Future Investment Initiative
|Organized by||The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia|
|Location||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|Next event||October 23–25, 2018[needs update]|
The Future Investment Initiative (FII) is an annual investment forum held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss trends in the world economy and investment environment. It is hosted by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).
The first event was in October 2017 and featured the announcements of the launch of NEOM, a proposed $500bn independent economic zone in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.
The Future Investment Initiative was announced in September 2017 by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund, in the context of the Saudi Vision 2030 program of economic and social reform.
The first Future Investment Initiative event took place in Riyadh from October 24 to October 26, 2017, under the patronage of King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The conference hosted 3,800 attendees from 90 countries, involving major investors, chief executives, public officials, and economists. Notable participants included the managing director of the IMF Christine Lagarde, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Japanese business magnate Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank.
Themes discussed included artificial intelligence, big data, cryptocurrencies, and climate change. In an address to the conference, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said Saudi Arabia was returning to a more moderate form of Islam “open to all religions and to the world”.
The Public Investment Fund announced several major plans at the conference, including its goal to increase its assets under management to $400 billion by 2020. The fund outlined how it would structure its investments in six areas: Saudi equity holdings, sector development, real estate and infrastructure, mega projects, international strategic investments, and a “diversified pool” across global asset classes.
The Public Investment Fund also announced several major investments, including the finalisation of its participation in a $40 billion infrastructure fund set up with the US private equity firm Blackstone, and a memorandum of understanding to invest $1 billion in Virgin space companies.
Among the projects announced at the conference was NEOM – a proposed $500bn economic zone covering 26,000 square kilometres in northwest Saudi Arabia, extending into Jordan and Egypt. The project aims to attract investment in sectors including renewable energy, biotechnology, robotics and advanced manufacturing.
Further ‘giga projects’ presented at the 2017 event included Qiddiya, a multi-billion dollar entertainment resort; and the Red Sea project, a planned luxury resort across 50 islands on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.
In May 2018 the Public Investment Fund announced plans for the second edition of the Future Investment Initiative, to be held from October 23 to 25, 2018. In August 2018 a team of business leaders were announced as members of a new FII advisory board, including Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan, MasterCard CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga, and the journalist and entrepreneur Arianna Huffington.
Following the killing in Turkey of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, some speakers and sponsors who had planned to attend the event withdrew pending the outcome of investigations. These included Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, the president of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.
Google also issued a statement stating that Google Cloud Chief Executive Diane Greene would not be attending Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh. Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said amid the concerns over Khashoggi disappearance, Uber would not be a part of the summit.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also withdrew from the conference.
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