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FII 2022 in Saudi Arabia: the Davos of the desert in the face of global crises

It brings together investors, politicians, state and even supra-state institutions with the aim of defining the main orientations for the years to come in terms of the economy, investments, or even public policies in almost all the key sectors of society, from energy to tourism, including transport and entertainment. the Future Investment Initiativeor FII, has in a few years imposed itself as a must, making Saudi Arabia, its organizing country, a real nerve center of the world conversation.

2022 is no exception. From the first minutes of the event, Yasir Al-RumayyanGovernor of PiF, the Saudi investment fund that stands behind practically all the major initiatives that are driving the country’s transformation (Neom, Red Sea, Qiddiya, to name but a few), sets the tone: “In a context where the rate of he inflation has not been so high for 40 years, with record interest rates, it is no longer a question of micro-economy, or even macro-economy, but of geo-economy. We live in an interconnected world where local action can have an impact on the other side of the world”.

Concrete answers

To deal with this new world order through action, and thus silence any detractors of this type of event, which could be taxed as a great discussion full of promise but devoid of action, the governor announced the launch more early in the month by the PIF of the first 100-year “green bond”, fulfilling the promises made during the last edition. An unprecedented product for a sovereign wealth fund of this size.

Particular attention paid to the environmental cause, which also resulted in the launch of a tool developed by the FII Institute to analyze the performance and impact of CSR in a given market and to make choices investment accordingly.

And the strong announcements to multiply. Thereby, Aramco Venture Capital, the armed wing that promotes the investment policy of the Saudi oil company, announced today the launch of the largest investment fund in the world dedicated to sustainable development. 1.5 billion dollars which will be used to support, incubate and encourage the most innovative solutions in the fight against climate change, throughout the world.

An energy sector that feels concerned, as evidenced by the prince’s remarks Abdulaziz Ben Salmane, Saudi Minister of Energy. In a very realistic and perhaps a little defensive speech, no doubt motivated by the current state of relations between the Kingdom and the United States and a tense situation around oil production, he acknowledged that the world “was going through a critical period, in which Saudi Arabia would play its historical role of flawless supplier, but could not find all the solutions to the energy crisis alone”. A way of urging all stakeholders to innovate, intervene, think together, as members of this “new world order”, which is the theme of this edition.

An undeniable essential

It must be recognized that the show is popular. We meet representatives of the most fashionable sectors of the last -and next?- years, from aerospace to video games, via the web3 and crypto-currencies. Some are there to go on stage and evangelize decision makers on new emerging trends, others simply to forge business partnerships. And not only with regional prospects, because the crowds are global.

Thus, the show oscillates between well-identified challenges – energy crisis, war in Ukraine, recession in sight, rising cost of living, poverty, unemployment and, of course, the environment – and ever more creative and relevant solutions presented by the on-site startups -robots that detect cancer, anti-bacterial rays, AIs that study and improve flow management, and many more-. A big gap between an exacerbated realism and a full awareness of global issues – normal, given the level of responsibility of the guests -, and a desire to look towards the future in an optimistic way.

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