Saudi wealth fund plans $24bn for Arab states

To increase its influence in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) intends to invest $24 billion in the region.

In a statement, the PIF stated that it would establish businesses in Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, and Sudan to invest in a variety of sectors, including infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare, and food.

In order to ease fresh investments, the PIF established a firm in Egypt earlier this summer. Minority holdings in some of Egypt’s most well-known industries, such as fertiliser and technology firms, were purchased by the PIF for $1.3 billion.

Egypt has emerged as a leading illustration of how energy-rich Gulf nations have intervened with investments in neighbours whose economies have been severely damaged by the global economic crisis and the conflict in Ukraine.

During the first half of the fiscal year 2021–2022, Emirati investments in Egypt more than doubled. Qatar has also promised to invest $5 billion in the North African nation.

The investments, however welcomed by the indebted government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, have angered others who feel Cairo is selling off national assets after spending a lot of money on arms acquisitions and the development of an opulent new capital city.

Analysts assert that Gulf states want to profit from the deals in addition to strengthening their neighbours. Geopolitical unrest and economic headwinds have affected the nations where Saudi Arabia seeks to establish new investment offices.

Jordan, a country with a shortage of energy, has a 24 percent unemployment rate, which is double for young people. After a democratic transition government was overthrown by the military, international help to Sudan stopped. Political enmities have plagued Iraq.

“[The new subsidiaries] will contribute to an increase in regional investment opportunities for PIF’s portfolio companies and Saudi Arabia’s private sector, bolstering attractive financial returns over the long term, and creating more avenues for strategic economic collaboration with the private sector in the target countries as well as enabling the Saudi private sector,” the PIF said in a statement.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the chairman of the wealth fund, which has emerged as his primary tool for reorganising the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy. It spent $7 billion this summer buying shares in US corporations like Starbucks, Zoom, and Microsoft.

According to the wealth fund tracker Global SWF, the fund was the second-most active state investor in the entire world between January and October. By 2025, the PIF wants to increase its $620 billion in assets to over $1 trillion.

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