Gennady Barsky, the New York-based entrepreneur, commented on Saudi Arabia’s changing investment pattern. The country has moved speedily from an oil-based economy, towards the diversification of its industries. His Highness, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman has made this possible by introducing reformative ideas.
Barsky, an Institutional Investor, said that Saudi Arabia needs to speed up the process of diversification as fossil-fuel prices are on the rise, and oil resources may soon bite the dust. An economy built around a specific resource may come crumbling down if that resource depletes rapidly. Being a non-renewable resource, crude oil won’t be replenished in the next few million years. Moreover, using fossil fuels has an adverse effect on the planet.
Industrialists are looking for green alternatives that also meet their business objectives. New worldviews need to be shared as globalization accelerates technological and economic evolution. Groups of entrepreneurs, scholars, and industrial tycoons have created several forums to share new business-changing concepts. Saudi Arabia is making moves to make the country independent from a single product monopoly.
The Future Investment Initiative (FII) is one such move. A forum dedicated to connecting innovators, investors, business leaders, and ideators will create an environment rich in innovative thoughts and avant-garde proposals. The event spanned three days, between 24-26 October. It was based on three pillars – ‘shifting centers of power,’ ‘a new investment paradigm,’ and ‘innovation for a better world.’
On the event, the PIF Managing Director, Yasir bin Othman Al Rumayyan commented: “The Future Investment Initiative will provide an unprecedented opportunity for many leaders and influencers around the world to understand the future of the global investment landscape better.” As the forum proceeded, the message became clearer. FII wasn’t a congress for the benefit of Saudi Arabia alone, but the entire world.
Over the course of the multi-day event, several eminent guests and speakers were invited. Gennady Barsky happened to be one of them. This event was organized by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, a sovereign wealth fund with a portfolio of 200 investments, 20 of which are on the Saudi Stock Exchange.
IIF summed up Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s Vision 2030, a huge step to reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil revenue. The Saudi government’s assets are undergoing privatization, spawning new streams of revenue and opening doors for more investment and business. An Institutional Investor, Gennady Barsky is keen on funding more out-of-the-box ideas. He adds that Vision 2030 will build a prosperous future on the newfound stability. Apart from increasing FDI, Vision 2030 aims to establish new economic centers. Neom is one of them.
Neom is a desert megacity that was proposed to be built along the Saudi Arabian coast. A part of Vision 2030, Neom will be a huge metropolis, 13 times bigger than New York. The $500-billion megacity project will invite heavy investment from the West and the East.
It will be an economy-boosting Shambhala as a huge host of old and new businesses will open in this city. The metropolis will not be dependent on conventional energy sources, as non-renewable energy plants will supply its energy requirements.
Technology will transform the city with the help of artificial intelligence, service robots, biotechnology, media, and high-speed networks. Neom will connect Jordan and Egypt, and it’ll highlight the infrastructural evolution of Saudi Arabia.
It’s a renaissance for Saudi Arabia and Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is its architect. Saudi Arabia may change drastically over the next two decades, not just in economy, but in culture. The conservatism may eventually die out, increasing the adaptability quotient in the country. For entrepreneurs like Gennady Barsky, it’s the best time to invest in the Middle East.