Yassir al-Rumayyan, governer of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and chairman of Saudi Aramco, launched the third Future Investment Initiative (FII), which is being held in capital Riyadh and attended by global investors.
"Three hundred leading speakers from 30 different countries are here. More than 6000 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.
"Here we don't see politicians just talking politics. Asset managers just talking about assets. Philantropists just talking about society. Here we bring it all together - diversity, cooperation and friendship. Connecting capital with ideas, building relationships and doing deals," said al-Rumayyan.
Al-Rumayyan praised forward-looking technologies and said that sustainability is a key pillar of the FII.
“Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Alphabet and Noon - they change the status quo by delivering better services and products,” he said, adding that a key pillar of the conference is building for a sustainable future.
“Finally, I want to say a warm thank you to our partners. Without them it wouldn’t be a sustainable event,” concluded al-Rumayyan, welcoming the attendees to Riyadh.
The third annual Future Investment Initiative
The FII comes amid a changing global landscape as emerging markets continue to take up a greater role in the global economy.
As one of the world’s leading economic forums, the event sees several key world leaders, business moguls, and investors convene to discuss the challenges, trends, and opportunities that are shaping the global investment landscape.
The conference program is focused on three key topics: investment models to support “people, profit and planet,” policy frameworks to boost the tech industry’s growth, and cultural systems to inspire humanity in the modern age.
The day's first panel, titled "The next decade: How will a new era of economic ambition shape the global economy?" featured al-Rumayyan alongside Noel Quinn, HSBC's Group Chief Executive, Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, and John Waldron, the President of Goldman Sachs.
Part two of the panel looked at the view from Asia and the Middle East and featured Mubadala Investment Company's CEO Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak and Reliance Chariman Mukesh Ambani, alongside Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
Ambani was optimistic for India’s growth and described the current slowdown as “temporary,” suggesting that government reforms would boost the country’s economy.
Following the first panel, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink and Saudi Arabia's Olayan Financing Company Chairman Lubna Dlayan hosted a a snapshot on market timing.
“The world in 2020 will witness higher equity markets,” said Fink, who heads the world's largest asset manager, adding that CEO confidence is very low.
Fink also called for the use of renewable energy to power electricity grids, but insisted that hydrocarbons will remain relevant.
“The she economy: Challenges and opportunities of moving towards a more inclusive workforce,” witnessed panelists including Rania Nasher, the CEO of Samba Financial Group, discuss solutions to the gender pay gap and strategies for inclusive growth.
Wednesday's schedule kicks off with talks addressing what's next for the energy sector and Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Tourism Project.