SAUDI ARABIA, advised by the world’s largest fund manager BlackRock, has launched a national infrastructure fund to support up to SR200 billion ($53 billion) in projects over the next decade, reported Reuters.

 The National Infrastructure Fund (NIF) will invest in areas such as water, transportation, energy and health, contributing to Saudi Arabia’s plans to transform the economy and make it less reliant on oil revenue, said the report citing state news agency SPA.

It is part of the National Development Fund (NDF), a body created in 2017 with the aim of supervising and linking together several economic development funds previously spread between various ministries and agencies.  The Public Investment Fund and NDF are at the centre of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plans to diversify the Saudi economy and create jobs, with NDF tasked to mobilise private sector financing to support economic development.

 The new fund aims to contribute to the development of the financial sector by finding alternative solutions to finance infrastructure projects and encourage the private sector to invest in these projects, reported Reuters.

 NDF had signed up BlackRock to advise it on the establishment of the fund to implement international best practices in the management and governance of specialized financial institutions and funds.