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Davos of Desert opens in Riyadh amid presence of PM Modi

The gathering — which has been termed as the ‘Davos in the desert’ is also intended to showcase the rapid transformation underway in the Kingdom as the Vision 2030 reform plans gather pace, and to offer investment opportunities for global partners.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2019, 03.20 PM IST|Original: Oct 29, 2019, 03.20 PM IST
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RIYADH: As many as 300 of the world’s leading decision-makers, financiers and investment experts are attending the third annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) that opened here on Tuesday to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the world today, including sustainable development, rapid technological change and social disruption.

More than 6,000 delegates have registered to attend the three-day event, which is organized by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The gathering — which has been informally termed as the ‘Davos in the desert’ is also intended to showcase the rapid transformation underway in the Kingdom as the Vision 2030 reform plans gather pace, and to offer investment opportunities for global partners.

“Today we have more than 6,000 executives and participants attending, this is more than double the first FII,” PIF Governor Yassir al-Rumayyan said in opening remarks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, Jordan King leaders of key emerging markets, are set to speak at the three-day event, along with King Abdullah II of Jordan and four African leaders.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leads a high-powered American delegation that includes Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior advisor to President Donald Trump.

The CEOs of asset management firms Blackstone and SoftBank, as well as chairs of the sovereign wealth funds of Kuwait, UAE, Singapore and Russia are also attending the meet.

Top executives from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are also on a long list of global bank representatives at the forum.

PIF had announced important details on topics on the agenda of the conference, which will last until October 31, amid the presence of a number of prominent decision makers, major investors and international experts.

Rumayyan joined a panel that discussed challenges facing the global economy including disruptive technology, wealth gaps and lack of effective central bank tools amid slowing economic growth.

Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and chief executive officer of SABIC, the giant Saudi industrial group which is one of 49 global partners at the event, said, “The FII reflects the ambition of Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans and brings to life its aspirations for a vibrant society by fostering new cooperation to tackle global challenges. It has earned international recognition as one of the most important global events and a place for serious business.”

Day one of the event will be concluded off by a series of “what’s next” sessions, with a special address by King Abdullah of Jordan and key note address by PM Narendra Modi, and Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump.
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