Saudi sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) plans to form a joint venture with BlackRock to invest in infrastructure in the Middle East.

PIF said it had signed a non-binding MoU with BlackRock to anchor BlackRock’s Middle East infrastructure strategy and to establish a framework to jointly explore infrastructure projects in the Middle East, with most of the investment activity focussed on Saudi Arabia.

In support of this initiative, BlackRock would look to build a dedicated infrastructure investment team in Riyadh to cover the Middle East region.

Part of the strategy is for BlackRock to work together with PIF to attract regional and international investors to participate in investment projects, boosting foreign direct investment into Saudi Arabia.

PIF said: “This further cements PIF’s partnership with BlackRock and allows both parties to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, in line with PIF’s strategy to expand its local and regional investment portfolio.”

The Saudi entity said target sectors would include energy, power, utilities, water, environment, transportation, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

The joint venture would have the potential to secure additional regional and international investors and foreign direct investment across Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region, it added.

Last month, Saudi Arabia hired BlackRock to help set up and operate an infrastructure fund that has an investment target of A$53bn over the next decade.

In that deal, BlackRock is partnering with Saudi Arabia’s National Development Fund, a state entity chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to operate the infrastructure fund.

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