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Explained: What is Davos in the Desert?

Davos in the Desert: The event Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attending in Riyadh. What is on the table, and why is it compared to Davos?

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 30, 2019 8:59:03 am
Explained: What is Davos in the Desert? Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Twitter/PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a visit to Riyadh to attend an international event from October 29 to 31. Formally the Future Investment Initiative (FII), it is widely being described as “Davos in the desert”.

The informal name derives from the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting that is held in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders discuss and shape agendas for pressing international issues. FII, too, brings together policymakers, investors and global experts, who discuss the role of investment in driving global prosperity and development. FII is an initiative that was first undertaken by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in 2017 to diversify the kingdom’s economy and reduce its dependence on petroleum products.

This year, Modi delivered the keynote address “What’s next for India?” and engaged in bilateral talks with the Mohammad bin Salman and King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Saudi Arabia has already announced agreements worth $15 billion. Other world leaders attending the event include Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

In 2018, the FII was boycotted by over 40 participants due to allegations about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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