Mizuho Bank joins sixth Future Investment Initiative, shows commitment to Saudi Arabia

Mizuho Bank joins sixth Future Investment Initiative, shows commitment to Saudi Arabia
Mizuho Bank President and CEO Masahiko Kato
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Updated 27 October 2022

Mizuho Bank joins sixth Future Investment Initiative, shows commitment to Saudi Arabia

Mizuho Bank joins sixth Future Investment Initiative, shows commitment to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Known as “Davos in the Desert,” the three-day Future Investment Initiative (FII) opened on Oct. 25. The event was hosted by the Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The theme of this conference is ‘Investing in Humanity,’ featuring numerous panel discussion speakers, highlights of initiatives for the Saudi Vision 2030 government reformation plan and calls for countries around the world to invest in Saudi Arabia.

Mizuho Bank President Masahiko Kato gave a speech on the second day of the event, and the theme of his speech was the ‘Japan’s Role in Financing Sustainable Energy.’

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation involving Russia and Ukraine, global economics and politics are currently in a state of flux.

Kato referenced trends relating to new energy industries, Japanese affiliated companies working on the transition of the Japanese energy industry (field of electric power, etc.), and what role Japanese financial institutions should play.

Heralding Saudi Vision 2030 and the Sustainability Transformation (SX) being promoted by Saudi Arabia, he made it clear that Mizuho Bank will continue to be a strong partner for Saudi Arabia through the proposal of both financial and non-financial solutions.

It is expected that transition related technologies for the Middle East will continue to develop in Asia, and Mizuho Bank views their role as a Japanese affiliated financial institution in creating a bridge between the two to be of the utmost importance.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News Japan, Kato said: “Mizuho Bank made a deep commitment to business in Saudi Arabia over 60 years ago, and we were the first Japanese bank to establish a presence there. It is important that we contribute to Saudi Vision 2030, and we want to promote financial support and other solutions toward the realization of sustainability strategies, starting with decarbonization. Furthermore, by bringing in people from Saudi Arabia government agencies and related entities, we want to work toward the development of human resources, making additional contributions to investing in the future.”

When asked about the origins of Mizuho Bank operating in Saudi Arabia, Kato explained that Mizuhi Bank “has been a financial partner since the creation of Arabian Oil Company, LTD. in 1958, providing support to Saudi Arabia for over 60 years.”

He added that the bank was first Japanese one to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia in 2009, and has continued to develop its business there ever since.

“Our clients include government agencies such as the Ministry of Finance, PIF, and SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority), while also encompassing government affiliated companies such as Aramco, SABIC, SEC, and ACWA Power,” Kato told Arab News Japan.

“In addition to providing capital support to these companies, Mizuho Bank has also brought in funds from Asian investors via syndication and has worked hard to forge a strong connection between Asia and Saudi Arabia.”

“Mizuho Bank has also acted as an advisor to Saudi Arabia infrastructure enterprises such as the privatization of water and sewage control via NWC. We are also active in financing and advisory roles to decarbonization related enterprises in Saudi Arabia, providing both financial and non-financial support.

“Furthermore, we feel that it is important for us to continue to contribute to future development in Saudi Arabia, and we are working hard to support the development of human resources by creating internship opportunities via the MiSK Foundation among other initiatives.”

Kato explained that the bank has a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment.

“We are working hard to make investing between Japan and Saudi Arabia more attractive. We have acted as the Japanese chair of the Japan-Saudi Business Council for many years, and Mizuho is the bank which send a staff to the Japan-Saudi Vision Office to support Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

When asked about Mizuho Bank’s future plans in Saudi Arabia, Kato said: “People in Saudi Arabia have created Saudi Vision 2030, and they are promoting initiatives to reach net zero by 2060. As a partner working in tandem with Saudi Arabia, even more will be asked of financial institution moving forward. For our clients in Saudi Arabia, Mizuho Bank is providing support for divestment with an eye toward the realization of sustainability strategies, starting with decarbonization. Some of our other successes include financing of renewable energies and advisory roles to assist with the implementation of Sustainability Transformation (SX). It is expected that there will be continued development in Asia of Middle Eastern technologies, and Mizuho Bank wants to use its position as a Japanese affiliated financial institution to forge a stronger connection between both sides.

“Especially, through SX we can work together to create a sustainable future and continuing to provide our clients and society with a ‘healthy harvest’ is a role that Mizuho Bank takes very seriously.

“The strength of Mizuho Bank lies in our ability to provide customers with a wide range of both financial and non-financial support services for SX, making us a one stop shop for all of their needs.”

Kato told Arab News Japan that the bank was the first to create an initiative to handle sustainable supply chain finance overseas.

“Working toward technological development and the creation of plans for business models related to creating an environment that supports carbon neutral implementations for our clients, we have reestablished our stock investment framework based on our own calculations, with operations underway that are expected to lead to an investment amount exceeding 50 billion yen,” he said.

Mizuho Bank is working with Tokyo, having signed together the ‘cooperation agreement for revitalization of sustainable finance.’

Kato said the entity was making use of its own “specialized know-how and network to promote initiatives such as those that support small and medium sized companies, working hard to improve coordination between the public and private sector.”

As a strong partner of Saudi Arabia, Kato said, Mizuho Bank is making “great progress” toward the future.

This article was first published on Arab News Japan