Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Sweden were in the spotlight during a two-day Saudi-Sweden event at Expo 2020 Dubai. It was marked on January 16-17 at the respective pavilions, where a series of panel discussions explored how to boost trade relations.
The event was organized by the pavilions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Sweden, in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Investment (MISA), Invest Saudi, the Embassy of Sweden, and Business Sweden.
The first day, hosted at the Sweden Pavilion, included opening remarks by H.E. Mr Niclas Trouvé, Ambassador of Sweden to Saudi Arabia; Mr Hussain Hanbazazah, Commissioner General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion; and Mr Jan Thesleff, Commissioner General of the Swedish Pavilion.
Commissioner General Hussain Hanbazazah highlighted how Swedish companies have operated in the Kingdom for over 70 years, noting that Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s largest economic partner in the Middle East and No. 1 trade partner among the Scandinavian countries, with the volume of trade exchange in the past five years reaching more than $$6 billion.
“As a continuation to our historical relationship, we are inspired by the efforts made by our leaders towards advancing bilateral relations between our two countries, resulting in the recent establishment of the Saudi-Swedish Business Council in Stockholm, exchanging expertise and knowledge, and setting plans and programs to seize investment opportunities and turn them into tangible partnerships,” he said.
Swedish companies have operated in the Kingdom for over 70 years
“Saudi Arabia welcomes and invites Swedish companies to invest in our country and to take advantage of the opportunities and initiatives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, especially in sustainability, smart cities, manufacturing industries and areas such as e-commerce and information technology.”
Speakers over the two-day event included Jan Larsson, CEO, Business Sweden; Patrick El-Cheikh, Secretary-General, Saudi Sweden Joint Business Council; Marcus Petersson, Trade Commissioner of Sweden to Saudi Arabia; Khawla Alhaqbani, International Relations Senior Specialist, Saudi General Authority of Foreign Trade (GAFT); Fawaz Alotailbi, Executive Member, Saudi Sweden Joint Business Council; and Saleh Khabti, Deputy of Investment Transactions at the Saudi Ministry of Investment (MISA).
Also in attendance from the Saudi side were representatives from the Ministry of Investment; Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources; Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing; Invest Saudi; National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP); Local Content & Government Procurement Authority; Industrial Center; Federation of Saudi Chambers; General Authority of Foreign Trade; THIQAH Business Services; mining company Ma’aden; Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC); major real estate developer Roshn; and The Red Sea Development Company; and from the Swedish side telecommunications company Ericsson; engineering consultancy company Sweco; and Swedish–Swiss multinational corporation and technology leader ABB; and multinational food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak.
“Saudi Arabia and Sweden have a fantastic journey ahead, to protect people and the planet through sustainable and green solutions”
Highlights from the two-day event included sessions on investing in Saudi Arabia and Sweden, Digital Transformation, including how governments can lead this, and Sustainability, including building Saudi Arabia’s circular economy and related investment opportunities, featuring a case study on recycling in the Kingdom. Additional panel discussions explored sustainable mining, collaboration within smart manufacturing and enabling smart and sustainable cities.
H.E. Mr Niclas Trouvé, Ambassador of Sweden to Saudi Arabia, said talks over the two-day event were mainly about “progressive performance”.
“Saudi Arabia and Sweden have a fantastic journey ahead, to protect people and the planet through sustainable and green solutions. We have to do this together through strengthening partnerships between governments and the private sector in order to move forward together,” he said. The two-day event concluded with a cultural performance, and guests were invited to attend another key event on 7 February, where the Saudi Pavilion will be partnering with MISA and Invest Saudi to host a full-day business forum at the Dubai Exhibition Center where sectorial investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia will be discussed.