Italy and Saudi Arabia seek to boost investments – both ways. On Monday, Italian Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso and Saudi Investment Minister Minister Khalid Al-Falih signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote bilateral investment initiatives. The deal aims to “support dialogue between institutions and businesses interested in promoting investment between the two countries” and “encourage cooperation in direct investment, supporting investors at all stages of projects if they have been identified as having strategic economic importance for either country,” according to an official note.
- During the bilateral meeting, Minister Al-Falih invited Minister Urso to Riyadh to consolidate cooperation between the two countries and encourage collaboration between companies.
Groundwork for more cooperation. The MoU’s objectives will be pursued through the Italy-Saudi Arabia Investment Forum, the first edition of which was officially kicked off by the two ministers in Milan. The Forum is intended to enhance existing synergies, identify new development opportunities and promote collaboration and dialogue between business leaders, institutions and investors from the two countries.
- The event was attended by Deputy Enterprise Minister Valentino Valentini and the city’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, as well as the Saudi Ambassador to Italy, Prince Faisal Bin Salman, and the Saudi government’s Head of Investor Relations, Badr Albadr.
- Some 1200 companies took part in the event, of which 500 were in attendance and over 700 were connected remotely.
- More than 150 Saudi companies are participating, while big names like Eni, Snam, Cdp, Enel, Leonardo, WeBuild, Maire, Pirelli, Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit, Ita, Ansaldo Energia, Saipem, and Invimit star on the Italian side.
Upgrading commercial ties. Touting the 20 agreements already signed within the Forum’s framework, the official called it a “historic turning point.” Riyadh “has long been a trade partner and energy supplier to Italy and Europe,” he said, but the forum will allow the two capitals to “[move] from a trade partnership to a technological and industrial one, with the possibility of major investments by Saudi companies in our country.”
- With this agreement, Italy intends to become “the industrial and commercial platform” for Saudi Arabia in Europe, just as Riyadh “will increasingly become a productive and commercial platform for Italian companies in the greater Middle East.”
- Saudi Arabia and Italy, together with their companies, will also participate in the establishment and development of the southern shore of the Mediterranean and the African continent, “starting with the Horn of Africa,” added Minister Urso.
- Finally, he noted that Rome is in talks with Riyadh about “a potential investment by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund in the ‘Made in Italy’ fund.” Discussions have also touched upon potential M&A deals in the energy transition sector and the space sector, where Italian champion Leonardo operates.