LONDON: Saudi Arabia and the UK are far from maximizing their potential for e-commerce collaboration, officials said as the two sides held an event in London to explore opportunities in the sector.

Dr. Emad Al-Dukair, co-chairman of the Saudi British Joint Business Council, told Arab News that the Kingdom has achieved a lot in recent years and offers huge potential for future growth.

“What’s happened in the last five years is more than what’s happened in half a century, and I think there’s a lot more to come,” he said.

Al-Dukair’s comments came as the Saudi Electronic Commerce Council, in collaboration with the SBJBC, organized an event in London titled “Leveraging e-commerce to expand bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.” United”.


It was hosted by the Kingdom’s Minister of Commerce, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, who is also the Chairman of the ECC, and brought together leaders from 11 government agencies.

Al-Dukair said the UK was seen as a hub for new technologies, e-commerce, fintech and e-services and wanted to encourage businesses to establish new relationships in the Kingdom, adding that he there were also opportunities for Saudi companies to get involved. in UK startups there.

Al-Qasabi said that Saudi Arabia is among the top 10 developing countries in the field of e-commerce, with an annual growth of more than 32%, and that the development of the sector is one of the objectives of the Vision 2030 of the Kingdom.

Al-Dukair said that despite the scale of the meeting, which drew 120 business leaders, the two countries had yet to “scratch the surface” of their potential for collaboration. The event had however come “at an opportune time” following Brexit, COVID-19, the expected weak growth of the British economy and its search for new markets.


E-commerce expert Karl Lillrud told the event that his goal is to help businesses with their expansion plans.

“I empower businesses to grow faster and have been doing so for 25 years, and it can range from small startups all the way to Fortune 500 companies, where I step in and help them understand how to break boundaries, how overcome the obstacles.”

Dr Ahmad Dehwah, co-founder and managing director of Sadeem – a Saudi startup specializing in flood mitigation solutions – said his company hoped to collaborate with British companies.

Sadeem was looking to set up a hybrid model, where both parties would engage and work together “to ensure that we have sustainable cities and better flood mitigation systems,” he said.

The company was founded in 2010 following deadly floods that hit the coastal city of Jeddah a year earlier. Dehwah said many officials and organizations have expressed interest in working with his company due to increased flooding over the past decade and the impact of climate change.


“Investment in flood mitigation solutions is increasing, and that shows how important it is,” he said.

Quintin Hicks, director of partnerships at technology company What3words, said Saudi Arabia had been “a priority market for a long time” and the event in London was an opportunity to meet potential partners and learn about new with the developments of e-commerce and logistics market after the pandemic.

The company is already working with the Saudi Red Crescent and other emergency services to allow people to share their location in crowded or remote areas. It also cooperates with ride-sharing app Careem to help identify destinations, from hotels to campsites, in the desert.

“In rural areas, especially in some of these amazing new Saudi 2030 mega projects, like in NEOM…it’s a way to identify your location and share it with emergency services if you have any trouble , but also from a planning point of view,” Hicks said.

While What3words had mostly partnered with private companies in the past, it wanted to work with government entities in Saudi Arabia and hoped that by 2030 its name would be “part of common parlance”, he added. .