President Kaljulaid makes first visit to Saudi Arabia

President Kersti Kaljulaid visited Saudi Arabia in the last week of October, during which she met with the heads of government of the kingdom, assisted in creating opportunities for Estonian companies to make new bilateral business contacts and took to the stage as one the keynote speakers at the prestigious Future Investment Initiative forum.

“There has been a marked rise in interest among Estonian companies in the countries on the Persian Gulf, and a number of sectors see a great deal of potential there,” explained Taavi Linnamäe from the office of President Kaljulaid. “A lot of projects are already underway, but the cultural differences between our countries mean that business diplomacy is also very important. In fact it is often what is needed in order for actual cooperation to be achieved.”

There has been a marked rise in interest among Estonian companies in the countries on the Persian Gulf.

During her time in the country, President Kaljulaid met with the heads of the Saudi government, the ambassador of the European Union to Saudi Arabia and the founders of Neom (the ‘city of the future’) and visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. The meetings were primarily designed to foster business diplomacy, create new opportunities for Estonian companies in Saudi Arabia and promote business contacts between the two countries. Coinciding with President Kaljulaid’s visit to the kingdom, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt was in the Saudi capital Riyadh with a business delegation of Estonian companies.

President Kaljulaid was also one of the keynote speakers at the Future Investment Initiative forum being held in the Saudi capital, her address focussing on the ways in which technology is transforming our societies. The former head of state also contributed to a discussion on the changing economy and the work of the future.

Estonia and Saudi Arabia entered into diplomatic relations in 2003. Estonia’s first ambassador to the kingdom, Jaan Reinhold, presented his credentials in Riyadh in March this year.