DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative kicked off in Riyadh, with the three-day forum themed “Invest in Humanity” which will include talks on artificial intelligence, robotics, education, healthcare and sustainability.
Watch the opening events at FII:
With more than 250 expert speakers from the economic, business, education and corporate worlds, discussions at the platform dubbed the Davos in the Desert will center on investments that aim to create the greatest benefits for humanity, as the global community charts a new course post-COVID-19 pandemic.
The conference opened with a chilling video presentation of natural disasters and the impact of climate change, followed by a performance by Gloria Gaynor’s with her classic ‘I Will Survive.’
Watch Gloria Gaynor’s number at FII:
The American singer was the first recipient of the FII Award for Humanity.
Here are the highlights as they happened (all Riyadh time):
7.00pm: And that concludes day one of the fifth edition of FII. Tune in again tomorrow for coverage of day two...
6.40pm: Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, tells the summit that the Saudi giga-project project looks like growing and reaching its goals faster than originally anticipated.
6.17pm: Greece wants to work with Saudi Arabia to help keep the lights on in Europe — that's the message from Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Forum. Mitsotakis met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after his address to delegates.
5.30pm: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Greece's prime minster Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the sidelines of the event, before the Greek premier held a short briefing on the main stage. His session was attended by the crown prince.
4.44pm: European countries are reassessing supply chains after the damage caused by the pandemic and the energy price increases. French trade minister Franck Riester believes the European Union should be working closer with GCC countries as it seeks to diversify where it gets its resources from.
3.57pm: More bad news for crypto-currencies. After leading investors said they preferred dollars and gold, the Saudi central bank govenor claims criminal activity is too close to crypto-assets and his country shouldn't be getting involved with them.
#FII5: Regulations are trying to catch up with new technologies, including #cryptocurrencies, @SAMA_GOV
Governor Fahad Al Mubarak says@FIIKSA
— Arab News Business (@ArabNewsBiz) October 26, 2021
3.01pm: Head's of some of the region's big retailers got together to talk about how pandemic has changed their businesses and the challenges to come. Speed is of the essence, apparently.
1:29pm: There's been a lot of talk about "unicorns" in the past few days...here's PIF advisor Andrew Liveris calling for them to flock to Saudi Arabia.
12:40pm: It can't just be down to oil companies in the Middle East to fund renewable energy schemes, Saudi Arabia's minister of investment has warned
11.41am: Bitcoin may be hitting record-highs, but leading investors seemingly still trust dollars and gold more when it comes to where to put their money.
— Arab News (@arabnews) October 26, 2021
11.11am: The global response to Covid-19 shows governments and the private sector can work together to tackle global issues, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO and managing director of the Mubadala Investment Company said.
10.50am: "We don't have long-term planning by most governments to effectuate these long-term problems," according to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, as he called on governments across the world to do more to tackle climate change.
#FII5: Larry Fink of @BlackRock: It is important to improve human and environmental conditions and to think about long-term solutions, and governments have a great burden #InvestInHumanity #ImpactOnHumanity https://t.co/XNaptWaQll pic.twitter.com/MnvEEuCy2M
— Arab News (@arabnews) October 26, 2021
10.37am: Blackstone Group chief Stephen A. Schwarzman talked up how much money has been invested in sustainability-linked projects over the past two years, pointing out a cool $11 billion has been ploughed into such schemes.