Last month, I visited Saudi Arabia as part of a delegation accompanying King Juan Carlos and three Spanish ministers: Ana Pastor, Minister of Public Works; Pedro Morenés, Minister of Defence; and José Manuel Soria, Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism. The main objective of the trip was to promote Spanish infrastructure-development companies that work in Arab countries. Among my traveling companions were the leaders of Abengoa, Acciona, Airbus, Indra, Ferrovial, Isolux Corsán, Navantia, Talgo and other companies.The visit was a unique opportunity to strengthen diplomatic and commercial ties with Saudi Arabia, which is enjoying swift economic growth and is strategically well-positioned for the coming years. The country plans to invest $375 billion to improve its infrastructure between 2010 and 2015. Spain already enjoys a presence in many sectors of the Saudi economy, as evinced by the participation of several Spanish firms in the consortium that is building a high-speed railway linking Medina, Jeddah and Mecca.
During my short stay in Jeddah, I met several ESADE alumni and was truly moved by their hospitality and pride in the ESADE name. They were enthusiastic about ongoing efforts to strengthen the network of ESADE graduates in their country. These alumni are, without a doubt, ESADE’s greatest ambassadors in Saudi Arabia.