Connect with us


Saudi investment conference ends with deals worth $56 billion



Saudi investment conference

Saudi Arabia said it signed $56 billion of deals at an investment conference this week and expected the United States to remain a key business partner despite a partial boycott of the event over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

More than two dozen top officials and executives from the United States and Europe, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and chief executives of big banks, boycotted the investment conference over the killing of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Still, the three-day Future Investment Initiative conference drew hundreds of businessmen and government officials from around the world to a palatial venue in Riyadh, aiming to attract foreign capital to support Saudi economic reforms. “There were more than 25 deals signed worth $56 billion,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told state television on Thursday, adding that US companies accounted for most of those contracts.

He added, “The US will remain a key part of the Saudi economy because the interests that tie us are bigger than what is being weakened by the failed boycotting campaign of the conference.”

Striking a defiant tone, powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told international investors at the conference that the furore over Khashoggi’s killing would not derail the kingdom’s reform drive. In protest at the Khashoggi case, British billionaire Richard Branson suspended discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which hosted the conference, over a planned $1 billion investment in his group’s space ventures.

However, Saudi officials mounted a business as usual campaign to persuade foreign companies to attend the kingdom’s premier investment event despite the international outcry over Khashoggi’s death. Many of the big Western banks whose top executives boycotted the conference sent sizeable teams of lower-ranking executives, and continued to meet with Saudi officials on the sidelines of the event, bankers said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *