Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund plans to invest $24 billion in Middle Eastern and North African countries as the oil-rich kingdom seeks to bolster regional economies.
The Public Investment Fund plans to set up companies to invest in Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Iraq and Sudan, according to a statement. It will channel funds into several sectors including infrastructure, heath care, real estate and telecommunications. In August, the PIF started the Saudi Egyptian Investment Co. to invest in Egypt.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is sitting on his first budget surplus, allowing him to channel billions of dollars into assets globally and to plan ambitious construction projects.
The PIF’s statement had an immediate impact on sovereign bonds in the region. Bahrain’s $1.25 billion September 2044 notes gained one cent to 69 cents on the dollar, while Jordan’s $1 billion October 2047 debt rose for a third consecutive day to reach 72 cents. Meanwhile, Oman’s March 2047 dollar bonds hit their highest level in more than two weeks.
The wealth fund, also chaired by the crown prince, is a key lever for the kingdom’s efforts to revive growth after a recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic and lower oil prices. Since 2015, the PIF has grown assets under management to $620 billion from about $150 billion.