The Daily Circuit
👋 Hello from the Middle East!
Today we’re looking at rising war risk premiums in the Red Sea, investments by the UAE and Saudi Arabia in India, Mubadala’s efforts to lure fund managers to Abu Dhabi and NEOM’s new members-only beach club. But first, chipmakers will be peering into the future onstage in Dubai.
The founder of the world’s first semiconductor company to be valued at more than $1 trillion will take the stage on Day 1 of the World Governments Summit in Dubai next week. Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of California-headquartered Nvidia, will be in conversation with Omar Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, discussing who will shape the future of AI. (Spoiler: perhaps them?)
The annual summit was started by Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid in 2013 to serve as a global knowledge exchange program for governments. Asked about the summit’s role against the backdrop of escalating geopolitical tensions in the region, Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the World Governments Summit Organization, said that the event focuses on laying out a future roadmap for governments. “We don’t claim to have all the solutions, but we try to get a glimpse of the future,” he said.
Alongside Huang, other AI leaders like Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir Technologies, are also scheduled to attend. Other attendees include Ajay Banga, president of the World Bank; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Klaus Schwab, Chairperson of the World Economic Forum; and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization.
Mubadala Investment Co. Managing Director and Group CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak is also on the Day 1 agenda, onstage with Stephen Pagliuca, the founder, Chairman and CEO of Bain Capital. Pagliuca, who is also co-owner of the Boston Celtics, will be alongside Ross Perot Jr., Chairman of The Perot Group.
Closing out the first day will be former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The lightning rod newsman, who found a landing pad in Elon Musk’s X last year after departing his eponymous show, is reportedly raising millions of dollars for his own media company. He will give a talk titled “What’s next for storytelling.”
📰 Developing Stories
RED SEA PREMIUM
War underwriters have raised the premiums they charge U.S., British and Israeli firms by as much as 50% for ships sailing through the Red Sea because of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants, Reuters reports. The premiums quoted for Red Sea voyages have hovered around 1% of the value of a ship in the past 10 days, up from around 0.7% previously, the news agency says. That adds hundreds of thousands of dollars for a seven-day voyage.
INTEREST IN INDIA
ADIA, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, is putting aside as much as $5 billion to invest in India through a tax-neutral finance hub in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, Reuters reports. With approval from regulatory authorities, ADIA will become the first sovereign wealth fund to invest in the world’s most populous country through the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, known as GIFT City. The approval comes a week before Modi visits Abu Dhabi to inaugurate the grand BAPS Hindu temple.
💲 Sovereign Circuit
ADQ: Lunate, an ADQ-backed investment management firm, will contribute about $500 million to an effort by New York’s Blue Owl Capital to raise $2.5 billion and buy minority stakes in mid-size asset managers, Bloomberg reports.
Mubadala: Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a joint venture between Mubadala and Alpha Wave Global to attract fund managers to the UAE capital, has invested in 29 companies since it was set up in 2019, and is helping to create about 400 new jobs in Abu Dhabi Global Market, Bloomberg reports.
Public Investment Fund: More than 8,000 executives, investors and senior officials from government attended the PIF’s Private Sector Forum, which concluded on Wednesday. The two-day meeting aimed to drive investment into the kingdom and put a spotlight on the fund’s portfolio and wholly-owned companies.
🗣 Circuit Chatter
🚌 Eco-Friendly Buses: Egypt is trying to bolster its motor vehicle industry, focusing on Nasr Automotive, a state-owned company that produces eco-friendly buses.
🛩️ Chinese Arms: While U.S. companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin dominated the World Defense Show in Riyadh this week, China’s arms sales overshadowed that of most other countries, Bloomberg reports.
💵 Busting Sanctions: Some Russian banks appear to have maneuvered around a ban on shipping dollars and euros to the country by trading gold in the UAE and Turkey, Bloomberg reports.
🛡️ IP Protection: The UAE is introducing a national program to protect intellectual property that is aimed at attracting more foreign investment by reinforcing trust in the country’s laws.
↪↩ Closing Circuit
Calling Fintech: Zain Bahrain, the country’s leading telecom provider, launched Zain Fintech, a subsidiary that will expand the firm’s financial services business across the MENA region.
Panda Moots IPO: Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group is considering an IPO to help build up its Panda subsidiary, which operates 185 retail stores across the kingdom.
Oil Funds: Saudi Aramco is in discussions with several companies to make investments in India, the world’s third largest importer and consumer of oil, Reuters reports.
Members Only: Saudi Arabia’s NEOM is building a members-only beach club called Xaynor, which will offer waterside lounges, gourmet dining, entertainment and a luxurious spa on the Gulf of Aqaba.
🌍 Power Circuit
Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad flew on Wednesday to Riyadh, where he was greeted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a meeting of the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE, attended the graduation ceremony of Zayed II Military College, urging the graduates to demonstrate loyalty to the country and to help those in need.
Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim has been named the new chairman of the kingdom’s National Infrastructure Fund.
➿ On the Circuit
Katerina Giannouka, CEO of Jumeirah Group, was the only woman to break into the top 10 of a power ranking by Arabian Business of “100 people you should know in Dubai.”
🎶 Culture Circuit
👠 Stepping Out: Vogue Arabia’s block party in Al Balad, the historic neighborhood of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia kicks off today. Hai Vogue marks the storied publication’s first big event in the kingdom, bringing together local and international fashion, beauty, music, food and art until late-night on Friday.
📅 Circuit Calendar
Feb. 3-11, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. WTA brings top women tennis players to the nine-day tournament. International Tennis Center, Zayed Sports City.
Feb. 9-11, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Middle East Comic Con. Nerds unite for the biggest pop culture gathering in the region. Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Center.
Feb. 12-14, Dubai, UAE: World Governments Summit. Artificial intelligence takes center stage this year at the global gathering. Madinat Jumeirah.
Feb. 12-13, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Global Smart City Forum. AI and smart city experts convene to discuss the future of these cities and their impact on communities. The Arena.
Feb. 16-18, Munich, Germany: Munich Security Conference. Defense industry, foreign policy and national security leaders gather for annual summit. Hotel Bayerischer Hof.
Feb. 19-20, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Saudi Capital Markets Forum. A gathering of government ministers, banks and local publicly traded companies to discuss integrating emerging markets with established financial systems. King Abdullah Financial District.
Feb. 21-22, Dubai, UAE: Step Conference. The Dubai edition of the leading tech festival for emerging markets. Internet City.
Feb. 22-23, Miami Beach, FL: FII Priority Miami. A summit on disruptive technology and investment trends hosted by the Future Investment Initiative Institute. Faena Hotel Miami Beach.
Feb. 26-29, Doha, Qatar: Web Summit Qatar. A Middle East edition of the technology crowd mega-event, gathering investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Feb. 28-29, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Investopia. A gathering of investors hosted by SALT and Investopia, an investment platform launched by the UAE Ministry of Economy and backed by Mubadala and the Department of Economic Development. St. Regis Saadiyat.
March 1, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Abu Dhabi Family Office Summit. One of the largest meetings in the region for family office leaders and investors. Saadiyat Rotana.
March 4-7, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: LEAP. A global technology conference for developers, startups, investors, C-suite and media. King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center.
March 5-6, Doha, Qatar: International LNG Forum. Gathering of industry leaders and key stakeholders to discuss the future of gas in a key export market. InterContinental Doha Beach.