Future Investment Initiative (FII7) established a new road map for cooperation between Rome and Riyadh and enhanced the opportunities for strategic and dynamic ties, said Italy’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Roberto Cantone.
Over 70 Italian companies are investing in the Saudi market, especially in green energy, artificial intelligence, and technology sectors.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Cantone stressed that the FII7 became a leading global platform for exploring new trends, opportunities, challenges, and emerging industries that would shape the global economy and investment environment over the coming decades.
The FII7 Forum allowed Italian companies to discuss with their counterparts from investment groups and emerging companies in Riyadh.
According to Cantone, Italy’s high-level participation in the conference contributed to enriching discussions on pivotal long-term investment projects and global trends that shape future economies.
It also provided the opportunity to enhance cooperation between Rome and Riyadh in many areas, as identified by Vision 2030.
Cantone recalled that bilateral relations date back to the 1930s and have been expanded steadily over the years.
He indicated that the Kingdom currently witnesses steady growth in several areas of cooperation across various sectors, ranging between the latest technologies and their applications in the healthcare system, agriculture, space, cultural heritage, and preservation of antiquities.
Cantone reiterated that cooperation between Italy and the Kingdom is witnessing a strategic and dynamic development, as evident during the bilateral investment forum in Milan last September.
The forum highlighted the great potential to enhance cooperation between the two nations in various fields, including green energy, artificial intelligence, and technology, he said.
The latest trade exchange data shows bilateral trade relations between Italy and Saudi Arabia are witnessing upward growth, reaching $12 billion in 2022.
The first quarter of 2023 was also promising, as Italian exports to the Kingdom grew 24 percent.
The diplomat pointed out that Italian exports to the Kingdom include industrial machinery, electronic devices, communications devices, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, agricultural foods, fashion, design, cosmetics, and cars.
The total balance of Italian net foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia amounted to more than $4.6 billion, said Cantone, pointing out that the investment forum in Milan witnessed the signing of a memorandum to enhance direct investments between the two countries.
Cantone concluded by expressing his pleasure that Saudi companies, namely the Public Investment Fund (PIF), have become more interested in investing in strategic sectors of the Italian economy, saying it confirms the Kingdom’s confidence in the Italian business environment.