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RIYADH: The Public Investment Fund’s second annual Private Sector Forum concluded on Wednesday, after two days of sessions designed to promote and develop strategic alliances between the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and the private sector.

More than 8,000 people attended the event at the King Abdulaziz International Convention Center in Riyadh, including ministers and an elite group of decision-makers, CEOs and senior officials from the public and private sectors.

The sessions included discussions of many of the key strategic issues related to the fund, which is considered a fundamental driver of economic development and diversification in the Kingdom, as well as a review of its role, and that of its portfolio of companies, in empowering the local private sector and enhancing its contribution as a supplier, investor and partner in priority sectors and strategic projects. The forum also included workshops covering current and future demands of the fund’s companies in various sectors.

The second day of the event began with a session focusing on the enhancement of localization efforts to benefit the Kingdom’s economy. Jerry Todd, the head of PIF’s National Development Division, presented a review of the efforts of the fund and its portfolio of companies to help achieve this, and said spending on local content has increased significantly since 2021. The fund has worked to formulate policies, programs and strategies to support this and improve the results, he added.

Abdul Rahman Al-Sammari, CEO of the Kingdom’s Local Content and Government Procurement Authority, spoke about the role of localization in efforts to strengthen the Saudi economy, create opportunities, and improve efficiency of supply chains.

He also discussed the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors in efforts to achieve the fund’s goal of increasing its contribution to local content to 60 percent by the end of 2025.

Jerry Inzerillo, the CEO of Diriyah Gate, one of PIF’s biggest projects, highlighted the importance of Diriyah as a result its historical and human values. He discussed the attention paid by developers of the project to quality of life concerns and the need to serve the local community. He said that because Diriyah Gate falls under the umbrella of PIF there is an opportunity for it to strengthen the public-private partnership, and private-sector interest in participating and investing in the project has grown.

Other discussions featured prominent public figures, experts and senior executives from the private sector. One of the most important was a ministerial session during the first day of the event that addressed the important role of the private sector in helping to achieve the goals of Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification plan.

During the session, Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said that efforts to empower the private sector are a major part of Vision 2030, one of the aims of which is to increase the private sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to 65 percent.

By 2030, he said, the private sector will be able to benefit from the government’s work to enhance the business environment and enact the legislation required to achieve this. He likened the role of the PIF to an engine driving the local economy.

Bandar Alkhorayef, the minister of industry and mineral resources, announced the establishment of the Automotive Manufacturers Association. He said it will help to develop and grow the sector, protect the interests of manufacturers and their workers, open channels of communication with government sectors, and build human capabilities in the fields of car manufacturing and maintenance through the use of advanced technical systems.

Alkhorayef praised the PIF for its activities in the Kingdom’s automobile sector, and said the development of the sector would not have been possible without the work of the fund and its investments.

Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb noted the important role of the private sector in supporting the tourism goals of Vision 2030, in particular through partnerships and major projects designed to enhance the tourist sector, which he said is experiencing great growth and making progress toward achieving its goal of increasing its contribution to the GDP to 10 percent.

Prince Turki bin Talal, chairperson of the board of directors of the Aseer Investment Company, one of the fund’s companies, said: “The region is witnessing an unprecedented transformation to become a global tourist destination, with its natural resources and unique culture.”

The PIF established the forum last year to empower the private sector in the Kingdom and enhance cooperation with the public sector, to help increase its contribution to economic growth and sustainable development.

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