Saudi Arabia’s changing international profile: The role of sovereign wealth

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This article investigates the role of Sovereign Wealth Funds in Saudi Arabia's foreign policy and is featured in Orient II/2023.

A major change in Saudi Arabia’s international profile has been the much greater role assigned to its sovereign wealth fund. Certainly, in the past few years the Public Investment Fund has been substantially reconfigured, effectively supplementing its more traditional regional investments with a fresh focus on strategic stakes and ventures in the US and other key foreign states. After outlining the PIF’s current decision-making structures and strategy overview, this article explores some of the fund’s most notable recent investments, also addressing key issues and concerns.

Christopher Davidson is a former reader in Middle east politics at Durham University, a former visiting associate professor at Kyoto University in Japan, and a former assistant professor at Zayed University in the UAe. His books include From Sheikhs to Sultanism: Statecraft and Authority in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East. In 2022 he served as the US Department of Justice’s expert on the politics of the Gulf monarchies, with reference to national security and foreign influence operations.

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