AS IT HAPPENED: Future Investment Initiative - Day Two

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in a virtual session in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
1 / 3
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in a virtual session in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talking about the development of Riyadh in a conversation with former Italian PM Matteo Renzi. (Screenshot: Future Investment Initiative)
2 / 3
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talking earlier about the development of Riyadh in a conversation with former Italian PM Matteo Renzi. (Screenshot: Future Investment Initiative)
A Saudi man walks past a logo of the Future Investment Initiative ahead of the opening ceremony of the fourth annual conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 27, 2021. (Reuters)
3 / 3
A Saudi man walks past a logo of the Future Investment Initiative ahead of the opening ceremony of the fourth annual conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 27, 2021. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 28 January 2021

AS IT HAPPENED: Future Investment Initiative - Day Two

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in a virtual session in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
  • Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has conversation with Italy’s Matteo Renzi
  • Announced plans to accelerate Riyadh’s growth to join ranks of global top 10 city economies

LONDON/RIYADH: The second day of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) starts on Thursday in Riyadh, with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holding a conversation with former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi to begin the day's agenda.

The fourth edition of the forum opened on Wednesday with panels addressing how to rethink the future of the global economy around the theme “The Neo-Renaissance” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers discussed how investment can inspire an economic rethink and how it could support the energy sector to power a post-COVID-19 crisis recovery. They also discussed ways to re-imagine a new era of global sports and entertainment.

Follow day two of the event live below (All times GMT):

18:45 - And that brings an end to coverage of this edition of the forum, with its theme of Neo Renaissance and its many discussions, brought to a close by which have been brought to a close by FII Institute's Rakan Tarabzoni. We hope you enjoyed Arab News' coverage. See you in October for the fifth edition!

18:30 - ICYMI: The FII on Wednesday signed a number of major agreements, including a partnership aimed at protecting over 1.2 billion people from counterfeit and illicit trade in Africa.

Addressing a press conference on the second day of the fourth FII forum, Richard Attias, CEO of the institute, announced the three initiatives. READ MORE HERE.

18:20 - Princess Reema, Kingdom's ambassador to the US, is back for the final panel session of the day. This time, she is discussing a panel titled “Redefining leadership for the post-COVID era: How to inspire a 21st century economic renaissance,” along with former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

18:00 - Given the broader economic contraction, what is the pipeline for VC investment and what shifts are necessary to capitalize on the acceleration of digital transformation? The penultimate panel of the final day will discuss how booming technology stocks and rapid digitization across industries have driven a V-shaped recovery for VC.

Moderator: Nadira Tudor, International Broadcaster

•Rajeev Misra, CEO, SoftBank Investment Advisers, UK

• Jack Selby, Managing Director, Thiel Capital, US

• Christine Tsai, CEO and Founder, 500 Startups, US 

• Patrick Zhong, Founding Managing Partner, M31 Capital, China

17:40 - ICYMI: In order to achieve viable technological solutions for the future, venture capitalists need to overcome the need for immediate financial return and focus on long-term goals, according to speakers at FII.

Deep technology and solutions for the future that can cope with “feeding nine billion people, climate refugees and habitat provision” are seemingly within reach, but they will take time to accomplish, Interstellar Lab founder and CEO, Barbara Belvisi told delegates. READ MORE HERE.

17:30 - Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund launched on Thursday the Cruise Saudi Company, which aims to establish and develop the cruise industry in Saudi Arabia, enhance the Kingdom's efforts to become a tourist destination on the international cruise map, and develop the tourism sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030. READ MORE HERE.

17:15 - With 2020 becoming the year of biotechnology, the next panel ponders how the rapid development of several COVID-19 vaccines has changed, and will continue to change, the global healthcare industry. 

Having revolutionized everything from agriculture to energy to medicine, biotech firms traditionally incur high risks, require strict oversight and suffer from slow timelines before delivering a return on financial investments — but 2020 reinvigorated the sector, as the panel discuss.

-----

-----

17:00 - ICYMI: The growing attraction of Riyadh as an economic, financial and investment hub has been underlined by the decision of 24 multinational companies to establish regional headquarters in the Saudi capital. The companies - including such heavyweights as PepsiCo, Schlumberger, Bechtel and Boston Scientific - announced their plans on the second day of the Future Investment Initiative (FII). In a sign of the growing appeal of Riyadh as a consumer hub, Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons will also set up there.

The news came after Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced ambitious plans to accelerate the city’s growth to join the ranks of the top 10 city economies in the world and double the size of its population by 2030. READ MORE HERE.

16:45 - Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, is chairing a panel on the future of education and why investment in education technology will help not just students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic today, but also students in developing nations in the future — helping them become “global students.”

16:35 - The GCC is witnessing a serious change, Saudi Minister of Finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, said, adding: “We’re in a very healthy competition. We are complementing each other and we are trying at you to build on.”

“Diversification for us is a win-win. I’m helping the economy to grow that will then basically grow the tax base, which means more revenues to the government that would enable it to provide better services to the people and citizens of Saudi Arabia,” Al-Jadaan said. READ MORE HERE.

16:25 - ICYMI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, could launch a second offering of shares to follow the historic initial public offering of 2019, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Future Investment Initiative (FII) gathering.

“This will yield a cash flow transferred to the Pubic Investment Fund (PIF) to be reinvested domestically and internationally for the benefit of Saudi citizens,” the Crown Prince said. READ MORE HERE.

-----

-----

16:10 - ICYMI: Major issues related to health care, climate change, and education could be resolved through the appliance of advanced machine technology, delegates at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit were told. READ MORE HERE.

16:00 - Arab News columnist Roxana Mohammadian-Molina heads up the next panel, talking about the revolution in financial technology (or FinTech) and how its development has been fast-tracked by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read her opinion piece on Saudi Arabia's FinTech development below.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Moderator: Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, Chief Strategy Officer, Blend Network, UK

• Bob Diamond, Founding Partner and CEO, Atlas Merchant Capital, US

• Steve Jacobs, Managing Partner and CEO, BTG Pactual UK, 

• Tayo Oviosu, Founder and Group CEO, Paga, Nigeria

• Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm, India

-----

-----

15:30: Social distancing and work from home protocols have accelerated digital transformation and will permanently reform workspaces and business models. So, how can investors capitalize on the warp speed of digital transformation and how can CEOs mobilize quickly enough to ensure their companies are not left behind? Our next panel is answering those questions.

Moderator: Edie Lush, Executive Editor, Hub Culture

• Marc Ganzi, President and CEO, Colony Capital, US

• Faraz Khalid, CEO, Noon, UAE

• Jacob Mullins, Managing Director, Shasta Ventures, US 

• Lu Zhang, Founder and Managing Partner, Fusion Fund, US

15:15 - We are now listening to a conversation about the need for infrastructure investment, but also investment in the global digital ecosystem, for progress in the 21st century, with executives from Emaar, Hyperloop-One and Bechtel Group.

 

 

15:00 - ICYMI: During his discussion with former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman explained how Public Investment Fund assets will increase over the next decade as the Kingdom moves forward with its development goals. WATCH BELOW:

 

14:40 - The next panel discusses a roadmap of new global environmental, social and governane (ESG) standards that incorporate the realities and limitations of emerging markets and encourage sustainable developments around the world. Panelists below:

Moderator: Cyba Audi, Senior News Anchor, Asharq News

• Eng. Khalid Abdullah Al-Hussan, CEO, Tadawul, Saudi Arabia (pictured below)

• Loh Boon Chye, CEO, Singapore Exchange, Singapore

• Sherif Foda, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO, NESR, Saudi Arabia 

• Scott Minerd, Chairman of Investments and Global CIO, Guggenheim Partners, US

14:30 - ICYMI: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talking earlier about the development of Riyadh in a conversation with former Italian PM Matteo Renzi. The crown prince explained how the Saudi capital will be transformed over the next decade, and how it will lead the transformation of the Kingdom as a whole. WATCH CLIPS BELOW:

 

 

14:15 - We have a string of short, quick-fire sessions for the next segment of the day. In the first one, Erin Burnett, host of of OutFront, CNN talks to James P. Gorman, Chairman and CEO at Morgan Stanley.

Then we have FII CEO, Richard Attias, back on stage talking to Bruno Le Maire, the French minister of Economy, Finance and Recovery.

14:00 - What are the investment opportunities presented by the new generation of ‘technology for good’ ventures? That's the topic of discussion up next with Barbara Belvisi, Founder/CEO of Interstellar Lab who is in discussion with Anthony Berkley, Head of ACT & Investments.

------

------

13:30 - Following on from the crown prince's comments about the strategy for Riyadh going into 2030, Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, and Fahd Al-Rasheed, President of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City are talking about what the future of the city holds with FII CEO Richard Attias.

And during the session, 20 companies signed MoUs to boost investment for the city of Riyadh as part of its strategy for the next decade. 

13:00 - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has a discussion with former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi about how the Kingdom is looking to further investment to achieve its Vision 2030 goals. The crown prince also spoke about strategies to turn Riyadh into one of the world's top-10 cities for infrastructure and services.

12:45 - We have kicked off with day two, and after a look back at day one’s action, we have former prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd talking about how world leaders can realize the mandates offered during Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency.

12:25 - Elsewhere on day one, Usain Bolt made a brief appearance during the discussion on investment in the sport industry, you can find out what he said here.

-----

-----

12:15 - Saudi Arabia will be doing more than many Western countries to tackle climate change by the end of the decade, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman (pictured below), the Kingdom’s energy minister, told a panel of energy leaders on day one. READ MORE HERE.

And to back that claim up, Saudi Aramco's Amin Nasser said the firm had been taking advantage of accelerated technology to build its reliability in the market as well as decreasing carbon emissions. READ MORE HERE.

12:00 - It was an intense day of discussions on Wednesday as the FII kicked off virtually, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to catch up on what happened on day one, click here.

 


China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs

China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs
Updated 01 December 2021

China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs

China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs

RIYADH: China plans to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through entities with different interests.

It will close a loophole that the country’s technology industry has long used to raise capital from foreign investors, according to Bloomberg.

People familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified while discussing private information, said the ban, aimed in part at addressing concerns about data security, is among the changes included in a new draft of China’s overseas listing rules that may be finalized as soon as this month. 

Companies using what is called the VIE (variable interest entity) structure would still be allowed to pursue initial public offerings in Hong Kong, subject to regulatory approval, the sources said.

VIE refers to a business structure in which an investor has a controlling interest despite not having a majority of voting rights. A business that is the primary beneficiary of a VIE must disclose the holdings of that entity as part of its consolidated balance sheet.

China Securities Regulatory Commission said on its website on Wednesday that a media report about banning offshore listings of companies using the VIE structure was incorrect, without giving further details.

Companies currently listed in the US and Hong Kong that use VIEs will need to make adjustments so that their ownership structures are more transparent in regulatory reviews, especially in sectors where foreign investment is prohibited, the sources added.

The reform would mark one of Beijing’s biggest moves to crack down on offshore listings. 

Authorities have since moved quickly to halt the flow of companies seeking to go public in the US, shutting down a path that has generated billions of dollars for tech companies and their Wall Street backers.

While a global ban on the VIE structure is not being contemplated, a halt to foreign listings and a further review of Hong Kong's initial public offerings will mean the model will not be a viable way for many startups to tap into the capital markets. 

A person familiar with the matter said that some investment banks had already been advised by regulators to stop working on new deals involving VIEs.

The demise of VIE would also threaten the lucrative business streak of Wall Street banks, which has helped nearly 300 Chinese companies raise around $82 billion through first-time share sales in the US over the past ten years.

VIEs have been a constant source of concern for global investors due to their unstable legal position. Sina Corp. and its investment bankers led the way during an initial public offering in 2000, and the VIE framework has not been formally adopted by Beijing.


Rayyan Nagadi replaces Hasan Aljabri as CEO of SEDCO

Rayyan Nagadi replaces Hasan Aljabri as CEO of SEDCO
Updated 01 December 2021

Rayyan Nagadi replaces Hasan Aljabri as CEO of SEDCO

Rayyan Nagadi replaces Hasan Aljabri as CEO of SEDCO

RIYADH: Saudi’s investment group SEDCO Holding has appointed Rayyan Mohammed Nagadi as its new chief executive officer, replacing Hasan Aljabri.

The appointment, announced on Wednesday, comes as the group is expanding its investment and economic growth contribution in the Kingdom. 

Before joining SEDCO Holding, Nagadi was the CEO of the National Center for Privatization & PPP, with over 20 years of experience in management and structured financing in both the public and private sectors. 

“With his expertise and extensive network, he is well positioned to accelerate our ambitions as a partner of choice supporting the government in achieving the goals of Vision 2030,” chairman of SEDCO, Saleh Salem Bin Mahfouz, said.

Through its subsidiaries, SEDCO Holding provides investment and construction services.


Soudah Development joins United Nations World Tourism Organization

Soudah Development joins United Nations World Tourism Organization
Updated 01 December 2021

Soudah Development joins United Nations World Tourism Organization

Soudah Development joins United Nations World Tourism Organization

RIYADH: Soudah Development, a closed joint-stock real estate development company owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, became an affiliate member of the World Tourism Organization – the United Nations agency responsible for promoting tourism as a key driver of economic growth and environmental sustainability, it said in a statement.

As an affiliate member of the UNWTO, Soudah Development will be able to work with more than 500 global companies, educational and research institutions, destinations, and NGOs. It will provide a platform to establish dialogue, share information and take further action to promote tourism and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

It becomes only the 25th company in the Middle East to join an alliance of more than 500 global members and joins some of Saudi Arabia’s leading tourism destination developers including NEOM, Qiddiya, the Red Sea Development Company, and the Royal Commission for Alula.

Husameddin Almadani, CEO of Soudah Development (Right)

Soudah Development is developing a luxury mountain destination in a unique and authentic setting among the clouds at 3015 meters above sea level.  Its sensitive sustainable quality development strategy is fully aligned with its goals of protecting natural environments and wildlife, empowering local communities and showcasing the extraordinary centuries old culture and heritage in Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa.

Husameddin Almadani, CEO of Soudah Development, said: “Building powerful and effective partnerships with like-minded organizations is an important part of our ongoing efforts to create a luxury mountain tourism destination high above the clouds.”

“We are delighted and enormously proud to have already achieved this exciting and prestigious affiliate membership of the UNWTO.  It is the latest in a series of strategic ties we have established with local, regional and global stakeholders to further our goals. It demonstrates our commitment to operate according to the highest global standards and working with the best in the business in Saudi Arabia and internationally and position Soudah and Rijal Almaa as a year-round destination that will attract more than two million visitors throughout the year by 2030.”

 


Renewables will provide 95% of power capacity growth in next five years: IEA

Renewables will provide 95% of power capacity growth in next five years: IEA
Updated 01 December 2021

Renewables will provide 95% of power capacity growth in next five years: IEA

Renewables will provide 95% of power capacity growth in next five years: IEA

Jeddah: Renewable energy will make up 95 percent of total global power capacity growth in the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency.

The IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol said when it comes to renewables, solar power plays the most significant role.

“Solar is the new king of the global power markets,” he said.

About 55 percent of all power plants installed in the world will be solar, and while all countries will increase their renewable facilities, the lion’s share will be in China and India, he highlighted.

“These two giants account for about half of the entire renewable capacity installations,” he said, adding: “China, especially driven by solar power, alone provides about 40 percent of the global growth.”

One of IEA’s concerns is the high commodity prices, which will also result in an increase in renewable energy prices.

Birol added that India is well in line with the 500 gigawatt target, as mentioned at the COP26. 

He also said the southern Asian country is witnessing a huge growth in biofuels, and in the next five years the IEA expects India to become the third largest market in the world after the US and Brazil.

“Even though we are breaking a record in renewables transition, we still need to double that pace in order to be in line with our renewable targets as well as our net zero targets,” he said.

Electric cars are estimated today to amount to 10 percent of all the cars sold this year, compared to 2 percent in 2019.

Pointing to the two-year jump regarding renewable energy and electric cars, the executive director said: “We can clearly say that a new global energy system is emerging.”


Saudi tourism minister urges global coordination to tackle omicron

Saudi tourism minister urges global coordination to tackle omicron
Updated 01 December 2021

Saudi tourism minister urges global coordination to tackle omicron

Saudi tourism minister urges global coordination to tackle omicron

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister on Wednesday called for a coordinated international response to omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus.

“The lesson of the pandemic is that we need more international coordination and a greater recognition of the critical role of tourism in our economies,” Ahmed Al-Khateeb wrote on his official Twitter account. 

The minister called on the UN’s World Tourism Organization to address the latest strain. He also warned against the new variant’s impact on the Kingdom’s tourism sector. 

“Over the last few months, I have met with more than 100 tourism ministers (from around the world), and we share a consensus that the sector needs stronger support and international coordination,” he added. 

Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of omicron on Wednesday. A passenger coming from a North African country was tested positive for the new strain.