Saudi students in France set to reach 4,000 soon
French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot said on Friday that the number of Saudi students going to France for higher studies would be tripled soon.
The envoy was speaking at the “Gout de France” program held at his residence.
The event was attended by a large number of guests from the capital.
The program was simultaneously held in 150 countries.
The dinner at the Riyadh event brought together Saudi and foreign guests around a table prepared by the restaurant Appetit Kitchen’s, Chef Patrick Thunevin.
The envoy said there are currently 1,500 Saudi students learning in various universities in France. Besancenot recalled that a large number of French universities have recently signed agreements with their Saudi counterparts to enroll more Saudi students. “We expect that there will be around 4,000 Saudi students who will benefit from this program,” he said, adding that seven years ago, there were only 100 Saudi students in Paris.
Besancenot said there is a steady growth in the number of Saudi tourists traveling to France and last year alone, there were some 270,000 Saudis tourists traveling to the country.
“Saudis are given visas without any hassle. We give them a four year visa — good enough for them to repeat their visits as often as possible according to their convenience,” the ambassador said.
Speaking about the program, he said French gastronomy is credited with being the best in the world and it is an evolving culture which should be refreshed with new additions later on.
Regarding French investments in the Kingdom, Besancenot said France is the third-largest investment partner with $15 billion, in the Kingdom, while 80 French companies have employed around 27,000 Saudis.
The French companies are actively involved in energy, transport, railway and metro, training and other projects.
Jean -Lois Laveille, cultural counselor at the French Embassy, told Arab News that this is the first time such an event is being held in Riyadh.