Global forum Future Investment Initiative wraps up day one in Riyadh

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Yassir al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and chairman of Saudi Aramco, launched on Monday the third Future Investment Initiative (FII), which is being held in the capital city of Riyadh and attended by key global investors.

“Three hundred leading speakers from 30 different countries are here. More than 6,000 executives and participants are attending,” said al-Rumayyan, highlighting the expanded scope of the FII in its third year.

“This is more than double the first FII. The growth has been incredible,” he added.

Al-Rumayyan’s opening speech was followed by a panel discussion on the future of the global economy amid economic uncertainty. The panel featured the heads of three sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) – al-Rumayyan of the PIF, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, CEO and Managing Director of the Mubadala Investment Company from the UAE, and Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russia Direct Investment Fund. Also joining the panelists was Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Indian multinational Reliance Industries.

On the topic of Russian-Saudi Arabian investment deepening, Dmitriev said: “Our partnership with Saudi Arabia is a major geopolitical risk reduction.”

Meanwhile, Ambani called India’s current economic troubles “temporary,” and added that the country’s economy would pick up once reform measures taken by the government begin to show impact.

Larry Fink, CEO of one of the world’s largest asset management companies BlackRock, said that the world will see higher equity markets in 2020, shrugging off concerns about a global economic slowdown.

He also added that a focus on climate change is necessary.

“I do believe that as capitalists, if we don’t focus on climate change, we are going to be stranded ... There is no reason why much of the electricity should be powered by wind and solar,” Fink said.

As for regional sustainability, John Pagano, CEO of The Red Sea Development Company told Al Arabiya English more about the project’s progress and its sustainable future.

“We want to set new standards in sustainable development,” he said. “We've done the work in order to identify where we should develop and where we shouldn't develop.”

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told Al Arabiya English that he is keen on having a business presence in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom pushes ahead with its Vision 2030 economic diversification and social reform plan.

Scaramucci, who is also the founder of New York-based hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, added that he is bullish on the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) Chairman Sarah al-Suhaimi added that the exchange is “ready” for the energy giant’s listing.

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner also participated in a panel to discuss the global trade situation. Kushner said that he thinks there is “a lot of positive potential” for solving global trade problems. He added that partnerships have strengthened under US President Donald Trump’s tenure.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded the day with a speech on the opportunities for growth in the country’s economy.

“I request investors from all over the world, in particular venture funds, to come and make the most of our startup ecosystem,” the Prime Minister said.

The speakers at FII 2019 hail from a variety of industries and sectors from more than 30 countries. North America is heavily represented at 39 percent of participants, followed by Europe (20 percent), Asia (19 percent), and then the Middle East (15 percent).

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