well as a peek into the modern Saudi Arabia with a focus on diversification and sustainable solutions. I am grateful to have witnessed the first part of the implementation of Vision 2030.
G20 and women’s empowerment
Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency has created significant international attention. Under difficult global circumstances, Saudi Arabia has taken extraordinary measures to facilitate G20 discussions about how to tackle the pandemic and its global economic consequences.
The G20 presidency has also addressed other relevant topics, such as the empowerment of women. Saudi Arabia has launched new initiatives to move towards a goal of 30 percent labor-market participation among Saudi women. It is remarkable to see the increasing number of women in leading and managerial positions, as well as female entrepreneurs.
Denmark has decades of experience with high participation of women in the labor market. It has benefited Denmark in terms of economic growth, productivity and improved innovation.
I look forward to follow the preparations for the G20 Summit in November 2020, and wish the leaders good luck in achieving results on many important global issues such as COVID-19, green economic recovery and the empowerment of women.
In conclusion, allow me to share my best wishes for a joyful and happy Saudi National Day on Sept. 23. With yet another engaging year behind us, I am looking forward to the coming year and the new opportunities it will bring for Denmark and Saudi Arabia.
- Ole E. Moesby is the ambassador of Denmark to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.