UK launches year-long Saudi investment drive to capitalise on Vision 2030 projects

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is set to lead a delegation of more than 300 British business executives to attend a trade summit in Riyadh next month

The Riyadh skyline. The two-day Saudi Great Futures summit will be begin in the Saudi capital on May 14. Reuters
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The UK and Saudi Arabia will hold a trade expo in Riyadh next month as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launches an investment drive aimed at taking advantage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 project.

A delegation of more than 300 British business executives will join Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden at the Saudi Great Futures event on May 14-15, according to a statement from his office.

The event will mark the beginning of a year-long campaign to promote UK businesses to Saudi investors with a focus on sectors that support the country’s Vision 2030, which was established by Prince Mohammed eight years ago to diversify the economy away from oil.

British officials have sought to strengthen UK-Saudi relationships with a focus on artificial intelligence in recent months, inviting officials from Riyadh to take part in an AI summit near London hosted by Mr Sunak in November.

May’s trade expo will focus on research collaboration and emerging technologies, as well as finance, green technology, sustainable construction and cultural projects, according to the statement.

Trade between the UK and Saudi Arabia has increased to £16.5 billion ($20.4 billion) in 2022 from £12.1 billion in 2018, the statement said.

Mr Sunak invited Prince Mohammed to visit the UK last year, although a trip has yet to be agreed. The two met in Riyadh in October.

“Our two nations work closely on security and energy. We look forward to strengthening those connections in new areas that feed the Vision 2030 agenda,” Mr Dowden said.

Updated: April 22, 2024, 6:53 AM