Khalid Al-Falih, the Minister of Investment, declared that Italy is set to become a long-term partner for Saudi Arabia in the fields of energy and sustainability. He revealed that Saudi Arabia is currently working on one of the world’s largest hydrogen projects in the NEOM city.
Al-Falih made these remarks during his address at the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum, which commenced in Milan, Italy on Monday. The forum has drawn participation from a significant number of business leaders, investors, and government officials representing both Italy and Saudi Arabia.
The minister disclosed that several cooperative agreements spanning various sectors will be signed between Saudi Arabia and Italy. Al-Falih also extended an invitation to Italian companies to explore investment opportunities within the Kingdom. Moreover, he highlighted the collaborative efforts between the two nations in the field of green technologies. He underscored that Saudi Arabia is initiating investments in crucial raw materials and intends to reinforce cooperation and joint initiatives with Italy in this domain.
On Monday, the two countries inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening economic relations and investments of strategic importance. This two-year MoU will be automatically renewed for an additional 24 months unless one party notifies the other of its intent to decline renewal six months before its expiration. The primary focus of the agreement initially centers on energy sector development projects.
Since assuming office in October 2022, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has actively pursued closer ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. Italy, under Meloni’s leadership, envisions itself as a vital link connecting the European Union (EU) with energy suppliers in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly as the EU reduces its reliance on Russian energy supplies.
During the Milan event, the Italian energy company Eni and Saudi ACWA Power forged an agreement to collaborate on a green hydrogen project in the Middle East and North Africa. Furthermore, Italy is actively working to attract sovereign wealth funds from Gulf nations to invest in a new fund aimed at providing resources to companies operating in strategically significant sectors and promoting the procurement and recycling of vital raw materials.
Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso, speaking at the event, indicated that Rome might appoint special commissioners to facilitate the implementation of foreign investment programs in Italy valued at a minimum of one billion euros ($1.1 billion).