The Future Investment Initiative (FII) is a Saudi investment platform led by experts to facilitate the debate between global leaders, investors and innovators with the power to shape the future of international investment.
It is designed to focus on using investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, and address global challenges.
The FII initiative was announced in September 2017 by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), in the context of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to build global networks of influential decision-makers to explore the emerging industries that will shape the global economy and investment landscape over the coming decades.
In addition, it is a platform to introduce and prompt investment opportunities available in Saudi Arabia in the context of the Kingdom’s Vision and explore ways of mutual collaboration between Saudi and international investors, especially in the fields that Saudi Arabia is considering investing in, such as renewable energy, artificial intelligence and areas that drive global prosperity and development of the Kingdom.
Despite the short period since the launch of the first version of FII, it has received wide attention and recognition locally and internationally, evidenced by the level of attendees and speakers from almost all countries in the world. More than 300 leading speakers from 30 different countries were at the third edition of FII in Riyadh in October 2019 and more than 6,000 executives and participants attended. This was almost double the number of attendees for 2018, which attracted 3,500 participants. Such world attention has led to the FII being referred to colloquially by some media and commentators as “Davos in the Desert,” after the annual economic conference in Davos, Switzerland.
The third FII was conducted during a challenging period where the world was witnessing fundamental changes in investment and low interest rates, forcing investors to look to new sources of returns. Technological advances, regulatory reforms and human innovation are also creating new opportunities more rapidly than ever. For these reasons the third edition of FII focused its attention on solving some of the world’s great challenges, from climate change to managing finite global resources.
I believe that the three versions of the Future Investment Initiative (2107, 2018 and 2019) have been successful in bringing highly respected international and local experts in different fields of industry and business (such as energy, innovation, infrastructure, investment, the digital economy, managing finite economic resources, human innovation, regulatory reforms, renewable energy, artificial intelligence) together to discuss important issues related to global opportunities to drive prosperity. Also, I believe that the FII has managed to set an excellent world standard in discussing global issues and challenges and finding ways to solve them in the world’s best interest.
• Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst.