Negative media reports about the Middle East and the ruling authorities in the region are not a reason to end investment plans, according to the CEO of BlackRock.
“The fact that there are issues in the press does not tell me I must run away from a place. In many cases it tells me I should run to and invest because what we are most frightened of are things that we don’t talk about,” BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble during a panel session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Fink said he felt the power of the press was playing a good role in addressing issues in the Middle East and he was witnessing continued reform.
“Most issues that are being addressed in the media are (being) mitigated. And that is why long-term optimism is generally the right strategy for most investing over a long horizon,” Fink said.
Saudi Arabia has come in for renewed criticism after it introduced an antiterrorism law in November 2017 that laid out lengthy prison terms for offenses linked to political and religious speech.
Authorities there have reportedly used the legislation to jail prominent women’s rights activists, journalists, and other government critics.
Nonetheless, BlackRock’s Fink said changes he had witnessed in the kingdom over the past few years had been “pretty amazing” and that a modernization across the wider Middle East was in place.
“I see governments willing to move forward. I see governments in the region focusing on how to widen financial inclusion and increase social inclusion,” he said.