Saudi Arabia hosts ‘Davos in the desert’ investment summit

Top finance moguls and political leaders are attending a Davos-style Saudi investment summit in contrast to last year when outrage over critic Jamal Khashoggi’s murder sparked a mass boycott.

Organisers say 300 speakers from 30 countries, including US officials and heads of global banks and major sovereign wealth funds, will attend the annual summit that seeks to project the insular kingdom as a dynamic investment destination.
A strong turnout at the three-day Future Investment Initiative (FII), nicknamed “Davos in the desert”, would further rehabilitate de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s global image that was tainted by Khashoggi’s killing last year.

The murder at Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate triggered one of the top crude exporter’s worst crises and prompted a wave of business and political leaders to pull out of the glitzy annual conference at the last minute.
The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince, who controls all major levers of power in the Saudi government, likely ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

In a recent interview, Prince Mohammed said he accepted responsibility because it happened “under my watch” – but denied having ordered it.

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