Patrice Caine, Chief Executive of the multinational Thales Group, which designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets, said that the Saudi environment has become prepared more than ever to attract institutional investments on the global level.
Caine expected Riyadh to move to leading positions in this field in order to write a new chapter in its history of economic development, which reaches four percent annually.
CEO of the French-based group said that the qualitative change in Saudi exports is a very important indicator of the Kingdom's efforts to diversify the economy, with encouraging data showing the growth of non-oil exports at a rate that exceeds the growth rate of oil exports in recent years.
However, oil still constitutes the largest share of the country’s foreign sales, reflecting the volume of the challenge the Kingdom faces in order to achieve economic diversification.
During his visit to Riyadh and on the sidelines of his participation in the Future Investment Initiative recently, Caine told Asharq Al-Awsat that in order to enhance non-oil exports, the Saudi government has established the Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA), which has undertaken the duty of promoting non-oil products at the external level in parallel with supporting local companies and helping them export their goods.”
“Within this framework, SEDA constitutes a step in the right direction towards creating an economic environment of an international character, which will enhance the economy, create jobs and accelerate growth."
Caine also said Thales is ready to participate in future changes in Saudi Arabia in the framework of joint research programs and to promote the development of local capacities to match the programs of Vision 2030 through technological innovation, digital transformation, creating exceptional opportunities and enhancing areas of technology such as artificial intelligence, digital security, smart and secured cities and self-transport.
Saudi economy is considered one of the largest economies on the level of the Middle East, according to Caine, who added that it constitutes one of the 20 most important markets in the world as it has been achieving four percent growth annually for the past 25 years, contributing to the creation of millions of new job opportunities.
He pointed out that Thales will boost its work in the region, especially in Saudi Arabia, in light of the great opportunities available to it within the various sectors in which it operates.