The first Saudi-Russian Investment Forum kicked off this morning at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow, under the title “Investment Towards Building a Strong Partnership”, organized by the General Authority for Investment in cooperation with the Council of Saudi Chambers and the Saudi-Russian Joint Council. This comes on the sidelines of the current official visit by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Russian Federation.
At the beginning of the forum, the Russian Minister of Energy, Alexander Novak delivered a speech, through which he praised and welcomed the historic visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to Russian Federation, stressing its positive impact in supporting and promoting the diplomatic and economic relations between the Kingdom and Russia, looking forward for raising such relations to higher levels, under the care and interest rendered by both the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and His Excellency President Vladimir Putin.
His Excellency said that there are various aspects of partnerships between the Saudi and Russian businessmen in different investment fields. It is time now, through this investment forum, to upgrade, expand and activate these partnerships, through fruitful cooperation agreements that may increase and promote the bilateral relations to a better level between the two countries.
H. E. pointed out that the areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and Russia are proceeding according to what have been planned in various sectors, such as industry, health, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, technology, nuclear power and desalination, in addition to cooperation in the fields of oil and gas. H.E. pointed out that the two countries are seeking currently to implement 25 joint economic projects to increase and enhance the positive cooperation between both countries.
H.E. the Russian Minister of Energy pointed out that the Saudi and Russian sides are keen to enhance mutual understanding in the field of investment and to face and remove any obstacles for the success of the joint relations between the Kingdom and Russia. H.E. referred to the bilateral interest in the field of energy, technology and nuclear power for producing electricity in the Kingdom, and for the realization of both friendly countries’ interests.
H.E. the Minister of Commerce and Investment, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qassabi, delivered a speech in which he expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Russian government for hosting the Saudi-Russian Investment Forum, that has been held in conjunction with the royal visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to the Russian Federation, under the aspiration and hope for the development of trade and investment exchange between the two friendly countries.
H.E. Dr. Al Qasabi said, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under its vision 2030, is keen to develop and encourage investment. Also to support the private sector contribution by overcoming the obstacles and challenges facing such sector, and through giving the opportunity for goods and services of this sector to have access in the local and global markets, in the light of markets opening and under the existence of regulations that protect investors. Therefore, the Kingdom is keen to promote and develop its trade and investment relations that meet and go in line with the current and future trends of the Russian economy.
His Excellency considered the setting up of this forum as one of the mechanisms to support and develop trade and investment between the two friendly countries and one of the fruitful results of the Saudi-Russian Joint Committee and the Saudi-Russian Business Council for achieving the common interests.
Finally, H.E. expressed his hope that this forum may fulfill its objectives, including creating value-added trade and investment opportunities and creating alliances among Saudi and Russian businessmen and businesswomen to build successful partnerships.
After that, the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Engr. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih delivered a speech welcoming the attendants.
H.E. said, "It is my pleasure to return to Moscow within this delegation accompanying the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, during the first royal visit by a Saudi king to the Russian Federation. This would crown the efforts and trade activities witnessed by the Saudi-Russian relations during the past two years.
H. E. added, the partnership among OPEC and other countries, through which the Kingdom and Russia played a leading role, resulted in enhancing stability and confidence in the world oil markets. The Saudi Minister expressed his appreciation to H.E. the Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak for his leading role and contribution toward the unprecedented commitment among major oil producers today.
The Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources said that boosting cooperation between the two countries has also resulted in promising opportunities for cooperation and mutual investment between the two countries in their quest to develop their economies. The most prominent of these was the announcement of the Public Investment Fund in the Kingdom to have joint invest projects with the Direct Russian Investment Fund. H.E. pointed out that during this historic visit three agreements will be officially announced, under the official guidance, in the fields of energy, advanced technologies and infrastructure in particular.
H.E. added that the most prominent opportunities for the success of cooperation between the two countries is the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 that seeks to diversify the economy and move towards knowledge economy, as well as focusing and enabling the private sector to lead the economic expansion, taking science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship as foundations for our future economy, through our efforts and endeavors to build a brighter future for our society and for the international community in general.
H.E. added, It is a beautiful coincidence that yesterday is the 60th anniversary of launching Sputnik satellite, followed by launching major knowledge development that has led to a global drive towards high investment in science and technology, which led to enhancing innovation, setting up new industries, creating quality employment opportunities, as well as guiding the future generations towards science and technology fields.
H.E. Engr. Al Falih said, in our world today, as we witness Russia's strengths and advancement in science and technology, I see tremendous opportunities for both countries to work together to establish and develop future world-leading businesses in both countries, based on high-value technology sectors and investing in technological and innovative projects for building, Sophisticated industrial companies, as well as successful commercial institutions, capable of excellence in this world that is raging with competition.
H. E. stressed the need to leap forward, and all governments, businessmen, businesswomen and entrepreneurs are requested to invest in the new industrial and economic sectors, based on technology, and focusing and supporting the entrepreneurship, also adopting ideas that would transform the innovations into products that may lead to attractive returns, paying greater attention to the factors that support such ideas, like setting up Intellectual property protection laws, providing venture capital. H.E. stressed the need to focus on developing the necessary regulatory frameworks and mechanisms by both countries.
H.E. added, to exploit the promising opportunities I have referred to, this historic visit will witness the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding in various fields, such as energy, industry and mineral resources, including as well the cooperation in the fields of peaceful uses of atomic power, exploration of space, military industries, developing navigation by satellite, and others.
H.E. expressed his joy and pleasure by meeting H.E. the Russian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Denis Mantorov, where both sides discussed the cooperation between the two countries, including coordination in the aluminum industry, also benefiting from Russian expertise in many fields such as electronic industries, railways and trains, stressing the enhancement of cooperation among institutions in both countries, in light of the unlimited support rendered by the leaderships of both countries.
H. E. pointed out that he met with the Russian Minister of Energy, Alexander Novak and they discussed cooperation in various energy fields.
In conclusion, H.E. the Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources said: "Optimism fills up our hearts, as we see and feel the keenness of both countries leaders to build bridges of cooperation and open up wonderful, promising and encouraging opportunities in both countries. This concern and keenness would increase our responsibility to move immediately to seize these opportunities and to fulfill the hopes and aspiration of our people, looking forwards for a bright and prosperous future.
After that, the President of Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kiril Dmitriev delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of the economic relations between the Kingdom and Russia, looking forward to develop such relations through this forum and through the meetings that bring together businessmen from both countries to activate cooperation in the fields of investment that benefit the two friendly countries.
Then the Governor of the Saudi General Authority for Investment, Engr. Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, delivered a speech welcoming those attending the Saudi-Russian Investment Forum, held in conjunction with the first and historic royal visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Russian Federation, through which he would meet with His Excellency President Vladimir Putin.
H. E. said, "The historic and close relations between our two friendly countries stressed the importance of strengthening and enhancing partnership and opening promising areas and opportunities for cooperation in various fields. We are here to work and to raise the levels of trade exchange and joint investment to achieve the desired aspirations in our two friendly countries.
H. E. added that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 comes to create promising opportunities for investment and development. Where the economic objectives of such vision included raising the proportion of foreign direct investment to 5.7% of GDP and promoting private sector contribution from 40% to 65% of GDP, as well as making the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among the top 10 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index.
H. E. explained that these objectives would achieve the desired economic and social development of the Kingdom. Therefore, "We encourage Russian companies to have an idea about the investment opportunities in the Saudi market. Where this ambitious Vision targets investments in several sectors, including transport, oil and gas, Agriculture, space research, renewable energy, industrialization and other opportunities.
H.E. added that the Kingdom's strategic location represents a starting point for Russian products exported to Africa and other regions of the world.
His Excellency the Governor of the Saudi General Authority for Investment expressed his wish that the Saudi-Russian Investment Forum would be a link in the series of joint cooperation between the two countries. He invited all the attendants to visit the exhibition accompanying the forum, to get an idea about the investment opportunities of the exhibitors.
The Chairman of the Russian-Arab Business Council, Vladimir Teknichov, delivered a speech in which he reviewed the importance of the relations between the two friendly countries and the role of the said Council in activating such relations, in light of the interest of the two countries leaderships, wishing all success to the royal visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz to Russia.
After that, the Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Engr. Ahmed Bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, delivered a speech in which he praised the bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation and their impact on enhancing the joint cooperation between the two countries by strengthening their solid foundations and paving the way for building a prosperous economic future between the Kingdom and Russia, in light of the two leaderships interest to develop and promote such relations in various fields.
H.E. Engr. Al Rajhi said that the kingdom has been targeting food security along with targeting the development of industrial, commercial and tourism sectors. The Kingdom would work all the time to benefit from its strategic and geographic advantages, since it is considered the Arab and Islamic depth, it has as well a pioneering investment force, and it is a link among three continents. The Kingdom has got various investment opportunities to be activated by the wise leadership that adopted the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and the National Transformation Program 2020, in which the Russian side can share and participate in such activities.
H. E. expressed wish and hope that this forum would come out with a great understanding between the Saudi and Russian businessmen, taking them towards raising the level of trade and investment between the two countries, as well as enhancing them at the global level, in light of the great support of the leaderships in both countries.
H.E. Engr. Al Rajhi appreciated the interest of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, regarding the diversification and development of the Saudi economy and its restructuring in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and its relevant programs, supported externally by the royal visits conducted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince to various friendly countries, since they have special impacts on the economic level, and pave the way for enhancing the cooperation with foreign countries for serving the interests of the Kingdom, on one hand, and the friendly countries, on the other hand.
After that, H.E. Engr. Ibrahim Al Omar, President of the General Authority for Investment, handed over four licenses to Russian companies to invest in the Kingdom.
The opening ceremony was attended by a number of officials from both countries, as well as the private sector responsible and more than 200 businessmen and heads of companies representing various investment sectors in both countries.