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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Future Investment Initiative set to kick-off in Riyadh amid uncertain economic backdrop

Held under the theme of ‘The New Compass’, the annual event will address issues including growing threats to the climate and the need for a stronger global economy

This year’s Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh will be the seventh such annual conference in the kingdom. Reuters

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Policymakers, senior government officials, top finance executives and corporate bigwigs from around the world are gathering in Riyadh on Tuesday for the seventh global investments and technology showcase, the Future Investment Initiative ↗.

The three-day event – headlined by the who’s who of the finance world including chief executives of global banks and investment heavyweights running funds with trillions of dollars in assets under management – is taking place this year amid growing headwinds for the global economy ↗.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, who is also chairman of the FII Institute, will be among the main speakers along with Ray Dalio, founder of global asset manager Bridgewater; Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan Chase; Laurence Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock; Jane Fraser, chief executive of Citi and Noel Quinn, group chief executive of HSBC on day one of the event.

Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and chairman of The Blackstone Group; David Solomon, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Shemara Wikramanayake, managing director of Macquarie Group and Patrice Motsepe, executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, as well as David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chairman of Carlyle are among the other major speakers at the FII this year.

While waning global economic momentum will be part of panel discussions, keynote addresses and fireside chats, policymakers, industry leaders and corporate executives are sure to discuss the rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. ↗

The world economy ↗ is already reeling from the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, unabating inflationary pressures and central banks’ efforts to keep interest rates at elevated levels to stabilise consumer prices.

The Israel-Gaza war, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives and is turning into an almost indescribable human tragedy as the Hamas-controlled strip remains under siege, also has serious consequences for the global economy.

Reverberations of the conflict are flittering through the surge in oil prices and if the fighting spreads beyond the Israel and Gaza borders, the resultant energy price shock will shake the already jittery global economy hard.

The situation unfolding in the Middle East ↗ has given global thought leaders another reason to worry and will certainly shape discussions in Riyadh.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, talks to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a previous FII in Riyadh. Wam

This year’s FII comes just a month and a half after the G20 meeting in India and follows the World Bank and International Monetary Fund ↗’s 2023 Annual Meetings that concluded on October 15 in Marrakesh.

Held under the theme of The New Compass”, the event in the Saudi capital will address global government arrangements, with an emphasis on equitable and positive outcomes for all corners of the globe; the macroeconomic headwinds faced by all societies as well as growing threats to the climate ↗and the need to build a greener and stronger global economy.

It will also discuss what policymakers must do to harness technology, education and health to make the planet fairer, safer and a more prosperous place for humanity to flourish.

The FII is set to build on themes discussed at the week-long gathering in Morocco, from rising debt distress ↗ and escalating geopolitical risks ↗, to dimming medium-term growth prospects and eliminating the gender gap.

It will also set the stage for next month’s UN climate summit Cop28 in Dubai, as policymakers and finance executives put their heads together to find innovative financing solutions ↗ and discuss how to involve the private sector in mobilising the trillions of dollars required to address climate-change challenges.

Updated: October 23, 2023, 11:14 AM

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Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

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