Saudi-French ties scale new heights
French companies, with about $15 billion in investments in Saudi Arabia, have the highest rate of Saudization in their work forces compared to other foreign firms, according to Mohammed Binladin, head of the Saudi-French Business Council (SFBC).
Addressing an SFBC meeting, he said there are more than 80 French companies operating in the Saudi market in various sectors and employing at least 27,000 Saudis.
This indicates the keen interest of France to support Kingdom’s efforts in providing jobs, skills development, training and diversification of industries and building the national economy.
He said preparation is under way to hold the Second Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum which is being organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and expected to be held later this year in Riyadh.
“The second forum comes along the lines of the first forum, held in the Paris in April 2013, that achieved remarkable successes and saw the participation of 500 Saudi and French businessmen and officials,” he noted.
“This year’s forum will offer investment opportunities in both countries, and joint ventures where both parties will address cooperation in the health, digital economy, food industries, and renewable energy [sectors],” he said.
French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot was also in attendance at the meeting, held at the Council of Saudi Chambers. He referred to growing trade relations between the two countries, stressing that his country considers the Kingdom an important key trade partner in the Middle East, as was evident by the visit of the French President in 2013.
France occupies third place among foreign investments in the Kingdom with French direct investment at about $15 billion. French companies are actively involved in energy, transport, railway and metro, training and other projects.