I participated last week in the Saudi-German Joint Commission meeting in its 20th session in Berlin with the Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan leading the Saudi delegation while the German delegation was led by Peter Altmaier, Germany’s federal minister for economic affairs and energy.
In view of my long-standing relationship with the UK banking, real estate and private sectors, I usually focus my international participations mainly on the Saudi-UK business council meetings. But when my friends Khaled Juffali, head of the Saudi side of the Saudi-German Business Council and Dr. Faisal Al-Sugair, president of the Saudi Center for Strategic Partnerships, informed me about this forum, I immediately decided to participate, especially after BMG had entered into several advisory engagements with leading German companies in sectors including renewable energy, logistics and waste management.
Saudi Arabia and Germany have a lot in common as the Kingdom’s economy is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa while Germany is the largest in the EU. The Kingdom and Germany are also influential members of the G20, over which the Kingdom currently presides.
The Kingdom is the second-largest Arab trading partner to Germany, which indicates the importance of the German market to the Saudi economy as one of the five major industrial countries in the world and the fourth largest exporter to the Kingdom.
When I met my German counterparts at the forum, it was noticeable that the recent financial and economic reforms under Vision 2030 have made a positive impact on them. They appreciate that these reforms will make comprehensive changes to the Saudi economy, creating a developmental shift in both the medium and long term. These reforms have contributed to a significant increase in consumption and private investment growth rates during the first half of 2019.
During the past months, economic indicators showed continuous improvement in economic performance, as the Kingdom stepped up its efforts to develop and improve the business climate, local content development and enhance the competitiveness of the economy to improve the ranking of the Kingdom in many international indicators.
In my opinion, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Germany is unique and these meetings, organized by the Saudi Center for international Strategic Partnerships, are expected to progress the historical relations that have linked the two countries for more than 90 years.
• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.