Saudi Arabia sets up national infrastructure fund with BlackRock

The fund will back projects in 'vital' sectors such as transport, water, energy, health, education and telecoms

Construction of the Riyadh Metro network in Saudi Arabia. Reuters
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Saudi Arabia set up a national infrastructure fund with the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock to support projects worth up to 200 billion riyals ($53.4bn) in "vital" sectors of the kingdom over the next decade.

The fund will invest in projects in sectors such as transport, water, energy, health, education, telecoms and digital infrastructure, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The move is expected to boost the kingdom's national gross domestic product and create jobs.

"The fund also aims to contribute to the development of the financial sector by finding alternative solutions to finance infrastructure projects and encouraging the private sector to invest in these projects," the news agency said.

The infrastructure fund has been set up under the kingdom's National Development Fund (NDF), which was established in 2017 to oversee economic development funds across several ministries in the kingdom.

It will enable private investment by providing "innovative" financing solutions, the SPA said.

The NDF appointed BlackRock as a "strategic partner" to allow the new fund to benefit from the asset manager's application of "the best international practices in the management and governance of specialised financial institutions and funds", the news agency reported.

The infrastructure fund will complement the National Centre for Privatisation by financing projects scheduled to be privatised or offered through public-private partnerships.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 aims to reduce the kingdom's reliance on oil, create more job opportunities and attract private investment to boost economic development.

Global investment management company BlackRock opened an office in the kingdom in 2019.

Updated: October 25, 2021, 1:27 PM