First economic power of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is the richest Arab country (1st regional economy and 19th in the world). Taking advantage of a large budget surplus, the country is currently making a giant leap through the digitalization of its public services and the launch of gigantic infrastructure projects. These projects are part of the “Vision 2030" roadmap, which aims to challenge the foundations of the traditional economy to push investment in innovative sectors.
For the first time in its history, this market of 34 million inhabitants is now experiencing a period of unprecedented socio-economic changes and is fully counting on the diversification of the economy to free itself from its dependence on oil.
To give Luxembourg and Belgian companies better access to the diversifying economy of Saudi Arabia, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Wallonia Export & Investment Agency (AWEX) and the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) recently organized an economic mission (11–18 March 2022) prepared jointly with the support of the Embassy of Belgium in Riyadh.
Nearly 60 companies and a hundred delegates participated. The detailed brochure can be found attached. Three cities were on the programme:
The mission’s programme kicked off with a briefing and a welcoming reception hosted by the Belgium Embassy in Riyadh.
On the second day the entire delegation made its way to the Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSA) to attend the Saudi-Belgian-Luxembourg Business Forum, presenting investment opportunities and innovation programmes in the Kingdom, concluded by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing a Joint Business Council between ABLCC and FSA and a networking lunch.
Saudi Arabia’s rich potential to the world is also showcased by the Red Sea Project. The project sits over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters and encompasses a vast archipelago of more than 90 islands. It will set new standards in regenerative tourism and sustainable development, comprising hotels, residential properties and leisure facilities.
To maximize the economic benefits of this mission, specific sector visits have been organized the following days, chosen in regards of the needs in Saudi Arabia, especially in the context of the Vision 2030 roadmap and according to the expertise of the Luxembourg and Belgian companies. These sectors were: entertainment, healthcare, construction, energy/environment, food & agriculture, equine and transport & logistics.
After a festive reception offered by the Honorary Consul of Belgium in Jeddah, the delegation spent the next day a few hours in the historic district to discover the project “Revitalize Historic Jeddah” as part of plans to redevelop the area containing more than 600 heritage buildings to become a hub for business and cultural projects. Other sectoral visits comprised the Saudi German Hospital as well as the port.
On the last day the delegation was invited to a networking event organized by the Asharqia Chamber of Commerce followed by visits to Aramco and the Mouwasat Hospital. A farewell dinner at ITHRA – the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture – ended this successful mission.
After this productive week in Saudi Arabia, the delegation headed back to the Grand Duchy, concluding this year’s 5th event in the Middle East after the Expo 2020 Dubai visits. Next missions on the programme: Portugal, London and Canada.