Yasir Al-Rumayyan
With its large financial resources, Saudi Arabia is “open and willing to serve as a catalyst for change”, Yasir Al-Rumayyan said. Image Credit: Bloomberg

The head of Saudi Arabia’s $760 billion sovereign wealth fund kicked off the kingdom’s flagship investment conference — against the backdrop of war between Israel and Hamas — with a pledge to be a “catalyst for change”.

In every corner of the world, humanity needs to find common ground and the prospect of a peaceful better future for our children

- Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund

With its large financial resources, Saudi Arabia is “open and willing to serve as a catalyst for change”, Al-Rumayyan said.

Executives have descended on Riyadh for this year’s Future Investment Initiative.

Organisers of this week’s event in Riyadh insist that the show will go on and that there have only been 10-20 cancellations as a result of the war, out of over 6,000 people planning to attend. Most of those were due to corporate travel policies changing, or travel insurance costs.

In his opening remarks, Al-Rumayyan, who is also the chairman of Aramco, said the oil giant and Neom plan to build a plant to make low carbon synthetic fuels, as the kingdom looks to invest in a transition away from fossil fuels. The plant, which will be small scale initially, is part of the kingdom’s attempts to diversify the oil dependent economy and invest in industries of the future.

Top Wall Street bankers, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, Citigroup Inc., CEO Jane Fraser and HSBC Holdings Plc head Noel Quinn, are due to speak later on Tuesday.

Other sessions later in the day will include Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser and the bosses of TotalEnergies, Engie and Vale. Oil trader Pierre Andurand and FIFA President Gianni Infantino are also due to speak.

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