MOSCOW, July 7. /TASS/. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) plans investing up to $ 10 billion in infrastructure and agricultural projects in Russia in partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriyev, RDIF director told TASS.
"That's a token transaction, one of the largest transactions in the realm of sovereign funds," Dmitriyev said. "These monies will be channelled to the farming sector, agriculture, healthcare, logistics, retail trade, and real estate.'
The agreement between the two funds came about as a result of a visit to Russia by the heir to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia, who attended the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June.
The agreement between Saudi PIF and RDIF signals a reloading of economic relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Dmitriyev told TASS.
"The potential of relations between the two countries is huge," he said.
Saudi Arabia is a traditional partner and ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and the volume of its economic cooperation with Russia was small enough until recently. Also, the Saudi Kingdom is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil and it occupies the leading positions in OPEC.
The governments of countries exporting oil and other natural resources set up sovereign funds to keep up and invest their revenues. RDIP is already cooperating with a number of sovereign funds in the Middle East.
The Saudi government set up RIF in 1971 to invest in strategic projects.
The aforementioned amount of $ 10 billion will be invested over a period of four to five years, and the first seven deals have receive preliminary endorsement, and ten or so investments will be made before the end of this year, Kirill Dmitriyev said. He also admitted a possibility of investing the monies in third countries.
Dmitriyev said other funds were present in a number of endorsed transactions. New development institutes, like China’s Silk Road Fund might also join the projects in which PIF was going to invest.
"RDIP is integrated with leading investment foundations in the world," he said. "We should do large-scale investment together."
RDIP has signed an agreement on partnership with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) on bringing the Russian companies to the Saudi market.
"We believe there are unique opportunities in aircraft manufacturing and other sectors there," Dmitriyev said. "We’ll be supporting our companies with investments as they tread the Saudi market.".