RIYADH: Sweden and Saudi Arabia have launched a major program to train female entrepreneurs and innovators by creating networks and organizing mutual learning through meetings, study tours, education and interaction with top opinion leaders and decision makers.
The first module of the SHE-Leads program focused on exchanging experiences and was attended by 18 Saudis in Sweden earlier this month, Jan Knutsson, Sweden’s ambassador to the Kingdom, said on Saturday. “In March next year, these women will meet again, in Riyadh,” he added.
During the first session, Saudi participants visited major Swedish organizations such as the Swedish Institute, Ericsson, Atlas Copco, AllBright and Add Gender.
Speaking at a party to promote Swedish cuisine, Knutsson expressed his hope for greater cultural exchanges between his country and Saudi Arabia.
“Sweden has a very strong tradition when it comes to films, books, and music for children,” he said.
The education sector is another “promising” area of cooperation, he said, adding that Riyadh and Stockholm have signed a memorandum of understanding to that end.
Knutsson predicted an increase in bilateral trade and investment “as new sectors are opening up for investment in Saudi Arabia, in which Sweden has had wide experience.”
Many Swedish companies had a chance to explore new opportunities during the visit of Trade Minister Ann Linde in October, he said.
During her visit, Linde inaugurated a new solar panel system at the Swedish Embassy, “and now the embassy in Riyadh is powered by Saudi sun,” Knutsson said.
He renewed Sweden’s condemnation of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying it risks greater instability in the Middle East and violates international law. “Moreover, it can prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final-status issues,” he added.

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