Davos in the Desert: leaders warn of Israel-Hamas war threatening global economy

Davos in the Desert: leaders warn of Israel-Hamas war threatening global economy

Leaders from the world of finance and business have convened in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh for a three-day investment conference, issuing a warning about the many perils the world currently faces, most notably Israel-Hamas war that could widen into a regional conflict and deal a new blow to the global economy.

The seventh Future Investment Initiative (FII7) forum was held in Riyadh Oct. 24-26 under the theme “The New Compass,” with its host, Saudi Arabia, hoping to send a clear message: the kingdom remains open for investment and it is business as usual. This is despite the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas that has dominated the Middle East for over two weeks.

While the debates veered from the future of the global economy to developments in artificial intelligence, several participants sounded a gloomy note on the global economy, highlighting the many perils the world currently faces, including geopolitical conflicts, economic uncertainties, high inflation, and climate issues.

The raging war between Israel and Hamas is already battering the economies of neighboring countries, such as Egypt, Lebanon or Jordan, Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told the conference dubbed “Davos in the Desert.”

Nearby countries are already feeling the effects, especially those that rely on tourism, said the IMF chief, warning that “what we see is more jitters in what has already been an anxious world.”

Meanwhile, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and advisor to former President Donald Trump, told the conference that the Abraham Accords he helped broker between Israel and Arab countries were now “more important than ever.” Echoing him, the finance minister of Bahrain, one of the Arab countries that normalized relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords, said that it was “extremely important … that we continue to build bridges.”


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