Saudi wealth fund PIF, BlackRock to jointly explore MENA infrastructure investments

Saudi Arabia’s PIF joins forces with BlackRock to explore infrastructure projects in MENA

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) signed a non-binding MoU with BlackRock on Monday to jointly explore infrastructure projects in the Middle East, with the majority of the investment activity focused on the Gulf state.

PIF, which has $620 billion assets under management as of the end of Q1 2022, said in a statement that the target projects are across a range of sectors including energy, power, utilities, water, environment, transportation, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

“PIF and BlackRock plan to work together to attract regional and international investors to participate in investment projects, boost foreign direct investment into Saudi Arabia, add value to the Saudi Arabian economy and the wider market while facilitating knowledge and skills transfer,” the statement added.

The partnership will work with Saudi Investment Recycling Company to develop and operate waste management projects in the region in its first project, said a Bloomberg report.

The US asset manager plans to build a dedicated infrastructure investment team to cover the Middle East in support of the initiative. BlackRock Alternatives will also establish a Middle East infrastructure strategy.

Last month, the kingdom unveiled a national infrastructure fund, National Infrastructure Fund, to support up to $53 billion (SAR 200 billion) in projects over the next decade and hired BlackRock to advise on the fund. BlackRock led an investor group to acquire a $15.5 billion stake in Saudi Aramco’s gas pipeline company.

Saudi Arabia plans to invest $24 billion in countries across the MENA region as the Gulf state seeks to bolster regional economies.