Saudi Arabia and GCC Economies Lead the World in Green Transition, According to City of London’s Lord Mayor

The lord mayor of the City of London, Nicholas Lyons, praised the remarkable efforts of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in their pursuit of cleaner and more sustainable economies, describing them as “world-leading” in their endeavors. His comments were made during his visit to the Kingdom and the UAE earlier this year, with upcoming visits to Qatar and Bahrain on his itinerary. Lyons also expressed enthusiasm for the Saudi Vision 2030 and its transformative agenda aimed at diversifying the nation’s economy.

Lyons acknowledged the substantial challenges faced by hydrocarbon economies as they navigate the transition away from traditional sources of wealth. Nevertheless, he commended these nations for their proactive investment in renewable technologies and clean energy solutions.

He emphasized that the significant investments being made by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries not only promise substantial financial returns but also play a pivotal role in nurturing renewable technology companies and expediting solutions to combat the climate crisis.

With the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, scheduled to return to the Gulf in November, hosted by Dubai, Lyons expressed optimism about the City of London’s role in supporting countries in their pursuit of sustainable development.

He stated, “As far as the City of London is concerned, we are absolutely committed to helping do everything that we can to fund that journey to net zero as efficiently as possible.” Lyons highlighted London’s role as a global financial center, emphasizing its leadership in underwriting green bonds and green loans, as well as its expertise in insurance, risk management, and project execution for sustainable infrastructure programs worldwide.

Lyons, who has been serving as lord mayor since November 2022, expressed the privilege of his role and described it as a “dream come true.” He acknowledged that discussions regarding the revision of net-zero and carbon-neutrality targets in some countries were driven by realistic considerations rather than a lack of commitment.

He remarked, “I’d like to think rather than it being a backward step in terms of commitment, it’s just more realism in terms of the ability to deliver.” Lyons stressed the importance of setting achievable targets, particularly in terms of timing.

During his upcoming visit to the GCC region, Lyons intends to focus on two key areas: facilitating inward investment into the UK and promoting green and sustainable finance. He emphasized the potential for GCC countries to invest more through the UK’s asset-management structure. Additionally, discussions will center around how London can assist in fostering green tech and fintech industries, particularly in areas where the insurance and long-term savings markets require further development.

The City of London recently published its “Vision for Economic Growth — A Roadmap to Prosperity” report, developed in collaboration with over 300 stakeholders from the financial and professional services sectors. The report identifies significant challenges and shifts in the financial industry, ranging from artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies to big data. Lyons emphasized the importance of addressing these issues through strategic regulatory developments.

Furthermore, Lyons expressed hope for the creation of a growth fund that could leverage the UK’s expertise in sectors like fintech, green tech, and biotech, offering additional funding options alongside foreign direct investment from North America and the Gulf. He emphasized the advantages of retaining intellectual property, talent, and value within the UK by providing domestic funding for these innovative industries.

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