Al Rumayyan (right) with Michael Milken
Al Rumayyan (right) with Michael Milken, Chairman of Milken Institute, during the Milken 2019 MENA Summit on the closing day in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) plans expansion overseas as well as invest within the country to diversify its economy, a top executive of the country’s sovereign wealth fund said in Abu Dhabi.

PIF formed in 1971 has 200 investments with 90 per cent of it being within the country. The fund has a $45 billion stake in Softbank Vision Fund and $20 billion in Blackstone infrastructure vehicle in the US.

The government owned entity is targeting 50 per cent international investments by 2030 and is also planning to open new offices as part of future expansion plans.

“PIF is not only going to be in Riyadh and we are working to opening up in London, New York, and potentially San Francisco and may be other cities where we feel that we should be closer to our businesses over there,” said Yasir Othman Al Rumayyan, managing director and member of the board, PIF speaking at Milken Institute Mena Summit on Wednesday.

He also said the workforce at the fund is going to increase in the coming years from 450 employees currently to 700 by year and 1500 to 2000 by 2025.

“We are going to hire people at different levels from Saudi Arabia as well as from across the world, Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.”


Estimated number of jobs generated for Saudi men as a result of PIF’s investment in Uber

Speaking about investments in Blackstone Infrastructure in the US as well as Uber technologies, he said they are committed to $20 billion in Blackstone and they can to a lot of things in the US and rest of the world.

“Going for Blackstone, the requirement for investments in infrastructure today in the US is more than 2 trillion dollars, this one (Blackstone) is hopefully $40 to 50 billion, and we are committed for $20 billion and there are a lot of things we can do in infrastructure mainly in the US and rest of the world.”

“Blackstone is one of the best partners for us in this kind of investment. Before we started, we went to all the potential partners and ended up with Blackstone so that’s why we are in partnership in these two big firms.”

On investments in Uber technologies, he said this is their second direct international investment and it brought in more than 150,000 jobs for young Saudi men.

“That is what we are trying to do with our international investments, not only we are trying to diversify our investments but at the same time we are trying to bring back some of these companies to improve the economy and local content.”

He also said that oil is going to be important but they are also investing in renewable energy, photo voltaic as well as in electric vehicles.

“We will be the largest investor in renewable energy, in PV (photo voltaic) and solar panels for two reasons. We have the sun and the sand. The silica which we have 99 per cent is pure. We are not going to be doing installation of PV but we will do manufacturing.”

“Our target is to have 200 gigawatts and 400 gigawatts of production and installation of PV. The largest project we have today is 700 megawatts. We wanted to do 200 to 400 gigawatts. That’s massive. “

PIF is also looking to increase its stake in one of its subsidiaries ACWA power from 25 per cent to 40 per cent, he added.