At The Copa

Saudi Arabia ‘ready to invest billions’ in Brazil and LatAm

The kingdom is holding its first FII Priority Summit in South America, overlooking Rio de Janeiro's legendary Copacabana Beach

Beachgoers enjoy the sea at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: Getty Images)

From food security to professional football, Saudi Arabia is ready to deploy billions of dollars to invest in Brazil and its Latin American neighbors as the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund expands its scope of global investments.

That’s the message being delivered in Rio de Janeiro by Public Investment Fund Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan who opened a three-day conference on Wednesday aimed at cementing the Gulf country’s financial links with resource-rich nations on the South American continent.

“We started investing in Brazil in 2016… in food securities [and] we are interested in investing in technology, renewable energy, and mining, and hopefully in football too,” Al-Rumayyan said as he kicked off the PIF’s Future Investment Initiative Priority Summit at the Copacabana Palace Hotel overlooking the city’s legendary beach.

Touting the sovereign fund’s $2 trillion in assets, Al-Rumayyan, who is also Chairman of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company; English soccer club Newcastle United and the two-year-old LIV Golf tournament, said the kingdom is particularly interested in companies that are developing infrastructure for artificial intelligence in the Southern Hemisphere.

We should look for solutions [as to] how to power the AI revolution through renewable energy,” he said, “Brazil is well-positioned to be one of the major players. What you need is the right regulations and government backing, along with an investment mix.”

Brazilian Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira said the kingdom intends to invest some $15 billion in Brazil.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva followed Al-Rumayyan onstage, telling the conference’s 1,500 participants that his visit to Riyadh last November provided “tremendous impetus” for collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

“We are not just the Brazil of soccer or Brazil of the violence,” Lula said. “We are also the Brazil of the men and women who want to grow and develop.”