new Middle East

Speaking in Doha, Bridgewater’s Israeli-born CEO says Middle East ‘setting itself up for next tech wave’

Bridgewater CEO Nir Bar Dea sees increasingly large participation of region in world economy

From left to right: Bloomberg Editor-In-Chief John Micklethwait, Bridgewater CEO Nir Bar Dea and Dina Powell McCormick, vice chairman and president of Global Client Services and a partner of BDT-MSD, on a panel at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha, May 15, 2024


Bridgewater CEO Nir Bar Dea, a native of Israel, said the Middle East is “setting itself up for the next tech wave,” during a panel discussion with Dina Powell McCormick, vice chairman and president of Global Client Services and a partner of BDT-MSD, on Wednesday at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha.

Participating in a panel titled Geopolitics: Putting the Risks Into Business Context,” Bar Dea said it’s “great to be here and also meaningful for me personally to be here today.”

Asked by Bloomberg Editor-In-Chief John Micklethwait, the panel’s moderator, if he sees the region “as a target for investment at the moment,” Bar Dea responded, “I always say that incredible people, shared values, audacious goals, lead to unbelievable outcomes.”

“I’m from the Middle East, a different part of the Middle East,” noted Bar Dea — who is from Even Yehuda, near Netanya, and became co-CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund in 2022 and last year became sole CEO — “and I’m truly in awe of what’s been happening in this region and of course I think everybody’s watching and seeing the innovation, the ability to build incredible things, and capital will soon follow because that’s what capital does.”

“You see massive investments, it’s a lot of the conversation we’re having here today, that’s taking the energy foundation and building on top of it and innovating so I certainly see a bigger and bigger participation in the world economy in that way,” Bar Dea said. 

Dina Powell McCormick, who served as deputy national security advisor under former President Donald Trump, suggested that the war in Gaza, while horrific, could usher in some positive changes in the Middle East.

McCormick said she was “bullish” on the region continuing to make progress, noting that she had seen through her work on the National Security Council “the genuineness of the desire to move forward on the social, economic and political reforms, although imperfectly and certainly with some steps taken back.”

“Frankly, it’s in the U.S.’ national security interest that those reforms are completed and for our allies as well. So I think it’s like a genie out of a bottle. I think once you get moving in that direction it’s hard to go back,” she said. 

“We know that the Saudis and Israelis were very close to normalization, and in some ways, there’s a saying, ‘Don’t waste a good crisis,’ McCormick continued. “This horrific tragedy and crisis could actually be the final straw between those two, the axis of resilience and axis of resistance. This crisis hopefully will lead to more countries joining the Abraham Accords and a path to peace and prosperity.”

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