Banking tycoons warned on Tuesday at a glittering investment summit in Saudi Arabia that the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas might have a significant negative impact on the world economy.
The somber tone of some of the most well-known speakers at the event highlighted how the conflict jeopardizes efforts by the largest oil exporter in the world to diversify its economy away from fossil resources. Israeli authorities claim that when Hamas militants invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, they killed at least 1,400 people and kidnapped more than 220 others.
In retaliatory Israeli airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, more than 5,700 Palestinians have died, according to the health ministry controlled by Hamas in the region.
“What just happened recently in Israel and Gaza… if you put all this together, I think the impact on economic development is even more serious,” World Bank President Ajay Banga said to the Future Investment Initiative (FII).
At the gathering known as “Davos in the Desert,” he continued, “I think we’re at a very dangerous juncture.” The conflict has the potential to involve other nations, particularly Lebanon, which is home to the militant Hezbollah organization, which is sponsored by Iran and regularly engages Israeli forces in gunfire.
According to Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, “if these issues are not resolved, it probably means more international terrorism, which means more insecurity, which means more (of) society will be fearful, and less hope.”
“And when there’s less hope, we see contractions in our economies.”
According to the organizers, more than 6,000 attendees have registered for the three-day conference, which will feature presentations by top banking executives from around the world, including the presidents of South Korea, Kenya, and Rwanda.