First day of Future Investment Initiative sees mega-deals and nod to future technologies

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh. (FII)
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The spectacular light show to open the Future Investment Initiative event. (Arab News)
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Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al-Maktoum in attendance at the opening ceremony of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, right, with Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan during a panel at opening day of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. (AFP)
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Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund, gives his welcome speech. (Arab News)
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Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund. (Ziyad Alarfaj / AN)
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Opening day panel at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. (Ziyad Alarfaj / AN)
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Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan. (Ziyad Alarfaj / AN)
Updated 23 October 2018
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First day of Future Investment Initiative sees mega-deals and nod to future technologies

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative (FII) kicked off in Riyadh on Tuesday, with the head of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund saying the event can do "business for good." He also said the event would see countries coming together to "collaborate for the future.”

The event in Riyadh also saw a raft of deals worth $50 billion being finalized, including 12 so-called “mega-deals” being signed.

 

 

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund and the opening speaker at the event, also said his fund was targeting a $2 trillion portfolio by 2030.

 

 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, CEO and MD of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company as well as Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, were all in attendance on Tuesday.

Khan said, during the panel on emerging opportunities, that his country was looking for a mix of loans from the IMF and “friendly governments.” Khan added that he had spoken to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about boosting investment ties between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih praised CEO of French energy giant Total, Patrick Pouyanne, for standing by Saudi Arabia in this difficult period.

"We see what partnership means when you have difficult times," Pouyanne responded as he shared the stage with Falih.

"This is when you really strengthen a partnership."

 

 

On the energy and investment panel, Al-Falih noted that global oil demand would hit 120 million barrels a day in the next few decades, and that the Kingdom could boost its crude production by 1-2 million barrels a day.

 

 

The world's media turned their attention to a future technology presentation when the Crown Prince and Jordan's King Abdullah II arrived.

 

At the session, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Sawahah said: "Saudi Arabia is moving at light speed in becoming the tech hub of the region."

Meanwhile, Emirati investor Mohamed Alabbar added: "There is so much room for technology growth in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the whole region."

The three-day FII event will likely see more investment partnerships from Russia and China being forged, as noted by Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” with executives still looking to do business at the Riyadh meeting despite some having pulled out.

Click for more coverage of the event: Future Investment Initiative.


New tech regulation ‘inevitable,’ Apple CEO Cook says

Updated 19 November 2018
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New tech regulation ‘inevitable,’ Apple CEO Cook says

  • ‘I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here’
  • ‘I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation’

WASHINGTON: Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts that new regulations of tech companies and social networks to protect personal data are “inevitable.”
In an interview with news website Axios being broadcast Sunday on HBO television, Cook said he expected the US Congress would take up the matter.
“Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation,” Cook said in an excerpt released by Axios. “I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation.
“I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.”
Cook has previously been a proponent of self-regulation, especially as concerns user data protection.
But following the scandal that saw data consultancy Cambridge Analytica obtain data from millions of Facebook users, Cook said the industry was now “beyond” the scope of self-regulation.
Facebook has been trying to fend off concerns about how well it protects user data and defends against use of the site to spread misinformation aimed at swaying elections.
Controversies that have battered Facebook since the 2016 presidential election in the United States have raised questions over whether co-founder Mark Zuckerberg should keep his post as chief executive.
Turning to gender inequality in the workplace, Cook said the tech industry has generally been strong in diversity, even though a male-dominated culture prevails.
“I agree 100 percent from a gender point of view that the (Silicon) Valley has missed it, and tech in general has missed it,” he said.
However, Cook added, “I’m actually encouraged at this point that there will be a more marked improvement over time.”