NEW DELHI: Prince Fahad Bin Mansour, Chairman of the Saudi Arabian Startup Group for Group 20, has expressed optimism about the potential for substantial growth in trade between India and Saudi Arabia.
His positive outlook follows the recent agreement between the two countries to create investment facilitation centres and a startup bridge, aimed at involving startups and young entrepreneurs.
Under the agreement, India will establish an Investment & Trade Promotion office in Riyadh, while Saudi Arabia will reciprocate by opening an investment facilitation office in India. Additionally, Saudi Arabia will provide both physical and digital space for the establishment of the startup bridge in Riyadh.
Prince Fahad Bin Mansour, in an interview to ANI, expressed the hope that cooperation between the two countries would lead to a scenario where Indian companies expand their presence in Saudi Arabia, and vice-versa, creating opportunities that hold immense potential, albeit difficult to quantify at this stage.
Highlighting the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up 80 per cent of businesses in many countries, Prince Fahad stressed that the historic India-Middle East-Europe corridor would further enhance the trade relationship and prospects for startups and entrepreneurs. He described this corridor as a “modern bridge between continents.”
Khalid A. Al Falih, the Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia, likened the India-Middle East-Europe corridor to the combination of the historic Silk Route and Spice Road for the current millennium.
Beyond oil & gas
Al Falih also revealed Saudi Aramco’s ambition to convert 4 million barrels of oil into advanced green materials on a global scale. He emphasised Saudi Arabia’s eagerness to invest in India beyond the realms of oil, gas, and petrochemicals, highlighting opportunities in green energy, technology, manufacturing, telecommunications, defence, food, culture, and entertainment.
Meanwhile, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, extended an invitation to Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth funds to invest in Gujarat’s Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) city.
Goyal said the investment facilitation centres, slated to be operational within the next six months, would receive full support from the Indian Government and would include venture capitalists to provide funding and guidance.