WEF Special Meeting

Aramco reiterates need for action-oriented dialogue at World Economic Forum Special Meeting

President and CEO Amin Nasser discusses differing economic and energy demand landscapes in the Global North and Global South.

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Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser reiterated the need for action-oriented dialogue among leaders from government, business, academia, and civil society from the Global North and Global South, as Saudi Arabia hosted its inaugural World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Meeting last week. 


The WEF was held in Riyadh, attracting more than 1,000 global leaders from 92 countries and 12 Heads of State for the two-day meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development. Leading political, economics, energy, and tech figures advocated for enhanced pathways to stability, prosperity, and inclusive growth opportunities in the face of rising cross-border challenges.


During a panel discussion titled “The Business Case for the Energy Transition,” Nasser discussed differing economic and energy demand landscapes in the developed countries of the Global North and their developing counterparts in the Global South. He underscored the critical role of public and private partnerships in achieving economic growth in parallel with the ambitions of net-zero emissions. Nasser also stated that success in aligning global climate policy and energy transition goals may require realistic planning, inclusion, and the acceptance of the continued relevance of conventional fuels in the energy mix. 


Amid these intricate global challenges, both Saudi Arabia and Aramco are well placed to collaborate with developed and developing markets, particularly with regard to energy, Nasser stated.

Approach must reflect disparities

Nasser advocated for policymakers to take differences into account when planning the most optimal path forward for the energy transition. He stressed that the approach should reflect disparities and account for issues including affordability, sustainability, and energy security.


“Look at the facts of where we are at today,” Nasser said. “Right now, the income per capita is around $1,000 in the Global South compared to more than $50,000 in the Global North.”


He continued: “Today, 50% to 60% of hydrocarbon demand is in the Global South, and by 2050, 80% of demand is going to be in the Global South…We may have to go at multi-speeds, depending on the economic maturity of each country, and based on the demand from each country.”


The focus for all should be on reducing emissions, Nasser said, given the continued importance — and demand-led growth — of hydrocarbon resources in the global energy mix. Both Aramco and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aim to reach these goals, he said. 


“We need to focus on emissions rather than picking out winners and losers,” he said. “We should not have an approach where we do not invest in hydrocarbons and invest only in renewables. We need to invest in all energy sources…”

A new era of growth

Aramco was a sponsor at the WEF meeting and its presence in Riyadh included an immersive and interactive exhibit, showcasing how Aramco is investing in a new era of high-tech growth, and accelerating growth through venture economy building. 


On display were an Aston Martin F1 car — reflecting the long-term strategic partnership between Aramco and Aston Martin Racing — a hydrogen engine, and a model of direct air capture technology. aramcoMETABRAIN was also demonstrated, showing the company’s exclusive groundbreaking, industrial-grade generative AI model, among many other innovations.


Aramco also supported a reception for Young Global Leaders, hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning, which focused on the transformative plans of Vision 2030 for fostering innovation-led development and ensuring long-term sustainability, and the importance of forward-thinking leadership.


WEF president Børge Brende hailed the meeting in Riyadh as an important gathering that drew key global leaders including the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, and the U.K. Foreign Secretary, David Cameron. With more than 1,000 participants, the meeting recorded the highest number of registrations for a WEF event outside of the Annual Meeting venue in Davos, Switzerland.


Saudi Arabia also announced an extension of its collaboration with the WEF’s innovation platform “UpLink,” with two new initiatives that focus on developing solutions to reduce emissions through the circular carbon economy and regenerating the world’s oceans through blue economy innovation. 


The Saudi Space Agency also announced that it will launch the Center for Space Futures in Saudi Arabia later this year, in collaboration with the WEF. The Center aims to serve as a platform for public-private dialogue and foster the growth of the global space economy. A Saudi Arabia-led Sustainability Champions Network was also launched in conjunction with the Special Meeting to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s private sector decarbonization efforts. 


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