ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would travel to Saudi Arabia on Monday on a two-day visit to participate in the investment conference dubbed as ‘Davos in the desert’.

PM Sharif is one of the key speakers at the Future Investment Initiative conference, an official said, adding that the prime minister would use the occasion to highlight investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The conference’s theme is “Investing in Humanity: Enabling a New Global Order”.

The event being held in Riyadh has been an annual feature since 2017.

This year’s edition runs from Tuesday to Thursday and would be participated in by 6000 delegates from different parts of the world, including top corporate executives of multinationals, policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs and young leaders.

The conference is hosted by the Future Investment Initiative Institute which, though not officially associated with the Saudi government, operates under the patronage of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The investment conference, whose second edition in 2018 was eclipsed by the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is being held this year in the shadow of US-Saudi spat over Opec’s oil production cut.

US officials have not been invited by organisers to this year’s event because of the rift. The organisers say they do not want politics to take centerstage and instead keep the focus on business at the conference. However, nearly 400 top US business executives have confirmed their participation in the event.

Pakistan sided with the Kingdom in its row with the US over oil production cut.

PM Sharif, besides participating in the conference, is also likely to meet Saudi leaders on the sidelines of the conference as well.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2022

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