ABANA, in partnership with The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, convened a discussion to examine the role of Gulf sovereign wealth funds in the world economy.
Government-owned or controlled investment vehicles known as sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are increasingly important players in the world economy. Some of the largest SWFs are those in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with estimates of assets under management exceeding $3 trillion. Gulf SWFs have sought to capitalize on industries impacted by the coronavirus-induced economic downturn, like tourism and technology, which constitute key areas of the region’s economic diversification push. However, several factors, including the decline in oil prices in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic have presented a number of growth obstacles and other risks for Gulf SWFs.
How are Gulf SWFs balancing international, regional, and local investment opportunities? What is the geographic distribution of Gulf SWFs’ investments, and how has this changed over time? How are Gulf SWFs leveraging funds of funds and other means to support local entrepreneurs? Can we discern any key differences in investment strategies between Gulf SWFs, and to what degree do political considerations underpin Gulf SWF operations and access to investment capital?