Saudi Arabia will assume its leadership role of the G20 next year, according to former G20 world leaders the UK's David Cameron, Italy's Matteo Renzi, Australia's Kevin Rudd, and France's Francois Fillion, who were speaking on the final panel of the Future Investment Intiative forum in Riyadh hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Minister of State Dr. Ibrahim Assaf.
The former prime ministers weighed in on Saudi Arabia hosting next year’s G20 summit.
Rudd wished Saudi Arabia “all the best in its major global responsibilities in hosting the G20,” and Renzi said hosting the G20 will be “a great opportunity” for Saudi Arabia’s “Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] and all the leadership of this gorgeous country.”
Cameron advised Saudi Arabia to use its upcoming G20 leadership role to address global inequality.
The G20, a group of leaders representing some of the world’s richest countries, counts economic growth, trade and regulation as some of its objectives.
Renzi said the G20 summit could be an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to send a message that it is a “superpower” not just economically, but in culture and sustainability and other fields. He added that the Saudi Aramco's IPO sends a “very positive” message to the world about the Kingdom’s ongoing economic reforms.
Those economic reforms are being implemented through the Crown Prince’s Vision 2030 plan, an initiative to diversify the Saudi Arabian economy away from oil and transform key sectors including healthcare, mining and tourism.
Assaf said that “one of the most important issues [for Saudi Arabia] is dealing with the empowerment of women and youth.”
While Saudi Arabia has already invested a lot in renewable resources, according to Assaf, he said that the Kingdom wants “to push positive aspects such as reforestation and combating desertification.”
The panel marked the end of the third annual Future Investment Initiative. The forum included 300 speakers from 30 different countries and was attended by more than 6,000 executives and participants, according to Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Yassir al-Rumayyan.
Highlights of the conference include US Energy Secretary Rick Perry going ‘off-script’, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declaring Africa ‘open for business,’ the announcement of the rollout of cinemas across Saudi Arabia, and the head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) Yassir al-Rumayyan discussing Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO).
Al Arabiya also learned the schedule for the Aramco IPO - to be listed on the Tadawul on December 11 - from sources at the event.