Affinity Partners, a new private-equity fund started by Jared Kushner, plans to invest money from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in Israeli businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, marking the first time the giant Saudi fund has invested in Israel, with which the Saudi government does not have a formal diplomatic relationship.
Affinity Partners has selected at least two Israeli startups to invest in, people familiar with the plans told the Journal.
Affinity Partners has raised more than $3 billion, which includes a $2 billion commitment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
After Saudi officials agreed Affinity Partners could invest in Israel, Kushner, who played a leading role in the Middle East policy of his father-in-law Donald Trump’s presidential administration, met with dozens of companies ranging from agriculture to healthcare to software, people familiar with the meetings told the Journal.
Kushner did not specify which Israeli businesses the firm would be working with, nor how much money will be directed toward Israel, but he told the Journal his work in the White House “kicked off historic regional change which needs to be reinforced and nurtured to achieve its potential.”
A representative for Kushner did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
Kushner, who founded Affinity Partners after leaving the White House in 2021, played a significant role in advancing Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors while serving as a senior adviser, despite having no diplomatic experience. He helped broker the Abraham Accords, which brought a normalization deal between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. He developed strong ties with Saudi Arabia’s leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and was one of the leading defenders of the prince in the Trump White House after U.S. intelligence determined that he had ordered the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had criticized the Saudi government.
A panel that reviews investments for the Saudi Public Investment Fund—worth about $620 billion—initially objected to the proposed deal between Saudi Arabia and Affinity Partners. The New York Times reported last month that the panel raised concerns such as “the inexperience of the Affinity Fund management” and the possibility that the kingdom would be responsible for “the bulk of the investment and risk,” according to minutes from a June 30 meeting obtained by the Times. The full board of the investment fund overruled the panel days later, the Times reports.
What To Watch For
Affinity Partners is seeking to bring Israeli technology to Indonesia, another majority-Muslim country without diplomatic relations with Israel, the Journal reports. Prior to leaving the White House, Kushner and his team were working on a normalization deal between the two countries, but the agreement didn’t come together before the Trump administration left office.
Jared Kushner’s New Fund Plans to Invest Saudi Money in Israel (The Wall Street Journal)
How Did Jared Kushner Get $2 Billion From the Saudis? (The Washington Post)
Before Giving Billions to Jared Kushner, Saudi Investment Fund Had Big Doubts (The New York Times)
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
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