Building BRICS

Future Investment Initiative decamps to Brazil amid kingdom’s push into Latin America

FII, which hosts the annual “Davos in the Desert," begins its first gathering in Latin America today

The Christ the Redeemer Statue overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, which hosts the annual “Davos in the Desert” gabfest, begins its first gathering in Latin America today.

Following a buzzy meeting of FII PRIORITY in Miami earlier this year, the kingdom is broadening its sphere of influence with a summit drawing some of South America’s biggest names in business and government to the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro.

This iteration will delve into climate action, the Gulf’s emergence among the BRICS nations and new technology. 

FII, which counts the Public Investment Fund as a founding partner, is bringing together powerbrokers amid a flurry of trade activity between Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

The two countries have discovered common ground on food security, mining and aviation, with Brazil hitting a 10-year high in export activity to the kingdom in 2023. 

The most recent deals include an agreement between Lulu, the Middle East’s biggest supermarket chain, and Brazil’s trade agency to promote Brazilian foodstuffs in the Saudi market, signed last week.

In May, Brazilian mining giant Vale sold a 10% stake of its base metals unit for $2.5 billion to Manara Minerals, a joint venture between Saudi mining firm Ma’aden and the PIF.

That same month, Brazilian aviation company Embraer inked cooperation agreements in the kingdom, with the airplane manufacturer planning to build or assemble its aircraft in Saudi Arabia under the deal.

All of this comes as the kingdom mulls opening an investment office in South America’s biggest economy.

Speakers on the agenda at this FII gathering include Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund and Chairman of the FII Institute; Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.; Faisal Bin Bandar Al Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation; and Mike Pompeo, former U.S. Secretary of State.

Also scheduled to speak are Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Saudi Minister of Investment; Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman of S4 Capital Group; André Esteves, Chairman of BTG Pactual; Bernard Mensah, President of International at Bank of America; and Julia Dias Leite, CEO of the Brazilian Center for International Relations.

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