Saudi Arabia to invest, launch investment office in India

In a bid to bolster economic ties and foster investment opportunities, Saudi Arabia is contemplating the establishment of an office for its sovereign wealth fund (SWF) in India. This strategic move aims to facilitate investments in the Indian market, reflecting a growing interest in the country’s economic prospects. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia harbours plans to venture into the Indian start-up ecosystem through the vehicle of venture capital.

The Investment Minister of Saudi Arabia, Khalid A. Al Falih, disclosed this significant development on Monday, underlining his commitment to exploring this avenue within the next few weeks. Al Falih articulated his intentions to dispatch a delegation to India to delve into the potential opportunities, with a focus on key financial hubs including Gift City, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

“I will match your offer and commit today that we will open an office in India for investment facilitation. We are talking about bi-directional (facilitation),” proclaimed Al Falih during the India-Saudi Arabia Investment Forum meeting, attended by India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal.

Intriguingly, the Saudi Investment Minister expressed a keen interest in directing investments towards Indian start-ups that cater to the Saudi markets through venture capital funding.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will create a joint agreement between our national venture capital fund and their counterpart in India to channel venture capital and funding to startups that will have the opportunity to leverage out two markets,” Al Falih elaborated, underlining the potential symbiosis between the two nations’ entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Notably, Saudi investments in India have amassed to a substantial $3.22 billion from April 2000 to June 2023. These investments, predominantly steered by the government-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF), have been directed towards Indian companies that have progressed beyond their nascent start-up phases.

In response to Saudi Arabia’s expressed interest, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister articulated a reciprocal commitment. He suggested that India envisages establishing an office in Riyadh, in partnership with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and Invest India, along with key officials from the commerce and industry ministry.

“We have invited PIF, other SWFs, and investors to come and set up office in GIFT City. Khalid Bhai and I both are committed to it. We have agreed that within the next 6 months, we will make both these in action actually on the ground,” affirmed the Indian Minister.

GIFT City, situated in Gujarat, stands as a multi-purpose special economic zone tailored for financial services, poised to play a pivotal role in fostering economic collaboration between the two nations. This burgeoning alliance underscores the significance of strengthening economic ties in an era characterised by global economic interdependence.

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