Saudi Arabia signed a commitment to invest up to $10 billion in Russia within four to five years, Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told Sputnik News, a state-run news agency, on Monday. Dmitriev added that the money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the largest foreign investment for Russia.
Up to first five investment deals are expected to be signed in the next three months and likely to attract partners from China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, Sputnik News reported. RDIF also reportedly signed another agreement of cooperation with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, a sovereign fund, to jointly search for investment projects in Russia.
"We have reached final agreements and are announcing the creation of a partnership with the sovereign fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), under which PIF will invest $10 billion into projects on Russian territory. These funds are expected to be implemented within 4-5 years,” Dmitriev said, according to Sputnik News, adding: “We plan to implement 10 deals ... before the end of this year, seven of them are currently in the final stage.”
A report by the Wall Street Journal, citing Dmitriev, said that a majority of the funds from PIF will be spent on Russia’s agricultural projects, as well as on medicine, logistics, and the country’s retail and real estate sectors. “The key investments will take place on Russian territory, but we will also invest in Saudi Arabia, which we consider a very promising market,” Dmitriev said, according to the Journal.
The deals come amid sanctions implemented against Russia by the Western nations due to Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Against this backdrop, Moscow is steadily turning toward Asian investors to reduce its reliance on Europe and the U.S., the Journal reported. In May, Russia and China signed a $2 billion investment fund to develop agricultural projects in the two countries and form a free-trade zone between their major farming belts.