Home » Italy embraces strategic investments in the Gulf

Italy embraces strategic investments in the Gulf

Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso touched down in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates on a mission to foster foreign investments and strengthen bilateral ties

Adolfo Urso’s trip across the Gulf. Sunday through Tuesday, Italy’s Enterprise Minister was on an investment-focused journey in the Middle East. First, he touched down in Qatar, then the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and then the United Arab Emirates, all while stressing their strategic significance for Italy’s international projection – including through Rome’s energy-heavy Mattei Plan.

  • His talks hinged on several sectors of mutual interest, including construction, real estate, digital technology, medical, and energy, all of which were highlighted for potential cooperation and investment.
  • Here’s a breakdown of his trip.

The Qatar stop. During his visit to Doha, Minister Urso engaged in bilateral discussions with his homologue, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani. Their talks focussed on enhancing commercial and industrial synergies between Italy and Qatar, especially in the fields of construction, real estate, digital tech, medicine, and energy.

  • The Italian official highlighted Italy’s potential to become a Mediterranean energy hub for gas and blue and green hydrogen through its interconnections, the future hydrogen backbone and the Trieste seaport infrastructure (elements of the Mattei Plan).
  • He also introduced the new Sovereign Fund for Made in Italy products, with the aim to attract global investors, including institutional ones.
  • The two agreed to set up a joint investment forum in Doha, to be held in May 2024, to facilitate stronger partnerships between Italian and Qatari companies.

The Saudi Arabian leg. Minister Urso’s next destination was Riyadh, where he met with Khalid Al-Falih, the kingdom’s Investment Minister, as well as Khalid Al Salem, chairman of the Royal Commission for the cities of Jubail and Yambou, and Saad Al-Kroud, chief of staff of the Public Investment Fund. Discussions centred around developing a regulatory and industrial environment geared towards strategic autonomy in critical raw materials.

  • They explored potential partnerships and joint investments in the mining sector, both within their respective countries and in other areas, such as the African continent (again, as envisioned in the Mattei Plan).
  • Key sectors of interest included automotive, oil & gas, defence, navigation and agri-food, as well as green tech, hydrogen and space. Senior representatives from major Italian companies present in Saudi Arabia – including Pirelli, EuroPort, Maire Tecnimont, Prysmian, Roboze, Deloitte, Poseidon LNG Hub, and Gruppo San Donato – attended the meetings.
  • The Italian and Saudi ministers had closed a direct investment memorandum of understanding in September. 

Stronger UAE ties. Minister Urso concluded his mission in Abu Dhabi, where he took part in meetings with the business and financial community as well as political authorities – notably his counterpart and COP28 President Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber and Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of ADQ and ADIA funds.

  • Cooperation aligned with the objectives of the IMEC Corridor – projected to run from India, across the UAE and to the EU –, as the Italian specified, noting that the “renewed relationship between Italy and the AUE on a political, industrial and commercial level is a great opportunity for our countries to increase synergies and investments.”
  • Key sectors for investment collaboration encompass energy, infrastructure, logistics, connectivity, and innovative technologies. Discussions also encompassed cooperation on artificial intelligence, digital infrastructure, and space-related initiatives.

Image: @adolfo_urso on X

Subscribe to our newsletter