RIYADH/ROME: Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan on Monday invited Italian investors to become part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing energy and economic transformation.
The minister was speaking at the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum being held in Riyadh.
According to Al-Jadaan, the world’s biggest energy exporter has rapidly increased the production of renewable energy — something that is expected to offer huge investment opportunities for Italian entities in the future.
“The opportunities here are exciting and I’m delighted to be part of this effort to deepen the ties between our nations,” the minister said.
Saudi Arabia is also undergoing an economic transformation with the diversification of its economy by concentrating more on non-oil sectors, he noted.
“Italian investors with their expertise, experience, and innovation are invited to be a part of our transformation,” the minister further added.
Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio said economic and trade cooperation is “a pillar of the friendship” between Italy and Saudi Arabia.
“Today’s investment forum is a concrete sign of the vibrant connections tying our business communities.”
He noted that Italian companies have built “a significant capital of trust with Saudi Arabia,” and an increasing number of Italian firms are operating in the priority sectors identified by “Vision 2030.”
By 2021, bilateral trade between the two nations topped $8.6 billion, a 32.9 percent increase in 2020. Italy is Saudi Arabia’s seventh-largest supplier of goods, and the Kingdom ranks 21 in goods supplied to Italy. Saudi Arabia provides approximately 9 percent of Italy’s oil imports.
The Observatory of Economic Complexity, the world’s leading data visualization tool for international trade statistics, 2020 showed Saudi exports of $3.18 billion to Italy, with the top products being crude oil worth $1.7 billion, refined oil at $931 million, and $97.9 million of ethylene polymers.
Over the last 25 years, Italian exports to Saudi Arabia have increased at an annualized rate of 3.31 percent, from $1.67 billion in 1995 to $3.77 billion in 2020.
Di Maio said the success of Saudi investments in Italy “is significant for the Italian Government.”
He added that the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is worth about €250 billion ($264.8 billion) partly funded by the EU after the COVID 19 pandemic, “offers new opportunities, as it outlines a roadmap of ambitious goals for the next years. It aims at accelerating the ecological transition, making the economic system more competitive, creating more jobs, and strengthening resilience to climate change.”
“In the energy and infrastructure sectors, many Italian companies have been working side by side with major Saudi businesses. With regard to culture and tourism, some important partnerships are also ongoing with excellent expectations. In all these areas, there is wide potential to strengthen further our collaboration,” Di Maio added.
He believes that the Italian private sector’s “long-standing and unique experience, could meaningfully accompany the Saudi path toward a more diversified economy.”
“Italian businesses can provide cutting-edge solutions to maximize the potential of renewable energy in Saudi Arabia and advance toward the objective of net-zero emissions by 2060 set out in the Saudi Green Initiative.”
On the sidelines of the forum, bilateral agreements for cooperation were also signed between the two countries.