RIYADH: French companies are keen on investing in Saudi Arabia's water sector, according to the French Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ludovic Pouille.
Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of a forum titled “Saudi-French strategic partnership for a better sustainable development in water and waste management,” Pouille said the event will help reinforce his country's relationship with the Kingdom.
The forum was organized by Business France and the French Embassy in collaboration with the Kingdom’s Saline Water Conversion Corp., the Saudi Water Partnership Co., the National Water Co. and the Saudi Investment Recycling Co.
The French envoy described the forum as a “great opportunity” for the French companies to discover more about the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Business France is a French government agency created in January 2015 through a merger between UBIFRANCE and the French Agency for International Investment.
Speaking to Arab News, Pouille said: “This initiative by Business France is welcome, because historically France has been a very important strategic partner of Saudi Arabia in the water sector.
“Today, we want to bring new companies, especially SMEs, who could bring innovations, (and) their expertise, in very specific areas in water, water treatment, waste management.
“I am very happy to see that we have almost 15 French companies as part of this delegation, most of them discovering Saudi Arabia for the first time.
“We have all the stakeholders of the Saudi institutions in the water sector present here. This is a great opportunity for the French companies to discover more about Saudi Vision 2030.”
We are able to connect the French companies to Saudi partners in all new fields and sectors of Vision 2030 and to accompany the diversification of the Saudi economy.
French Ambassador Ludovic Pouille
He added: “This country will host, in the next 10 years, the largest projects in water in the world. Since French expertise is well known all over the world, it’s very important to be here now, and to be part of these projects.”
Pouille said that water is the key to development, adding: “We have to sustain water to bring water in a greener way, in a smarter way, and faster way, and the French companies are here to say, yes, we can help you and want to be part of this journey.
“They are well known all over the world. Some of them have already worked here with big French companies like Veolia, EGIS, Suez, Pam Saint Gobain. And today, what we want is the world ecosystem of startups, SMEs in this sector to be part of this partnership.”
The envoy, who opened the forum with the SWCC governor, said: “I am very glad to have opened the Saudi-French strategic partnership forum for a green and sustainable development under the Vision 2030 together with SWCC Gov. Abdullah Ibrahim Alabdulkarim.”
He said that this event is one of many that Business France and the French Embassy will bring to the Kingdom in the coming months.
These will include delegations from the health and fintech sectors — with representatives of 30 companies in the field of entertainment having already visited earlier this year.
“So all this to say that we are able to connect the French companies to Saudi partners in all new fields and sectors of Vision 2030 and to accompany the diversification of the Saudi economy, not only by bringing products, but local content to bring Saudization, we bring our main transfer of know-how training formation,” said the envoy, adding: “We are here as partners to invest in Saudi Arabia.”
The SWCC governor said: “We intend to find a way for new solutions with mutual benefits for all parties. In this win-win situation, we can build strategic partnerships for sustainable development in water and waste management.
“We are not here to find a commercial deal, but rather how we can see the affairs of research technology and what we need from the market.”
Saudi Arabia has been increasing its investment in the clean energy, power, and water sector and aims to increase the desalination capacity to 7.5 million cubic meters of water per day by 2027.