Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is making his way from one Washington to the other during a U.S. visit, with a planned stop in Seattle and meetings with Bill Gates and Boeing Co. officials.
His whirlwind tour thus far has included an interview on “60 Minutes” and a meeting with President Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and numerous congressional leaders. Reports over the past several months have detailed Prince Mohammed’s reform efforts at home as well as the potential to lure big tech companies to set up shop in his kingdom.
Gates met with Prince Mohammed last November in Riyadh, where the prince’s foundation, MiSK, announced a $10 million initiative in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to encourage innovators, through what they’re calling “Grand Challenges,” to tackle some of the worlds’ biggest issues.
“MiSK Grand Challenges will incentivize more of the brightest minds around the world to find the best ideas to solve some of the toughest development challenges,” Gates said at the time, as the two discussed joint development programs and projects.
“We are the oldest ally of America in the Middle East with more than 80 years of alliance and big interests particularly economically and security, the foundation of the relationship is huge and deep.” – HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman pic.twitter.com/PoJsrpxpW9
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) March 20, 2018
HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman held constructive talks with Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon and discussed ways to further develop the strategic partnership between KSA and US #CrownPrinceinDC #SaudiUSpartnership pic.twitter.com/OWi5LGarda
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) March 22, 2018
The Times reported that the prince already met with leaders of major U.S. defense companies, including Boeing, this week in Washington, D.C. On his trip out West, he’s expected to tour Boeing’s jet assembly plant in Everett, Wash. He’ll also head down the coast for meetings in Silicon Valley at Google and Apple.
Whether anyone from Amazon meets with Prince Mohammed in Seattle remains to be seen. Reuters reported at the end of last year that Amazon Web Services, along with Apple, is looking to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia. The prince has reportedly been aiming to diversify his kingdom’s economy with a more high-tech look.
The Wall Street Journal also reported in February that Google in is talks with the giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Aramco) to build a large technology hub inside the country.