From 4 to 9 March, the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency, in collaboration with the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (CCLUX), will accompany a large delegation of more than 120 people to Saudi Arabia for an economic mission in this promising market. 40 interested Walloon companies will be present as part of a delegation that will total more than 70. The main sectors represented by the participants are Environment and Energy, Construction and Infrastructure, Sports and Entertainment, and Health and Life Sciences. This mission has high expectations on both sides in a country experiencing full economic expansion.
Saudi Arabia is the leading economic power in the Middle East and the richest Arab country. To say that this is a country on the move is an understatement. In just one year, the country has risen from 19th place in the world economy to 17th and is the leading regional economy. Oil? Not only. In just a few years, Riyadh has made a giant leap in digitising its public services, announced massive infrastructure projects and challenged the traditional foundations of the economy to push investments into innovative sectors. This is the objective set out in the strategy presented by the "Vision 2030" roadmap led by the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented socio-economic change and is focusing on diversifying its economy to free itself from its dependence on oil.
A similar Belgian-Luxembourg economic mission was jointly organised a year ago by the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency, ABLCC and CCLUX and proved very successful. The new mission, in collaboration with the same partners, will this time focus on four growth sectors offering a large number of opportunities for business links: Environment and Energy, Construction and Infrastructure, Sports and Entertainment, and Health and Life Sciences.
The desire to diversify the economy beyond the oil and gas sector is already well established in the Saudi market and is creating a lot of opportunities for commercial collaboration for the Walloon entrepreneurial world. The Saudis excel at implementing gigantic projects with remarkable speed and professionalism.
The participating companies will enjoy a busy and diverse programme throughout the mission. In addition to the obvious B2B/B2G sessions and numerous networking opportunities, a programme of thematic activities by sector will be on offer, as well as a series of meetings with principals. There will also be a seminar focusing on foreign investment in Wallonia.
Part of the group will travel to Al’Ula, a little-known archaeological treasure in the north-west of the Kingdom. The site's tourist, cultural and economic potential is undeniable. AlUla, the first UNESCO heritage site in Saudi Arabia, is home to necropolises built by the Nabatean civilizations, which also built the city of Petra in Jordan. The development of tourism is part of the country's approach to economic diversification.
This is the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency’s economic mission with the most participants in its Annual Action Programme. This enthusiasm will undoubtedly lead to many fruitful exchanges!