In July, Saudi Foreign Minister and defense industry businessman Faisal bin Farhan Al Saoud flew to Paris. In the beginning of August, it was the turn of the communications minister, Abdullah bin Amer Al Swaha, to visit the French capital. Al Swaha, a former executive at Sisco, is very close to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, sitting on the board of his personal foundation MiSK and that of the futuristic city Neom, according to a report by intelligenceonline.
The visit was officially intended to establish new technological cooperation between the two countries, but on the sidelines, in their meetings with leading French cloud service provider OVH and telecom service provider Iliad, the Saudi visitors expressed great interest in French cloud technology.
Riyadh is seeking to strengthen its data centers and cloud services. Although Saudi Arabia is advanced in this field, with Sisco and Microsoft, it does not rule out working with non-American companies so that certain sovereign data will not depend on a single vendor. China's Huawei already has a number of commercial data centers in Saudi Arabia.
Al Swaha, as mentioned, is a rising star in Riyadh who was appointed chairman of the Saudi Space Commission (SSC) in May. He spent part of the visit in France attending presentations on potential cooperation in space, arranged by France's national center for space studies and the Airbus Group.