Germany is already the kingdom’s third-largest trade partner and, as Riyadh accelerates its diversification drive away from energy-intensive industries, its need for technology and foreign expertise will grow, offering huge opportunities for German firms.

But there is even greater potential for collaboration on the diplomatic front.

Talks between the GCC and the EU over a free trade agreement have been on and off since the start of the 1990s. If Riyadh and Berlin can come to an agreement between themselves, they could use their influence back home to bring about a speedier conclusion to the negotiations.

Official statements made in May during the visit of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to the kingdom, as part of a wider tour of the Gulf, shows the two countries recognise the benefits of a stronger alliance.

The global crisis has not only shaken up the financial sector, but has changed the balance of power in some regions of the world, opening the way for new partnerships. Riyadh and Berlin would do well to exploit this opportunity and the signs are they are keen to do so.